Arthouse Cinema in police station 

Louis Hartlooper Complex

the complex

The former police station Tolsteegbrug was build in 1928 based upon a design of architect Planjer. The building is regarded as a typical example of the ´Amsterdamse School´, a Dutch design movement, and mainly because of this awarded with the status of Federal Monument. Situated at a striking spot, once the place where the medieval city gate offered access to town. The building is part of the ´Museums Quarter´, a historic part of town where municipal policy focuses on reinforcing and extending cultural and educational functions and providing public access to the cultural heritage of the build environment. 

The police station Tolsteegbrug is transformed into a centre for movie and culture, the ´Louis Hartlooper Complex´.

The Louis Hartlooper complex is a meeting place for producers, associations, companies, schools and other interested parties dealing with movie and culture.

Activities consist of workshops, festivals, lectures, discussions, exhibitions and of course film performance. A number of bar facilities are positioned in the building. The varied program demands for flexibility in use of the building. Needs in particular are multifunctional spaces and varied scenarios for routing. 

The ground floor of the present building contains a salon, conference room, bars, sanitary units, kitchen and a gallery. The first floor contains two halls and office spaces. The second floor has various office spaces and meeting room. A newly added construction part contains two halls and a foyer.


Bringing back into sight the original identity of the buildings architecture is an important part of the renovation. This has been achieved through careful conservation and restoration of authentic detailing and materials. Also color-schemes are brought back into the design with great attention to the original details.


The Louis Hartlooper complex needs a heart, a central space where everyday life enrolls itself. The space is inviting, accessible, exceptional but still common. This meeting point forms an enlargement of the city’s public space, and functions as extension of the Ledig Erf. People come to watch and show off. The game of encounter is directed by offering various spots and levels. The space functions as well as a stage for concerts, discourses and sketches.

The urban square is located at the site of the former courtyard of the police station. The square is equipped with a glazed roof suggesting the sense of a semi outdoor space.


Accommodation of the desired program implies a necessary redoubling of the existing floor area within the present boundaries of the lot. A two story structure in the present courtyard provides in this demand, assuming demolition of existing premisses on this spot. The design is based on a sharp contrast between existing and new structures.

Construction parts are contrasting in formal language and materialization. Where the present building offers a classic monumental and orthogonal composition, the new part forms an object folding itself literally to function and context. Where the present building is erected in red brick, the new part wears a bumpy black skin finished with a polyurethane coating. Construction parts demonstrate themselves as autonomous buildings along the inner square, in this capturing an intermediate position.

cinema halls