November 27, 2015

Westland bat bridge wins architectural award

Filed under: Animals,Architecture,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am


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.

(Links:,,, Photo:

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November 22, 2015

Studio RAP uses robot to build large organic wooden ceiling

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Branko Collin @ 3:20 pm


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.

(Photo and video: Studio RAP; link: Dezeen)

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November 19, 2015

Arnhem picks up concrete award for train station

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 1:25 pm


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.

(Links and photo:,

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October 22, 2015

The Couch, a combined grandstand and clubhouse

Filed under: Architecture,Sports by Branko Collin @ 2:52 pm


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..

(Link: Arch Daily, Photo: MVRDV)

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October 7, 2015

National holocaust monument becomes glass house

Filed under: Architecture,History by Orangemaster @ 6:38 pm


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.

(Link:, photo

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October 2, 2015

Van Nelle in Rotterdam gets its own coin

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 11:51 am


Former coffee, tea and tobacco factory Van Nelle in Rotterdam is getting its own coin, the fourth in the Dutch UNESCO coin series. The factory is also the 10th Dutch site to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a list that also includes Utrecht’s Rietveld Schröder House and the Kinderdijk windmills in South Holland.

British-Dutch designer Kianoosh Motallebi was inspired by the building’s characteristic style and the goods it traded. Acclaimed architect and photographer duo Robertson and Yerbury called it ‘a poem in steel and glass’, while Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier once praised its ‘purity and uncompromising clarity’.

Three different versions of the coin are available, a Proof .900 fine gold €10 coin (1,500 coins), a Proof .925 fine sterling silver €5 coin (12,500 coins, shown here) and a Brilliant Uncirculated silver-plated copper €5 coin (250,000 coins). The coin features King Willem Alexander on one side and the factory on the other.

If you travel by train to Rotterdam from Amsterdam or Leiden, you can see the factory on your left, on the Delfshavense Schie waterway.

(Links and photo:,

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September 20, 2015

Sleeping in a life-size sand castle hotel

Filed under: Architecture,Design,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 9:27 am


Inspired by European ice hotels, two pop-up hotels (‘zandhotels’) made out of very 1000 tons of compact sand have opened in Oss, Noord-Brabant and Sneek, Friesland, which are already fully booked for this year. However, you can visit the one in Oss until 28 September and the one in Sneek until 4 October during nearby sand sculpture festivals.

The hotel’s basic structure is made of thin walls, covered inside and out with reinforced sand for sturdiness, while basics such as the shower, bathroom and bed are made out of normal materials.

Some media are calling it a world first, we’ll stay in our sandbox and call it a Dutch first.

(Links and photo:,

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August 18, 2015

Evoluon architect Leo de Bever dies

Filed under: Architecture,Science,Technology by Branko Collin @ 3:59 pm


One of the most remarkable buildings of Eindhoven is the former science museum of Eindhoven, Evoluon. The building was designed by architect Leo de Bever who died last Friday, and ‘light architect’ Louis Kalff.

De Bever came from a family of architects responsible for many buildings in Eindhoven. He worked on banks, hospitals and schools all over Noord-Brabant. De Bever studied architecture at the Academie voor Bouwkunst in Tilburg and at Cornell University, Ithaca, USA. In 2007 he and his brother Loed sold their architecture business to Leo’s son Stefan and to Heleen van Heel.

The Evoluon building housed Philips’ science museum from 1966 to 1989. When Philips started with cutbacks in the 1980s, Evoluon was, as a non-essential part of the home electronics giant, a logical victim. Keeping the exhibit up-to-date was considered costly and was highlighted as an important reason to close the museum. Since then Evoluon has operated as a conference center, but its lasting futuristic appeal has not gone unnoticed. In recent years, Evoluon was home of Kraftwerk concerts, Tedx conferences and science exhibitions.

De Bever died aged 85.

(Photo by Daniel Volmer, some rights reserved)

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August 4, 2015

Church roof terrace artwork divides opinions

Filed under: Architecture,Art by Orangemaster @ 5:20 pm


Japanese artist Taturo Atzu, internationally renowned for his temporary art projects that touch upon monuments, statues and architecture, has transformed the historic weather vane and small roof turret of the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam by constructing a roof terrace enabling people to gaze at the city below.

Entitled ‘The Garden Which is Nearest to God’, Atzu’s first public project in the Netherlands, the artwork provides a unique chance to see Amsterdam, which otherwise would not be possible. The roof terrace is open until September 6.

However, not everyone is happy with having ‘artwork’ attached to this national monument, least of all the Friends of the Oude Kerk Foundation who have it out for the church’s director. Well-known Dutch author Geert Mak said that the church should not become the plaything of some art elite, while composer Elmer Schönberger said the church provided one of the ‘oldest silence of the Netherlands’, which this artwork, although temporary, has taken away.

(Links:,, Photo:, Tip: John)

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July 24, 2015

Cleaning up Amsterdam is not a good thing

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 3:47 pm


A metro line that’s eight years overdue and counting, ugly late twentieth century buildings already being demolished and questionable clothing brands: downtown Amsterdam is too crowded with tourists and the prices are going up, pushing the locals out.

Urban and architectural geographer Mark Minkjan compares Haussmann’s clean up of Paris’ in the nineteenth to what is happening in Amsterdam today:

The city wants to get rid of its famous Red Light District, which lies just a few metres behind the Red Carpet [Damrak, as you step out of Central Station]; the number of coffee and tourist shops is being confined. In virtually all urban situations, temporary creative projects are parachuted-in to imperfect places to attract new audiences and new investments. It signifies the direction in which Amsterdam is going: it’s on its way to becoming an incredibly liveable, comfortable, clean and pretty city; but of course, the cost is its soul.

Grab a beverage and give the link below a read.

(Link:, Photo by Flickr user Taver, some rights reserved)

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