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February 16, 2015

A space module in a shopping mall

Filed under: Architecture,Art by Orangemaster @ 12:24 pm

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Dutch artist Rob Voerman has set up a silver space module artwork called ‘Into the Grid’ in the oldest shopping mall of the Netherlands and Europe, Presikhaaf in Arnhem, which is 50 years old this year. Presikhaaf was once a prize-winning bit of architecture, but is now semi-vacant.

Last week saw the big opening of Into the Grid with Bas Bron, member of Dutch electro group De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig and a whole bunch of children with silver coloured cardboard boxes as robot outfits.

The interactive artwork was commissioned by curator and founder Claudia Schouten of Motel Spatie A.I.R., which holds lectures about ‘engaged autonomy’ and urbanism.

(Links: 5uur.wordpress.com, www.motelspatie.nl, Photo 5uur.wordpress.com)

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January 23, 2015

Rotterdam firm to make twisted building in Vienna

Filed under: Architecture,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 10:06 am

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Rotterdam architectural firm MVRDV has won a contest to design a new skyscraper in Vienna by proposing a 110-metre tower with an “elegant, hourglass figure” that will reduce the impact of its shadow. The contorted form is said to prevent any of the surrounding blocks being in shadow for longer than two hours a day.

The initial comments on this building is ‘maybe it is possible to use too much glass’. The heat that will generate in summer would required specially treated glass, and ‘the bit about being concerned about shadow is creating a problem where there isn’t one’, although in some Asian countries like Japan it’s a huge deal.

MVRDV are well-known for other much talked about projects, including Rotterdam’s horseshoe-shaped market hall that will be getting a Jamie Olivier Italian restaurant soon, even though there are already two pasta places.

(Link and image: www.dezeen.com)

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January 19, 2015

Belgium’s tough city of Charleroi shot for Dutch film

Filed under: Architecture,General,History by Orangemaster @ 1:48 pm

Charleroi

Anyone who has been to Charleroi, Belgium knows its particular mix of worn and torn houses, industrial greyness and general sadness that is contagious if you stay there too long. The city has a reputation for crime and violence, but has many good sides related to food, culture and even sightseeing if you give it a fair chance. However, it is a huge contrast to other nicer and possibly more economically sound Walloon cities like Namur and Liège, and surely like nothing you’ll ever find in the tidy, shiny Netherlands.

The film ‘Bienvenue à Charleroi’ (‘Welcome to Charleroi’) was shot by Dutch director Jelle Dijkstra and his good friend co-director and co-editor Derk Zijlker.

Charleroi was voted ‘ugliest city in the world’ in 2008 by readers of Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. High unemployment, crime and poverty rates, political and social scandals, abandoned factories and ghost undergrounds all contributed to this negative image.

Watch the film here and find out for yourself if it’s really that bad (English subtitles). At 5:59 there’s a sign in French that roughly reads ‘Life isn’t easy when what you see is black’ (as in being depressed).

(Link: www.vice.com, Photo of Charleroi by Gerard Stolk, some rights reserved)

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January 4, 2015

Gamers build life-size Amsterdam in Minecraft

Filed under: Architecture,Online by Orangemaster @ 4:33 pm

Minecraft

Started in May 2013, but currently gaining momentum, a bunch of Dutch gamers have decided to build a large part of Amsterdam on a 1:1 scale in Minecraft using Google Maps and Google Earth.

“People called us crazy when we decided to build our own City Amsterdam on 1:1 scale. We started out with a giant map we built with World Painter. After that the building begun.” The group has completed Central Station, Dam Square and the Nemo museum and have about 90% more to go.

If you want to help out, ‘hop into the creative server’, say the makers on www.planetminecraft.com and start building typical Dutch Amsterdam houses.

(Link: www.at5, screenshot: www.planetminecraft.com)

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October 22, 2014

Simple and soothing time lapse film of Dutch cities

Filed under: Architecture,Film by Orangemaster @ 12:39 pm

“In ,’7685 Frames of Netherlands’, filmmaker Pengcheng He documents the beauty of the old cities of the Netherlands in a charming series of tilt-shift time-lapses. He shot the video in Delft, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.”

Many people don’t see Rotterdam as one of the old cities, mainly because few old buildings were left in the city after the WWII. Delft and Amsterdam join cities like Haarlem and Nijmegen as old cities.

Amsterdam’s IJ river ferries kick it off, then the Stopera, but I’ll let you play guess the city on your own because I could possibly describe the entire video location by location (yes, that is a bit scary) having lived extensively in all three cities. Sometimes, the film even has a miniatures feel to it.

(Link: laughingsquid.com, Photo of Rotterdam, KPN building by Roel Wijnants, some rights reserved)

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October 14, 2014

Stones adorning hotel could fall down at any time

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 3:03 pm

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Loose stones on the façade of the DoubleTree hotel in Amsterdam next to Central Station has been called a ‘life-threatening situation’ in a report obtained by newspaper Telegraaf this week. In fact the hotel director is suing project developer MAB who built the hotel three years ago for 140 million euro. The long story short is that the stones aren’t set properly and could very well fall and injure people – or worse.

For all of you in Amsterdam, I suggest not walking the busy route from the hotel to the city library (OBA). Sure, probably nothing will happen, but you don’t want to be the one who gets hit by a falling stone. At the time of writing this, the English-language press was still quiet about the news.

(Link: www.dichtbij.nl, Photo of DoubleTree Hotel Amsterdam by ptc24, some rights reserved.

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September 29, 2014

Exploring the Dutch World Expo building in Hanover

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 1:16 pm

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Here is the Dutch pavilion of the 2000 World Expo in Hanover, Germany, or rather what remains of it.

MVRDV from Rotterdam designed the building to showcase how water, wind and will power combine to form the Netherlands. The tallest building of the expo at 36 metres featured five different landscapes on five different floors. The fourth floor symbolised a water landscape and had walls of water. The other floors didn’t have walls at all. The third floor carried the top two with columns made from oak stems.

Last week Der Spiegel visited the expo grounds to see what happened with the buildings countries had erected there:

The wild forest on the third floor of the Dutch pavillion is Sylvia’s favourite spot. This afternoon the 15-year-old has gone again to the graffiti riddled ruin which is called the “Holländer” by the citizens of Hanover, a building that looks like a monstrous parking garage with stairs on the outside.

To urban explorers like Sylvia [and her friend Kai] the exposition grounds are like a playground. Adventurers come here all the time—to explore what is left behind of the World Expo, to spray, to party, to make love.

Initially there were plans to keep the Dutch building in use. In 2003 a centre for renewable energy was going to be housed in the building, but a backer pulled out citing health problems. Another plan was to use it for a shrimp farm! According to Archined in 2010, the owner probably wouldn’t mind if the building collapsed on its own — much cheaper than having it torn down. The building permit for the oak columns ran out in 2005.

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See the Spiegel article for more photos of the exposition grounds or search Flickr.

(Photos: the ruins in 2009 (top) by Matthias Hensel, some rights reserved; and the Dutch pavilion during the expo (bottom) by Sommerci, some rights reserved. Link: Z24)

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September 3, 2014

Drone film of Amsterdam’s metro goes viral

Filed under: Architecture,Film by Orangemaster @ 1:08 pm

We might as well be able to fly through the North-South line in 2014 because we can’t use the metro yet, although it was originally scheduled to be ready in 2011, then again in the summer of 2014, which also didn’t happen. Construction started in 2002 and the new current completion date is 2017.

Studio MAD made a promotional film for Thales Group Netherlands, which supplies access ports and ICT for public transport. It features a drone going the entire length of the North-South tunnel that runs under Amsterdam Central Station, which was one of the major hiccups of the project.

“The images were partially filmed with a camera under the drone, while the other part was filmed with a camera mounted on our ‘Skyglide’ rig. Our cameraman sat at the front of a bicycle to shoot, but the drone was controlled by a company with the license to fly one.”

(Link: www.dutchnews.nl, Image: Benthem Crouwel Archtitects)

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September 2, 2014

Touring the euro bank note bridges in Spijkenisse

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 11:36 am

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In 2011 we reported about pedestrian bridges resembling euro bank notes in Spijkenisse near Rotterdam and that they would be built at the same time as the neighbourhood they connect to downtown Spijkenisse.

The fictional bridges were designed by Austrian engraver Robert Kalina while the real bridges were designed by Dutch designer Robin Stam. The neighbourhood is still being built, but the six bridges are all there. Read on to find out why there are only six bridges although there are seven bank notes.

I happened to be working at the Spijkenisse Festival this year, which was held next to the new area. As I toured the grounds with my morning coffee, I noticed a bright yellow bridge. I looked around and saw some more coloured bridges, then realised I was staring at the ‘euro bridges’.

Below are photos of all the bridges which I took with a smartphone between two rain showers. Apparently the Japanese have a thing for these bridges, hence the prominence of Japanese on the sign (above).

On the far left of the neighbourhood there’s the 500, the 50 and the 10 bridge, and half a kilometre away on the far right of the area there’s the 100, the 5 and 20, and the 200.

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The bridge depicting the 5 euro note has the bridge of the 20 euro note on the other side, the only bridge with a dual function. The 5 comes close to its grey bank note, and the blue is brighter than its legal tender counterpart.

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The 10 euro bridge is more burnt sienna coloured than red, but it looks nice that way.

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The green of the 100 is subdued. Since most shops don’t accept anything more than 50s, I don’t see 100s very often as they are inconvenient.

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You can’t miss this yellow bridge depicting the 200, which stands out from the rest.

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The 500 bank note bridge reminds me of the Martinus Nijhoff cable bridge near Zaltbommel, Gelderland, but magenta.

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August 11, 2014

A sunken kitchen and letting all the sunlight in

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 9:35 pm

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An 85-year-old apartment in Amsterdam was recently redesigned by MAMM Design of Japan to provide maximum sunlight for an apparently non-Dutch family of four, which explains the very bright white walls.

The sunken kitchen is quite nifty, creating more space vertically, and by taking away stairs, walls and a part of the upper floor, the designers managed to get sunlight to spread all over the house. Although it looks a lot like an office space in the pictures (see link), I’m still impressed by what this Japanese firm did to a Dutch flat, considering how well they deal with small spaces themselves.

(Link and Photo: www.dezeen.com)

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