This move makes it almost certain that the Conservatorium will be coming to Zuidas. On 7 October 2019 the two parties signed a letter of intent. The Conservatorium wants to move to the Kapel & Convict buildings because it has outgrown its current location at Oosterdok. The teaching will take place in Convict, where there will also be practice rooms. Kapel will have a small concert hall, where classical and other public concerts will be held throughout the year. The catering facilities, to be based in Kapel, will be public and accessible to students, visitors and local residents. There will also be two terraces with views overlooking the park. The operator is not yet known.
What local residents want
The provisional design takes account of the wishes of local residents and stakeholders as well as the historic value of the Kapel & Convict buildings and use of the park. A feasibility study was conducted in 2019, followed by intensive collaboration between the Conservatorium, Zuidas, the Association of Friends of Beatrixpark and people living close to the existing Chapel & Convict buildings. Marleen Munniksma, Chair of the Munisami Association of Friends of Beatrixpark: ‘The Association of Friends of Beatrixpark board members were able to contribute ideas for the development of a design. We believe it’s important for the atmosphere and experience of the park, as it is now, to be maintained and enhanced.’
What’s going to happen?
There will be quite a few changes: work will be done on both buildings to prepare them for the arrival of the Conservatorium. In the Chapel building, the first floor will be raised in order to improve acoustics. Space will be created in the round hall for concerts. Little will change on the ground floor. The entrance will be given a makeover and toilets and a restaurant will be added. Modifications will also be made to the Convict building: it will be widened at the end and several rooms will be merged to enhance the musical acoustics and to make sure that the rooms are suitable for music teaching.
Bicycle parking spaces
There will be new facilities around the building, including new bicycle parking spaces. The area set aside for this is between the buildings and the cycle path and Prinses Irenestraat. We don’t yet know exactly what it will look like and are currently working on a design that will also include details of the park garden around the buildings. Although the arrival of the Conservatorium is more or less certain, the same does not yet apply to the definitive design. However, we are at an advanced stage and are now focusing on the finer details.
Opening in 2022
In the months ahead, we will be working on the definitive design in order to ensure that construction can begin in the summer of 2021, if everything goes to plan. The Conservatorium is then scheduled to move in a year later, in the summer of 2022.