The Netherlands Builds in Brick is one of the latest exhibitions at Rotterdam’s Nieuwe Instituut (formerly the NAi). It seeks to modify the “assumed triumph of Modernism” in the interwar period, drawing upon two photographic collections from the Institute’s extensive archives. The exhibition has been curated to highlight that brick remained the favoured construction material throughout the advocacy of the Modernist movement, even for experimental construction.
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.
British architect David Chipperfield has been selected to receive the 2015 Sikkens Prize, one of the oldest independent art prizes in the Netherlands. The prize’s 36th recipient, Chipperfield is being recognized for his “revolutionary use of color,” much like his predecessors; Gerrit Rietveld, Le Corbusier, Donald Judd, HEMA and Bridget Riley have all received the Sikkens Prize.
According to the jury, “Chipperfield’s work on the Neues Museum in Berlin is a magnificent example of his way of working. Like no other he knows how to combine the old with the new. In his spatial compositions he achieves a delicate balance between color, material end texture. Chipperfield uses the colors provided by the architectural context and the building materials in an unemphatic yet expressive way.”
Inside Rotterdam’s Sonneveld House everything is in order: books arranged nearly on shelves, chairs tucked under tables, rugs set square on the bedroom floor. The house is a pristine tableau depicting what the interior would have looked like whilst inhabited by the eponymous Albertus Sonneveld and his family.
Yet something interesting lies underfoot, thanks to an intervention by Inside Outside that sees the entire floor of the home covered with a single, continuous mirror. Read more about the installation and view selected images after the break.
In 1954 British sculptor Henry Moore was commissioned to design and install a large wall relief into Joost Boks’ new bouwcentrum (Construction Centre) in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The project, pieced together with approximately 16,000 hand-carved Dutch bricks, stands as the sculptor’s only work completed in the humble material. In a short documentary film produced by ARTtube, architectural historian Wouter Vanstiphout narrates the fascinating story behind Wall Relief No.1.
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, one of the major changes within cities around the world has been the rise of so-called “privately-owned public space,” a development which has attracted the attention of many urbanists and is still being widely debated. However, for MONU Magazine, the increasing prevalence (and arguably, acceptance) of such privately owned spaces for public use gives us an opportunity to discuss another aspect of public space: interior urbanism. With the rise of the shopping mall and the increasingly diverse functions required by buildings such as libraries, interior spaces now resemble exterior public spaces more and more.
The following interview is an excerpt from the 21st issue of MONU Magazine, in which MONU’s Bernd Upmeyer and Beatriz Ramo interview MVRDV founder Winy Maas, discussing the concept of interior urbanism in the work of MVRDV, in particular in their Rotterdam Markthal, Glass Farm and Book Mountain projects.
Great movements in architecture are usually set in motion by a dull societal ache or as a response to a sudden, unforeseen reorientation of a community at large. The Dutch city of Rotterdam - vast swathes of which were cast into oblivion during the blitz of May 1940 – has been at the forefront of many shifts in approach to the built environment. It is therefore fitting that the latest exhibition at the Nieuwe Instituut (formerly the NAi), simply titled Structuralism, is being held in the city that was recently named Europe’s best.
Furthermore, Dutch Structuralism is a timely subject for Dirk van den Heuvel and the Jaap Bakema Study Centre (JBSC) in Delft to tackle. With major civic buildings like OMA’s extension to Rotterdam’s City Hall taking shape, it appears that a resurgence of Structuralist formal thought is appearing in the contemporary city. The exhibition seeks to shine a new light on the movement by uncovering drawings, models and texts which profoundly shaped 20th century architectural thinking.
A popular bicycle lane and public road that connects the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer has been impregnated with solar panels, making it the world’s first. The 70-meter stretch, serving 2,000 daily cyclists, was embedded with crystalline silicon solar cells encased within concrete and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass. It is expected to be extended an additional 100-meters in 2016, providing enough energy to power three households. More information, here.
A new exhibition and accompanying digital documentary on Cedric Price, a British architect, writer and educator who had a formative influence on architects such as Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Bernard Tschumi, is open in The Netherlands. The exhibition, curated by members of Bureau Europa, introduces the work of Price by “presenting a cross-section of the elements of his inventive and singular practice” through sketches, project drawings, recorded talks, and first-hand accounts by staff, colleagues and friends. In addition, a series of selected projects present his “innovative models for industry, education, government, tourism, ecology and the house.”
A team of students from Eindhoven University are set to build a forty metre high model of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia out of ‘ice’. The project, which follows their completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. The fifty-strong team will head to Finland on the 28th December 2014 to begin construction of the impressive 1:5 scale model, which will be built in only four weeks in order to officially open in the last week of January 2015.
Read about their unique construction method and see photos of the preparatory work after the break.
“Hey dad, when can I become an architect?” says Archie, son of eternally-frustrated architect Archibald, an animated architect who rarely wins an argument. “Architecture is not a final destination in time, it’s a journey through life,” Archibald says. His son’s response: “Great! I love traveling! When can I buy the tickets?”
“arch.” is a weekly online cartoon series by Mike Hermans, an Antwerp-based architect-cartoonist, that follows Archibald through the struggles architects know all-too-well: uncooperative models, angry clients, and periodic encounters with Tarzan, the jungle king. Archibald is a self-professed “visionary and romantic dreamer,” while his business partner Gerald is the anti-creative in a constant struggle to ground Archibald’s ideas in reality (hint: it doesn’t go well). In “arch.” study models have lives of their own, resisting modifications by the architect in favour of their own changes while meddlesome interns and junior architects attempt their own project modifications. Frank Gehry even makes a cameo appearance.
Watch the mini-series in full after the break
Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas’ earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”
The Dutch city of Rotterdam, often referred to as a hotbed of architectural activity, has been named as the best city in Europe by The Academy of Urbanism at the 2015 Urbanism Awards. Pitted against two other finalists – Aarhus in Denmark and Turin in Italy – the city has been praised for its “predominantly young, open, tolerant community that is embracing innovative architecture and urban design and new business models.”
Despite being a very closely fought battle, the Academy said that Rotterdam was a vote winner for its “unique approach to governance. Appointed for six years by central government, the role of mayor sits outside of political structures and with no portfolio, allowing greater engagement with citizens and businesses.” Steven Bee, Chairman of the Academy, said that “a long-term perspective, a high level of autonomy, strong leadership by the mayor and municipality, and strong partnerships between public and private sector, are all helping Rotterdam grow positively.”
Shift Architecture Urbanism has broken ground on the C-City (Creative City) museum district in Kerkrade. Host to the Netherlands’ first design museum and Europe’s first planetarium, the new district will be formed as an “urban ensemble defined by clearly recognizable volumes, all connected by a vast, underground public space.”
By the end of 2015, two new public facilities – Cube and Columbus – will compliment the existing and highly successful Discovery Centre Continium at the gateway of the city. Read on the learn more.
Cruz y Ortis, who famously spent ten years redesigning and renovating Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, have recently completed a comprehensive restoration of the adjacent Philips Wing. As an addition to the extensive exhibition spaces of the Dutch national museum, which was brought to completion in 2013, the Philips Wing will be dedicated to showcasing high-profile exhibitions from its own collection and on loan from international and national collections. Cruz y Ortiz’s work has consisted of reorienting the entrance, accommodating diverse new functions and preparing the exhibition rooms for the temporary expositions starting next month. Several twentieth century interventions have been set back and corrected, whilst other areas have been appropriated for a new destination.
See drawings and photographs of the new wing, including a description from the architects, after the break.
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.
On November 20-21, AMO is hosting a discussion event at the Venice Biennale focusing on the past, present and future of Dutch architecture in which 30 young architects will be invited to present their agenda for architecture in the Netherlands for the next 10 years. Over the course of the two days, each participant will present will deliver a 7-minute presentation looking at architecture in 2024 to answer the question “where will you be and will you be doing?” Find out more about the event, and how you can be a part of it, after the break.