ARCAM – Architectural Center Amsterdam

Location: Amsterdam, Prins Hendrikkade 600 - Oosterdok
Designer: René Van Zuuk Architekten bv, Almere
Project: ARCAM - ARchitectural Center AMsterdam
Client: Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Gemeente Amsterdam
Structural Engineer: Advies en Ingenieursbureau Van Der Laar, Eindhoven
Building contractor: H.J. Jurriens b.v., Utrecht
Steel structure: Moeskops Constructiebedrijf b.v., Bergeijk
Roof: Hafkon b.v. Maassluis/kalzip, Koln
Builder of the steel structure: Blitta b.v., Venray
Profili in acciaio: Sistema facciate Stabalux, Palladio SpA
Dispositivi elettrici: Staal Dekker en Ronday, Amsterdam
Progettazione spazi interni: Starec Design b.v., Nieuwegein
Documentazione fotografica: Luuk Kramer
One of the main objectives of ARCAM (ARchitectural Center Amsterdam) is to offer academics and visitors a complete panorama of the most recent urban and architectural developments.

Originally, in relation to the construction of the Science Center New Metropolis, called NEMO, designed by the Architect Renzo Piano, with its characteristic prow shape entirely cladded in pre-oxided copper, on the site of the ARCAM centre a small information building was constructed, again designed by Architect Piano. However this center was so small, there was not sufficient space to transfer the new Architectural Center there. The answer from Amsterdam municipality, in agreement with architect, René van Zuuk.
The volume of the building is minimal inland – for safety reasons as well – while the opening and transparency are very clear on the waterfront. On entry, there is an immediate perception of linked areas caused by the empty spaces and double height rooms. The main exhibition area is on a level with the entrance, while on the floor below there is a multi-function hall. The offices are on the top floor, divided by internal glass walls. Each view has its own independent nature, easily recognisable: the corrugated zinc metal surfaces act as both roof and façade along the wharf side, suppressing the normal distinction between the two parts.
The glass and steel façade that overlooks the water is slightly inclined; it is formed of narrow T-section steel profiles (12 cm depth, with visual impact of just 6 cm) which are purposely hidden, to respect the feeling of diffused transparency that was sought for this front view. In certain parts of the façade, the glass panel (pack with stratified safety glass double glazing) has been made one with the bearing structure(formed of 168.3 mm diameter steel columns) by using a plate welded to the columns and L-angle profiles at the edge. This has created the desired effect of a not totally flat façade, to create a delicate play of light and shade.
Transparency can also be interpreted as an equal exchange of information: the internal layout of the spaces, the exhibitions, the temporary installations are clearly visible from the outside and likewise from the inside, the urban transformations are clearly on view as well as the building sites involved in Erik Van Egeraat’s Masterplan, which involves numerous architectural studios for this new part of the city.

Marina Cescon
Acciaio Arte Architettura 19