A new building in Utrecht, adjacent to the Hoog Catharijne shopping mall, is getting strange reactions from locals. Passers-by recently called the police claiming the building looked like it was about to crumble, and the police apparently cordoned off the area.
Getting divorced? Now you can split your house in half instead of inconveniencing all your friends and family with the gamble you took on a major life decision in the first place. Amsterdam’s Studio OBA’s ‘Prenuptial Housing’ offers a solution for marriages that end up in divorce.
The design consists of two prefabricated units that look like one – a bit like your marriage at some point. The building is made from lightweight carbon fibre elements and a semi-transparent wooden layer that enhances the unity – a bit like your marriage at some point. When couples feel they are drifting apart, the house initiates a ‘break up’ by detaching the two units which then go solo on the water – a bit like your divorce.
Rotterdam architectural firm Kraaijvanger has built the new city hall in Venlo, which claims to have the greenest façade in the world measuring two thousand square metres.
A greenhouse above the building purifies the air and can deliver heat to the entire building. The green façade purifies air from the nearby road and railway. According to Kraaijvanger, tests in labs of the Eindhoven University of Technology have proven that the façade filters 30% of nitrogen and carbon dioxide from the air.
As well, the building has applied many sustainable techniques such as using the parking garage to either warm up the air or cool it down, depending on the weather. It also catches and filters rainwater before flowing back into the Maas river and makes optimal use of daylight.
First Rotterdam Central Station had the giant staircase built by architectural firm MVRDV that goes from the station’s plaza all the way to the top of Rotterdam’s ‘Wholesale trade building’ (‘Groothandelsgebouw’), and now the entrance to Rotterdam’s Central Station’s metro has piano stairs as well.
The whole piano stairs affair started in Stockholm, and now there are quite a few of them around the world. Apparently, more people will take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift if they can make music, 66% more as was the case in Stockholm.
Rotterdam’s piano stairs, which will remain for one year, are pre-programmed with Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’, although you can compose your own number. Rotterdam alderman Hugo de Jonge would have rather had ‘You’ll never walk alone’, but then said the programming sounded a lot more difficult that you’d think. “The idea is to get people to smile when they use the stairs”.
Right outside Rotterdam Central Station, architectural firm MVRDV has built a giant staircase that goes from the station’s plaza all the way to the top of Rotterdam’s ‘Wholesale trade building’ (‘Groothandelsgebouw’), a monumental building right next to the station.
The structure pays tribute to Rotterdam’s rebuilding efforts during WWII and will remain open to the public until June 12, 2016 between 10am and 10pm. Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV explains that “this installation shows what this city could look like if we do that in many places, engaging a series of our existing buildings and giving access to their roofs, to create a new, much more interactive, three dimensional and denser urban topography for the next city generation.”
The staircase has 180 stairs and is 29 metres in height once you’re on the roof where there’s a temporary observation deck overlooking Rotterdam, a city that actually has skyscrapers. There’s also a rooftop cinema open especially for the event that offers a wide variety of films, debates and performances.
The Rozet building in Arnhem has been nominated for the RIBA International Prize of the Royal Institute of British Architects alongside 29 other buildings from around the world.
Designed by Neutelings Riedijk architects and opened by Princes Beatrix in 2013 when she was no longer queen, the Rozet is a cultural centre that houses various cultural and educational institutions such as the public library, the Volksuniversiteit and To Art Kunstuitleen. It’s called Rozet because all the ‘rozet’ (rosette) patterns that can be found in different shapes on the building.
The Rozet won Best Building of the Year 2014, an award for Dutch architects, but it is now up against some stiff international competition, including two buildings designed by the late Zaha Hadid. The RIBA International Prize is to be awarded in December.
Two weeks ago the city of Deventer officially got a new city hall.
One of its prominent features is an artwork by Loes ten Anscher called Raamwerk Deventer which consists of the blown-up metal fingerprints of 2,264 citizens that cover windows both on outside and inside walls.
An early design for a new city hall had a number of difficulties to overcome. It was protested ten years ago for being obtrusive and the brouhaha even brought down two successive city governments. The architects of that design, Neutelings Riedijk from Rotterdam, were asked to return to their drawing boards, which they did. They came up with something better, something that impressed NRC.next: “Design driven by political noise usually ends up being a tepid compromise or an outright failure […]. But the City Hall Quarters, as the collection of old and new buildings is called, has become an exemplary complex in both an architectural and an urban design sense. The city hall is an example of how well a new building can function in an old city centre.”
Loes ten Anscher hopes that by using their fingerprints, the citizens will come to feel that the new building also belongs to them.
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.