Architects: De ArchitectenCie Facade Builder: Permasteelisa Building owner: Municipality of Amsterdam
Plot 5 of ODE (Oosterdokseiland, Eastern Dock Island) is part of a high-density redevelopment taking place on the former PTT post-sorting yard in Amsterdam. The blueprint denotes 200,000 m2 of diverse programme, including the new Amsterdam Central Library, a hotel, offices, residential buildings, and leisure facilities. The brief for Plot 5 comprises a school of music, offices, cafes and restaurants, of which the school makes the most specific technical and programmatic demands on the design.
The Amsterdam Conservatory of Music can best be described as a college and a concert hall in one. The programme has three components which determine the architectural expression in an almost classical manner: ‘the performing heart’ - the plinth - consisting of 5 auditoriums for different kinds of performances and the foyer-cum-canteen; ‘the school building’ - the shaft - with all the classrooms; and ‘the study building’ - the architrave - with study rooms, the library, the lecture hall, and the offices.
The design follows this programmatic subdivision by vertically organizing these components in three clusters: from collective to individual, from extravert to introvert. The foyer is situated on the ground floor, giving the school an inviting allure in relation to the immediate environment. It also means that the building is arranged around the most important aim of the education: the performance of music.
Practically all the educational and rehearsal areas in the school of music have been constructed according to the box-in-a-box principle. Due to the complex acoustic demands of the programme and the required high standard of sound insulation from the surroundings, use has been made of the ‘engawa’ principle. This is a Japanese housing typology where all corridors of a house are placed along the perimeter of a building. At the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music all corridors leading to the classrooms and study rooms have been placed along the façade, thus turning the programme inside out. This way all class- and study rooms are acoustically protected from any noise from the outside while the sawtoothed façade provides a natural self-regulating ventilation system. Another asset of the layered glass façades is the exposure of all the musical activities of the building to the rest of the city, from 8 in the morning till midnight: an extremely communicative building.