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The former library building at number 587 Prinsengracht, right in the city centre, was designed in 1974 by R.F.L Nord of the architectural firm Gerard de Klerk.
Amsterdam’s textile industry
The site of the complex of buildings that comprised the former library has always been a vibrant part of the city. A textile factory was built here in 1874. Over the course of the century the factory was considerably extended and up until 1900 it was the largest textile works in Amsterdam. At the end of the nineteenth century it was taken over by the German Klatte brothers, who extended the factory further on Keizersgracht with buildings built in an eclectic style. The textile factory remained here well into the twentieth century. When it closed in 1969, the site attracted the attention of property developers.
In the early seventies, most of the nineteenth-century textile factory was demolished in order to make way for an office building designed by the architectural firm G. de Klerk. The infilling of the gap on Prinsengracht presented a major design task. The final design comprised a wide façade composed of four brick surfaces separated by narrow set-back wood and glass fronts. The brick façade surfaces are approximately the width of a traditional canalside building and vary in height. The façade sections on the ground floor are framed by a band of dark grey natural stone. At the rear of the building are larger windows for daylight penetration.
The building on Prinsengracht did not yet have a use when it was designed in the 1970s, which is why a flexible floor plan was chosen. For thirty years it housed Amsterdam’s main public library. When the library relocated to Oosterdok in 2007, the Hyatt hotel chain created a five star hotel in the vacant building. The interior, designed by Marcel Wanders, is inspired by Old Dutch themes; the toilets, for example, have modern Delft Blue tiles. The exterior has been restored to its original state. The building now has national and local listed status.