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Mevlana Mosque Amsterdam

A new approach for outdated public property The transformation of this old school into a mosque in Amsterdam shows a new method for step-by-step updating the large stock of post-war public facilities: Total site redevelopments often prove to be infeasible in the current financial climate, and buildings are facelifted instead. The budgets for these renovations are tight, due to uncertainties about the expected time of use. The time-related arguments for low-budget, temporary renovations show an interesting paradox: Buildings are normally constructed with an intended use of 30 to 50 years, and the property is depreciated financially over 30 years. Intended temporary... Read More

A new approach for outdated public property

The transformation of this old school into a mosque in Amsterdam shows a new method for step-by-step updating the large stock of post-war public facilities: Total site redevelopments often prove to be infeasible in the current financial climate, and buildings are facelifted instead. The budgets for these renovations are tight, due to uncertainties about the expected time of use. The time-related arguments for low-budget, temporary renovations show an interesting paradox: Buildings are normally constructed with an intended use of 30 to 50 years, and the property is depreciated financially over 30 years. Intended temporary use for 5 to 10 years has a real chance to be extended to 15 or 20 years; which again refers to our standards for ”permanent use”.

We propose to look for a solution beyond this rhetoric of temporary investments, by approaching each intervention with the same quality standards. For the mosque in Amsterdam this means: focussing the budget in solid local operations on the two entrance zones, which simultaneously reconnect the building with the surrounding public space and marks it within the urban environment. The other recesses in the directionless mass of the H-shaped building are used as extensions for the mosque and sports school, and are executed as sober as possible. The monotonous public space around the building is divided into designated areas for sports and social activities, including two new entrance squares.

The entrance squares have two functions: First, they connect activities as the cafeteria, hairdresser, gym and shop with their surroundings. In addition, they form the transition from the busy public space to the intimate mosque interior. An analysis of several religious buildings, squares and their relation with public spaces has been the basis for the design of the courts. They  are securely enclosed on one side by tall brick entrance niches and loosely enclosed by low hedges on the other side.

Much attention was paid to the surface and texture of the brick facades that enclose the entrance squares. The tall building slabs of the post-war urban layout have little detail and the spaces between the buildings are very large and rough. The mosque stands out with its clear white entrance facades, enrichened with changing brick textures and reliefs that support the cultural function of the building. This high quality intervention sets a standard for future preservation phases and by this guarantees a durable public future for the existing building.

 

FACTS
Location: Amsterdam (NL)
Program: Mosque & Gym, new facades, building extension, public space
Client: Municipality of Amsterdam
Year: 2013
Collaborators: Archimedes Bouwadvies, Selie

      

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