amorphous community centre
bar or counter, something for everyone
Community Centre and Library Nieuw Waterlandplein, Amsterdam
The old Waterlandplein in North Amsterdam will be given a completely new look: a new shopping centre with housing on top of it. Amongst other things, atelier PRO has designed the shopping plinth. Two building layers with – besides of course shops – storerooms, car parks, a health care centre and a community centre with library. The latter has also been equipped by atelier PRO.
The entrance of the community centre is located on the new square. From a central room with a bar/counter and a meeting room, all the organizations and the library are within reach. This central room is amorphous, and some parts can be partitioned. The height varies, due to which more intimate, lower parts alternate with vacant spaces. When entering the centre, the visitor immediately knows where to go. There is a clear view towards the first floor, where course rooms, an auditorium and some (leasable) meeting rooms are situated.
By combining the bar and counter functions, it has become possible to be open for the public when only one staff member is present. Because an unmanned bar or counter looks very inhospitable, and gives the visitor the feeling that everything is closed already. For security reasons, the bar/counter is accessible and visible from the offices that lie behind. Due to this visibility line, it is also possible to see if there is anyone waiting at the bar/counter, even when it happens to be unmanned.
The surface area of the library is about 700 square meters. When entering, attention is drawn to the floor high bookcase, right next to the counter, containing depreciated books. A relic of the old-fashioned libraries, where, completely against the current health and safety requirements, they used ladders to retrieve a book. From the counter, an axis-like route can be followed along built-in wall units at the left and right of the collection, an internet corner and a youth corner, and ending in the children corner with the reading café on the left.
The design is restful. Walls and cupboards are white. The books will provide the colours. In addition, the theme corners have been coloured. They are situated on ‘the axis’ and help visitors to find their way.
The centrally situated common room can be used for after-school activities and lectures. This also applies for the reading café, which forms the ‘window’ onto the new Waterlandplein.