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Willem Dudok: Meet the Father of Dutch Modernism

Willem Marinus Dudok (6 July 1884 - 6 July 1974) was one of The Netherlands' most influential Modernist architects. Formally trained as an engineer, Dudok spent his formative years designing military barracks for the Dutch forces, and his time with the military has been credited with the development of his early linear style, though he was known to borrow elements from Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie school of architecture. Dudok's architectural legacy is undeniable: with a career spanning several decades, his portfolio encompasses nearly all civic buildings in Hilversum, along with a series of projects in Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Paris, among others.

More than forty years after Dudok's death, Dutch journalist Peter Veenendaal has produced two videos documenting the architect's best projects, both in Hilversum: Town Hall and the Sports Grandstand. Serving as sequels to Veenendaal's documentary "City of Light" which delved into Dudok's design for retailer De Bijenkorf in Rotterdam, the videos highlight Dudok's impressive eye for form and linearity.

Check out Veenendaal's videos and find out more about Dudok's influential architecture after the break 

MVRDV's Reflective 'Wunderkammer' in Rotterdam is Given the Green Light

Rotterdam will soon have a new cabinet of curiosities to add to its collection of architectural icons. For many years the city's Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, originally established in 1849, has required a safer space to house its world-class collection of painting, sculpture and prints – a collection which is said to have a total value of €7billion ($7.5billion). Last week the Municipality of Rotterdam voted in favour of the building’s construction and, with zoning approved, "the world’s first fully accessible art storage facility" is now slated to open its doors in 2018.


Loft Office / jvantspijker

  • Architects: jvantspijker
  • Location: Delfshaven, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Design: jvantspijker urbanism architecture research
  • Design Team: Jaakko van ’t Spijker, Paul van den Bergh, Julio Gil, Casper Aussems
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: René de Wit

© René de Wit © René de Wit © René de Wit © René de Wit

Conference: 'Research on Display: The Architecture Exhibition as Model for Knowledge Production'

The Jaap Bakema Study Centre's second annual conference, entitled Research on Display: The Architecture Exhibition as Model for Knowledge Production, will begin next month in Delft and Rotterdam (The Netherlands). Featuring presentations and discussions from members of universities around the world—including Ghent, Valencia, London, Warsaw, Paris, Michigan, Yale, Oslo and Zürich—the two-day programme seeks to examine what it means to curate architectural research.

MVRDV Transfer Early Work to the Archives of Rotterdam's Nieuwe Instituut

Rotterdam-based practice MVRDV have begun a transfer of their early work, spanning fifteen years from 1993 to 2008, to Het Nieuwe Instituut — the central architecture archive of The Netherlands. This collection, which will eventually be made available to the public, will be in the institute's first primarily digital donation (approximately eight terabytes of data) and consisting of material from 400 of the practice's 680 total projects, including the Villa VPRO, the Silodam in Amsterdam, and the Markthal Rotterdam, as well as unrealised projects such as Meta City Datatown, Pig City, and 3D City Cube.

Puddle-Free Parking: New Absorbent Surface Swallows Water Instantly

Perhaps the only material on the architectural market known for its "thirst," ultra-porous concrete is being hailed as the future of urban water runoff management for warm climates. The emerging material reached mainstream popularity in recent weeks thanks to a viral video depicting an apparently ordinary car park absorbing an inordinate amount of water; 1.2 million views later, the video has ignited debate on viability and possible uses for water-absorbent concrete. 

Ultra-porous concrete is gaining a foothold thanks to extensive research being conducted by architects and engineers around the world. Known for its rainy climate, daring use of innovative materials and unorthodox architecture, it comes as no surprise that the Dutch city of Rotterdam has embraced water-absorbent concrete for testing.

Courtesy of Rainaway Courtesy of Rainaway Courtesy of Rainaway Courtesy of Rainaway

MVRDV's Markthal Rotterdam Wins European Property Award

MVRDV’s Markthal in Rotterdam has received a High Commendation in the category of “Mixed-Use Architecture” at the 2015-2016 European Property Awards.

MVRDV's Markthal PR Campaign; Or, How We Learned the Price of Chicken

Becoming "the Sistine Chapel of Food" required a lot of invisible hard work. As Rotterdam's Markthal turns one year old, MVRDV's Head of Public Relations and Business Development Jan Knikker reflects on how the PR and media hype around Markthal Rotterdam was organized. This article is also supplemented by an interview conducted by ArchDaily with Winy Maas and Jan Knikker, which connects the parallel lines of the building's design and its PR campaign.

If I say that this is a PR story will you believe a single word? Markthal Rotterdam is a PR story with astonishing results: since its opening by queen Maxima in October 2014, our office MVRDV has nearly doubled in size to 110 staff members and it’s still growing. We - and The Financial Times - call it the “Markthal Effect”. In the first year the building reached over 8 million visitors, more than the Eiffel Tower, Bilbao Guggenheim or Tate Modern. 800 articles were published worldwide. It was hailed as a Sistine Chapel for food, a symbol of urban renaissance, a cool place to go. With the roughly 4 million visitors that came from outside of Rotterdam, the city saw its tourism grow.

How did that happen? It would be an easy assumption to think that a great building naturally attracts this kind of attention. But it all started quietly. In 2004 developer Provast and MVRDV won the competition with a plan that resembles the current design, except with one big difference: the colorful art piece which brightens up the inside of Markthal was at that stage also all over the outside facade. In any other city that would have lead to an instant protest movement against the zeppelin hangar covered in a gigantic fruit wallpaper. But not in Rotterdam. Public awareness started only once the construction became noisy.

© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Ossip van Duivenbode © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee

Winy Maas and Jan Knikker on Markthal, PR, Awards and Architecture Media

Today marks one year since Queen Máxima of the Netherlands opened MVRDV's Markthal in Rotterdam to great public fanfare. In the 12 months since this event, the building has come to be recognized by the architectural establishment as being among the most important of MVRDV's designs. Perhaps more interestingly though, it has become widely popular among the general public - on Google you can find references to "Rotterdam's Sistine Chapel" in a variety of languages, and articles about the building have appeared in publications everywhere from Colombia to Vietnam.

MVRDV Head of Public Relations and Business Development Jan Knikker's article, published today on ArchDaily, shows that this widespread recognition was not accidental; it was the result of a widespread and comprehensive PR strategy initiated by MVRDV and carried out by a team that included every one of the building's major stakeholders. It's a fascinating and provocative tale that offers an insight into one of the least trusted facets of architectural practice. However, it also largely ignored one important element that undoubtedly contributed to the building's popularity: its design.

In order to connect the two parallel lines of Markthal's design and its PR campaign, we spoke to Knikker and founder of MVRDV Winy Maas to talk about Markthal, PR, awards and architectural media. Read on for the full interview.

© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Nico Saieh © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee

Five Films to Watch at the 2015 Architecture Film Festival in Rotterdam

It's only logical that Rotterdam, one of Europe's leading cities for architecture and architectural practice, has a biennial film festival. Since its inception in 2000, the city's homage to architectural cinema now claims to be the biggest architectural film festival in the world. Featuring over one hundred international documentaries, feature films and shorts—as well as debates, lectures and seminars—this year's festival plans to "provide a podium for discussing the city and future of spatial development." From cinematic journeys into the world of the illusive Böhm family to Zaha Hadid, Chinese ghost cities to London's Barbican estate, this year's programme circles around the theme of the Global Home.

With the eighth incarnation of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) opening next week (running from the 7th - 11th October 2015), we've selected our five top picks from this year's schedule.

Smog Vacuum in The Netherlands Turns Carbon Waste into Jewelry

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaarde, in collaboration with Environmental Nano Studios and professor Bob Ursem, has created the world’s largest smog vacuum cleaner in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Dubbed Smog Free Tower, the 7-meter-tall vacuum acts as a filter that uses patented “ozone free ion technology” to clean 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour using only minimal wind and electrical energy.

Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde

'What is The Netherlands?' Exploring the World Expo at Rotterdam's Nieuwe Instituut

Now at the halfway point of the six month long World Expo in Milan, in which 145 countries are participating in a concentration of national spectacle surrounding the theme of "feeding the planet," Rotterdam's Nieuwe Instituut (HNI)—the centre for architecture in the Netherlands—is exhibiting an altogether more reflective display of national civic pride.

Rotterdam, which was blitzed and decimated during the Second World War, is a place well suited to host an exhibition whose underlying theme centres on the fragile, often precarious notion of national self-image. Following the war Rotterdam was forced to rebuild itself, carving out a new place on the world stage and reestablishing its importance as an international port. Now, seventy years later, Rotterdam is a very different place. In demonstrating just how delicate the construction of a tangible national identity can be this latest exhibition at the HNI offers up a sincere speculative base for self-reflection.

A chronology of chairs presents a brief history of Dutch seating at the World's Fair. Image © Peter Tijhuis Diagrammatic model by AMO of the 1970 Osaka pavilion by Carel Weeber and Jaap Bakema. Image © AMO Where the inner ring focuses on a dialectic between governance and lyricism, the second ring presents a selection of artefacts from the respective pavilions. Image © Mimmink The second (outer) ring features emblematic found objects  of Dutch innovation at the World's Fair. Image © Peter Tijhuis

Pop Up Luggage Space / TomDavid Architects

  • Architects: TomDavid Architects
  • Location: Holland Amerikakade 699, 3072 MC Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Architects in Charge: Tom van Odijk, David Baars
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Ossip van Duivenbode

© Ossip van Duivenbode © Ossip van Duivenbode © Ossip van Duivenbode © Ossip van Duivenbode

Casa F / PEÑA architecture

© Maarten Laupman © Maarten Laupman © Maarten Laupman © Maarten Laupman

“City of Light”: The Story of Willem Dudok’s De Bijenkorf Rotterdam

Produced by Dutch journalist Peter Veenendaal, City of Light is a documentary that covers the design, construction, and social effects of Willem Marinus Dudok’s De Bijenkorf in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. De Bijenkorf opened in Rotterdam in 1930, and after barely surviving the Second World War, it was destroyed in 1960 to make way for a Metro Station and a new store designed by Marcel Breuer and largely forgotten. City of Light presents Dudok’s shopping center as an important model for retail architecture that came about during the formative years of the shopping mall, and includes interviews with historians, former employees, and local enthusiasts to bring the building back to life.

Despite being relatively unknown today, Dudok’s De Bijenkorf was important not only for the architectural community, but also for the city of Rotterdam. In Veenendaal’s documentary, architectural historian Herman van Bergeijk remarks that at the time of its construction, De Bijenkorf was the “largest and most modern department store in Europe." The store was immensely popular with locals; according to the video over 70,000 people visited on opening day to explore the building, and over time, it became an icon of Rotterdam's growing commercial success.

McDonald's Pavilion on Coolsingel / mei architects and planners

© Jeroen Musch Courtesy of Mei architects and planners © Ossip Van Duivenbode © Jeroen Musch

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.