Wibautstraat 125
C. de Geus en J.B. Ingwersen
De Geus & Ingwersen
Stichting Patrimonium Nijverheidsscholen
Metro 51-53-54, halte Wibautstraat
H.G.J. Schelling, 'Ambachtsschool te Amsterdam', Bouwkundig Weekblad, 12 maart 1957, p.125-133.

Technical vocational school

Demolition of the Weesperpoort railway station made it necessary to reengineer Wibautstraat. The redesign of this road coincided with a period when planners believed that clearing swathes of buildings for main roads and building large-scale complexes were essential to the city’s economic survival. Most of the large buildings along Wibautstraat date from the 1950s – including the Ambachtschool (Vocational School) by De Geus and Ingwersen – for the same reason.

The building, which occupies a triangular site, is turned at a slight angle to Wibautstraat so that it faces almost exactly North-South. This alignment is intended to assure uniform daylighting and insolation of the interior. In their design, De Geus drew visible inspiration from Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles. The brises-soleil, the pilotis and the sculptural technical structures on the roof are the most obvious references to the French prototype. Unlike the Unité d’Habitation, however, the architects closed up the openings between the pilotis with glazing and glass-block walls. The resulting space was appointed as a vehicle and metal workshop. The practical and theory classrooms were located on the storeys above, and the canteen and gym on the top floor. The gym was given a rising ceiling to provide for sufficient internal height. As a result, it projects above the roofline of the main volume. A separate tube-like volume on the north side of the building contains the emergency staircase. The building was designed on a 3.5 m grid and executed in vibrated concrete.

After a short period of disuse in 1998, during which the building was nominated for demolition, it returned to an educational use as at present. (ARCAM/MB)