November 12, 2016

World’s most sustainable uni building in Eindhoven

Filed under: Architecture,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:08 pm


The main building of the Eindhoven University of Technology plans to have “the most sustainable university building in the world” and it will be called ‘Atlas’. Once it is entirely renovated in the summer of 2018, the building’s previous gas connection will have been replaced by a geothermal system which will work with solar panels to provide energy to supply most of the building’s power.

The building will also feature smart LED lighting, controllable by users by way of an app, as well as a triple-glazed curtain wall paired with interior sun blinds, and a ‘night flush’ system that will side windows outwards during summer nights in order to cool the building and purify the air.

(Link:, Image by


October 16, 2016

House in Huissen advertised as ‘haunted’

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 10:30 pm


You don’t often see night-time photography on housing sites, but this real estate agent had a special reason. They are advertising their 16th century, 270 square metre farm house in Huissen near Arnhem as haunted.

Whether they are taking their ghoulish inhabitants seriously, remains to be seen. The advert quickly adopts a more serious tone. The house is currently the property of Dutch celebrity Johan Vlemmix who in the first decade of this century unsuccessfully ran for parliament in the hope of becoming Minister of Parties. He bought the house in 2008 from another serial celebrity, positivity guru Emile Ratelband (catch phrase: ‘Tchakaaa’).

Ratelband had to sell the house, or so the story goes, because his wife thought it was haunted. Vlemmix tried to use the publicity in turn by organising ‘horror evenings’ in the old farm.

Having had celebrity owners and having a built in bar and cinema is not helping much so far. In the past eleven months the asking price has already been dropped by 50,000 euro to 350,000 euro. That doesn’t strike me as much, so maybe it is a monster to heat. Whether the prospective buyer will get all the props that were used for the photographs is unclear, but Vlemmix promises to throw in six caskets.



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August 28, 2016

Utrecht building’s warped design scares locals

Filed under: Architecture,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:03 pm

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.

The cops then checked with the builders and found out the bulging front is part of the design, as shown in this slideshow or in this picture.

Residents were only able to see the cement parts of the building recently as some scaffolding was removed. Utrecht has one extra story to tell about their city centre now.

(Link:, Photo of Hoog Catharijne by Jeroen Bosman, some rights reserved)

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July 20, 2016

A house that splits in two for the divorced

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 4:07 pm


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.

Remember, in the Netherlands, prenuptial agreements were being discussed in 2010, as community property (joint ownership) is still the norm. In fact, the term ‘prenup’ is something most people know from watching American televisions programs.

(Link and photo:

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July 15, 2016

World’s biggest green façade on Venlo building

Filed under: Architecture,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:49 pm


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.

Venlo’s new city hall is entirely energy neutral and has been built following the cradle-to-cradle design concept.

(Link:, Photo: Kraaijvanger)

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July 1, 2016

Rotterdam gets piano stairs in metro station

Filed under: Architecture,Music by Orangemaster @ 6:57 am

Piano stairs

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”.

(Link and photo:

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May 18, 2016

Rotterdam’s stairway with a view of the city

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 7:12 pm


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.

(Link and photo:

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May 13, 2016

Building in Arnhem nominated for international prize

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 9:17 am


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.

(Links:,, Photo of Rozet, Arnhem by Pauline Bergsma, some rights reserved)

May 7, 2016

Citizens’ fingerprints adorn windows of new Deventer city hall

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 6:06 pm

stadhuis-deventer-portraitTwo 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 “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.

A more cynical person, like me, might see the usage of thousands of fingerprints more like a celebration of the utter disdain with which Dutch governments sometimes treat their citizens’ right to privacy. But hey, it looks really pretty, right?

(Photo: Deventer Stadhuiskwartier)

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May 2, 2016

John Cleese opens Silly Walks tunnel in Eindhoven

Filed under: Architecture,Art,General by Orangemaster @ 3:34 pm


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.

(Link:, Screenshot of YouTube sketch)

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