Huis van Eemnes, An unexpected third place to meet, create and participate

, 02 Oct 2020

How do you combine the peaceful surroundings of a library and the dynamism of a sports and culture center under one roof? By designing an interior that offers a bridge between these two extremes. How does this connection function best? The easiest way to find out is through open ears. The result is an unexpected third place for all ages, Huis van Eemnes (The Netherlands).

At the new culture house of the Province of Utrecht, Huis van Eemnes, everybody feels at home, whether it is in the multifunctional theater, the brasserie, the sports hall, the ‘living room’ or the library itself. Here people can borrow or read books, drink coffee, eat lunch or dinner, enjoy a show, have meetings, but also exercise and much more. The profit and non-profit organizations in the house share more than just the entrance, which leads to attractive collaborations and programming. 

Build your knowledge… or break a sweat

The extensive House (situated in a sustainable building of 6,660 m2) has an important core function for the village and is one of a kind due to the combination of two extremes: the peaceful surroundings of the Gooi en meer Library and the dynamic atmosphere of the sports and culture center. The interior, a co-creation of aatvos and MARS Interieurarchitecten, provides a bridge between these two apparent opposites. A sophisticated mix of warm materials, seating groups of different sizes, and varying ceiling heights have created a space where you are sure to find a nook or area that suits you and your plans that day. Aat Vos describes, “Cohesion between different functions is achieved by emphasizing togetherness while carefully listening to the needs and wishes of the residents of Eemnes.” 

Cohesion between different functions is achieved by emphasizing togetherness while carefully listening to the needs and wishes of the residents of Eemnes.

Aat Vos Aat Vos Creative Guide

Vibrant heart 

Upon entering, you immediately arrive in the vibrant heart of the cultural center. The pulse of combined functions is made possible by a spatial mix of the library, brasserie, and bar. These entities are openly connected to each other and surrounded by multifunctional rooms, including a theater hall and a large sports hall that can be divided into three rooms for events to take place. A central grandstand staircase on top of a wooden stage breaks through the large, open entrance area. The staircase can be used for different purposes and features physical enclaves on either side not only for studying but also for games (including a pool table and area for darts). The stage alludes to an old gymnasium floor thanks to the graphic application of sports lines. The bar, with contours of a house, is a striking eye-catcher thanks to its brightly colored top and a brick front. 

In the embrace of the bookcase 

The Gooi en meer Library collection is found throughout various places in Huis van Eemnes thanks to a bookcase that partially envelops the walls of different floors. The case stretches upwards and thus connects the spaces on the ground floor as well as the different floors. The enormous cupboard wall, which also includes seating areas, is multifunctional. Here you will find the so-called ‘Canon of Eemnes’, a collection of historical objects that represent the village. In addition, part of the cabinet is available as an exhibition space for local artists. In the library’s kids zone on the ground floor, children can explore books or the inside of a large teepee tent.

The dynamic range of sports, relaxation and culture emphasizes the versatility and liveliness of Huis van Eemnes. This spectrum of functions and activities also ensures that there is something to do at any time of the day.

Huis van Eemnes is nominated for NBD Biblion award, best Dutch Library.

Project credits

The interior design of Huis van Eemnes (client: Gemeente Eemnes) is based on a vision developed by aatvos, together with the client in a workshop.

Concept, workshop, preliminary design, art direction: aatvos
Final design, engineering, supervision of realization and visual identity: MARS Interieurarchitecten
Building design and concept bookcase: MoedersheimMoonen Architects
Interior builder: Gieskes Interieur BV (custom furniture, stage, and stair finish (solid oak)
Lighting design: Bisque Lighting 

Photography: Marco Heyda, Jan de Vries en Luuk Kramer (large sports hall)