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 OMA 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 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 The Netherlands we are simply not used to this way of thinking. De 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 The Berlage’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 , 2628 BL ,

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

© BIG 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: Uitdam,
Year: 2013
Photographs: Moritz Bernoully

Rebel House / Atelier van Wengerden

© Yvonne Brandwijk

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

Erasmus Pavilion / Powerhouse Company + DeZwarteHond

© Christian van der Kooy

Architects: Powerhouse Company + DeZwarteHond
Location: Rotterdam,
Project Leader: Stefan Prins
Partners In Charge: Nanne de Ru, Willem Hein Schenk
Area: 1,800 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Christian van der Kooy, Rene de Wit

Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Glass

To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we’ve rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: . Check out the projects after the break…

Mirror House, Almere / Johan Selbing + Anouk Vogel

© Jeroen Musch

Architects: Johan Selbing, Anouk Vogel
Location: De Eenvoud, ,
Area: 120 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jeroen Musch

OASE #91: “Building Atmosphere” With Peter Zumthor and Juhani Pallasmaa

Courtesy of OASE

In OASE’s 91st editionBuilding Atmospheres, the elusive craft of creating, capturing and understanding ‘atmosphere’ in architecture is explored in a carefully chosen collection of themed essays by Peter ZumthorJuhani Pallasmaa and philosopher Gernot Böhme. Zumthor, famous for his 1996 text Atmospheres, identifies and discusses “a series of themes that play a role in his work in achieving architectonic atmosphere”. Alongside this, the OASE team have visited his studio and interviewed him about the current relevance of his writing and how he captures ‘atmosphere’ in his design process. 

AD Interviews: Ben van Berkel, UNStudio on London’s Canaletto Tower

Ben van Berkel. Image © Inga Powilleit

ArchDaily recently spoke to Ben van Berkel, co-founder and principal architect at UNStudio, an international network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure based in the Netherlands. The office, which was founded in 1988, has completed projects around the world ranging from Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. With over 81 built projects, and 54 currently in progress (including Raffles City in Hangzhou and Scotts Tower in Singapore), ’s Canaletto Tower (which is due to be completed in 2015) marks the practice’s first major project in the UK.

VIDEO: Bunker 599 / RAAAF + Atelier de Lyon

Bunker 599, one of 700 secret bunkers that were used to weaponize artificial hydrology in during the 19th century (see: New Dutch Waterline), recently underwent a radical transformation. RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances], in collaboration with Atelier de Lyon, sliced through the seemingly indestructible bunker to link visitors to an existing network of footpaths, create a publicly accessible attraction to those revisiting the NDW, and form a dramatic connection with the flooded plains that were altered more than 200 years ago.

The video above takes you through the process of altering the monolith, ending with film of the stunning result that has been attracting thousands of daily visitors since its completion. To learn more about the project, follow this link.

Villa Sterk / Inbo

© Auke van der Weide

Architects: Inbo
Location: , The Netherlands
Design Team: Eerde Schippers, Olof Schonewille, Fokke de Vries
Area: 470 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Auke van der Weide

Museum de Fundatie / Bierman Henket architecten

© Joep Jacobs

Architects: Bierman Henket architecten
Location: Blijmarkt, , The Netherlands
Architect In Charge:
Year: 2013
Photographs: Joep Jacobs