Behind the Oude Kerk, in one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam’s city centre, amidst the brothels and the flophouses, a new day care centre had to be built. The situation demanded a façade on the street side that was high enough to define the space of the alleyway at the rear of the church. At the same time, an open children’s playground had to be created behind this, hidden inside the block. At the front, the building forms a twisted and segmented façade, while behind it is a circular space where the children can play outside. The classrooms and day-care facilities are situated around the playground, while the offices and a group room are located on the street side. The actual building slopes, so that sufficient sunlight can get in.
The façade alludes to the Amsterdam façades without mimicking them too literally. Instead of concealing the day-care centre behind four or five residential house fronts, the front of the building consists of one continuous brick wall, which fades in colour independently of the bends in the historic building alignment. Because a single institution is housed behind this façade, a single rhythm of windows and doors has been applied. While the openings in the façade are constant in size, its inner surface varies according to what is behind it. The top contours of the building allude in an abstract way to the alternation of neck, bell and step gables typical of historic Amsterdam. The entrance is accentuated by a white, glazed, crenellated frame.
[A] Sjoerd Soeters
[P] Day Care Centre
[G] 660 m2
[C] Gemeente Amsterdam