Mecanoo has unveiled its design to transform The Soestdijk Estate into Eden Soestdijk, “an experimental garden for a sustainable society and a paradise destination for all” in The Netherlands. In an effort to become an educational tool for environmental awareness, the project aims to make a significant contribution to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“The world is facing pressure from increasingly larger and more complex problems when it comes to water, food, climate and energy,” said Anton Valk, chairman of the Eden Soestdijk foundation. “Eden Soestdijk wants to tackle these problems and contribute to a more sustainable society by stimulating and inspiring visitors to change their behaviour in a positive way.”
An architectural greenhouse behind the palace gardens will be the centerpiece of the project, and will house an interactive exhibition focusing on topics like circularity, ecological balance, and social aspects of sustainability.
Mecanoo architecten and MAYU architects+ have won a competition to design the new Tainan Public Library in Taiwan. Their winning design "represents the meeting of cultures, generations and histories," says the architects. It will feature an inverted stepped facade that houses reading rooms, special collections, study spaces, a children’s area, café, conference hall, a 200-seat auditorium, and public courtyards.
“While not final, these renderings demonstrate the amazing possibilities as we work to transform this historic building into a center for learning, innovation and engagement for the District,” says the D.C. Public Library. Updated images and more information about the design, after the break.
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.
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.
The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) has announced five design teams invited to submit proposals for the Xiqu Center, which will be the first landmark building within Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. Serving as the main theatre and Team House, the Xiqu Center will form the gateway into the £1.7bn, Foster-designed masterplan once it is complete towards the end of 2015.
Mr. Louis Yu, Executive Director, Performing Arts stated, “There has been a fantastic response to our plans for the Xiqu Centre from design teams from across the world. We are working hard to find the right team to work with to fulfill our ambitions. The shortlisted teams will meet with representatives of the Chinese opera artform, engaging with stakeholders so we can conceive together a world-class building for Hong Kong and for the development and promotion of this important form of Chinese cultural heritage.”
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.
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.
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.