OBA Van der Pek

07 Apr 2017

A ‘third place’ that feels like home. On Saturday, April 8th 2017, the official public opening of OBA Van der Pek took place in North-Amsterdam. The library is located in a characteristic building in the Amsterdam School style, a landmark on the famous Mosplein that is bursting with creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

The OBA asked creative guide and architect Aat Vos to design the interior of OBA Van der Pek, while keeping in mind his vision of ‘third places’: public places that make a valuable contribution to a vital society.

Martin Berendse, director of OBA: ‘OBA Van der Pek is a neighborhood-oriented meeting place in the atmosphere of North-Amsterdam. Mosplein has been the cultural heart of this part of Amsterdam for almost 100 years. It is fantastic that OBA Van der Pek will now be a part of that. Aat Vos has succeeded in creating a homely and inviting atmosphere in the library, where both young and old feel welcome. There is a children’s corner on the ground floor, places to study and work on the first floor, and a multifunctional space on the second floor. In OBA Van der Pek, various activities will be organized, such as debates, readings, or workshops.’

Aat Vos adds: ‘The iconic freestanding building OBA Van der Pek in the Amsterdam School style of architecture is definitely an asset for the urban tissue of North-Amsterdam. The building is beautifully restored by SeArch Architects. The design of the interior has a highly inviting character with the emphasis on meeting people. Above all, the new library will be an inspirational accommodation that will bring local residents together, help them to learn from each other and allow them to work together. A ‘third place’ that feels like home, where you can go for a book or a cup of coffee. OBA Van der Pek is more than just a library.’


Wooden elements and colors, such as shades of red, brown, and gray create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the former retail building. Eye-catching interior elements are among others the workplaces in the mezzanine, and the bookcases that run on along the walls of the mezzanine. Next to the coffee corner, there is also a generous balcony that is open to the public. These features give OBA Van der Pek its own vertical character which contributes to a pleasant ‘Experience’. Together with ‘People’, ‘Product’, ‘Place’, and ‘Future’, that is one of the central pillars in Aat Vos’s book that has recently been published: 3RD4ALL, How to Create a Relevant Public Space. 

Manifesto for the new public space

The ‘third place’ is the place where you spend time when you are not at home or at work. Third places are often public spaces, from libraries to cultural centers, and from parks to start-up cafes. In his new book, Aat Vos discusses the five important pillars that are part of a vital public space. His vision and findings are supported by more than twenty in-depth interviews with authorities in the fields of urban development and town planning, economics, architecture, design, gaming, sociology, and communication, such as Joseph Pine (author of The Experience Economy), Sergio Dogliani (Idea Stores, London), and Karim Rashid (designer). Colorful image reports of inspiring third places and city tours with public hotspots complete the image of the new public space. The book is published by nai101 publishers.

How To Create a Relevant Public Space – Third Places for All

Author: Aat Vos | € 44,95 | ISBN 978-94-6208-351-6 | hardcover | 280 p |  24 x 31 cm | nai010Uitgevers

Project credits

OBA Van der Pek
Interior design: aatvos in co-creation with Mars Interieurarchitecten
Architecture: SeArch Architects (Amsterdam)

PRESS KIT: OBA Van der Pek

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