1986 – Amsterdam Town Hall / Music Theatre

On a bend in the River Amstel in the heart of Amsterdam stands a complex housing both a town hall and a music theatre. With its convex ‘coulisse’ facade, the Music Theatre has a distinguished appearance, both in its form and through the unusual treatment of the facade with projecting marble-dressed elements. A slight axial rotation in the plan serves to stress the building’s individuality. The theatre consists of four storeys, housing an auditorium with foyer, and a fly tower encircled by rooms for personnel, studios, and side stages. The stage and all services connected with it take up a large part of the building. The public spaces occupy a semicircle laid against the professional section of the building. The shape of the auditorium was instrumental in shaping the public section as a whole. Most striking are the foyers, occupying three storeys directly behind the glazed facade. The monumental stairs are particularly impressive.

Erected in red brick and with continuous strip windows, the Town Hall is the more sober of the two buildings. It lies in an L-shape about the Music Theatre, and with its five storeys is taller. The facade steps back at the location of the lift, affording vertical articulation. A glass cylinder with conference rooms terminates the building on the side of Waterlooplein. The main entrance of Zwanenburgwal leads to all public spaces on the ground floor. Facing the Amstel on the first floor are the wedding rooms and a restaurant, as well as the council chamber, whose ceremonial function is emphasized by the facade’s marble dressing. On this side too is the main entrance to the entire complex. The two buildings are linked to each other and to the city by inner streets: the space between the two volumes consists of passages with transparent roofing.