In a former diamond-cutting factory in Amsterdam, Joost Glissenaar and Architecten van Mourik created a cultural centre for Amsterdam University.

Comprising of a music hall, theatre, cafe, studios and offices, the 6000-sq-m space takes an industrial building dating back to the 19th century and enlarges it with new elements, concealed behind the warehouse-like facade and organized around an interior courtyard.

‘The concept was a a meeting place for students to gather and talk,’ Glissenaar says. Openness is therefore a key feature of the interiors. As the budget was ‘not generous,’ the architects transformed functional aspects of the building into what they call ‘decorative elements’ – especially the sweeping steel staircase and ducts for the climate control system, which enhance the original industrial aesthetic.

Rough brickwork and battered concrete contrast shiny new glass and steel throughout the interior, each emphasizing the other. ‘It’s an old industrial building that’s now devoted to the creative industries,’ Glissenaar says, ‘so I wanted to interiors to express that.’

Photos courtesy Jannes Linders.