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La Defense: Almere's Pearl

Besides the striking buildings in the new city centre, the two experimental residential neighbourhoods 'De Fantasie' (Imagination) and 'De Realiteit' (Reality), and interesting residential areas, Almere boasts even more notable buildings.

Without doubt, the most photogenic building is La Défense by architect Ben van Berkel (UN Studio), who in The Netherlands is best known for designing the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam. La Défense is located at the Willem Dreesweg 14-24 (a 5 minutes walk from Almere Central Station). It's advisable to visit La Défense during office hours, because when the offices in La Defense are closed, the gates are locked, hence hiding the magnificent inner area from view. And this is precisely the most spectacular part of La Défense! While the facade on the outside of the complex is determined by low-striking silver-aluminum plates, the glass facades of the courtyard are covered with reflective foil, making the colour of the facade change from red to yellow or green, and everything in between at each step!

 
La Defense. Architect: Ben van Berkel/UNStudio
La Defense. Architect: Ben van Berkel/UNStudio
La Defense. Architect: Ben van Berkel/UNStudio
La Defense. Architect: Ben van Berkel/UNStudio
La Defense. Architect: Ben van Berkel/UNStudio
 
 
Other Special Buildings

Next to the A6 motorway, exit 'Almere Stad', there's a controversial building called the Brandboxx (but understandably nicknamed UFO). This silvery textiles/fashion centre is both admired and detested.

Another distinctive building is the ACTA/PABO (Teacher training college) in the city centre, designed by architect Frank van Waes. This building stands out by its red colour and glass facade.

In the Filmwijk neighbourhood you'll find the purple coloured Medical Centre (Gezondheidscentrum), designed by Aldo and Hannie van Eyck.

In 2009 the Oostvaardersplassen Information Centre, called 'De Oostvaarders', was opened; it is located in the outskirts of Almere, along a splendid wildlife area, called the Oostvaardersplassen. The building was designed by Drost + van Veen architecten bv, and houses an information centre, restaurant, classroom, observation post (on the first floor) and a meeting room. It had to be built quickly, in order not to disturb the wildlife in this area. Therefore, prefabricated solid-wood walls and floors were used.

An impressive number of striking houses and other buildings have been built in Almere's newest district, named Almere Poort. On the outskirts of Almere Poort, near the Oostvaardersdijk, is the bright red Heat Transfer Station (Warmte Overdracht Station) (2012) of energy supplier Nuon. Very hot water, transported from Diemen through an eight-kilometer long pipeline in Lake IJmeer, is transferred in this Heat Transfer Station into large part of Almere's heating network. One side of the building consists mainly of glass and provides an industrial-looking insight.

At the Evenaar (literally meaning: Equator), one of the main roads in Almere Buiten, several notable buildings are being built at the moment, including the Van Hanh Pagode (a Vietnamese Buddhist pagoda) and a mosque.