LIBRARY AMSTERDAM (OBA)
JO COENEN & CO, 2001-2007, Oosterdokskade 143, Amsterdam
Jo Coenen & Co.
In the original masterplan, Amsterdam's new public library was to have had meeting rooms on the roof. Jo Coenen moved these to the rear of the library facing the tracks. Consequently this key public building, although one in a series, occupies an appropriately autonomous position. This status is strengthened by setting back the front facade to create a public entrance plaza with a canopy. These interventions do mean however that space and available daylight are at a minimum. So the library before anything else is a compact three-dimensional puzzle with daylight incidence a key factor. Walls and ceiling have a gleaming white finish, one reason being to distribute the light as evenly as possible. A zone of lifts, stairs, escalators and voids stabbing through the building acts as its spatial spine drawing the disparate components together.