Bimhuis by the Muziekgebouw
As an extension to Amsterdam’s music hall on the Ij river, Bimhuis works as both a landmark building and an exciting new public space.
Af Kirsten Kiser
The new building joins two well-established cultural institutions — the Muziekgebouw (formerly known as the Ijsbreker) and the Bimhuis — at the spectacular head of the Piet Heinkade.
There are five almost equally important facades: two facing the water, one turned to the city and the water basin of Zouthaven, one directed to a neighboring hotel and suspended plaza, and finally the roof, which is visible from the adjacent hotel and large cruise ships docking at the pier from time to time.
In order to achieve a truly public space regardless of the activities taking place in the Bimhuis or the Muziekgebouw, the building is designed as the culmination of a long public promenade, elevating two floors in order to create visual contact with downtown Amsterdam; wide staircases connect the promenade to the pier level and to the water.
Transparency was an important aspect of the design; glazed facades filter in daylight (softened and protected by the cantilevered roof), while electric light is consciously used to influence the appearance of the building.
Daylight shapes the different building elements while electric lights in the Muziekgebouw concert hall pulsate according to the rhythm of the music, or simply support the musical atmosphere in the background by changing colors.
The overall layout gestures toward the Ij River, interacting with different daylight, water and weather conditions throughout the course of the day.