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Eye Film Institute

Delugan Meissl Associated Architects

Amsterdam continues to be the experimental city par excellence where the passing of time is synonymous with transformation of the urban fabric, and where architecture is always contemporary. The latest area for revitalisation is Amsterdam Noord, the quarter of the Dutch capital on the opposite bank of the river IJ behind the main station. A former industrial area serving the oil industry, it is now being turned into a residential quarter for one of Europe’s few capitals still enjoying growth. As the new residential blocks go up across the water on the north bank, the district has seen the development of a new cultural centre: the Eye Film Institute Netherlands, designed by the Vienna-based firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (DMAA). Dazzling white even on a cloudy day, the new aluminium-clad building cuts a striking figure on the waterfront. It seems to unfold, or open up – rather like an eye – before the city on the other side of the water. Overtly theatrical and emphatic, the museum building gives material form to the architects’ concept of “cinema” and the exquisitely immaterial nature of film whereby the mere projection of pure light creates images and emotions. The whole building resembles a huge stage prop, designed in signature DMAA style that over the last twenty years has brought the practice wide critical acclaim. The huge concourse accessible when the museum is open is a large square paved with warm wood. Sheltered from the river but open to the city, it is a place for meeting, sitting and relaxing but also an area for performances and film shows. It is an assertive hub that visitors cross to reach the cinema auditoriums, exhibition areas and digitalised interactive film archive of the Dutch Film Institute. Inside, a succession of spaces on various levels is connected by a smoothly flowing circulation system that determines spatial distribution without imposing any apparent hierarchy. It is an enticement to the visitor...

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