Deltawerk //, which opened September 27th, is envisioned as a “tribute to the majesty and seemingly indestructible power of the Dutch delta works,” shedding new light on the “practice of preserving cultural heritage.”
In the practice of historic preservation, there is often a temptation to turn a building into an object on display—meticulously restored, unchanging, physically isolated—in order to remove it from the flow of history. The multidisciplinary Amsterdam-based studio Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) situates itself in opposition to this method of dealing with architectural remnants. Instead, it proposes to make history tangible by altering these decaying structures in a way that makes their stories plainly visible. The practice has a name for this approach—"hardcore heritage."
Amsterdam-based Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) and Atelier de Lyon have revealed designs to reimagine one of The Netherland's monumental "tribute[s] to the majesty, and seemingly indestructible power, of the Dutch Delta Works." The works themselves—a network of dams, sluices, locks, dykes, levees and storm surge barriers in South Holland—have collectively been described as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Deltawerk 1:1 is an intervention examining the practice of the preservation of cultural heritage by inserting a new structure within Waterloopbos, the former Dutch Hydrodynamics Laboratory.
Few have ever considered what the Giardini—the park of national pavilions for the Art and Architecture Biennales in Venice—is like during the winter months. In light of the fact that, during their "off-season," the gardens are often left in a state of disrepair,RAAAF—a Dutch multidisciplinary studio based in Amsterdam, alongside architect Marcel Moonen—have proposed a series of installations in an attempt to "reclaim valuable public space" which sits at the heart of an often overcrowded city.
Whether it's a bisected war bunker, an office space that forbids sitting down or a hulking yet ultimately purposeless machine of war, the chances are that if you've seen a project by RAAAF, it provoked some questions. But while their work may appear merely idiosyncratic, it is informed by a deep understanding and questioning of culture. Originally produced and published by Freunde von Freunden as "Experiments In Spatial Dynamics: RAAAF," Leonie Haenchen delves into the architecture and philosophy that drives the unconventional Dutch practice.
It’s pouring without mercy, but at Soesterberg Airbase this is highly appreciated. “We like this weather,” says Ronald Rietveld, co-founder of RAAAF, as he greets us at the entrance of what appears to be an enormous post-apocalyptic amusement park. “The rain suits this atmosphere much better.”
RAAAF stands for Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances, which doesn’t really prepare one for what’s revealed behind the doors of Shelter 610. A monstrous arthropod made out of steel with two spindly legs stares vacuously out of its white glassy eyes. Every attempt to name this mechanical being fails, it merely appears as a collision of past and future—science fiction in flesh and blood. “Everything we do should be an in-the-moment experience, something that people can feel physically. If this object was only presented on paper, it would simply not be as strong,” says Ronald and grins mischievously. “I am sure you will still remember this moment in five years.”
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 concrete 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.
The winners of the 2013 AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture have been announced! The awards, presented by The Architectural Review and now in its 15th year, have seen "projects from locales as diverse as Bloomsbury and the Himalayas." This year over 350 entries were discussed by four esteemed judges, including Sir Peter Cook, and have led to four winners who will share a prize fund of £10,000. See both the four winning entries and the ten highly commended schemes after the break...