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June 30, 2014

Futuristic bicycle bridge connects city to nature

Filed under: Architecture,Nature by Branko Collin @ 8:36 am

bridge-groene-verbinding-provice-south-holland

The A15 motorway south of Rotterdam is not a nice road to cross if you are a pedestrian or cyclist. Eight lanes of terrifying motorized menace are bordered by a double railway on one side and another road on the other.

To help you escape the city without having to play a game of humanFrogger, this bridge, which appears to have come straight from the set of a science fiction film, was built earlier this month. All 190 metres of it connect the city of Rotterdam to the nature preserve of Rhoon.

The bridge, called ‘De Groene Verbinding’ (‘The Green Connection’) was designed by Marc Verheijen, an architect employed by the public works department of Rotterdam. If you want more photos and information, Mark Wagenbuur has an extensive write-up including pictures and videos.

The photo above comes from the Province of South Holland who have also dedicated a page to the bridge.

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April 14, 2014

Dig in with Nijmegen and uncover something Roman

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 11:03 am

From 14 April to 18 May, the city of Nijmegen, Gelderland, the oldest city in the country and synonymous with Roman ruins, is inviting its citizens to come and dig up some finds with archaeologists. You’ll need a ticket to join in the merriment, 10 euro for 2 hours of excavation. All kinds of related events (in Dutch) for children and adults alike are also being organised.

The excavation is to take place on a site belonging to the Honig food corporation, where remains of a 2000 year-old temple have been found. Archaeologist Kees Brok says people have expressed interest in joining in, so that’s why they’ve turned it into a fun group activity.

I doubt anyone can keep what they find though, but it’s a good way to get the job done fast and learn something.

(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo: BOOR, Rotterdam)

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February 13, 2014

Rietveld Schröder house in Utrecht gets immortalized in Lego

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 1:53 pm

Rietveld-lego

British Lego fan Nick Barrett, who is into making his own creations with Lego, has completed a lovely version of the famous Rietveld Schröder house, located in Utrecht, including its interior and furniture, Rietveld design chairs and all.

Tons more pics by Barrett of the house here.

Have a gander at other Lego creations we’ve written about:

(Link: www.duic.nl, Photo by Nick Barrett)

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February 12, 2014

Rotating house in Tilburg attracts homeless people

Filed under: Architecture,Art by Orangemaster @ 2:16 pm

Since the opening of this artwork by John Kormeling back in 2008 there have been homeless people living in it, even though it’s not a proper house.

In 2009 some angry welfare recipient had to be removed by the fire brigade from the roof, and last December someone wrote ‘waste of money’ on the roof, while in 2008 someone has written ‘a food bank would be better’.

The rotating house cost 348,000 euro, which apparently many people thought was an expensive use of tax payers’ money. It seems to me that since the artwork looks like an overpriced house (as in for 348,000 clams in Tilburg you’d get something bigger) has made it an easy target.

(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo: Stinkfinger Producties)

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February 1, 2014

Stormy weather for world’s “most beautiful book store”

Filed under: Architecture,Literature by Branko Collin @ 1:10 pm

bookstore-maastricht-teemu-maentynenThe twenty Dutch book stores of the Polare chain have closed their doors—temporarily, they say.

Initial reports said that the closure came about because Centraal Boekhuis, the shared depot of most book stores in the Netherlands, refused to deliver any more books until Polare paid its bills. According to nu.nl however Central Boekhuis has resumed delivery of books to Polare. The closure came as a surprise to the distributor.

Whatever the real reason behind Polare’s action is, it seems clear that the chain is in trouble.

Punters have started producing explanations for the bad weather Polare has found itself in. The Internet is a big bogeyman according to Z24′s Thijs Peters. Regular customers are buying books on the Internet and students who were automatically referred to Polare’s predecessors at the start of the academic year, now buy their text books on-line.

In NRC competing book store Athenaeum gets plenty of space to explain Polare’s alleged downfall. Manager Maarten Asscher calls Polare “too big to succeed”. “If you want ‘the complete book store’, you go online. When customers go to a brick and mortar store, they go there for the inspiration and for professional and thoughtful advice. You don’t need 3,000 square metres of floor space for that.”

Polare was born last year out of the merger between Selexyz and De Slegte, the latter being a chain of second hand book stores. If you ask me, what got Selexyz into a spot where they had to merge with another floundering chain was its late entry to the Internet, not helped by having a name that is difficult to spell and therefore to google.

One of Polare’s constituent stores is situated in a former Dominican church in Maastricht and was called the most beautiful book store in the world by a British newspaper in 2008. If you are having trouble recognising the irony: the word is more popular than ever, but the pulpit? Meh.

(Photo by Teemu Mäntynen, some rights reserved; more pics of the church turned book store can be found here)

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January 23, 2014

Housing corp charges top dollar for slums in Amsterdam

Filed under: Architecture,General by Branko Collin @ 11:19 pm

jeruzalem-amsterdam-google-street-viewThe Rochdale housing corporation is using a legal loophole to charge top rents for slums in the Jeruzalem neighbourhood of Amsterdam, Parool reports.

The houses in question have a floor area of only 32 square metres and lack both central heating and insulated glazing. Until two years ago these were rent-controlled houses for which a tenant would pay 300 euro a month. But the neighbourhood was designated a monument in 2010—the first neighbourhood built since World War II to receive that status in Amsterdam—and the law allows a corporation to add 50 points to the points system that determines whether a property is rent-controlled or not.

Rochdale now charges at least 712 euro for the houses on the free market. The corporation admitted to Parool that “the houses are indeed in a bad state,” and added that it needed to generate more income.

This is not the first time Rochdale made headlines. In 2009 it fired CEO Hubert Möllenkamp who had been living the life of an Italian renaissance prince, using the company credit card for private expenses, driving around Amsterdam in a company Maserati with blue license plates for taxis (meaning he could drive where other people aren’t allowed), accepting bribes and, according to Rochdale, improving his own pension plan.

(Illustration: Google Street View)

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December 23, 2013

Look behind 94 gables of KLM’s Delftware houses

Filed under: Architecture,History by Branko Collin @ 10:43 am

sterke-verhalen-mark-zegelingLast October Mark Zegeling published a book called Sterke Verhalen voor bij de Borrel (tall tales to drink to) in which he explores the houses that KLM’s famous Delftware replicas are based on.

Dutch airline KLM gives away small Delftware bottles (produced in Hong Kong) to its business class passengers on long-haul flights. These bottles are shaped like classic Dutch houses and filled with jenever. So far 94 of them have been produced and now someone has written an extensive book on the history of the real houses that form the basis of KLM’s gifts.

Bol.com describes the book as follows: “[it] combines the best anecdotes and tallest tales about the life behind those gables. [...] It discusses William of Orange’s closest friends, Rembrandt’s sales techniques, Mata Hari’s bed, a golden treasure in a garden and human fat as a miracle cure. [...] Illustrated using more than 1,700 photos and paintings from various museums.”

The book appears to be self-published and is available, amongst others, from the author’s website.

Earlier we wrote about a KLM website which also tells the story of the airliner’s Delftware houses, although the site does so (from what I can tell) in less detail than the book.

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December 16, 2013

Marleen Sleeuwits’ photographs redefine office spaces

Filed under: Architecture,Art,Photography by Branko Collin @ 8:57 pm

interior-27-marleen-sleeuwitsAs I was leafing through last year’s talent issue of FOAM magazine, I must have been a little too literal minded because when I saw photos by Marleen Sleeuwits titled Interiors, I originally thought she had found interesting looking office spaces that she’d ‘merely’ photographed.

Then I looked a little closer at Interior #27 (shown here) and realised the brown lines were actually box-sealing tape. It turns out she builds these interiors herself and then photographs them.

Sleeuwits told FOAM Magazine about what initially attracted her to interiors as a photographic subject: “I began work [on a series about airports] after watching a documentary about a businessman who travelled the world for his job. [...] One day he woke up in his hotel and had totally forgotten where he was. Looking out of the window didn’t give him any clues. He had to check his diary to find out. [Airports and suburban spaces] almost seem designed to disorientate.”

And on her website: “They are spaces that lack a connection with the outside world, so it is unclear what their function is, where they are and what time of day they were photographed. [...] Here lies a paradox: the spaces that catch my attention are in some sense non-spaces. Lacking a clear function or any reference to the outside world, they are in the end nothing but spaces.”

Sleeuwits’ agent, the Liefhertje en de Grote Witte Reus gallery in The Hague, will be showing off her work at the Art Rotterdam art fair during the weekend of 6 – 9 February 2014.

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November 12, 2013

Dutch architect designs house with a 360 degree view

Filed under: Architecture,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 1:12 pm

Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Amsterdam, known internationally for projects such as his building to be built using a 3D printer, has designed a house with a 360 degree view (video).

Inspired by the Russian game Tetris, Ruijssenaars thought up a row house made of blocks placed in such a way that every room has a different view of outside instead of just being able to see out the front or out the back. His idea was based on a building contest in Peru in 2009 which was about increasing density. By having more people use the same space, he was able to increase the density as well as the quality of the residences.

It remains to be seen who will be the first to build these houses. And although different, they do remind me of Habitat 67 in Montreal by Moshe Safdie.

(Link: www.telegraaf.nlPhoto of Tetris cookies by Rakka, some rights reserved)

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October 28, 2013

A nice house in the dunes

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 10:12 am

Dutch architects Jetty and Maarten Min of Min2 collaborated on a home in Bergen, North Holland they had built for themselves.

“The design includes a stunning arched rooftop, exposed tree-trunk columns, and clay tiles on the walls. The home offers breathtaking views of the surrounding dune landscape, particularly on the upper levels which offers large windows so the occupants can soak it all in.”

(Link: enpundit.com, Screenshot: min2.nl)

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