De Kandelaar

Bijlmerdreef 1239
Ria Smit, Martin Kuitert e.a.
Ria Smit architecten
Delta Forte
Commercieel, Religie, Voorziening, Wonen

Multi-denominational religious building

De Kandelaar is a collective building for a number of different religious organizations, and adjoins the Grubbehoeve flats complex. The building accommodates several religious communities that are active in Amsterdam Zuidoost and as such is unique for the Netherlands. It has five prayer halls with a total congregation capacity of 900 people. De Kandelaar also offers room to several community organizations, a day nursery and a Turkish restaurant.

Dutch society underwent rapid secularization during the final quarter of the twentieth century. The churches grew ever emptier and the need to build new churches vanished. For newly developed urban areas, this meant a complete absence of religious buildings. The Bijlmermeer district obeys its own rules, however. The presence of many different ethnic and religious minorities has meant a high level of demand for religious facilities. Because of the lack of purpose built churches, empty car parking garages and apartments were pressed into service. The Zuidoost Borough council decided to collaborate with the Rochdale housing organization and the property developers Delta Forte to build a multi-denominational building, in order to satisfy the demands of the whole local community.
The new building was also required to form a link between the Grubbehoeve flats complex and the new main thoroughfare of the redeveloped district, Bijlmerdreef. The architects, Ria Smit Architecten, were commissioned to design a building of red brick with coloured window glass. These windows would be a reference to the traditional stained glass windows which typify churches. The link between Bijlmerdreef and Grubbehoeve was realized in three sections. The first part is a metal-clad volume between the flats complex and De Kandelaar, which accommodates the offices of the individual religious organizations. This adjoins an elongated section with an undulating roof which covers the religious spaces of the building; there is one prayer hall beneath each roof apex. The adjacent apartment tower, whose height equals that of the Ganzenpoort shopping centre, forms the link to the main street and the surrounding buildings. On the ground floor of the tower, the restaurant is located on the street side, and the child day care centre is on the park side. (ARCAM/JB)