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Escher in the new courthouse

Construction consortium NACH (short for New Amsterdam Court House) has been building the new courthouse since November 2017. Over recent years, a flat and barren piece of land has made way for the austere building that is now in position. Van der Goot: ‘Despite the coronavirus crisis, we’re still on schedule and expect to see completion by the end of this year, in December 2020. Obviously, we’ve taken every measure to ensure a safe workplace, as I explained previously.’ The result is a joy to behold. The contours have taken shape and the interior of the new courthouse really captures the imagination.

Panoramic photo of a barren construction site in 2017
Marcel Steinbach
Late March 2020: an austere building with an office section and a public section where the courthouse will be based
Marcel Steinbach

Impressive entrance

Van der Goot: ‘Currently, some external construction work is still taking place. Here, for example, we’re still in the process of fitting a steel raincoat that will give the building greater depth.’ Landscaping of the area around the new courthouse will follow later. The current focus of the work is the interior of the building. ‘We’re hard at work on the finishing stages. Where the impressive main public entrance will be, there’s now a lot of scaffolding in place in order to ensure this really is a spectacular entrance.’

Escher

Further inside, there is also a feast for the eyes. On the fifth floor, the staircase is a real eyecatcher, connecting the two parts of the building to each other. ‘That’s something we’re also really satisfied with. And I understand the comparison with Escher’s pictures, there’s definitely a strong resemblance. The fact that the stairs are so visible contributes to the transparent look that we want to the building to have.’

Escher in the new courthouse
Marcel Steinbach
Illustration by Escher

Defining concepts

The concepts that defined NACH’s design were visibility, recognisability, authority and functionality. Van der Goot: ‘I think we succeeded in achieving those things. The existing, slightly older courthouses are often quite enclosed buildings that are not particularly attractive from inside. In this case, we opted to bring daylight indoors and make a lot of use of natural stone. It gives it an attractive look and feel as well as being sustainable and easy to maintain.’

A lot of daylight and the use of natural stone are key features of the new courthouse
Marcel Steinbach
Currently dominated by scaffolding, this will soon be an impressive high-level entrance
Marcel Steinbach
In front of the entrance in Parnassusweg, there will be a five-metre high artwork by Nicole Eisenman
Marcel Steinbach

The area outside the building, in Parnassusweg, is now empty, but that is set to change. Van der Goot: ‘This will soon be the external entrance, and we were eager to have something here that catches the eye.’ This will come in the shape of a five-metre high artwork by artist Nicole Eisenman, that will be installed in September. ‘What it will look like is being kept secret until then. In the meantime, we still have plenty of work to do, although it may look completely finished already.’ You can find more photos of the new courthouse on our Flickr page.

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