Hundreds of fans of British comedy legend John Cleese huddled in the cold today to greet the man who played a bowler hatted civil servant working for the The Ministry of Silly Walks. Handshakes and autographs were handed out by the 76-year-old actor, invited by Studio Giftig to officially open the renovated Dommel tunnel where graffiti artists have painted all kinds of references to the famous Monty Python sketch.
Cleese showed up in some sort of Australian slippers with no socks, having said that nobody would show up to such a ‘meaningless event’, but he was apparently surprised by all the fuss. Cleese didn’t perform any silly walks himself, also claiming he never was a fan of the sketch in question. Don’t let that rain on your parade and watch the full sketch.
A few days ago, the fanciest shopping street of Amsterdam, the PC Hooftstraat, inaugurated a glass façade at the Chanel shop, attracting a lot of attention from passers-by. The creators, Rotterdam studio MVRDV, apparently used pioneering glass technology to replace the brick front of a former townhouse with a transparent replica.
MVRDV explains that the glass bricks are held in place with a transparent high-strength glue, and the construction is in many ways, stronger than concrete. Higher up the building, the glass elements merge with the original brickwork to create the illusion of a dissolving wall. Every change in daylight can now be seen, and the sun changes the aspect of the façade.
“Until the 1950s, the PC Hooftstraat was a residential street, and slowly turned into a shopping street with big brand names and foreign tourists. Eventually it plans to become as famous as the Champs-Élysées in Paris or the Ginza in Tokyo, but for now it is still busy transforming itself from provincial shopping street to international shopping street.
Already operational last month but recently opened by city officials, the Zorgvlied crematorium in Amsterdam features a unique teepee shaped building that has room for cremations and an audience watching the cremation – a Dutch first.
In fact, the design of the place was all about giving bereaved families and friends a chance to be with the dearly departed right until the end. The upwards swirling style of the crematorium gives the impression of going towards the heavens.
Cremation is more popular than burials in Amsterdam, for reasons of space and functionality, and its popularity continues to increase. Budget surely plays a role in this as well.
You can actually visit the crematorium on Sunday 29 May and Sunday 5 June between 12:30 and 17:00, follow the link below for more details. Last Sunday attracted 400 people curious to see what it looks like.
As of this month and until the end of June 2016, The Netherlands will hold the presidency of the European Union. The lucky Dutch government is said to be working on “migration and international security, sound finances and a robust eurozone, Europe as an innovator and job creator and forward-looking climate and energy policy”, which sounds like a long wish list. In reality, they’re stuck with the refugee crisis and negotiating concessions to keep the UK in the EU.
Amsterdam firm DUS Architects has created the Mobile Europe Building made from 3D-printed bioplastic and a tensile fabric structure in order to create “a sculptural façade” for the building where serious EU meetings will take place, located in the marine area downtown. It has a ship and water theme to it as well – how very Dutch. Although built to host the Dutch presidency meetings, it will move onto Slovakia for the second half of the year as its name implies.
A new school building in South Amsterdam, the Kindercampus Zuidas completed in October 2014, was pushed 30 metres further before the holidays to its proper place next to the first part of the same building in order to become one, as originally planned.
The first part of the Kindercampus was built at the right place behind a sports hall, so that children could have their urgently needed school and day care. Once the sports hall was destroyed, the second building was pushed into place 30 metres further, a tough task that required a specialist. It took 20 hours to move the one million kilo building 30 metres. The move was delayed due to high winds at one point. Depending on the sources below the fastest speed was either 2 or 3 metres an hour.
Nothing was removed from the school when they pushed it. The kids (click and scroll until you see them) were given a complete explanation by the director of the operation and were able to watch some of it from a higher nearby building. I like how the Dutch called him the ‘school-pushing director’.
Why didn’t the city destroy the sports hall earlier to avoid all these extra costs? Because the temporary sports hall, the ‘bubble hall’ where coincidentally I trained at for a few months, was only ready in September 2014 and the Kindercampus had to be delivered by October 2014.
Here’s a time lapse video of the unusual operation:
Last October the ‘Vlotwatering bridge’ or ‘bat bridge’ was opened in a nature area called Westland in South Holland, designed by NEXT Architects of Amsterdam and picked up an ARC15 Detail Award, given to them unanimously by the jury. The bridge is in Monster (yup, a Dutch town) and it was applauded for its ‘eye for detail and attention to biodiversity’.
According to NEXT Architects, the bridge was designed to house bats in as many ways as possible. The bridge has three specific bridge components that provide roost for different bat species throughout the entire yea, intended to constitute the ideal habitat for various species of bats, so that a large colony can grow around the bridge.
Earlier this year Rotterdam-based ‘architectural design and fabrication studio’ RAP built an indoor office at the InnovationDock in Rotterdam using software to calculate how a single central column could help support the weight of the 120-square-metre wooden ceiling.
Wooden panels were then sawed and drilled by a robot arm. At least that is what I think it says on their project page:
The Skilledin Office is an innovative indoor-office built in the InnovationDock (Rotterdam, NL) for the Port of Rotterdam. Its organic design balances program constraints and digital load-bearing optimization and fabrication possibilities.
The roof spans 120m2 with the largest span being 8m. It was constructed from 230 unique 37mm thick Metsäwood panels, directly milled from custom fabrication software with a refurbished ABB Robot at RDM Makerspace. All 3.200 Rothoblaas screws were robotically pre-drilled based on a parametric model of the final design.
After ages of construction work and trying to find one’s way through and around during the construction, Arnhem’ Central Station is being officially opened to the public this afternoon. It was designed by Amsterdam’s UNStudio who spent almost two decades working on this modern train and bus station with a heavy use of really big metal pillars and seriously twisted concrete. In fact, architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio wanted to use even more concrete, but the city considered it too risky.
The concrete itself won the station the ‘Betonprijs 2015’ (‘Concrete Award 2015’), so it’s safe to say enough concrete was used to make a splash.
Tennis Club IJburg in Amsterdam has 10 clay courts, a tennis school, 1,100 members and now also a clubhouse designed by MVDRV for an undisclosed amount of money.
The clubhouse cleverly doubles as a roofless grandstand that seats 200 people. One wonders if MVDRV was perhaps a little inspired by a classic football stadium in their home town of Rotterdam, Het Kasteel (The Castle), which also has stands dipping around a space with windows.
The building was officially opened in August. The clubhouse has a bar, seating areas, and, to the side, dressing rooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, and storage space.
IJburg is new land, which allows the Dutch a rare opportunity to experiment with lots of fresh architecture in one place..
The green and white wooden house is one of the last remaining buildings at Kamp Westerbork, a WWII Nazi transit camp in Hooghalen, Drenthe where Dutch Jews, Sinti and Romani stayed and were readied for transport to Nazi concentration camps elsewhere. German Jewess Anne Frank passed through there as well in her final months before being transported back to Germany. The house was declared a national monument in 1994.
Intended as a memorial to WWII, the large glass box creates a vitrine-like enclosure around the clapboard residence of SS commander Albert Konrad Gemmeker. According to Oving Architecten from Groningen, it will both preserve the structure and be used to host educational events.