ira koers & roelof mulder weave mobile working islands with greenery in amsterdam university

ira koers & roelof mulder weave mobile working islands with greenery in amsterdam university

ira koers & roelof mulder landscape maagdenhuis

 

Ten years after Roelof Mulder and Ira Koers designed the canteen in the 18th-century Maagdenhuis, the duo was invited back by the University of Amsterdam to revitalize its central workspace and conference rooms. Drawing on the space’s transformations throughout history, in the vast central hall the architects devised a mobile, modular landscape engulfed in nature which can flexibly accommodate for various uses.

 

The hall comprises 12 mobile islands made of bamboo, which propped up on wheels, can be easily transported around. From a tranquil co-working space, to an open gathering area, to an events hall, the modules can create many uses for the university staff, students, and visitors.

ira koers & roelof mulder weave mobile working islands with greenery in amsterdam university
Maagdenhuis workstations in University of Amsterdam | all images by MWA Hart Nibbrig

 

 

bamboo islands transform from workspace to events hall

 

Roelof Mulder and Ira Koers’ design for the university’s workspaces draws on the monumental Maagdenhuis’ storied history. The structure was built as Catholic orphanage in 1780, and in the 1960s it was converted into a bank that roofed over the original courtyard to form an atrium. Within, long rows of desks were set up alongside an office garden filled with Monstera houseplants, sofas, and chandeliers. Today, the Maagdenhuis is the administrative centre of the University of Amsterdam and its glass-roofed hall hosts regular receptions and events.Recalling its history, the architects decided to turn the hall’s passageway into an indoor garden integrated with consultation and work areas nestled in greenery. 

ira koers & roelof mulder weave mobile working islands with greenery in amsterdam university
an indoor garden with work areas amid

 

 

To also accommodate for the variety of events held in the hall, the landscape has been designed to be easily flexible, comprising of twelve movable islands made of durable bamboo. Set on wheels and wrapped with bamboo bumpers for safe movability, the islands can easily be shifted around and parked between the existing columns and under the arches in the circulation area. This creates two types of layouts in the hall: an empty floor for events recalling an agora or gathering place, and a landscape with various sitting and work areas.

 

Further recalling the hall’s 1960s layout, tall greenery envelopes the workspaces and provides a sense of privacy in the open hall, screening the view from the walkway on the first floor. In the conference rooms, Mulder and Koers have replaced the frosted-glass facades with clear glass that offers views over the green hall. The former net curtains along the facades iconic windows have also been removed, opening the Dutch monument to the city.

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modular work islands with integrated seating

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intimate spaces to work and gather amid greenery

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the design concept recalls the Maagdenhuis’ layout as a bank in the 1900s

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