The University of Amsterdam feels it is important to preserve the monumental character of its buildings. Construction is currently taking place in two nationally listed buildings: the Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek and the Zusterhuis on the Binnengasthuis site. These buildings will be restored and converted into the new University Library. Restoration architect André van Stigt has been appointed to oversee the restoration on behalf of architectural firms MVSA Architects and J. van Stigt. Preparations are currently underway for the restoration work on both the inside and outside of the building. Before these activities are carried out, André van Stigt will coordinate them with the Monuments and Archaeology department of the City of Amsterdam.
A basement area will be created beneath the building to accommodate a dispatch area, as well as the library lending centre, a study room and student study places, and sufficient space to park over 900 bicycles. Since the current foundation of the building is in poor condition, it must be replaced. In order to transfer the building to the new foundation, more than 600 piles have been driven into the ground, to a depth of 22 to 23 metres. A number of more visible preparations have also been made, such as bricking up a number of windows and doorways to support the building's stability. Metal beams, which will be used to reinforce the monumental façade, are visible on the outside, below the bricked-up windows and doors.
These measures have been taken to prevent the building from being damaged unnecessarily while being transferred from the old to the new foundation. Once the new foundations are guaranteed to be stable, the bricked-up elements and the steel beams will be removed again and the building will be restored to its original state.
Steel trestles have been installed for the purpose of raising the building. This temporary construction is needed to enable the removal of the old foundations and the creation of the basement area. Once the basement has been finished, the temporary construction will be removed and the holes in the masonry will be restored according to the agreements made with the Monuments and Archaeology department of the City of Amsterdam.
Do you want to know more about the new foundation of the library? Read ten interesting facts about the University Library's new foundation.