ira koers and roelof mulder weave mobile worker islands with greenery at the university of amsterdam

ira koers and roelof mulder landscape maagdenhuis

Ten years after Roelof Mulder and Ira Koers He designed the canteen at 18pearlThe 19th-century Maagdenhuis duo have been invited back by the University of Maagdenhuis. amsterdam to revive the center Working area and conference rooms. Taking advantage of the transformations of space throughout history, the architects designed a mobile, modular landscape in the large central hall, intertwined with nature, that can adapt flexibly for various uses.

The hall consists of 12 mobile islands with wheels, made of bamboo, which can be easily transported. From a quiet co-working space to an open meeting space to a function room, modules can create many uses for university staff, students and visitors.

All images courtesy of Max Hart Nibbrig.

bamboo islands transform from workspace into event hall

The design for the university’s study spaces by Roelof Mulder and Ira Koers draws on the monumental history of the Maagdenhuis. The structure was built as a Catholic orphanage in 1780 and was converted into a bank in the 1960s, covering the original courtyard to create an atrium. Inside, long rows of desks are set up next to an office garden filled with Monstera houseplants, sofas, and chandeliers. Today Maagdenhuis is the administrative center of the University of Amsterdam, and its glass-roofed hall regularly hosts receptions and events.

recalling the history architects decided to transform the passageway of the living room into an integrated indoor garden with information and study areas intertwined with greenery. In order to accommodate the various events held in the hall, the landscape, consisting of twelve mobile islands made of durable bamboo, was designed to be easily flexible. Mounted on wheels and surrounded by bamboo bumpers for safe movement, the islands can be easily moved and parked between existing columns and under arches in the circulation area. This creates two types of layouts in the hall: an empty floor for events reminiscent of an agora or meeting place, and a landscape with various seating and working spaces.

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indoor garden with working areas in greenery

Long foliage, reminiscent of the lounge’s 1960s layout, surrounds the work areas and obscures the view from the first-floor walkway, providing a sense of privacy in the open lounge. In the conference rooms, Mulder and Koers replaced the frosted glass facades with clear glass that offers views of the green hall. The old mesh curtains that run along the iconic windows of the façades are also removed, opening the Dutch monument to the city.

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