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.
The New York Public Library has revealed the first renderings of Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle’s renovation of the NYPL’s Mid-Manhattan Library at the corner of 5th Avenue and 40th Street, diagonally across from the library’s main branch, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Bryant Park. The $200 million project will increase seats, expand services and add public space to the building, which receives 1.7 million annual visits and constitutes the NYPL’s largest circulating branch.
“New Yorkers will soon have the central circulating library that they need and deserve,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “This library will transform lives by providing books, classes, and programs for New Yorkers of all ages, and it will transform our city – as it will be a model for how libraries can strengthen communities.”
Mecanoo has unveiled the designs for the new Ede Wageningen Train Station in the city of Ede in the Netherlands, after winning the competition for the design of the project in 2014. As a gateway to the Veluwe National Park, the transport hub is designed to support future expansion in response to growth in passenger numbers.
Inspired by the local Veluwe landscape—its topography, typologies, and existing buildings and monuments—the Station building is nestled in the slopes of the moraine between the Veluwe Massif and the Gelderse Valley.
The wooden clock tower and roof of the project serve as the station’s hallmark. Consisting of a series of wooden triangles, the roof cascades over the bicycle parking, retail space, and other station facilities, ending as the overhang of the main entrance and connecting all quadrants of the hub in a uniform manner.
The University of Manchester’s Mecanoo-designed engineering campus has received planning permission from the Manchester City Council, greenlighting the £350 million project. The Manchester Engineering Campus Development is part of the University’s campus masterplan, meant to bring together a multidisciplinary engineering and scientific community and to consolidate the University’s campus around Oxford Road. The project is one of the largest single construction projects ever undertaken by an institution of higher education in the United Kingdom. MEC Hall, the main building of Mecanoo’s development, is 195 meters long.
Mecanoo has unveiled plans for the Namdaemun Office Building in Seoul. The tower takes its name from the Namdaemun Market, the oldest and largest market in South Korea, which is next to the ancient southern gate of the city. Opened as a government managed marketplace in 1414, the market is now an important 24-hour destination for trade and tourism. The slim 14-story, 5,900 square meter (65,000 square foot) building rests on a corner opposite the commercial activities of the market.
A new cultural center designed by Mecanoo, located in the Longgang district of Shenzhen, China is currently under construction and is set to top out by end-April. With the goal of revitalizing an existing park-square, the new complex includes a variety of programs such as a bookshop, an art museum, a youth center, and a science center. The nearly 100,000 square-meter building is set to open to the public in 2018.
New York City's Van Alen Institute have announced four new members—Haptic Architects, Mecanoo, Studio Libeskind, and Trahan Architects—to their International Council, a platform for exchange among leading architects, designers, developers, and planners. Furthermore, Jing Liu (SO–IL), Kim Herforth Nielsen (3XN), and Raymond Quinn (Arup) have joined its board of trustees to help guide the organisation's cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and design competitions.
In "People, Place, Purpose," the latest monograph of her Delft-based firm Mecanoo, Francine Houben explores the unique work which has enabled the firm to take their place among the world-renowned pantheon of Dutch architects. In the following excerpt from the book, Herbert Wright presents an introduction to the monograph and the themes running through Mecanoo's work in general, breaking down an architecture that is defined not by style or ego but by three overarching responsibilities - and perhaps a dash of color.
On a computer screen, architects can move virtual walls around with just a few clicks, but surely only superheroes can shift an actual wall around physically with their bare hands? So it was quite a surprise, while standing in the Saint Mary of the Angels Chapel in Rotterdam, to see Francine Houben, founding partner of Mecanoo, do precisely that. After some gentle fussing and tidying around the lectern and candles where the priest conducts ceremonies, she walks to a wall, and puts her hands firmly to it. It recedes to let in the sound of tree branches swaying in the wind passing through the cemetery outside.
"The building should be about the journey of learning," Mecanoo's founding partner and creative director Francine Houben told the New York Times. "Maybe you come in for a book but also take lessons in English."
Mecanoo has unveiled plans for a new £350 million engineering campus for the University of Manchester. Known as the "Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD)," the project will be the UK's largest, single construction endeavors ever conducted by a higher education institution.
"The campus will help demonstrate how UK engineering is one of the most creative industries in the world – a key feature on the ground floor of the main hall will be a dedicated ‘maker space’ which will provide dynamic workshops for students and academics to share ideas and innovate," says Mecanoo.
The medium of film has long been employed to visualise, document and narrate architectural and urban space. Since the advent of more accessible devices to capture and record these journeys and explorations it has been used more frequently by practices and students in an attempt to develop new ways of experiencing built designs. #donotsettle, a YouTube channel established by two architects and urban enthusiasts while studying at TUDelft in The Netherlands, seeks to reconcile the disparity between film as architectural representation and as an experiential medium. Although not high in production value, their films are exciting examples of how user-oriented architectural 'vlogging' can uncover an entirely new way of understanding the world around us, imbued with a refreshing level of enthusiasm and authenticity.
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.
The RIBA and the BBC have partnered to screen a series of interactive online films in the final week leading up to the announcement of the 18th RIBA Stirling Prize. As the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, given annually to “the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture over the past year,” the shortlist has garnered worldwide attention. Although the ultimate decision lies in the hands of a jury, headed by British architect Spencer de Grey, the BBC will host a public vote which is available as of today.
Mecanoo, in collaboration with engineering consultancy Movares, has been chose to redevelop the Ede train station in the Netherlands. An important entry for the city and Veluwe National Park, the design hopes to transform the station into a “showpiece” and vibrant center for the Veluwse Poort.
“The vision of the design is defined by an unobtrusive appearance; the natural environment serves as a starting point for the characteristic materialization that connects the buildings and the station square, emphasizing the area’s built identity,” described Mecanoo.
In an article for the New York Times, Alexandra Lange discusses a number of US projects which are "transforming, but not disrupting," their respective communities. In this vein, she cites Mecanoo and Sasaki Associates' new Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, Boston, as a prime example of a new kind of architecture which "comes from understanding of past civic hopes, redesigning them to meet the future." Examining some of the key concepts that make for successfully integrated community buildings, such as the creation of spaces that actively forge personal connections, Lange concludes that perhaps it is now "time for strategic architecture."