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De Nieuwe
Wiel Arets Architects was founded by Wiel Arets in
1983. Today the office has studios in Amsterdam, Berlin, Maastricht, and Zürich–with an international team
of architects and administrators globally engaged in architecture, education, product design, publishing, research, and urbanism. Wiel Arets Architects’ output is acclaimed for its craftsmanship and hybrid-solutions, both achieved through extensive research.
De Nieuwe Liefde (“The New Love”) is a theatre and community center located in a monumental white building on Amsterdam’s Da Costakade, originally constructed in 1904 as storage space for a local wine company. After falling into disrepair, and in accordance with the last tenants leaving the property in 2007, the De Nieuwe Liefde was completely rebuilt and given its current name. The reconstruction process transformed the existing building into a series of new spaces, including a main hall with seating for 230 people, a conference room with space for 60, a choir space for 50, a library, a separate restaurant-café, and a grand foyer that decompresses into a central circulation void.
Prior to the renovation, the building retained many of its original Neo- Renaissance and Art Nouveau features. Therefore, the design approach was to use these assets, as well as the existing main staircase and extensive stained glass windows throughout. The depth of the building totals about 30 meters, reflecting its former use as a wine storage space. This depth, alongside numerous renovations by successive owners, created a series of oddly divided spaces and rooms, with few receiving natural light.
In order to introduce vast amounts of natural light, an expansive skylight was created above the central circulation void, allowing daylight to pour into the building and flood all principal spaces. The central circulation void spans from the front to the back façade. It is composed of a crisscross of steps and ramps that challenge the traditional idea of “floors” and instead allow concise routing and direct visual connections to all important spaces. In the café, large skylights and a wall of ivy enliven an otherwise enclosed space.

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