Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam

Oosterdokseiland 143
Jo Coenen
Jo Coenen & Co Architekten
Gemeente Amsterdam
MAB Bouwfonds, Hoevelaken
Vanaf Amsterdam Centraal Station 10 minuten lopen.
Cultuur, Leisure, Onderwijs

Public library with theatres, conference rooms and restaurant

Amsterdam’s central public library (OBA), taken into use on 7 July 2007 – 07-07-07 – is the largest public library in the Netherlands with a floor area of 28,000 m2. Inside this ‘experience library’, designed by former chief government architect Jo Coenen, spread over seven floors there are the usual bookcases, reading tables and study areas, but also theatres, museums, art projects, conference rooms, a restaurant and hundreds of publicly accessible computers.

The OBA is the centre of Oosterdokseiland, which is situated immediately to the east of Centraal Station and is currently undergoing redevelopment. The building stands on a raised plinth with a monumental staircase at the entrance. The façade consists of a framework clad in light natural stone, part of which is a large canopy. Within this framework are vertical rows of rectangular windows, set in heavy wooden frames. A striking element is the natural stone column which, on the left-hand side of the building, projects several metres from the building line.

For Coenen, designing the OBA was a quest for light and orientation. This quest has resulted in, among other things, the design of the floors of the reading and study rooms as a staggered terraced landscape with a palpable dynamism. In the words of Coenen himself: ‘On the outside it looks like a closed box. Inside, however, a large Innenwelt unfolds.’(ARCAM/FB)