Bibliotheek, Amsterdam, Holland

Jo Coenen & Co Architekten
Date Built
Jo Coenen says on the company website that, "...Building a library is a classic example of an assignment that does NOT primarily require making a composition of the exterior of a building, a collection of façades, but rather mainly requires designing the interior world of the building. 'The building and the interior are intricately connected'. For this reason, Jo Coenen not only wanted to design the building, but also its interior. The assignment was to build a stacked-up, envelope-shaped building of 28.500 square meters, in compliance with existing urban development plans, with a volume consisting of a height of 40 m, a width of 40 m and a length of 120 m, approximately."  The result of his efforts is there for all to see in this beautiful building, pleasing to the eye on the outside but a wonderful people place inside.  Coenen adds that, "... The exterior was created from the inside, so to speak. It's all about 'creating pleasant spots' through the use of light, space and colour. Because of the many different activities offered by the library, it is of crucial importance for these spots to be well tuned to each other. The building must be accessible and open to the core. Because of its many different spots with their very own ambiances, the library remains an attractive place to visit in spite of its large dimensions."

"The same materials used for the exterior are used for the interior. The central cores of stability and elevators, as well as the canopy and entrance, were all finished with sand-coloured, rough limestone. In this natural stone 'sculpture', slipcases made of Western Red Cedar were placed in a steel framework. This is where the 'centre' of the building is located, housing the actual library with its floors containing the total collection of books. In the western façade, this wall transforms, as it were, into a 'ladder'. To the inside, the wall opens up as slipcases, now finished with American maple. The spaces thus created in the wall have a secluded air and provide a magnificent panorama of the city."

With an area of ​​28,000 square meters, this is the largest library in the Netherlands accommodating a half million books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, games and blu-rays.It provides more than 1,000 seats and 490 internet computers and at the top of the stairs, seen below, is an excellent market style eating experience.