Courtyard as a heart
of renewed library
Het Bushuis, Amsterdam
The so-called Bushuis, on the corner of Kloveniersburgwal and Oude Hoogstraat, has been converted, along with part of the abutting Oost-Indisch Huis, into a library for the behavioural sciences faculty of Amsterdam University. The original Bushuis was built at the end of the 19th century in back-to-the-classics style. The Oost-Indisch Huis portion is much older, but has lost much of its original lustre over the years. One worthy exception is the restored Heeren XVII meeting room used by the East India Company in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The main entrance to the library is relocated to Kloveniersburgwal. Because of the limited depth of the Bushuis, a vertical space has been scooped out directly behind the facade whose void shows the entrance and the monumental stair beyond to good effect. By removing the non-bearing walls and punching great holes in the longitudinal structural wall, the internal structure of the Bushuis has been rendered open and legible. Its attic is now one large zone of study spaces with a mezzanine; the old timber floor joists have been left in view.
In the access structure a distinction has been made between a secure part and one that is freely accessible, even in the evening. The library can also be reached from the Oost-Indisch Huis, which is taken up in the new access structure. The process of integrating the library with the rest of the faculty has been crowned by a glass roof over the second internal courtyard. This courtyard, earmarked for a cafe terrace, gives the shapeless complex a heart.