Expansion Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Instituut
Nominated for BNA Best building of the year 2020
Driven by lack of space, the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Instituut ordered the construction of a complementary third building on its grounds in Amsterdam, opposite the building designed by Gerrit Rietveld and next to the expansion by Benthem & Crouwel.
User Expertise and Experiment
With regard to the selection of the architects, the art academy decided to stay close to the character of the community and launch an in-house competition. Fedlev won. This cooperative of designers has turned its user expertise into a concept. ‘Experimentation is key at the academy. This essentially means looking across borders and disciplines. The autonomous departmental culture of the academy didn’t contribute enough to an interdisciplinary way of working,’ says architect and Fedlev initiator Paulien Bremmer. The starting point for the expansion was a scenario for the creation of a collective, interdisciplinary educational environment. The result is a landscaped building: a backdrop to making, meeting and exchange.
Interaction as a Starting Point
The new building, completed in January 2019, has a rectangular floor plan and consists of three layers, one below ground level and the top one cantilevered. Next to each other on the street side are the wood workshop and the library. The spaces on the first floor are earmarked for students of the Sandberg Instituut. Other spaces in the building are shared, including facilities such as the assembly hall, the auditorium and the film studio.
At the ground level, a modest reshuffle of the existing buildings’ programmes made room for a shared space around the base of the building. The extension’s glass façade can be opened in many places, facilitating interaction in the space between the buildings. A communal roof area that is suitable for exhibitions, performances and the making of temporary constructions gives the new building back the space the extension occupies on the ground.
The building is a social hub that quite naturally accommodates and spatially connects education, encounter, relaxation and collectivism and in which changing perspectives inform the educational environment. It is an interactive and dynamic setting for making and experimenting; a building that generates ideas, thoughts and works.
Architecture: Studio Paulien Bremmer | Fedlev in collaboration with Hootsmans architects
Photography: Franziska Mueller Schmidt, Johannes Schwartz and Jeroen Verrecht