Free University of Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
Architectengroep '69
Vereniging van Wetenschappelijk onderwijs op gereformeerde grondslag te Amsterdam
Metro 50-51
Wim Ruigrok & Eric Slot, Ons Amsterdam, april 2000, p. 119; Bouw, nr. 15, 14 april 1973.

University building with space for teaching, library, general services and administration

In 1960, a number of architects were invited to submit a design in a limited competition for a main building for the Free University. The Architectengroep ’69 won the commission in 1963 and developed its design further. The final result is almost identical to the original scheme.

The building, which has sixteen storeys, houses seven faculties, a library and general services including administration. Immediately behind the entrance on Boelelaan is a central meeting place which allows contact between the separate parts of the building. The auditorium on the first floor can accommodate more than a thousand people.

The number of working hours that could be spent on the realization of this scheme had to be drastically reduced. This had a direct influence on the design and the choice of materials. The result is an extremely large concrete building with considerable uniformity, which was soon labelled ‘sombre’. In an attempt to rid the building of this negative image, in 2000, Mieke Poot and Anouk Dekkers of 0 III Architects designed a new main entrance. The concrete slabs in the lower half of the building’s front and side elevations have been replaced by glass, as a result of which this part of the building is now almost completely transparent. In addition, materials such as copper, wood and black and white enamel have been used in order to give the concrete building warmth. (ARCAM/JR)