Benetton Competition / Scheurwater + Hoven

Benetton Competition / Scheurwater + Hoven

In addition to the Benetton competition providing participants with the possibility to redefine the influence of retail in an urban landscape, the competition also provided participants with the choice to design “Building A” or “Building B”. While we shared some of the winning proposals for Building A (Grzegorz Witold Woronowicz and Giuseppe Iodice), we now share Maarten Scheurwater and Oliver van den Hoven‘s proposal for Building B, which placed second in the competition.

More about the winning proposal after the break.

The competition is interesting because although the two buildings are independent, with their locations about 800 meters apart, their programmatic requirements and square footage are identical.  As with Building A, the competition clearly expressed the need for the 12 level building to be formatted in this manner: the underground levels must provide parking and storage space; the ground and first floor (1200 m² each) must be subdivided into 3 commercial units, the second to fourth floor (900 m² each) are designate for office space; the fifth and sixth floors (675 m² each) are for office facilities; and the seventh floor (675 m²) will be apartments.

“The Benetton competition brings together two seemingly conflicting domains: the dynamic world of fashion on the one hand and the static domain of architecture on the other. The central objective of this project is to design a timeless building for an industry that creates new collections and appearances every season,” explained Scheurwater.

For Scheurwater’s proposal, a projected volume roughly covering the entire site is split into two parts: a cube and a thin slab.  The void adds an intimate shopping experience for those passing by to become attracted to the entrance area marked by the two split forms.   This small space creates a welcoming environment to combat the massive form.  ”The programme in the competition brief implies a thinning from the base upwards. This thinning is purposely internalized in this project by means of a large void that gets larger towards the higher levels,” explained the architect.  By keeping the thinning effect internal, the structure maintains it massive silhouette throughout the levels.

Most of the facade features a curtain wall design with 4mm thin slabs of local Persian marble mounted on the outer glass panel of the curtain wall.   The facade creates a translucent feel as light and shadows glow through the marble to highlight the openness and lightness of the interior.  The facade does not only create an interesting environment at the street level, but also carries those same properties through its higher levels.  The filtered light “renders the beautiful textures in the marble and brings calm and character…to this inner world”.  As the light intensity changes throughout the day, so to does the appearance of the facade.  During the night time, the light from the office spaces, shops and apartments filters through the facade in different directions to light the structure “like a lantern that can be distinguished from as far as the elevated highway and further to the South.”

Scheurwater van den Hoven Architecten Maarten Scheurwater Olivier van den Hoven

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Cite: Karen Cilento. "Benetton Competition / Scheurwater + Hoven" 07 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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