The riverside library in Uithoorn

, 28 Apr 2021

The village of Uithoorn (the Netherlands), situated by the Amstel River, is reshaping its center to become more integrative. Starting down this path, an important first step is the rehousing of the library and the harbor office in a new, prominent apartment building on the quay.

The Uithoorn Library, a branch of Bibliotheek Amstelland, moved to a temporary pop-up location in a former store. This temporary location would later allow the library to make an exciting move: In 2022, the library will finally relocate into ‘De Rede’ along the Amstel River, a new construction project designed by FARO architects. This building will hold apartments, a small harbor office, and on the ground floor, the library. In the coming years, the municipality will continue to work on ‘forging together’ the village halves, to set the base for a more integrative, coherent and unique village character. The library will take on a major social function as Uithoorn lacks an accessible meeting point in its center, a place where everyone feels welcome. The library strives to become this place. 

The new Uithoorn library will transform into a relevant cultural hotspot where people rather than books are the new sources of information.*

Aat Vos Aat Vos Creative Director at aatvos
* freely interpreted based on the Danish architect Ivar Moltke

A casual public space

With the aim to optimize the library interior into a third place in a cost-efficient way, the aatvos team – in sync with FARO Architects – organized a workshop with the library team of Uithoorn. During that week, the library team along with other stakeholders formulated a clear mission: The new library aspires to become a meeting place for everyone in Uithoorn. Here, self-development, discovery and fun are essential.

Creative Director Aat Vos explains: “From a location where you only borrow books, the library will transform into a relevant cultural hotspot where knowledge is readily available for everyone. On top of that, you can stay here, alone or in company. A casual interior sets the foundation. For Bibliotheek Amstelland and the municipality, it is crucial that this culture hub is not only made for but also by the local scene. For example, we will arrange for community tables and a stage that is available to be used by everyone. In addition, a special department will cater to the needs of the youth.”

Environment as inspiration

During the workshop week, another wish came up: To integrate elements from the surrounding environment in the interior. Cabinet walls resemble the monumental houses of Uithoorn, cocoons take the shapes of harbor hangouts and the transitions of the floor give you the impression as if you were right at a quay by the Amstel River. Apart from welcoming its visitors in a coffee corner, the new library offers an informal environment filled with natural light, rich and surprising colors and natural materials. In a nutshell, the Uithoorn Library has a cozy and warm atmosphere that will make you feel at home away from home.

Concept, design, strategy, implementation: aatvos
Architect building: FARO Architects
Project developer: Van Wijnen 
Status: in development (opening summer 2022)
Area: 550 m2
3D images: aatvos

Video: aatvos in collaboration with Bibliotheek Amstelland for Bibliotheek Uithoorn