Offices and colleges in Jodenbreestraat

Teun Koolhaas Associates
Tram 9-14; metro 51-53-54
Christoph Grafe, 'Een nieuw stedelijk behang: twee gebouwen in de Amsterdamse binnenstad van Teun Koolhaas Architecten', de Architect, 1997, no. 2, p.34.
Kantoren, Leisure, Onderwijs

Offices and colleges with garages and retail space

A large building in Jodenbreestraat was demolished in 1994. The building, popularly nicknamed the Maupoleum, was designed by P. Zanstra and was not yet 25 years old. The demolition and new construction was made economically feasible by putting twice the previous floor area on the same site. The street frontage was brought forward by six metres, and the quay along the canal Houtkopersburgwal was completely filled with building.

The new complex, designed by Teun Koolhaas Associates from Almere, consists of two main segments. One part, adjoining the canal lock, houses the drama and dance faculties of the Amsterdam School of Arts. The part at the Mr. Visserplein end is occupied by an office block developed on behalf of Philips Pensionfonds and let to the municipality. The volume beneath the offices contains a parking garage and a large area of retail space. The facades facing Jodenbreestraat have an articulated composition of brick and white stucco work, in which the shape of the windows derives from historic architecture. At the rear, along the canal and along Valkenburgerstraat, the complex has above all an industrial look, with large areas of glass and brick masonry piers. The prominent terminating facade at the small plaza on the canal lock attempts an answer to an unsolved problem: how can the various planes and volumes be unified?

The bluntly modernist Maupoleum was replaced by the commercial architecture of Teun Koolhaas, financed by the expanded floor space. The zinc roof of the drama school was, like the buildings directly abutting the canal, an outcome of inflating the building volume. The brickwork facades on the rear resemble mass-produced office buildings of the 1920s. The street side is an advance on the blind plinth of the demolished Maupoleum and brings greater liveliness to the street scene. But the rounded entrance with canopy at the corner of Mr. Visserplein is an empty gesture which now looks rather cheap and datedly postmodern. (ARCAM/JEA)