The Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek and the former Zusterhuis are beautiful, characteristic buildings. It is great that such a beautiful piece of Amsterdam history is given a new function. Students will soon be bent over their textbooks on the place where the sick were once nursed and operated.
The University of Amsterdam is building the University Quarter on and around the Binnengasthuis site in the center of Amsterdam. It will be home to the Faculty of Humanities, the University Library and university-wide facilities such as an auditorium. The library will be housed in two monumental buildings: the Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek and the adjacent Zusterhuis, built between 1897 and 1900. The buildings will be connected by a new building yet to be realized on what is now a parking lot and a striking glass roof. Beneath this, a multifunctional atrium will be created, the heart of the University Library.
Mark Schreijnders (left) and Jacques Mol (right)
Jacques Mol and Mark Schreijnders are closely involved in the realization of the University Library on behalf of Valstar Simonis; the first plans for the University Quarter date back to several years ago. Back then, sustainability was much less of an issue than it is today. Now ambitions such as CO2-neutral, gasless, BREEAM and BENG have almost become standard.
Of course, there is still a lot of attention for that. But sustainability does not stop with energy; Healthy air is still being strived for for educational facilities, but functional matters such as promoting the use of bicycles by, for example, providing an underground bicycle shed are also a priority.
Maximum sustainability is the motto. Mark Schreijnders explains that, for example, PV panels will be installed in the glass roof and that a ATES installation will be realized. “The Amsterdam soil is ideal for energy storage!”
Old cutting room
It is logical that the buildings from the end of the 19th century must be thoroughly renovated. All the more remarkable that some parts can easily be reused. Jacques Mol describes: “For example, we use the old ventilation ducts for the new climate system. Very practical, but of course quite special! The old dissecting room, in the form of a kind of amphitheatre, will also be preserved in the new library. It will be a place where lectures and meetings will be organized.”
The real eye-catcher of the library will be the atrium. This central meeting space under a transparent roof in the shape of a tree will have a striking platform with study areas. “Beautiful, but above all it has to be functional”, says Jacques. “That is why practical matters, such as sufficient power strips, a fast (wireless) internet connection and a pleasant indoor climate are just as important.”
The City Center Campus is located in the heart of Amsterdam and that represents a significant logistical challenge for the implementing parties. It is also very important that nuisance to local residents is kept to a minimum. Because both the building and the location are quite complex, everyone involved must operate as a close-knit team. The team must know and use each other's expertise, but also dare to be critical and want to look beyond its own assignment. Valstar Simonis considers it a great challenge to offer UvA students and employees an ultramodern, functional and inspiring environment.
Curious about the progress of the construction of the new University Library? Watch the beautiful timelapse here:
Artist impressions and video: MVSA Architects