UNKNOWN SPACE 03

  • Vrijmetselaars Stichting Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam
  • NL
  • 2002-2004

street facade (Vondelstraat)street facade (Vondelstraat)

Project for the renovation and spatial transformation of Vondelstraat 39/41, since 1904 home of the Amsterdam Freemasonry lodges.

Vondelstraat 39, the former Vondelhuis, dates from 1880. Vondelstraat 41 was commissioned by G.A. Heineken and realized by the architect P.J.H. Cuypers in 1873 as the former beer house Vondel. In 1893 both buildings were spatially connected and in 1904 the whole complex was acquired by the board of the Amsterdam Freemasonry and redesigned by the architect W. Kromhout. The complex got its current appearance around 1910-11 after another drastic transformation by the architect P. Heyn. In 2003 it was in a very poor condition, the Amsterdam lodges lacked sufficient funds for maintenance and exploitation and seriously considered selling the buildings they had owned for a century and moving somewhere else.

The project aimed to preserve the whole complex for the Amsterdam lodges. A profane restaurant was introduced to the program, in a way the resurrection of the former beer house Vondel and responding to the wish to open up a bit the obsolete secrecy of the Freemasons while providing in a financially healthy exploitation. It resulted in a complex and attractive program that accommodated temples (both blue and red) and other rooms for rituals as well as guests, a publicly accessible Freemason library and study-center, a profane restaurant and a beautiful garden opening up to the street. The programmatic attractiveness was elaborated in a complex spatial scheme that ambiguously orchestrated sacred and profane people, spaces and movements while preserving the monumental envelop.

Unfortunately, after much work and many efforts by many people the project was aborted by the negative politics of personal interests and intrigue that also proved to rule the Amsterdam lodges at the time.

bel-etage and gardenbel-etage and garden

garden facadegarden facade

section (stairs)section (stairs)

section (restaurant)section (restaurant)

street facade (1e Constantijn Huygensstraat)street facade (1e Constantijn Huygensstraat)

preliminary sketchpreliminary sketch