De campus als publiek domein - Rooilijn

De campus als publiek domein - Rooilijn


Jg. 42 / Nr. 4 / 2009

don’t concentrate on making a university building in

particular. It could be any public office building. We

want to design a legible building that communicates,

that is open to the public and for university members.

In a sense it is about organizing public programmes

within and throughout the building. Cities have a

public and a private world so it does not mean that the

building should be open always and at every entrance.

But it is important that the general public, not just

one type of person, will naturally filter through the

area. If we get that right, architecture can flow.”

“The third intervention is playing with the levels of

the building. What was wrong about the REC was

the idea of upper level access, because people live on

the street. A building begins to engage when people

like it and has the possibility for easy entry. If people

enjoy the building that comes across on every level.

Maybe they do not like the furniture, but that does

not matter because furniture comes and goes. To

make people like the building in the future is one of

your key challenges. Our focus lies on the redesign of

the entrances, the atrium and the connection of the

different departments.”

A new atrium?

“One of our key ideas for making the connection

is to create an open view on the outside as well as

the inside of the building. This is done by creating a

few mini-atria. The mini-atria are made as vertical

connections so that they become little buildings in

themselves. University and the use of the different

departments will always change, but the lift and stairs

will not change. Whenever you come out of the lift

in one of the atria you will see the city. That gives

the building an identity and in addition there is an

orientation what makes the building visible and intelligible

internally. The atria combine flexibility with

a kind of personality and specific views: flexibility

because the basis of the building is suitable for different

functions, personality because the atria create

social engagement. The different atria are one of the

opportunities the users can respond to. Finally, the

idea of the mini-atria is an idea that can be applied to

other projects as well.”

“The challenge is to make the Roeterseiland part of the city”

P. 251

What advice would you give to students in their career?

“My advice to students would be live your life, look and

learn, and see what comes out. Invention is not for the

sake of invention. From life experience you notice that

things can be done differently and always better. Do

not just drop visions on the city, but try to understand

what is going on. Then what comes out might be


How do you deal with the complex contracting body of

the University of Amsterdam?

“We work with a strategy and not with a vision as a

starting point. The danger of working with a vision

is that when you have 25 university stakeholders, the

vision gets picked apart in an instant. With a set of strategic

ideas that are robust and intelligent, architecture

can slowly develop. Ideas that were unpopular in the

beginning slowly get more and more interesting. It is

about going on a journey together that allows everyone

to do more risky things. In this way it is possible to

be more responsive to key ideas. It is about creating

architecture instead of fighting for sketches of visions.”

“You could compare building architecture with playing

music. It is inevitable that we are playing for different

audiences at different times. If you chase the audience

I think you’re lost as a band and as a band of architects.

In addition to that, it is not about fashion. Of course,

you do not want to be not of your time, but you also do

not want to be just an instant reflection of your time.

We have to make uneasy, tough, challenging music.

Not a soft easy melody, not a mainstream production.

Furthermore, we should not be obsessed with one thing

because then you loose the vision on other things. If

you are obsessed with one thing you cannot really

make the right choices.”

Sabine Meier ( is als promovenda verbonden aan de

onderzoeksgroep Urban Geographies bij het Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan

and International Development Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Samantha Volgers ( is als adviseur en

onderzoeker werkzaam bij Bureau Middelkoop. Beiden zijn redacteur bij Rooilijn.

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