The Conservatorium van Amsterdam is located on the Oosterdokskade, in the middle of a cultural environment featuring, amongst others, the Muziekgebouw and the Openbare Bibliotheek. The conservatory encompasses five music performance halls,
an educational building with classrooms and a study building containing the library, auditorium and administration. The building has been designed by Frits van Dongen of Architekten Cie., Amsterdam.
Conservatorium van Amsterdam

Project information

Disciplines

Building structures

Place

Amsterdam

Client

Amsterdam School of the Arts

Architect

Frits van Dongen, de Architecten Cie

Project size

16.000 m2 GFA

Start of project

2005

Completion

2008

Consulting services

Structural design, detail drawings and calculations

Through the joint cooperation between the Municipality of Amsterdam and Bouwfonds MAB, a new city neighbourhood has been realised on the Oosterdokseiland (Oosterdok island), of which plots 4 and 5 have been reserved for cultural and educational ends. That is where the library and the new Conservatorium van Amsterdam have been raised in the years to follow.

The Conservatorium—13 storeys, 22 metres wide, 77 metres long—has been constructed on an extremely slim strip of the construction site. While the entire Oosterdokseiland complex has been provided with a two level parking garage, an exception was made for the conservatory, which also uses the underground levels for its purposes.

The project encompassed, next to the classrooms and study rooms, a number of halls of varying sizes. Here, music can be performed for teachers, fellow students and the general public. The halls are furnished with lavish stages and can seat 40 to 400 spectators.

All performance halls are contained in the “Spelend Hart” (“Playing Heart”), so called after the performances in this area, located in the bottom six storeys, of which two are below ground level.

The underground levels beneath the main hall contain the recording studio. To prevent exterior sound from leaking into the studio—and studio sound from leaking out of the studio—this room features a special structure within but without touching the concrete main load-bearing structure.

The foyer is situated on the ground level, on top of the ensemble hall and the music theatre in the basement. This foyer connects all performance halls with each other by means of voids. Slim, playful flights of stairs provide access to the performance halls and entresol, which hang suspended from the column structure. The small hall, named ‘Amsterdam Blue Note’, is designated for jazz and pop music and floats aloft like a wooden box above the foyer. To ensure proper acoustic insulation, a complete concrete structure hides behind the wood.

The educational building is housed in floors 4 and higher. A hundred classrooms and study chambers are grouped in the middle section of a traditional wall and floor skeleton. All higher floors feature a cantilevering strip for traffic. This system of walls and floors rests on columns that have been grouped in a clever way in and around the halls, allowing for spacious, columnless halls in the lower sections of the building.

Finally, all spaces in which music is performed or lectures are given are furnished with special acoustic measures, varying from structures that have no contact with the main structure, self-supporting ceilings and false walls. To this end, entire free-standing steel structures have been built in the great halls

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