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W139 is situated in the middle of Blaauwlakenblok, an area between Warmoesstraat, Oudezijds Voorburgwal, St. Annenstraat and St. Jansstraat. The area dates from the thirteenth century and is one of the oldest parts of the city. It was once Amsterdams gold coast because of the many wealthy merchants who lived here, but it later became run down and in the second half of last century it was the centre of the squatters movement.
In 1979, a group of artists, who were looking for accommodation for alternative artists, squatted in the building at Warmoesstraat 139. The building was to provide space for artists who did not fit into the institutionalized art world. Over the past thirty years, the foundation has become considerably more professionalized and in order to accommodate the changes, in 2006 work started on the redevelopment of the building.
Under the direction of Smulders Architecten, the exhibition spaces and offices were remodelled and an openness, which also characterizes the organization, was created in the building .Because the façade is now largely of glass, it is possible to look right through the building from the street. In addition, the spaces are more clean-lined. As a result, it is clear at a glance what W139 is concerned with. (ARCAM/TB)