In 2007, AHMM won the international idea competition for the large-scale reinvention of a post war University of Amsterdam campus by Norbert Gawronski, in the heart of the Dutch capital.
Through strategic remodelling of existing megastructure, a cut-out knits inner-city fabric and canal system to the campus, a bridge spans the canal and connects faculties on both sides, a passage offers a coherent public promenade up through the built social rooms.
A forty-metre section is removed from the canal-spanning block and replaced with a four-storey void. It reconnects the lost campus behind and historic green spaces beyond. The opening’s lintel provides a double-height city room for the campus, with floors of research office above.
A second campus axis traverses the canal with a generous new pedestrian bridge in the tradition of the city’s historic canal-scape, connecting the campus entrance to a new triple height passage between the remodelled buildings. It completes a canal oriented setting of public and catering rooms that animate this new outdoor landscaped amenity.
Within the preserved massing, the two utilitarian concrete structures from a previous era are stripped out, and reconfigured to house the Law and Social & Behavioural Sciences faculties with their complex array of spaces – 7 lecture theatres (seats 1,650), 7 seminar rooms (seats 440), 86 tutorial rooms (seats 2,000), a Law Library, Moot Court, research offices, meeting and breakout areas, study landscapes, roof terrace, and a variety of catering environments.
Collaboration was crucial in negotiating the institution’s legacy of complex real estate circumstance, nebulous and ever-evolving stakeholder interests, and competitive educational ambitions. Ten years of continuous engagement had witnessed one competition win became two construction phases by different contractors, for three connected buildings, from four design projects with five generations of client representation… to deliver a coherent city campus.