Clear lines, white façades and rounded corners characterise the southern Citroën building on Amsterdam’s Stadionsplein, with an unmistakable stylistic reference to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Much of Jan Wils’ modernist design from the 1930s disappeared during a renovation in the 1980s, when the building was gutted and converted into a multi-purpose building. Among other things, the numerous sash windows were replaced by metre-long ribbon windows. The aim of the current renovation was to reverse this deformation of the original design.
The conversion of the Citroën building was based on the premise of «preserving and augmenting». It’s not so easy to tell which parts of the building have been preserved and which have just been added. The latter includes a new entrance with a semicircular stairwell: a fully glazed post and mullion structure made of steel profiles curved into the floor plan.
For this reason, the small-format window openings in the masonry façade were restored and sealed with delicate sash windows from the Janisol Arte 2.0 steel system. A coat of white mineral paint has restored the original appearance of the historical structure. However, a large part of the building fabric proved to be impossible to renovate, so was demolished and rebuilt in line with Wils’ design language – albeit with much more transparency. In keeping with the current trend, the central area of the new building houses a large event space with a huge glass roof.
Stairwell with all-round glazing
The interface between the old and new buildings is marked by a new entrance with stairwell glazed all the way around; «around» being the operative word, as the 15-metre- high glass façade was realised with steel profiles curved in the floor plan. The architects refer to it as an «integral construction» because the steel staircase also supports the glass, which is curved in such a way that it stabilises itself. The curve is only about one third of the length, with two thirds of the pane being linear. The structural glazing façade was realised using the VISS SG steel system . The self-supporting stairs covered in white marble taper from the inside out and extend all the way up to the glass, eliminating the need for a handrail. The transoms act as a balustrade – an inconspicuous detail that lends the entire construction an almost playful lightness. The steel stairs, mullions and transoms have the same surface finish, so that the building, architecture and interior design merge into a single design unit. The steel staircase with the glass façade was pre-fabricated in the workshop of M.C. Kersten B.V., Amsterdam and was brought on site in ready-toinstall elements.
Hydraulically accessible façade element
Another special feature in terms of functionality and design is the existing façade facing the Stadionsplein with the new main entrance. At first glance, the floor-to-ceiling glass structure looks like a standard post and mullion façade. Only on closer inspection is it apparent that one façade element differs from the others in the parapet area, in that it can be pivoted up 90 degrees using a hydraulic system. When open, it acts as a canopy under which the interior and exterior space merge imperceptibly. This inviting gesture leads directly to Pon’s «Mobility Experience Center». The company is known in the Netherlands as an importer of Volkswagen, Seat, Audi and Skoda.
What is less well known is that Pon also manufactures bicycles and develops car sharing solutions. Because abstract ideas such as alternative modes of transport are difficult to convey, Pon has initiated the «Mobility Experience Center» with changing exhibitions on the topic of future-focused mobility. With its mix of businesses, restaurants and events, MOVE – as the building has become known since its transformation – offers the perfect setting for presenting the mobility solutions of tomorrow – in a building that has always been dedicated to mobility. (AMR)
Bouwinvest Office Development B.V., Amsterdam/NL
steel profile systems