Good IDEA for the AMC

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The AMC, the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, is the largest hospital of The Netherlands. And one of the biggest buildings in the country.

The AMC was designed by Architectenburo Duintjer Istha Kramer van Willegen in collaboration with ir. D van Mourik and opened in 1981. Now the facades are up for renovation. What to do with the immense surface?

The AMC was conceived as a city, the volumes build an intricate sequence of interior streets and squares that are all day lit. This Cité Médicale provides a remarkably pleasant experience for both patients, medical staff, students and visitors.

The AMC in principle consists of two spatial types; six so-called beddenhuizen, interconnected tower blocks with the rooms for the patients rest on an extensive low rise base with the operation rooms, research facilities, public spaces and services.

Both facades consist of horizontal concrete bands alternated with strips of glass or corrugated steel plates. The four story base features characteristic window cleaning galleries resting on protruding consoles that together render a sculptural expression. Brut is beautiful : )

The spatial organization of the AMC is incredibly innovative. The building features a rather amazing section: in the low rise pedestal so-called sub-floors, floors that contain the necessary installations, intersect the regular floors. So one floor with medical rooms is followed by a floor dedicated to the technical facilities! This principle allows maintenance and adaptation of the ducting over time without jeopardizing the operations below.

The ‘interstitials’ are quite perceptible. On the outside, the sub-floors are obscured by corrugated steel plate. Can we replace this opaque cladding with glass panels?

Opening up the technical floors will bring to the fore the hidden beauty of the AMC: exposing the intricate insides like the Anatomy Lesson.

Some sort of ‘sandwiched’ Centre Pompidou could come into being that would reveal the brute intelligence of this structure.

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