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.
Waterlicht (or ‘water light’) is a new light installation which has temporarily transformed Amsterdam’s Museumplein into a “dream landscape” expressing both the power, and the poetry, of water. The shifting shapes and liquid movement of the artwork also have a very real purpose: like a virtual flood, the level of the lights show how high the water could submerge Holland and parts of The Netherlands without constant human intervention. The installation highlights how innovation in engineering, something which is embedded “within the DNA of the Dutch landscape” of polders and dikes, has been “almost forgotten.” The nation’s vulnerability against the power of the oceans is pertinently expressed in this experiential urban intervention.
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.
A team from UNStudio, led by Ben van Berkel, has launched an interactive new work station inspired by the health advantages associated with standing while working. Dubbed the StandTable, the innovative office furniture is designed to support numerous working positions and fosters interaction and collaboration within the work place.
Architects: Atelier Kempe Thill
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Architect In Charge: André Kempe, Oliver Thill, David van Eck
Design Team: Rafael Alencar Saraiva, Marcel Geerdink, Pauline Marcombe, Teun van der Meulen, Anja Mueller, Andrius Raguotis, Ruud Smeelen, Philip Stalbohm, Giorgio Terraneo, Roel van der Zeeuw
Area: 730.0 sqm
Photographs: Ulrich Schwarz
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.
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.
Cruz y Ortis, who famously spent ten years redesigning and renovating Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, have recently completed a comprehensive restoration of the adjacent Philips Wing. As an addition to the extensive exhibition spaces of the Dutch national museum, which was brought to completion in 2013, the Philips Wing will be dedicated to showcasing high-profile exhibitions from its own collection and on loan from international and national collections. Cruz y Ortiz’s work has consisted of reorienting the entrance, accommodating diverse new functions and preparing the exhibition rooms for the temporary expositions starting next month. Several twentieth century interventions have been set back and corrected, whilst other areas have been appropriated for a new destination.
See drawings and photographs of the new wing, including a description from the architects, after the break.
matterbetter has launched an international open-ideas competition for a Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) Memorial and Park in Amsterdam. MH17 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down near the Ukraine–Russia border on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
The competition, open to all architects and students, is initiated to remember and honor the victims of the MH17 tragedy. It is hoped that the memorial park could form a new public space, free from the political overtone, at the Marine Establissement site in the center of Amsterdam that could be used as a place for remembrance, ceremonies, recreation, and private gatherings The deadline for registration is December 10th, 2014. Learn more about how to participate here on the competition’s official website.