Sufficient parking capacity and good accessibility are important for a city. That is why Leiden is getting two large underground parking garages in its monumental inner city. The historic centre of Leiden has restricted traffic. The new parking facilities provide easy-to-find parking spaces at an accessible location which means less traffic searching for a space in the centre.
Design, Build & Maintain
Underneath the Lammermarkt, 525 parking spaces have been realized in a parking garage no less than 22 metres deep. In order to achieve this, Leiden City Council opted for a DBM form of contract where the design, construction and maintenance are all carried out by a single contractor.
In collaboration with the Dura Vermeer - BESIX combination, JHK Architecten created the design for the parking garage under the Lammermarkt. The design combines functionality and mode of construction in an attractive way. Building in a monumental city centre does require extra consideration to be given to the surroundings. The cylindrical form of the garage is not only the basis for a user-friendly parking garage, the compactness of the volume also minimizes interference with the monumental buildings surrounding it.
In order to limit further nuisance as much as possible, various environment-friendly construction techniques were utilized, such as pressing in the sheet-piling, drilling anchors and installing concrete diaphragm walls with minimum vibration. These 1.2-metre-thick diaphragm walls go to a depth of circa 30 metres. With a diameter of circa 60 metres, ultimately a total of more than 60,000 cubic metres of soil was excavated. A pressure pipeline was installed over a length of five kilometres through the canal system in Leiden. The soil was transported via this pressure pipeline to a ground depot outside the city where the sand will be reused. This saved about 2,500 return trips by lorry through the centre of Leiden.
A pleasant parking garage
Although parking is not an aim in itself, parking in the Lammermarkt Parking Garage is an experience in its own right. The typology of the round garage means that all the levels are connected to each other spatially. Although this emphasizes the depth and makes it visible, this spatial quality forms the basis for a socially safe environment that feels pleasant and comfortable. The lightly finished parking garage excels in functionality and comfort. The routing information is clear, the parking spaces are wide and the stairs and lifts are easy to find. There is no crossing traffic and with the one-way system, traffic safety is optimal.
The motorist drives down in a spiral and automatically finds an empty space on the way. So there is no traffic searching for a spot. A timeline on the footpaths leads pedestrians to the lifts and the staircase. You ascend or descend a century per level. Significant moments from the century in question are illustrated on the back wall of the garage, where space has been created per half-level for an artwork that brings the visitor through the history of Leiden. These illustrations by graphic designer Tom van der Heijden not only tell a story beautifully, they also contribute to recognizability and orientation in the garage. They help people to find their car. The artworks are explained once more in the lift hall with references to places in the modern-day city that people can visit.
Pedestrians leave the parking garage through a round pavilion at street level. By means of an open staircase, a spacious connection is made here with the caretaker's room and the parking area one floor below street level. When leaving the garage, the city of Leiden and the De Valk windmill appear through the curved five-metre-high glass facade.
Soon the entrance pavilion will become an integral part of the renewed Lammermarkt. The new square has been designed by design studio Marseille Buiten and will become both a square for events and a park. The October 3rd fair during the annual 'Leidens ontzet' festival will once again be held on the Lammermarkt, in line with tradition, with dozens of stalls and attractions and tens of thousands of visitors. On top of the parking garage!
Besides the design for the parking garage itself, JHK Architecten, commissioned by Leiden City Council, designed the signage in the garage. Signs, arrows, icons and directions were designed as a whole, and match the design of the parking garage. The signage is restrained in colour, not at all flashy, but still clear for the visitor. The orange back wall on the parking levels and the orange floor edging in the central void reinforce the spatial character of the parking garage and give the interior depth and colour.
ESPA Gold Award
Lammermarkt Parking Garage has been honoured with the ESPA Gold Award. The ESPA (European Standard Parking Award) is a prize that is awarded on behalf of the EPA (European Parking Association). The Gold Award is granted to garages with an excellent score in the areas of safety, quality and user-friendliness.