CREA, the cultural student centre of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences (HvA), has a new building. Under the direction of architect Joost Glissenaar, the former diamond-cutting factory on the Nieuwe Achtergracht at the Roeterseiland was expanded and converted into 6,000 m2 of studio space for music, theatre, dance, the visual arts, film, digital media, photography, literature as well as work space for 35 student organisations. Thursday, 15 March saw the festive opening of the new CREA building.
Following a word of welcome by CREA director Sjoerd Jans and a contribution from ASVA chairperson Eline Peters, among others, Prof. Dymph van den Boom, Rector Magnificus of the UvA, conducted the official opening ceremony. Standing on a Genie Lift, she cut a ribbon which set a giant scissors in motion to reveal a work of art. This work of art – created by two students of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy – is a reference to the former function of the building as a diamond-cutting factory.
Important elements of CREA are a cafe, a theatre and a music auditorium. Situated above the cafe are offices for student organisations and in the adjacent wings – new except for the outside wall – are workplaces for musicians, dancers and visual artists.
The new CREA building used to be a diamond-cutting factory. Built in the mid-19th century at the behest of Jewish entrepreneurs and craftsmen, the former Diamond Exchange was converted in the 1960s into an education building for the UvA. As part of the redevelopment of Roeterseiland into an open campus, the building has now been converted into the CREA cultural centre. The Nieuwe Achtergracht, where the building is situated, will form the central axis of the Roeterseiland Campus. The interiors and exteriors of various university buildings at the Roeterseiland will be renovated the outdoor area will also be redesigned. In a few years from now students and staff from three faculties will be housed at the Roeterseiland: Economics and Business, Social and Behavioural Sciences and Law.
CREA organises courses and workshops on music, theatre, dance, the visual arts, film, digital media, photography and literature. Each year the centre produces scores of performances, concerts, events and exhibitions. In addition, weekly programmes (including lectures) are organised on science, art and society.