Every once in a while it’s good to ask ourselves some deep questions, and this one popped up as news recently. Why do old Dutch windmills turn left and newer ones turn right? It has nothing to do with the wind or with most millers being right-handed – let’s get that out of the way now.
The material that older blades are made from provide a more precise explanation. The two rods that form a cross to which the blades are attached are made from a tree trunk. As it was growing and needed sun to do so, the trunk would rotate to the right because the sun rises in the East, then moves to the South and sets in the West, and the tree would follow.
By turning the blades to the left, counter-clockwise, it would turn avoid splintering the wood. The wood needs to be super solid and ideally be of high quality, which could sometimes come from trees that grow very straight in forests, but not all the time.
Taking physics into account, there is no reason why modern-day windmills should have a preferred rotation direction. For example, wind turbines are manufactured in factories that use the same type and angle of blades, making them standardised and so they turn the same way – to the right. They could all be made to turn left if for some reason the world decided to do so.
Old Dutch windmills were not standardised and unique, which makes them nice to visit.
Tags: forests, physics, trees, windmills, wood
According to Dutch company Holland Composites in Lelystad, their transparent composite wood panels are the first ever made in the world.
Mark Hoff explains that the company has developed a panel that looks like wood, but when held up to the light, it’s transparent. The panels can be used indoors as partition walls as well as outside as façade panelling. They feature a very thin layer of wood integrated into layers of composites, making them strong, low-maintenance and with a natural look.
The panels are mainly used by project developers and architects, and cannot be found at DIY stores. Watch a short video in Dutch here.
(Link and screenshot of video omroepflevoland.nl)
Tags: composites, Flevoland, Lelystad, wood, world first
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)
Tags: architectural design, CAD, fabrication, InnovationDock, panels, robots, Studio RAP, wood, wood working
Designers Van Eijk and Van der Lubbe of Usuals have created 39 wooden bowls from five reclaimed oak poles they found at a Dutch farmhouse.
The wooden bowls have had carefully measured volumes removed from the body of each oak log, with the smooth cut-outs successfully contrasting the rustic ‘lived-in’ characteristics of the wood. They are unique and hand made, with cracks and flaws in each one.
(Link: www.designboom.com, Photo: www.usuals.nl)
Tags: recycling, wood, wooden
Hot on the heels of the announcement of Apple’s latest toy comes this wooden cover for the iPad 2 by Dutch manufacturer Miniot. It works like Apple’s own Smart Cover, as it uses magnets that attach to the tablet, and the cover can be rolled up to function as a stand.
The Schagen, Noord Holland based company sells them or 50 euro or more. There’s a video that shows you how it works.
(Link: 9 to 5 mac. Photo: Miniot.)
Tags: Apple, iPad, Noord Holland, wood
No, the headline is not about environmental technology but about paint. We wrote earlier about the hotel in Zaandam that is made to look like it’s constructed of dozens of the green wooden houses that are typical for the area. It turns out that this was just part of a plan to give a much larger part of the inner city that look, including city hall.
Trendbeheer has more photos of the work in progress.
Alderman Hans Luiten told De Volkskrant in March: “There have been times where I wondered if I could deal with this much identity.” The new city centre is a response to the neglect of the old one. Luiten: “In the past you would not have wanted to be found dead there.”
The man behind the reshaping of the centre of Zaandam into a green Disneyland/nightmare/whatever is architect Sjoerd Soeters who was also responsible for Java Island in Amsterdam. “All his works have been discussed vehemently among architects, but are also appreciated much by their users”, Volkskrant adds. It appears that behind Soeters’ façades lurks a strong vision of livable streets. Which may be why the main street on the aforementioned Java Island is a foot and bike path.
(Photo of the new city hall in Zaandam by Wikimedia user Arch who released it in the public domain)
Tags: green, livable streets, wood, Zaandam