Koninklijke Marechaussee, Marinekazerne Amsterdam

Kattenburgerstraat 7
Norbert Wansleben
Wansleben Architekten
Dienst Vastgoed Defensie, directie Noord
Ter Steege Bouw, Rijssen
Tram 26 halte Kattenburgerstraat
Dit project is o.m. gepubliceerd in Amsterdamse Architectuur 2008-2009; ARCAM POCKET 22. Klik hier voor meer boeken uit de reeks ’ARCAM POCKET’.

Office building with hundreds of windows

The Marine Etablissement (naval barracks) is a highly secure site, bounded by Kattenburgerstraat and the water of Oosterdok. The Maritime Museum (Daniel Stalpaert, 1656), a five-storey square building with an inner courtyard, stands on the southern tip of the site. This ‘fort’ was the source of inspiration for the new military police offices on the site’s northern side.

The ‘black box’, with exactly the same proportions as the Maritime Museum, is clad with black stones and is provided with 1,750 identical, set-back windows in an uninterrupted pattern, As a result, the building’s five storeys are not articulated on the exterior. The façade was emphatically designed to shield personnel. This is why care was taken with the building’s dimensions in order to ensure that employees have a view outside wherever possible, but cannot themselves be seen from outside. In some places, the façade even acts as a black band over the viewer’s eyes. Along the street anonymity is guaranteed because the office spaces and the façade are separated by a corridor.

Light plays a key role in the building’s aura. During the day, the gleam of the stones causes the character of the façade to change with the position of the sun. The fact that about one third of the facade is glazed is particularly evident at night when the lights are on inside the building. The lowest strip of fenestration is provided with extra light in order to give the building a well-defined plinth.

The main entrance is located within the contours of the block, on the first deck. This can be reached via a ramp, which is also accessible to cars. Underneath the deck is a parking garage, a workshop and storage space for equipment. Above this, the building opens up. The offices are situated around a courtyard with a remarkably cheerful and transparent character, thanks to an area of glass with solar panels and coloured wooden shutters. (ARCAM/YK)