Amsterdam. A journey through time
14 April, 2014
Words: Ilanka Verhoeven
Believe it or not, there are far more reasons to visit Amsterdam these days than its infamous coffee shops or its red-light district. Along the harbor and in the city’s South Axis area, futuristic buildings have been going up – a modern counterpart to the city’s canal houses. Amsterdam touches the heart of anyone who is passionate about architecture, from historic to modern buildings. To explore them, just act like a local: hop on a bike and go.
1. The Eye Film Institute
All tourists arriving by train in Amsterdam are immediately treated to a view of the beautiful futuristic building across the IJ harbor. The free commuter ferries leaving Central station are mostly packed with locals who are familiar with the new creative center of Amsterdam. Designed by the Vienna-based firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, the Eye Film Institute opened in April 2012 in North Amsterdam, a district which was considered to be a no man’s land at the time. The Eye institute offers the visitor a large choice of attractions. The building houses four modern film auditoriums, an exhibition space and a freely accessible basement where movies and clips from the Eye collection can be viewed. The café-restaurant completes the Eye’s headquarters. The terrace offers a great view over the water. Enough reasons to cross the waters and be entranced by the architecture of the Eye Film Institute.
2. Jan Schaefer Bridge
The futuristic steel bridge named after the politician Jan Schaefer is located on the IJ harbor and connects the Piet Heinkade with Java Island. Designed by Ton Venhoeven, the shape of the bridge generates a multiplicity of experiences. An intricate web of connections divides the bridge into separate flows of traffic. Whether you are on foot, by car or on a bike the bridge is accessible to everyone. The bridge provides an interesting combination of modern and historic architecture since it passes under the old ‘De Zwijger’ warehouse. The monumental warehouse built in 1933 in the business- expressionistic style, was renovated in 2006 and now serves for cultural institutions and events.
3. Museum het Schip
Designed by the prodigy born of the Amsterdam School movement Michel de Klerk, Het Schip is located in the district of Spaarndammerbuurt. One of the few of de Klerk’s designs actually built, the building was designed in 1919 and since 2001 it’s the museum of the Amsterdam School. The highly unusual and unique monument to expressionist architecture is a great site for anyone interested in learning more about Amsterdam’s history. Next to the building there is also a collection of street furniture in the style of the Amsterdam School.
Zuidas is best known as a leading international business centre. Home to international companies, the Zuidas area seems to have been created by and for lovers of modern architecture. The skyscrapers of renowned architects such as Toyo Ito provide a spectacular view over Amsterdam. One thing is certain: The Rock building at the Zuidas evokes strong reactions, both positive and negative. The work of Erick van Egeraat distinguishes itself from others by facades with leaning panes of glass, aluminum, stone or concrete with hardly any 90 degrees corners. The playful base of 24 floors, consisting of transparent parts and a robust concrete top is characteristic of Deconstructivism, a1990s movement. Aside from the Rock there are many other buildings worth the visit, among them Ito and Viñoly.
5. Theatre Tuschinski
Rising above the neighbourhood of the Rembrandtplein are the two towers of the Art Deco façade Theatre Tuschinski. Built in 1921, the Theatre was erected based on the designs of architect H.L. De Jong, with interior decor by Pieter den Besten and Jaap Gidding. The exterior is a crossover between the Dutch Amsterdam School style, art nouveau and art deco. Despite the renovation works between 1998 and 2002 the theatre holds on to its original style. Today, the Tuschinski Theater belongs to the big distributor Pathé, which gives you a good excuse to see the latest movies while enjoying its art deco interiors.
So you feel like visiting Amsterdam, do you? Book your flights here!
14 April, 2014