In 1997 the American landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson, together with Francine Houben of Mecanoo, won the competition for the master plan of the Westergasfabriek site in Amsterdam. Situated between Westerpark and a polder with allotments, the site is surrounded by water and railway tracks.
The remains of Westergasfabriek no longer serve as a gas works, but are now used for leisure and ecology purposes. The design of the master plan accentuates the delicate transition between the city and natural landscape. Two different routes, a straight axis and a 'Path of Dreams', take the visitor to various parts of the site.
The 'Manifestation field' forms the centre of daily activities like sports and games. The influence of the train track is abated by water and strategic planting. Soil is not removed from the site but displaced within the area creating a new relief.
The area has an international appeal as well as a strong domestic relevance. It is neither rigid nor static and can accommodate diverse programs; different places give room to changing atmospheres and events. The site stimulates cultural developments but also incites a curiosity towards nature. Its structure seems fixed but will develop in accordance with change.