After the City Council approved the credit decision, the City of Amsterdam launched the tender on 15 July for the realisation of OBA NEXT: an innovative and inspiring learning and development facility for the whole of Amsterdam.
The new library (8,500 sq. m.) will be a public amenity that aims to encourage learning and development in a digital age. It will be a place where Amsterdam Public Library (Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA)) joins forces with a wide range of social and cultural parties to develop a variety of programmes accessible to all Amsterdam citizens. OBA NEXT will also accommodate a local community room, social services and a public bicycle parking facility. Up to 16,500 sq. m. of office accommodation will also be built on the site, complete with a garage for cars and bikes.
The intention is for the offices and OBA NEXT to form a single entity. In terms of office tenants, the focus will therefore be on a range of companies and institutions that specialise in knowledge and innovation, with a view to bringing people together, inspiring and enabling the sharing of knowledge.
Construction work will take place on plot 2i, in the Innovation Quarter between Zuid station and VU University Amsterdam, in Mahlerlaan and alongside the existing NoMa House. This public meeting place will enable Zuidas to develop further as a varied and vibrant neighbourhood.
As is standard practice in the construction of large public buildings, a public tendering process was initiated. Three parties have been invited for the next phase. The construction consortia have been selected based on relevant experience: they have proven their ability to design and realise a large and unique (public) building in a busy environment.
The consortia invited for the dialogue phase are:
– BAM Bouw en Techniek B.V., AM B.V., Deerns Nederland B.V. and architects’ firms cepezed B.V. and Henning Larsen Architects A/S
– BMB ontwikkeling B.V., VolkerWessels Bouw & Vastgoedontwikkeling West B.V., ABT B.V., Boele & van Eesteren B.V, G&S Bouw B.V., Stam + De Koning Vastgoed B.V. with architects’ firm Snøhetta Oslo AS
– G&S Vastgoed B.V., Visser & Smit Bouw B.V, Arcadis Nederland B.V. and architects’ firms Neutelings Riedijk Architecten BV and SO-IL EU BV
Martin Berendse, Director of the OBA, is delighted about the choice. ‘These three construction consortia have outstanding track records worldwide in developing cutting-edge projects in the field of art and culture.’
It is not yet known what the building will look like inside or out. That is the brief for the three parties involved. However, a package of objectives and requirements has been defined for the project. This relates to such issues as the look and feel: we want the building to have an open and inviting character and to be recognisable as a public building. An indication has also been provided of the activities that OBA NEXT will need to accommodate. These include: workshops, debates, exhibitions, study, the development of audio-visual productions, such as vlogs, and programming. Together with an excellent food and drink venue. It is now up to the architects from the three construction consortia to transform these objectives and requirements into a design. This will be done in dialogue with the City of Amsterdam and OBA and its partners. The aim will be to develop a state-of-the-art plan suitable for all users.
It is also important for the building to have a long lifespan, without the need for expensive interventions. It will therefore be a flexible building with a layout that can be adapted in line with the programming that is continually developing. In addition, the building must be a classic example of biodiversity and sustainability, with a particular focus on recycling, reuse and the climate.
The next steps
After completing the dialogue phase with the three consortia, we will receive three designs. Of these, a winner will be chosen based on various criteria. This will include such aspects as how the building facilitates the innovative library concept and how it creates an open and inviting public space for all Amsterdam citizens. The party that best meets these criteria will be announced at the start of 2023. The building is expected to be completed in 2027.