After years of preparation and constructions, the new Amsterdam Court House is finally opening its doors. The new courthouse is a stately building holding authority of 47,250 m2 of offices, courtrooms, interrogation rooms and areas for detainees.
From unpleasant environment to a monolithic solution
When arriving outside the courthouse, you’re impressed by its artistic design but when you enter the foyer you’re surprised with a big “wow”. The courthouse has around 1200 employees working daily. And in close collaboration with architectural firm KAAN Architecten Rotterdam and the installer company Verwol Projectafbouw, all wishes of the consortium NACH - responsible for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of the new building for a term of 30 years - were met.
The building’s public spaces have their own appearance and perception of the spaces with the use of impressive glass and natural stone walls and floors. These materials contribute to an unpleasant reverberation and echo, and to keep the right acoustic balance, the ceiling and walls are fitted with Rockfon Mono Acoustic.
According to Architect and Project Manager Luuk Dietz, the building had to be functional, recognizable and authoritative. “The primary process of justice is key and should not be disrupted. Despite the dynamics of this busy public place with high ceilings and stone floors and walls the strict acoustic criteria had to be met. The only solution which suited our vision was a monolithic ceiling like Rockfon Mono Acoustic.”
The architectural firm KAAN Architecten designed the new court and to optimise the acoustics, they explicitly opted for the seamless ceiling and wall system Rockfon Mono Acoustic as it has a sleek, monolithic appearance.
“Great acoustics are also very important in courtrooms” says Process Manager at contractor Heijmans, Bauke van der Goot, “We have looked for the right partners and we trust the advice from specialists like installer company Verwol Projectafbouw. They were able to create the perfect acoustic balance where needed.”
A real eye-catcher solve the strict requirements for noise
The courthouse is not only impressive with its stately look from the monolithic and seamless design, but also a human-centred building where safety and privacy comes first. The aim with the building is to be transparent and accessible. A special feature of the building design is the location of the public foyer. It’s found directly on the facade of the building on all sides.
“The facade runs from the ground floor and up to the third floor. It’s completely transparent giving the visitor the opportunity to look into the city from the foyer and look into the foyer from the city.” says Dietz.
“The Rockfon Mono Acoustic ceiling actually serves as an eye-catcher in the transparent foyer as it’s a seamless, flat and fine-grained sleek system where all kinds of installations can be concealed. In addition, these systems fully meet the acoustic requirements that this stately and public building must meet. The speech intelligibility, strict requirements for reverberation time apply to all rooms in the building. And in the smaller courtrooms and the hallways that runs along all the office floors are equipped with Rockfon Mono Acoustic as well.”
A seamless, sleek and sophisticated ceiling
With the high amount of people naturally raise the noise level and to make sure that the sound is not echoing, the walls in the foyer are covered with Rockfon Mono Acoustic panels.
“Throughout the property, the design has hard stone floors and hard surface walls as well as a lot of glass. And the only solution we found suitable to meet the strict requirements set by the Central Government Real Estate Agency was such a seamless ceiling and wall system.”
The new courthouse has installed around 13,500 m2 of Rockfon Mono Acoustic panels.
“The great thing about this acoustic system is that it’s a sleek, seamless system where it looks like a plastered wall or ceiling. The only disadvantage is that it’s extremely difficult to navigate and figure out a way out as the whole design is perfectly fitted.”
As a solution, the ceiling has round shutters with the same finish as the Rockfon Mono Acoustic panels.
“As a result, the shutter doesn't stand out as they need to follow the rhythm of the other components in the ceiling.”
Rockfon Area Sales Manager, Edgar Belonje finds the building as an impressive reference project as it has various types of Rockfon ceiling and wall solutions installed.
“All components on the ceiling such as sprinklers, speakers and smoke detectors are laid out in a regular pattern.” The Rockfon Mono Acoustic panels are placed against the top half of the walls in the courtrooms, inquiry chambers and council chambers. In addition, 12,000 m2 of modular Rockfon Blanka ceiling panels in various edges are used to create the desired design. “These plates have been placed in courtrooms, heavy traffic spots and in the restaurant. And by combining the different ceiling designs, from an elegant X-side to a functional A-side, it creates an alignment with extremely white and matt surfaces everywhere.”
High standards on reverberation and sound absorption
Head of Calculation and Purchasing at Verwol Complete Interior Realization, Erwin Verlegh explains that the client Rijksvastgoedbedrijf set high standards for the values on echo and sound absorption for the new courthouse.
“For this project, we often used scrum sessions and think tank sessions with KAAN Architecten and Heijmans about how to interpret and realise the many square meters of ceiling and wall finishing. It was sometimes difficult as it needed to fit within the vision of the architect and the budget. The ideal thing about the design and the construction is that the decisions are made in short team connection sessions with specialists to ensure a successful result.”
Process Manager of the NACH Project, Bauke van der Goot indicates that Verwol quite early in the process opted that Rockfon Mono Acoustic panels were acoustically and aesthetically the best solution for the design.
“Good acoustics are an important part in public areas of the building, especially the courtrooms. And the ceiling and wall systems must make a significant contribution to the best acoustic balance. These acoustic systems also serve as a foundation for the artworks of artist Femmy Otten. Where her art statues are designed especially for the building. It’s a challenge to attach these works of art to the walls but the system perfectly allows and matches it.”
Dietz says that he thinks the intensive collaboration with the project partners is one of the best things to highlight.
“Ultimately, the building turned out so well down to the last detail because all parties were equal. Not only Heijmans, but also all subcontractors who think along as partners in the construction process. Collaboration with parties that are on the same page makes this a successful project,” says Dietz.
The first hearings will take place in the new court in Amsterdam from 3 May 2021.
New Court House of Amsterdam
1076 AV Amsterdam