The entrance doors to the apartments on the ground floor and the main staircases are still in the original condition. The woodwork of the doors convey not only the craftsmanship of the builder but also the architectural and artistic design skills of Michel de Klerk and his being rooted in the building trade. This combination of craftsmanship is continued in the design and manufacturing of the staircases, where the blacksmith made a contribution by adding special twisting steel bars.
Fortunately, all of the entrance doors and mostly all staircases have survived the devastating period of 1950-1970. The currently proposed restoration of the doors is limited to reparation of wear and tear. The staircases also suffered severe greatly, especially the original floor covers. Instead of light colored ash, dark-red oiled Merbau was used in the earlier restorations. This clashes with the original color scheme of the staircases.
The most poignant problem in the staircases is the absence of the original doors into the apartments and the windows, which during the last restoration of 1978-1979 were replaced by copies that are mere hints of the original design. Because of current building legislation these doors and windows are no longer up to code.. This gives us a chance to restore the doors and windows facing the main staircases with replicas of the original design.
The original De Klerk drawings are stored in the extensive archives of “Het Nederlands Architectuur Instituut” (Dutch National Institute of Architecture, now Het Nieuwe Instituut). Restoration specialists will have to do research here on whether it is possible to reconstruct the doors according to this design, while also complying with current building standards.
Color specialists recently conducted a study to determine the original color scheme. Currently we are waiting for the lab results of discovered pigments. The aim is to restore significant parts of the complex, e.g. entrance doors, staircases, windows, in the original color scheme. Relative to this color scheme we will change the wooden floor covers of the main staircases to fit into the color scheme.
In order to restore the entrance doors and staircases, the following resources and craftsmanship will be needed:
- Further construction history research with the help of design drawings by Michel de Klerk and photo archives. This research will be conducted by mrs. ing. C. van der Leeden and mrs. drs. P. van Diemen who are currently working on the Construction History “Het Schip” as part of the design team.
- A cooperation between the restoration architect (ir. R. Pater), historical researchers (mrsing. C. van der Leeden and mrs. drs. P. van Diemen) and color specialists (mrs. A. Schottler) in order to select a suitable color scheme that matches the result of the research on the original colors. This advice will have to be approved by specialists of Dutch Cultural Heritage.
- Design drawings of ornaments, under supervision of restoration expert ir. R. Pater assisted by mrs. ing. C. van der Leeden and mrs. drs. P. van Diemen for input on the original appearances.This design will have to be approved by specialists of Dutch Cultural Heritage.
- Technical drawings of the restored or renewed door- and window frames, made by the design team under supervision of ir. R. Pater assisted by ir. W. Veldman (building physics). The team also aims to involve the “Hout- en meubileringscollege Amsterdam”, an craftsman school specialized in woodwork and furniture.
- Production of the sculptural wooden frames and ironwork by craftsmen, preferably apprentices under supervision of a master. For this part the design team is still searching for a suitable contractors.
- Documentation of restoration work, made by the design team under auspices of the historical researchers (mrs. ing. C. van der Leeden and mrs. drs. P. van Diemen). We intend to make this an educational project, because the number of young craftsmen (in The Netherlands) who can restore and replicate intricately shaped woodwork, is decreasing rapidly.