Island with a View: Dutch Kitchen Incorporates Elegant Aquarium

Courtesy of Rene van Dongen

Amsterdam-based design firm Kolenik Eco Chic Design have released designs of their unique Ocean Kitchen, a transformative new take on residential space. The contemporary minimalist kitchen offers a moment of serenity to the viewer through the inclusion of a vast aquarium beneath the island’s countertop. Positioned as the architectural centerpiece of the space, the island in Ocean Kitchen gracefully animates the surrounding kitchen.

Immerse yourself in photos of Ocean Kitchen after the break.

Amsterdam is “Dirty, Filthy, and Too Full”

Dutch Canal . Image © James Taylor-Foster

Wim Pijbes, director of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, has declared in an open letter to the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad that the Dutch capital is “dirty, filthy, and too full.” Complaining primarily about the culture of short-stay accommodation, segways, scooters and canal cruisers in the historic heart of the city, he argues that “the charm and spirited character has long since faded.” Amsterdam, an apparent magnet for those who enjoy an “anything-goes atmosphere,” faces an uphill battle in order to remold a dwindling reputation.

Initiatives like Project 1012, which seeks to put a cap on (and even shut down) some of the brothels and marijuana ‘coffee shops’ in the city’s historic core, is part of a wide-reaching clean up campaign. For Feargus O’Sullivan however, “if Amsterdam loses its sense of license, its aura of permissiveness, and its immaculate order held in delicate balance, then it will lose some of its delight, its uniqueness – even its Dutchness.” Read his article in The Atlantic’s Citylab in full here.

Inside “Open: A Bakema Celebration” – The Dutch Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

“We consider Bakema not so much an architect of buildings, but an architect of a new idea of what Holland could be–a new national identity, a new national landscape…with an architect in the center of this particular ambition.” – Guus Beumer, co-curator of the Dutch Pavilion at the 14th Venice Biennale

Guus Beumer and Drik van den Heuvel, curators of “Open: A Bakema Celebration,” sat down to speak with us about this year’s Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. With the help of graphic designers Experimental Jetset, Beumer and van den Heuvel created an emblematic, stripped-down, research-focused display of a particularly Dutch idea: the “Open Society.” This was all conveyed within and around a 1:1 model of architect ’s Lijnbaan Shopping Centre ( 1954), constructed within the Netherlands Pavilion.

The hope, as Dirk van den Heuvel explains, is that “the elements of Bakema…may be useful, inspiring for our own practices today. Elements that he developed in questions to housing, planning, modernizing… I think when you come here you will recognize that there’s lots of affinities, interesting things that we still work with and that we will work with in the future.”

After you watch the video, make sure to read the curator’s statement, and see images of the pavilion, after the break.

The Dutch Royal Picture Gallery at The Hague to Reopen Following Extensive Renovation

Courtesy of Mauritshuis, The Hague. Image © Ronald Tilleman

The Mauritshuis, a Dutch 17th century city palace in The Hague, will reopen this week following a large scale renovation and extension designed by Hans van Heeswijk with servicing and fire engineering undertaken by Arup. Similar to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, which reopened after a ten year restoration and remodelling in 2013, the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery exhibits one of the finest collections of Dutch Golden Age paintings including Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring. Alongside a large scale renovation, Hans van Heeswijk have also extended the with new spaces, an auditorium and educational spaces.

Sam Jacob & Wouter Vanstiphout on Curating “A Clockwork Jerusalem”

The Mound. Image © James Taylor-Foster

The British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale takes the large scale projects of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s and explores the “mature flowering of British Modernism at the moment it was at its most socially, politically and architecturally ambitious but also the moment that witnessed its collapse.” The exhibition tells the story of how British modernity emerged out of an unlikely combination of interests and how “these modern visions continue to create our physical and imaginative landscapes.” To those who know the UK‘s architectural heritage, this cultural and social history is delivered in a way which feels strangely familiar, whilst uncovering fascinating hidden histories of British modernity that continue to resonate in the 21st century.

We caught up with Sam Jacob, co-founder of FAT Architecture (of which this exhibition is their final project), and Wouter Vanstiphout, partner at Rotterdam-based Crimson Architectural Historians, outside the British Pavilion to discuss the ideas behind, and significance of, A Clockwork Jerusalem.

© James Taylor-Foster

Dutch Students To Build Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia From Ice

Montage. Image Courtesy of University of Technology

A team of students from Eindhoven University are to build a forty metre high model of Antonio Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. The project, which follows the completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. Impressively, the 1:4 scale model will be built in only three weeks. Thin layers of water and snow will be sprayed onto large, inflated molds. The pykrete (water mixed with sawdust) will be immediately absorbed by the snow before freezing. According to the organisers, “the wood fiber content makes the material three times as strong as normal ice, and it’s also a lot tougher.” Find out more about the project here.

Harvard GSD Releases Video of Study Abroad Studio with Rem Koolhaas

via TheHarvardGSD’s youtube channel

“We encounter similarities and difference, but what we encounter more than anything else is how intensely all these seemingly stable elements are evolving in time. Sometimes with acceleration, sometimes with moments of stagnation, but actually they are constantly changing. So what seemed to be a look at the repertoire is actually turning into a look at how nothing is stable.” – Rem Koolhaas

The Harvard GSD has released a video from the Fall 2013 study abroad studio in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The who relocated to Rotterdam for last year’s fall semester worked on the “Elements of Architecture that will open in the Central Pavilion during the 2014 International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, Italy. Watch Rem and the students reflect on their research, after the break…

Venice Biennale 2014: Dutch Pavilion to Rethink the Open Society

Housing scheme Lekkumerend in Leeuwarden The Netherlands, 1962, collection Het Nieuwe Instituut, BROX_1337t339- 1, Van den Broek en Bakema Architects

This year for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Dutch entry Open: A Bakema Celebration will reflect on the idea of an open society through the work and research of (1914-1981).

The Dutch architect, identified as a “compelling exponent of the Dutch welfare state,” was a leading voice within the international avant-garde movements CIAM (International Congresses of Modern Architecture) and Team 10. Inspired by the belief that “architecture should accommodate the emancipation of the masses while allowing for the self-realization of the individual citizen,” his portfolio includes some of the Netherlands’ most important postwar projects, such as the shopping street Lijnbaan.

Rijksmuseum Revisited: The Dutch National Museum One Year On

Atrium, April 2014. Image © James Taylor-Foster

The Rijksmuseum, which reopened last year after a decade of restoration and remodelling, is a museum dedicated to “the Dutchness of Dutchness.” Pierre Cuypers, the building’s original architect, began designing this neogothic cathedral to Dutch art in 1876; it opened in 1885 and has stood guard over Amsterdam’s Museumplein ever since.

Over the centuries, the building suffered a series of poorly executed ‘improvements’: intricately frescoed walls and ceilings were whitewashed; precious mosaics broken; decorative surfaces plastered over; and false, parasitic ceilings hung from the walls. Speaking in his office overlooking the Rijksmuseum’s monumental south west façade, Director of Collections Taco Dibbits noted how the most appalling damage was incurred during the mid-20th century: “everything had been done to hide the original building […but] Cruz y Ortiz [who won the competition to redesign the Rijks in 2003] embraced the existing architecture by going back to the original volumes of the spaces as much as possible.” 

For Seville-based Cruz y Ortiz, choosing what to retain and what to restore, what to remodel and what to ignore were, at times, difficult to balance. Cruz y Ortiz found their answer in the mantra: ‘Continue with Cuypers’. They threw the original elements of the building into relief but did not act as aesthetes for the ‘ruin’. In contrast to David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap’s restoration of Berlin’s Neues Museum, for instance, Cruz y Ortiz rigorously implemented a clean visual approach that favoured clarity over confusion. What is original, what is restored, and what is new mingle together in a melting pot of solid, understated architectural elements. Sometimes this approach contradicted Cuyper’s original intentions; however, more often than not it complements them in a contemporary way.

Fire Station Doetinchem / Bekkering Adams architects

© Ossip van Duivenbode

Architects: Bekkering Adams architects
Location: Stokhorstweg 1, , The Netherlands
Design Team: Monica Adams, Juliette Bekkering, Perry Klootwijk, Esther Vlasveld, Frank Venhorst, Zuzana Kuldova, Pia Fischer, Stefania Masuino, Gerard Heerink, Magda Strak
Area: 3,600 sqm
Photographs: Ossip van Duivenbode

Rem Koolhaas’ Current Fascinations: On Identity, Asia, the Biennale, & More

Courtesy of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture, and Design, via Flickr

In this interview, originally published in The Architectural Review, Andrew Mackenzie sits down with founder Rem Koolhaas to discuss the Venice Biennale, the extinction of national identities, his fascination with Asia, the link between De Rotterdam and Delirious New York, and the future of the profession.

Your proposition for this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale asks whether national identity has been, as you say, ‘sacrificed to modernity’. Some might view this as a project of reclamation, not unlike Frampton’s regionalism. How would you differentiate your proposition from Frampton’s?

Well, Kenneth Frampton is a smart guy, but the problem is that he looked at regionalism as an antidote to cosmopolitan development. In so doing he perverted the cause of regionalism, because suddenly regionalism was mobilised as a private cause that it couldn’t sustain. However, the question of national identity is an open one. For instance, at first sight the Netherlands is a very internationalist country, but looking closely you can see an enormous return of, not vernacular, but quasi-vernacular architecture and quasi-old fortresses that are newly built with a national flavour. Look at Zaandam, and that huge assemblage of so-called vernacular buildings.

In OMA’s De Rotterdam, Furniture Transforms 60-meters into Multi-Functional, Versatile Space

’s De Rotterdam, a project 15 years in the making, is designed to maximize the number of functions possible in 44 floors. In addition to shops, hotels and office space, this “vertical city” also contains apartments that use transformable furniture to pack a variety of uses into small spaces. Chairs double as wall art and sofas flip into beds, showing that a 60 square meter apartment is more versatile than we think. 

Developer Wim De Lathauwer explains, ”Why would we only think in quantity of bedrooms and square meters, while many of these spaces are used only sporadically?…In we are simply not used to this way of thinking. De Rotterdam is the ideal project when it comes to maximizing the joy of every square meter. We deal with an audience who understands this and yearns for this extra quality. Even in the large apartments the office, wardrobe- and guest room are combined in one space. Actually, it is very logical.” You can see the dynamic furniture, designed by Clei Italia, in the video below. 

Read more about The Netherlands’ largest building here

Landlust ‘Care Farm’ / Architectenbureau K2

Courtesy of

Architects: Architectenbureau K2
Location: Diemen,
Design Team: Jan-Richard Kikkert, Judith Korpershoek, Peik Li Pang, Surya Steijlen
Area: 2,175 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Sjaak Henselmans, Monique Hagendoorn, Architectenbureau k2

The Berlage Public Events Spring 2014

The Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design have announced their public events for Spring 2014. The public events are part of The Good Life series, a multi-format program exploring the relationship of the built environment to collective pursuits, personal aspirations, and the contemporary world. It aims to reveal how—on different scales and in various cultural contexts—architecture and urban design can contribute and enrich societal livelihood.”

The lectures start this Friday, February 21 with Deane Simpson. March speakers include Hilde Heynen, Georges Teyssot, Sébastien Marot (who will also be giving a Master Class), Nicholas De Monchaux and Zeuler Lima. The Good Life series will continue on April and May with lectures by Jesse Lecavalier, Nicola Twilley, Daan Roosegaarde, Mirko Zardini, and Adriaan Geuze. Spring lectures will finish June 12 with Kengo Kuma.

For more information regarding each event, you can go to ’s official website.

Title: The Berlage Public Events Spring 2014
Website: http://www.theberlage.nl/events/calendar
Organizers: The Berlage
From: Fri, 14 Feb 2014
Until: Thu, 12 Jun 2014
Venue: The Berlage
Address: Julianalaan 134, Technische Universiteit Delft, 2628 BL Delft,

BIG, Kengo Kuma Among Four Visions Unveiled for ARTA Cultural Center in Arnhem

© with Allard Architecture

Four international teams have unveiled their shortlisted proposals in the final leg of a highly anticipated competition to design a new “cultural hotspot” on the edge of the Rhine. ArtA, the “catchy” new name of what was previously known as “The Arts Cluster,” is part of a larger redevelopment project for the City of which aims to reconnect the southern district of Rijnboog with its waterfront and establish a new home for the Focus Film Theatre and Museum

A sneak peak of the shortlisted proposals, after the break…

The Elastic Perspective / NEXT Architects

© Sander Meisner

Architects: NEXT Architects
Location: Buitenpolikliniek Carnisselande, Middeldijkerplein 36, DL , The Netherlands
Year: 2014
Photographs: Sander Meisner

House in Uitdam / Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten

© Moritz Bernoully

Architects: Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten
Location: ,
Year: 2013
Photographs: Moritz Bernoully

Rebel House / Atelier van Wengerden

© Yvonne Brandwijk

Architects: Atelier van Wengerden
Location: ,
Area: 77 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Yvonne Brandwijk