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.
Mecanoo have shared with us a behind the scenes look at their upcoming exhibition at Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum, entitled People’s Palaces. Presenting some of the Dutch practice’s recent public buildings, such as the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize nominated Library of Birmingham and the Maritime and Beachcombers Museum in Texel, the Netherlands, the timing of the exhibition also celebrates the company’s 30th anniversary. Founded in 1984, Mecanoo continues to develop a strong reputation for libraries, as well as cultural spaces and performance venues. This exhibition specifically traces the impact of Mecanoo’s public buildings on local communities.
Dutch based practice Mecanoo, nominated for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize for the Library of Birmingham, have begun work on vast cultural centre in Shenzhen marking their first project to break ground on Chinese soil. Comprising of a large public art gallery, a science museum, a youth centre, and a book mall, the 95,000 square metre development will strengthen Longgang District’s identity by “providing citizens and visitors with a renewed sense of place.” Forming a dynamic link between the high-rise of the city’s commercial district and the open spaces of Longcheng Park, the four sculpted forms emerge from the ground to create a series of arches and sheltered spaces to facilitate public events.
See the full set of images and an illustrative film after the break.
Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has named Mecanoo architecten and Martinez + Johnson Architecture winners of a competition to reinvent Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by the legendary architect. The Netherlands- and D.C.-based team aims to resurrect the neglected building by improving “Mies in a contemporary Miesian way.” This includes opening up the boxy interiors to enhance flow and increase natural light and, most dramatically, sculpting two rooftop terraces by topping the historic landmark structure with a four-story, mixed-use addition.
We will keep you posted with more details as they come available. In the meantime, scroll through the renderings and presentation that landed Mecanoo and Martinez + Johnson the commission, after the break.
Francesco Veenstra, one of six partners at the Dutch practice Mecanoo and Lead Architect on a number of major projects in the United Kingdom, recently spoke to Mies. UK about the practice’s approach to design and their unique take on sustainability. Having recently completed a major public building in Birmingham (which was put to the vote and won the AJ’s 2013 Building of the Year), and with more in the pipeline, the practice’s international outlook is growing. How has the practice’s design methodology and core ideas influenced this success? Read more after the break.
Knowledge and Cultural Square Winning Proposal / Mecanoo Architecten + Code Arkitektur + Buro Happold
Just this Monday, Kongsberg City Council announced that Mecanoo Architecten, together with Code Arkitektur and Buro Happold, won the design competition for a Knowledge and Cultural Square in the center of Kongsberg, a former mining town about 75 kilometers southwest of Oslo, Norway. The project comprises of a design for a cultural and teaching building totaling approximately 24,000 m², and includes future expansion of other functions, such as student housing, sports facilities and businesses. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed by Mecanoo Architecten, the new building of the Calvijn Christian comprehensive school in Barendrecht just celebrated its topping out earlier this week. The 9,000 square-metre Calvijn Groene Hart site offers all forms of secondary-school education for roughly 1,250 pupils. The school building will come into use at the beginning of 2013. More images and architects’ description after the break.
This year’s Daylight Award, a prestigious prize awarded by the Living Daylights Foundation that honors projects that reach an optimum result in combining daylight, artificial light and design, has been given to the Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers’ Museum on the Dutch island of Texl. Designed by Mecanoo Architecten, one can almost feel the weather because of the transparency of the building, according to the jury. “Sun, clouds, thunder and rain: outdoors comes inside as perception and emotion and this is a core quality for a building with the Wadden Sea at your doorstep.” More images and architects’ description after the break.
The design for Onze Droomschool by Mecanoo Architecten focuses on human scale and security as its key concepts. By splitting the building up into a family of little brick houses it reflects the typical saddleback roofs found in the vicinity of the school. The new 5,322 m² school, which began construction last month, rings together education, care and medical science. In addition to classrooms the building will house practical training studios, a mediatheque, music studio, sports centre and an outdoor Johan Cruijff court for soccer and basketball. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Mecanoo recently won the commission to design a new primary school in Mill, the Netherlands through a European procurement competition in combination with Giesbers-Wijchen Bouw. The 4,200 m² school building will be the new home for primary schools De Kameleon and De LenS, and houses a preschool, day and youth care and a youth and family center. Construction is to begin in 2013 with doors opening at the end of the summer in 2014. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Mecanoo Architecten shared with us their design for the Rio 2016 Olympic Park, which will be the heart of the games. It was important to the architects to change the current paradigm, which opposes the real state logics to the public space quality, to a new one focused on the city’s sustainable development. Subdivided in programmatic bands in the direction north-south, the design is separated from each other by streets for cars and pedestrians. Therefore, this structure will determine the public character of the Olympic and Para-olympic Park, making it a vital part of the city, with lively public spaces and mixed-uses instead of a sectorized, monofunctional area. More images and architects’ description after the break.
We are pleased to bring attention to the book Dutch Mountains that focuses on Francine Houben from Mecanoo Architecten and her inspiring work that spans the globe. We have featured Mecanoo Architecten before and you can see them here. Houben came to architecture like many great young architects who are driven by social idealism. “Uplifting the people, contributing to quality of life—that was the great goal.” Among being named Business Woman of the Year in Netherlands in 2008, Houben still works for social idealism. Houben says about her Birmingham library, “I want to create cohesion among the ethnic diversity of the city and the traces of its industrial past.”
Opening in 2013, the Library of Birmingham will be a major new cultural destination, rewriting the book for 21st century public libraries. Designed by international architects Mecanoo, the Library of Birmingham will be located in the city’s Centenary Square. Recently, the author of the architectural videos blog shared with us his time lapse video of the building.
Architect: Mecanoo architecten
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Client: University of Amsterdam
Structural engineer: ABT bv, Delft
MEP Engineer:Ingenieursburo Linssen b.v., Amsterdam
Acoustics consultant: DGMR, Arnhem
Cost consultant: Basalt Bouwadvies bv, Nieuwegein
Project management: Arohnsohn advising engineers, Rotterdam
Photographs: Courtesy of Mecanoo architecten
On Thursday 29 September 2011 at 6:15 pm Jan Nieuwenburg, councillor of education in the city of Haarlem, will open the exhibition, ‘From Crèche to Campus – Mecanoo’s educational buildings, present and future’ in the ABC Architecture Centre in Haarlem, the Netherlands. This exhibition presents the educational buildings designed by Mecanoo Architecten analysed and placed in perspective against the backdrop of changes in society, ideas about education and the status of schools. The exhibition is open until November 27th. More information on the exhibition after the break.