Text description provided by the architects. De Nieuwe Liefde (‘The New Love’) is a theatre and community centre located in a monumental white building on Amsterdam’s Da Costakade that was originally constructed in 1904 as storage space for a local wine company. After falling into disrepair, andin accordance with the last tenants leaving the property in 2007, the De Liefde was completely rebuilt by Wiel Arets Architects and renamed De Nieuwe Liefde. The reconstruction transformed the existing building into a series of new spaces composed of a main hall with seating for 230, a conference room with space for 60, a choir space for 50, a library, a separate restaurant-café and a grand foyer that decompresses into a central circulation void.
Prior to the renovation the building retained many of its original Neo-Renaissance and Art Nouveau features and therefore the approach was to utilise these assets, as well as the existing main staircase and extensive stained glass windows throughout.The depth of the building totals about 30 meters, reflecting its former use as a wine storage space.This depth, alongside numerous renovations by successive owners, created a series of oddly divided spaces and rooms, with few receiving natural light.
In order to introduce plentiful amounts natural light, an expansive skylight was created above the central circulation void, allowing daylight to pour into the building and flood all principal spaces. The central circulation void spans from front to back facade, and is composed of a crisscross of steps and ramps that challenge the traditional idea of ‘floors’ and instead create a ‘zero-level’, allowing concise routing and direct visual connections to all important spaces. In the café, large skylights and a wall of ivy enliven an otherwise enclosed space.