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Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum Named European Museum Of The Year

Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, which was comprehensively restored and reimagined by Spanish practice Cruz y Ortiz over the course of a decade, has been named as the 2015 European Museum of the Year (EMYA) by the European Museum Forum. Lauded by the jury as "a great museum, at the height of its powers, providing a rich experience to the public, and a socially aware outreach programme for visitors of all ages," its success has also been in the museum's "ambition to 'reach every child in the Netherlands by the age of twelve'" - an aspiration which has been praised as "notable, impressive and achievable." The coveted award has previously gone to Zaha Hadid Architects' Riverside Museum in Glasgow in 2013.

Fictional Euro Banknote Bridges Brought to Life in the Netherlands

Did you know that the fictional bridges on the Euro banknotes were actually made a reality in the Netherlands? In Tom Scott’s latest “Things You Might Not Know” video, he tells the story of how the seven bridges came to be constructed in the town of Spijkenisse.

Applications Open For The 2015 AA Visiting School In Rotterdam

This year the Architectural Association (AA) Visiting School programme will extend its reach to the Dutch city of Rotterdam – a place which, "by some strange twist of geographical and historical fate, has the highest concentration of architects and architectural thinkers in the world." The workshop, which will run for two weeks in July, will explore issues of inhabitance, perception, and intensity through analysis and creative interpretation of Rotterdam’s 'core' "or, more likely, its multiple cores, invisible to the untrained eye." Based in the Shell Tower on Hofplein, students will be afforded the opportunity to observe and analyse the city from on-high.

MVRDV's Winy Maas On Architecture Education And His Early Work In Africa

Balancing Barn / MVRDV. Image © Edmund Sumner
Balancing Barn / MVRDV. Image © Edmund Sumner

Winy Maas is one of architecture’s most aggressive researchers. Through his office MVRDV and affiliations with universities in Europe and America, Maas produces a seemingly unstoppable stream of insights into the environments in which architects now operate. As an advisor to the educational program of the Strelka Institute in Moscow, the architect is currently contributing to the production of eleven radical visions of the future, based on extrapolating trends that shape contemporary life, in Russia and around the world. Maas recently sat with writer, curator, and Strelka faculty member Brendan McGetrick to discuss his unusual educational trajectory, learning from the conservationist Richard Leakey, facing death in Sudan, and the beauty of architects experimenting with algae.

DNB Bank Headquarters / MVRDV. Image © Jiri Havran Glass Farm / MVRDV. Image © Jeroen Musch Rotterdam Markthal / MVRDV. Image © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee WoZoCo / MVRDV. Image © Samuel Ludwig

The Learn'd: A Film About the Poetry of Light and Space at KAAN Architecten's Education Center

The Learn'd, a short film directed by Victor Vroegindeweij (The Office for Nonfiction Storytelling, Hazazah Pictures), captures the poetry of light and space within KAAN Architecten's Education Center. Part of the Rotterdam academic hospital Erasmus MC, the center was once an abandoned atrium that was transformed into an "enlightened inner square" that united all the building's medical student programs under a single roof.

OMA Unveils Nhow Hotel Rai Project in Amsterdam

OMA has revealed plans for what will be the Netherlands' largest hotel. Part of the Nhow chain, 91 meter-tall "Nhow Hotel Rai" (or Nhow RAI) will bring 650 rooms within three stacked cubes to the Amsterdam skyline. As the NLTimes reports, OMA was chosen ahead of eleven practices to design the project, which will include a television studio, art gallery and sculpture garden, spa center, a "3D holographic meeting space," a multimedia presentation space, and 25th-floor lounge and bar area, in addition to the four-star hotel rooms. 

Photographic Exhibition Highlights The Relationship Between Brick And The Dutch

via Het Nieuwe Instituut
via Het Nieuwe Instituut

The Netherlands Builds in Brick is one of the latest exhibitions at Het Nieuwe Instituut (formerly the NAi) in Rotterdam. It seeks to modify the "assumed triumph of Modernism" in the interwar period, drawing upon two photographic collections from the Institute's extensive archives. The exhibition has been curated to highlight that brick remained the favoured construction material throughout the advocacy of the Modernist movement, even for experimental construction.

via Het Nieuwe Instituut via Het Nieuwe Instituut via Het Nieuwe Instituut via Het Nieuwe Instituut

Mecanoo's New Delft Station Hall Opens To The Public

Six years after the original announcement of the project, the first phase of Mecanoo's new Train Station and City Hall complex in Delft, The Netherlands, has been opened to the public. Within the new station hall an undulating 'vault', which has been designed to evoke an "unforgettable arrival experience", features a scaled 1877 map of the Dutch city rendered in blue and white. Columns wrapped in a mosaic of Delft-blue titles, also reminiscent of the colours of Delftware, one of the city's most famous global exports. The station platforms below ground have been designed by Benthem Crouwel, the Dutch practice behind Rotterdam Centraal Station.

David Chipperfield to Receive the Netherlands' Sikkens Prize

British architect David Chipperfield has been selected to receive the 2015 Sikkens Prize, one of the oldest independent art prizes in the Netherlands. The prize's 36th recipient, Chipperfield is being recognized for his "revolutionary use of color," much like his predecessors; Gerrit Rietveld, Le Corbusier, Donald Judd, HEMA and Bridget Riley have all received the Sikkens Prize. 

According to the jury, "Chipperfield’s work on the Neues Museum in Berlin is a magnificent example of his way of working. Like no other he knows how to combine the old with the new. In his spatial compositions he achieves a delicate balance between color, material end texture. Chipperfield uses the colors provided by the architectural context and the building materials in an unemphatic yet expressive way."

On View: Inside Outside's "Museological Reconstruction" of Rotterdam's Iconic Sonneveld House

Inside Rotterdam's Sonneveld House everything is in order: books arranged nearly on shelves, chairs tucked under tables, rugs set square on the bedroom floor. The house is a pristine tableau depicting what the interior would have looked like whilst inhabited by the eponymous Albertus Sonneveld and his family.

Yet something interesting lies underfoot, thanks to an intervention by Inside Outside that sees the entire floor of the home covered with a single, continuous mirror. Read more about the installation and view selected images after the break.

Surface As Sculpture: Henry Moore's Brick Reliefs In Rotterdam

In 1954 British sculptor Henry Moore was commissioned to design and install a large wall relief into Joost Boks' new bouwcentrum (Construction Centre) in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The project, pieced together with approximately 16,000 hand-carved Dutch bricks, stands as the sculptor's only work completed in the humble material. In a short documentary film produced by ARTtube, architectural historian Wouter Vanstiphout narrates the fascinating story behind Wall Relief No.1.

Working drawing, façade detail. Image © The Henry Moore Foundation The wall in-situ - February 2015. Image © James Taylor-Foster Constructing the wall relief. Image © The Henry Moore Foundation The brick wall integrated into the Building Centre, since demolished (1970). Image © The Henry Moore Foundation

MVRDV and Interior Urbanism: An Interview With Winy Maas

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, one of the major changes within cities around the world has been the rise of so-called "privately-owned public space," a development which has attracted the attention of many urbanists and is still being widely debated. However, for MONU Magazine, the increasing prevalence (and arguably, acceptance) of such privately owned spaces for public use gives us an opportunity to discuss another aspect of public space: interior urbanism. With the rise of the shopping mall and the increasingly diverse functions required by buildings such as libraries, interior spaces now resemble exterior public spaces more and more.

The following interview is an excerpt from the 21st issue of MONU Magazine, in which MONU's Bernd Upmeyer and Beatriz Ramo interview MVRDV founder Winy Maas, discussing the concept of interior urbanism in the work of MVRDV, in particular in their Rotterdam Markthal, Glass Farm and Book Mountain projects.

Markthal Rotterdam. Image © Nico Saieh Book Mountain in Spijkenisse. Image © Jeroen Musch Book Mountain in Spijkenisse. Image © Jeroen Musch Glass Farm in Schijndel. Image © Jeroen Musch

'An Installation In Four Acts' - Exploring Structuralism At Rotterdam's Nieuwe Instituut

Great movements in architecture are usually set in motion by a dull societal ache or as a response to a sudden, unforeseen reorientation of a community at large. The Dutch city of Rotterdam - vast swathes of which were cast into oblivion during the blitz of May 1940 - has been at the forefront of many shifts in approach to the built environment. It is therefore fitting that the latest exhibition at the Nieuwe Instituut (formerly the NAi), simply titled Structuralism, is being held in the city that was recently named Europe’s best.

Furthermore, Dutch Structuralism is a timely subject for Dirk van den Heuvel and the Jaap Bakema Study Centre (JBSC) in Delft to tackle. With major civic buildings like OMA's extension to Rotterdam's City Hall taking shape, it appears that a resurgence of Structuralist formal thought is appearing in the contemporary city. The exhibition seeks to shine a new light on the movement by uncovering drawings, models and texts which profoundly shaped 20th century architectural thinking.

'An Installation In Four Acts' Seminar Space. Image via Het Nieuwe Instituut Structuralism: From 'An Installation In Four Acts' looking towards 'Making Space, Leaving Space'. Image via Het Nieuwe Instituut Structuralism: 'An Installation In Four Acts'. Image via Het Nieuwe Instituut Structuralism: 'An Installation In Four Acts' - the mini-mega furniture. Image via Het Nieuwe Instituut

World’s First Solar Bicycle Lane Opens in Amsterdam

A popular bicycle lane and public road that connects the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer has been impregnated with solar panels, making it the world’s first. The 70-meter stretch, serving 2,000 daily cyclists, was embedded with crystalline silicon solar cells encased within concrete and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass. It is expected to be extended an additional 100-meters in 2016, providing enough energy to power three households. More information, here

Cedric Price Exhibition Opens In Maastricht

A new exhibition and accompanying digital documentary on Cedric Price, a British architect, writer and educator who had a formative influence on architects such as Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Bernard Tschumi, is open in The Netherlands. The exhibition, curated by members of Bureau Europa, introduces the work of Price by "presenting a cross-section of the elements of his inventive and singular practice" through sketches, project drawings, recorded talks, and first-hand accounts by staff, colleagues and friends. In addition, a series of selected projects present his "innovative models for industry, education, government, tourism, ecology and the house."

Students Head To Finland To Construct Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia From Ice

A team of  from Eindhoven University are set to build a forty metre high model of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia out of 'ice'. The project, which follows their completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. The fifty-strong team will head to Finland on the 28th December 2014 to begin construction of the impressive 1:5 scale model, which will be built in only four weeks in order to officially open in the last week of January 2015.

Read about their unique construction method and see photos of the preparatory work after the break.

Meet Archibald, a Cartoon Architect Who Never Gets His Way

"Hey dad, when can I become an architect?" says Archie, son of eternally-frustrated architect Archibald, an animated architect  who rarely wins an argument. "Architecture is not a final destination in time, it's a journey through life," Archibald says. His son's response: "Great! I love traveling! When can I buy the tickets?"

"arch." is a weekly online cartoon series by Mike Hermans, an Antwerp-based architect-cartoonist, that follows Archibald through the struggles architects know all-too-well: uncooperative models, angry clients, and periodic encounters with Tarzan, the jungle king. Archibald is a self-professed "visionary and romantic dreamer," while his business partner Gerald is the anti-creative in a constant struggle to ground Archibald's ideas in reality (hint: it doesn't go well). In "arch." study models have lives of their own, resisting modifications by the architect in favour of their own changes while meddlesome interns and junior architects attempt their own project modifications. Frank Gehry even makes a cameo appearance. 

Watch the mini-series in full after the break

Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas' earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”