The University of Amsterdam explores large-scale reinvention. Two utilitarian buildings from a previous era – part of an incomplete masterplan by Norbert Gawronski – are stripped out, sliced open, reconfigured and then knitted back into the city’s fabric to regenerate a post-war university campus in the heart of the Dutch capital. A forty-metre section of low-hung, canal-spanning building is cut out and replaced with a four-storey void. Physically and visually opening up the campus behind and the zoo beyond, the void is bridged by a glazed double-height space and five storeys of workstations, all with new views across the city. A previously solid wall is punched through to create entry into a new triple-height passage connecting the two principal blocks of accommodation; this passage permits the building’s users to gather and orientate themselves while efficiently distributing faculty members to the vertical circulation cores Outside, a new pedestrian bridge draws into play the city’s canal-scape, the neighbourhood streetscape and the campus’ half-realised secondary axis. Inspired by Amsterdam’s historic canals, the bridge connects to a series of public rooms and commercial spaces that activate and open the buildings’ edges. Internally, elements have been removed to accommodate the university’s relocated Amsterdam Law School and the Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences by providing seven lecture theatres, seven seminar rooms, 86 tutorial rooms, a Law Library, a Moot Court, research offices, meeting areas, study landscapes, breakout areas, a roof terrace, 1,700 square metres of catering environments and 2,260 square metres of ground floor public gathering space.

  • 2018 RIBA Award for International Excellence
  • 2015 WAN Education Award
  • 2014 AJ Retrofit - International Innovation
  • 2014 AJ Retrofit - Overall Winner

  • 2009 Summer Exhibition
  • 2007 Summer Exhibition
Amsterdam, Netherlands
£77 Million
University of Amsterdam
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Subconsultant Architect: Phase I
ZZDP Architecten (NL)
Structural Engineer
Pieters Bouwtechniek (NL)
Services Engineer
Ingenieursburo Linssen B.V. (NL)
Building Physics
LBP Sight (NL)
Cladding Consultant
IBS Consultants B.V. (NL)
Central Plant Advisor
Deerns Raadgevende Ingenieurs BV (NL)
Graphic Designer
Hat-trick Design (UK)
Health & Safety
Adviesburo Nieman B.V. (NL)
Project Manager: Phase I
Royal Haskoning DHV (NL)
Project Manager: Phase II
Aronsohn Management (NL)
Cost Advisor: Phase I
Royal Haskoning DHV (NL)
Cost Advisor: Phase II
Aronsohn Management (NL)
Main Contractor: Phase I
BAM Utiliteitsbouw (NL)
Main Contractor: Phase II
TBI Holdings B.V. (NL)

Design Partners

Interior Design (Phase I offices)
Fokkema & Partners Architecten (NL)
Interior Design (study landscapes)
PUUR Interieurarchitecten (BE)
Landscape Architect
Inside Outside (NL)
Palmbout Urban Landscapes (NL)

The Alder Centre wins WAFX category prize 09.10.18

University of Amsterdam wins RIBA Award for International Excellence 09.05.18

RIBA International Prize jury visits University of Amsterdam 22.03.18

University of Amsterdam makes RIBA International List 2018 13.12.17

AJ Retrofit Award 19.09.17

Architecture and the Art of the Extra Ordinary at the British School at Rome 03.07.17

University of Amsterdam wins WAN Education Award 29.04.15

University of Amsterdam nominated for Dutch architecture prize 06.03.15

University of Amsterdam celebrates official opening 11.02.15

University of Amsterdam Crowned AJ Retrofit of the Year 18.09.14

AHMM’s Amsterdam Research Trip 21.07.14

Key Milestone for University of Amsterdam 09.04.14