OBA CC Amstel


August 8, 2019

The new CC Amstel branch of OBA (Amsterdam Public Library) is a hidden gem found in Amsterdam’s vibrant neighborhood ‘De Pijp’. It shares its doors with a theater, offering an urban mix of functions that sets this third place up to become a cultural community hangout.

OBA is reviving its multiple library branches by letting each collaborate with at least one-second organization. This collaboration enables locations to develop into community libraries that work together with neighborhood initiatives, local organizations, and residents’ groups. The new building of OBA CC Amstel, designed by architect Vera Yanovshtchinsky for the Municipality of Amsterdam, is part of the revitalized Archives site on the famous Amstel River in Amsterdam-South. Originally, this location was designated to become the new home of the Ostade Theater. However, since OBA was looking for a new library space for its former ‘Cinetol’ branch, an opportunity to bring multiple functions under one roof presented itself. Therefore, a close collaboration with the Ostade Theater was a logical step in this new direction.

Design for Programmability played a key role in OBA’s new project, as programming attracts, activates and keeps a mix of local users.

Aat Vos Aat Vos Creative Director at includi

Cultural Clubhouse

All OBA branches have recognizable OBA DNA, while also showing a distinctive character that matches their environment. The new name CC Amstel stands for Cultural Clubhouse Amstel, containing the library, theater, a makerspace, studio, and café-restaurant. Design for Programmability played a key role in OBA’s new project, as programming attracts, activates and keeps a mix of local users. A vision, along with an actionable plan, to fuse the Ostade Theater (now called CC Amstel) together with the OBA was developed during an inspiring workshop with the involved organizations, team members and stakeholders. The result of the session was worked out based on integrity.

Public space as the base

Conceptually, the public space is taken as a starting point. For example, the low-threshold neighborhood restaurant is designed as a square – its kitchen as a kiosk and the wall that runs from the theater to the foyer resembles a typical Amsterdam street. To emphasize the commonality, the spaces have been given a multifunctional and inviting character for all ages. The small theater hall on the ground floor – which is simultaneously the library’s youth department – can be filled to the brim with books. Children can enter a kind of indoor treehouse via a ladder: a hidden place to read, play games or do homework. On the first floor, you’ll find various seating opportunities to read and relax, places to work, and a public makerspace that offers numerous workshops. Down on the ground floor, the foyer is a reception area that also acts as a theater foyer with an outdoor terrace. Tables and seats at the indoor ‘square’ invite you to stay for as long as you like, either with a book at the large reading table or for some drinks and bites.



OBA CC Amstel is a co-creation of includi (design concept, strategy, creative direction) and Mars Interieurarchitecten (design, engineering) in collaboration with OBA and Theatre CC Amstel.
Drawings: includi
Photography: Marco Heyda & Jan de Vries