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September 29, 2014

Exploring the Dutch World Expo building in Hanover

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 1:16 pm

dutch-expo-2009-matthias-hensel

Here is the Dutch pavilion of the 2000 World Expo in Hanover, Germany, or rather what remains of it.

MVRDV from Rotterdam designed the building to showcase how water, wind and will power combine to form the Netherlands. The tallest building of the expo at 36 metres featured five different landscapes on five different floors. The fourth floor symbolised a water landscape and had walls of water. The other floors didn’t have walls at all. The third floor carried the top two with columns made from oak stems.

Last week Der Spiegel visited the expo grounds to see what happened with the buildings countries had erected there:

The wild forest on the third floor of the Dutch pavillion is Sylvia’s favourite spot. This afternoon the 15-year-old has gone again to the graffiti riddled ruin which is called the “Holländer” by the citizens of Hanover, a building that looks like a monstrous parking garage with stairs on the outside.

To urban explorers like Sylvia [and her friend Kai] the exposition grounds are like a playground. Adventurers come here all the time—to explore what is left behind of the World Expo, to spray, to party, to make love.

Initially there were plans to keep the Dutch building in use. In 2003 a centre for renewable energy was going to be housed in the building, but a backer pulled out citing health problems. Another plan was to use it for a shrimp farm! According to Archined in 2010, the owner probably wouldn’t mind if the building collapsed on its own — much cheaper than having it torn down. The building permit for the oak columns ran out in 2005.

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See the Spiegel article for more photos of the exposition grounds or search Flickr.

(Photos: the ruins in 2009 (top) by Matthias Hensel, some rights reserved; and the Dutch pavilion during the expo (bottom) by Sommerci, some rights reserved. Link: Z24)

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September 3, 2014

Drone film of Amsterdam’s metro goes viral

Filed under: Architecture,Film by Orangemaster @ 1:08 pm

We might as well be able to fly through the North-South line in 2014 because we can’t use the metro yet, although it was originally scheduled to be ready in 2011, then again in the summer of 2014, which also didn’t happen. Construction started in 2002 and the new current completion date is 2017.

Studio MAD made a promotional film for Thales Group Netherlands, which supplies access ports and ICT for public transport. It features a drone going the entire length of the North-South tunnel that runs under Amsterdam Central Station, which was one of the major hiccups of the project.

“The images were partially filmed with a camera under the drone, while the other part was filmed with a camera mounted on our ‘Skyglide’ rig. Our cameraman sat at the front of a bicycle to shoot, but the drone was controlled by a company with the license to fly one.”

(Link: www.dutchnews.nl, Image: Benthem Crouwel Archtitects)

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September 2, 2014

Touring the euro bank note bridges in Spijkenisse

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 11:36 am

Bridges1

In 2011 we reported about pedestrian bridges resembling euro bank notes in Spijkenisse near Rotterdam and that they would be built at the same time as the neighbourhood they connect to downtown Spijkenisse.

The fictional bridges were designed by Austrian engraver Robert Kalina while the real bridges were designed by Dutch designer Robin Stam. The neighbourhood is still being built, but the six bridges are all there. Read on to find out why there are only six bridges although there are seven bank notes.

I happened to be working at the Spijkenisse Festival this year, which was held next to the new area. As I toured the grounds with my morning coffee, I noticed a bright yellow bridge. I looked around and saw some more coloured bridges, then realised I was staring at the ‘euro bridges’.

Below are photos of all the bridges which I took with a smartphone between two rain showers. Apparently the Japanese have a thing for these bridges, hence the prominence of Japanese on the sign (above).

On the far left of the neighbourhood there’s the 500, the 50 and the 10 bridge, and half a kilometre away on the far right of the area there’s the 100, the 5 and 20, and the 200.

5euro-good

20euro-good

The bridge depicting the 5 euro note has the bridge of the 20 euro note on the other side, the only bridge with a dual function. The 5 comes close to its grey bank note, and the blue is brighter than its legal tender counterpart.

10euro-good

The 10 euro bridge is more burnt sienna coloured than red, but it looks nice that way.

100euro-good

The green of the 100 is subdued. Since most shops don’t accept anything more than 50s, I don’t see 100s very often as they are inconvenient.

200euro-good

You can’t miss this yellow bridge depicting the 200, which stands out from the rest.

500euro-good

The 500 bank note bridge reminds me of the Martinus Nijhoff cable bridge near Zaltbommel, Gelderland, but magenta.

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August 11, 2014

A sunken kitchen and letting all the sunlight in

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 9:35 pm

Apartment_in_Amsterdam_by_MAMM_Design_dezeen_468_10

An 85-year-old apartment in Amsterdam was recently redesigned by MAMM Design of Japan to provide maximum sunlight for an apparently non-Dutch family of four, which explains the very bright white walls.

The sunken kitchen is quite nifty, creating more space vertically, and by taking away stairs, walls and a part of the upper floor, the designers managed to get sunlight to spread all over the house. Although it looks a lot like an office space in the pictures (see link), I’m still impressed by what this Japanese firm did to a Dutch flat, considering how well they deal with small spaces themselves.

(Link and Photo: www.dezeen.com)

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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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