Rotterdam, NL | Amsterdam, NL
The conversion and renovation of the former bank in the Vijzelstraat in Amsterdam to house the municipal archives was already a prestigious assignment and expectations were high. That allure is connected both with the genesis and symbolic value of the building and with the new public function which is at odds with the closed typology of a bank building.
The new design treats the original design by K.P.C. De Bazel with respect. Firstly, many original qualities of the building, which had been lost in the course of its use, were restored to their former glory. The most prominent example of this is the restoration of the two lightwells, allowing more natural light to reach the ground floor and the inside street. Other interventions and new features, such as opening the façade on the street side, the new parquet floor on the ground floor, and the decision to make the inside walls of the central hall white again, have ‘retransformed’ Van Bazel’s grand design to become the modern building that it originally was.
In its present form and appearance, it is no longer the black brick façades and the proliferation of wooden wainscoting that are determinant, but the character of the concrete framed structure and the graphic clarity of the mosaic tile points of anchorage. As a result the new municipal archives have not remained stuck in a one-dimensional and meek respect for history and tradition, but a historic design has been treated as an equal. Thanks to this tactic, even the most modern fittings, design furniture and glass staircase can blend naturally with the dignified historical context.
Location: Amsterdam, NL
My Role: Architect