In Jan Hoogstad’s 1993 masterplan for the future of De Doelen, a new development site was created. In the end this was to be the site for the new college of music and dance, now Codarts. The site brought with it a number of design challenges. The plinth had to be largely given over to commercial space and the ensuing volume of programmatic briefs resulted in a considerable building height. In addition, the building was to be partly situated on the Doelen’s new conference extension. Moreover the elevation was subject to high noise levels due to inner-city traffic.
Vertically the building is divided into three sections. From the entrance lobby on the Kruisplein a long escalator on the Doelen side leads directly to the fifth floor, which houses the building’s main level with the restaurant, the start of the upward-spiralling library, a number of performing spaces and the entrance to the terrace on the roof of the Doelen’s extension.
Codarts is accommodated in the lower levels and the conservatory above the fifth floor. The spacious dance studios are situated right at the very top. The building has been constructed as a steel skeleton in which the different programme components are arranged as so-called box-in-box spaces.
The characteristic brick elevation echoes the use of materials in the nearby Lijnbaan flats. The horizontal slots and the rectangular bay windows are the result of building-physics considerations and add relief and definition to the elevations.
The compact stacking of so many different spaces in a largely closed building volume spawned a structure full of surprises: quite unexpectedly visitors might find themselves in one of the large tall spaces, which are at times dimly lit and at others bathed in light. Complex planning constraints laid the basis for a distinctly adventurous building.
10.500 m2, 2000