Brought to you with support fromThe Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, houses one of the world's largest collections of zoological specimens and geological samples—counting over half-a-million for the latter. Beginning in 2015, Rotterdam-based architectural practice Neutelings Riedijk Architects led a significant expansion of the facility to accommodate the merger of the Zoological Museum and National Herbarium into the Biodiversity Center. The 215,000-square-foot expansion consists of two distinct volumes; a set of four staggered rectangular masonry blocks, and a soaring 120-foot-tall atrium of prefabricated concrete panels and ellipse-shaped windows that encloses a monumental stairwell rising to each floor of the expansion.
Iris van Herpen to develop a sinuous frieze of 263 panels molded from concrete and fine white marble aggregate. The four custom-designed friezes are located towards the cornice of each rectangular block and are ringed by narrow bands of flat-surfaced concrete and marble aggregate. Van Herpen interpreted the abstract forms into a series of drawings in the same vein as her body of work, with a draping design echoing the theme of geological strata, forming an abstract impression of fossilized archeological shapes. This effect was achieved by first translating van Herpen's original 2D drawings into 3D-files and translating grey shading to physical depth. After that, the 3D-file was uploaded to a CNC-milling machine. "The CNC machine milled the negative of the design of the 3D high relief out of the molding material," said the design team. "Finally the concrete was poured into these molds and the concrete elements were mounted on the structural walls on-site by means of specially developed stainless steel anchors." The facade treatment of stepped stone and concrete-and-marble continues on the southern elevation where it is enclosed by the cuboid atrium, which also bridges the expansion to the preexisting campus. The prefabricated white concrete panels of the atrium range in thickness from approximately one-to-two feet, and are hoisted onto a steel structural system separate from the body of masonry. Within the atrium, the outward boldness of the prefabricated panels is softened with a lightly detailed oak dressing.To the design team, stone proved to be the clear material choice for a museum dedicated to natural minerals, the final result is intended to resemble stacked geological layers. The stone is Red Persian Travertine, sourced from Iran by supplier Bakker Natuursteen, carved into rough blocks of ashlar at their Portuguese factory, and arranged on-site in a stretcher bond format. There are two standard dimensions for the stone blocks; approximately three-and-a-half by one-and-a-half feet and three-by-one feet. They are held in place by a facade system custom-fabricated by Bakker Natuursteen. To break up the imposing mass of the stone facade, the architectural team collaborated with fashion designer
2017 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation: Living Picture Architect: T+E+A+M Location: Lake Forest, Illinois Living Picture wraps a playful array of lightweight aluminum frames with digital imagery on vinyl to produce an immersive outdoor theater on the grounds of the Ragdale Foundation. The project digitally re-creates elements from Howard Van Doren Shaw’s 1912 design for the original Ragdale estate: low limestone walls, columns topped with fruit baskets, and a lush landscape of trees and hedges that once formed the proscenium, wings, and backdrop. By reinserting images of these historic elements among the trees and buildings of the current Ragdale estate, the project blurs the boundaries between past and present, stage and proscenium, reality and artifice.
"This project translates some of the most forward-looking ideas about the post-internet and digital images and applies them to a larger scale environment. It is good to see people thinking about how we react to and perceive images (and architecture) in the 21st century."- Matt Shaw, Senior Editor, The Architect's Newspaper (juror)Structural Consultation: Brian McElhatten and Jorge Cobo, Arup Acoustical Consultation: Ryan Biziorek, David Etlinger, and Rosa Lin of Arup Fabrication Consultation: Shane Darwent Project Manager: Reid Mauti Project Manager: Tim McDonough Honorable Mention Project: Big Will and Friends Designer: Architecture Office Location: Syracuse, New York and Eindhoven, the Netherlands This installation redraws the popular Morris and Co. wallpaper “Thistle” (designed by John Henry Dearle) into an inhabitable visual environment. The designers suggest that wallpaper’s collapse of illusion and material are a problem where multiple forms of knowledge must meet. Live performances bridge the installation with its surroundings. Honorable Mention Project: Parallax Gap Architect: FreelandBuck Location: Washington D.C If most ceilings imply shelter, defining the limits of the room, others suggest the opposite: extension beyond concrete limits. This winning proposal for the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s “ABOVE the Renwick” competition curates a historical catalog of notable American architectural styles and renders them through 21st-century technology and visual culture—a dose of trompe l’oeil.
Instead of the traditional call for projects, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) has released a call for practices for its 2018 and 2020 editions, which will share a common mission and focus on the environment. The biennials, collectively called The Missing Link, tackle the role of design in confronting climate change. The curators want participants generate actionable responses to some of the UN’s sustainable development goals, which were released after the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. IABR curators are asking designers and others to engage renewable energy systems, water management, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, and resource management within cities to provide research and design rubrics that encourage positive change in these fields. The Missing Link will proceed in three stages. The 2018 edition is framed as a "work biennale,” while the years between the 2018 and 2020 biennials will be devoted to research on shifting these ideas into practical use, and the results will be shared with the world in the 2020 program. IABR hopes that the three year process will establish a "community of practice" that results in a shared biennial to be presented in both the Netherlands and Belgium. The curatorial team includes Floris Alkemade, Leo van Broeck, and Joachim Declerck. The trio of Belgian and Dutch curators will work on both biennials. The base of operations for the entire project will be the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta in the Netherlands, a site the curators chose for its connection to cities and the natural environment. At the confluence of three major rivers, the delta links together a series of major ports including Rotterdam, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Vlissingen, and Ghent. IABR 2018 will debut on May 31 and run through July 8, 2018, and IABR is scheduled for spring 2020. Applications for IABR 2018 and 2020 are open until November 22, 2017.
In the works for two decades, the new UNStudio-designed train station for Arnhem, Netherlands—the city’s largest post-war development—has finally opened to the public. The 234,000-square-foot transfer hall, which features undulating steel forms reminiscent of Eero Saarinen’s futuristic TWA Terminal design, is a vibrant nexus and a core component of the Arnhem Central Masterplan. The project began in 1996 when UNStudio won a design competition to replace a mid–20th century train station. The building, designed in collaboration with engineering firm Arup, comprises facilities and waiting areas for trains, trolley buses and a bus station, as well as shops, restaurants and a conference center. Two underground levels serve as bicycle storage and car parking. With its unique design, founder and principal architect of UNStudio Ben van Berkel said in a statement that the aim was to "blur distinctions between inside and outside by continuing the urban landscape into the interior of the transfer hall, where ceilings, walls and floors all seamlessly transition into one another.” Skylights make for a space that is infused with natural light, further emphasizing the connection to the outside. The building's curving structure required a departure from typical construction methods and materials. Lightweight steel was employed using boat-building techniques on a scale never before attempted, resulting in a column-free space with a fluid expression. This seamlessness is translated into a complex network of ramps that move people around the station with ease and elegance. Additionally, purposeful lighting was designed to aid wayfinding. According to Van Berkel, the transfer hall “directs and determines how people use and move around the building.” The new station serves as a link between the city center, the Coehoorn area, and a nearby office plaza, and is designed to accommodate a daily flow of 110,000 commuters by 2020, establishing itself as not just a train station, but as a vital nucleus for Arnhem and for the Netherlands.
Always an early adopter of innovative sustainability methods, the city of Rotterdam is considering piloting roads fabricated from recycled plastic. The creators of PlasticRoad wooed the city council with their proposal of an all-plastic road that is quicker to lay and requires less maintenance than asphalt. Construction firm VolkerWessels also claims that the material can withstand greater temperature extremes—from -40 to 176 fahrenheit—can be laid in weeks rather than months, and lasts three times as long. The Netherlands-headquartered conglomerate points out that asphalt generates 3.2 billion pounds of carbon emissions globally on an annual basis, accounting for two percent of all road transportation emissions. Lighter roads that exert less pressure on the ground are a godsend for the low-lying Netherlands, one eighth of which is already submerged below sea level. The hollow design of PlasticRoads makes it easy to install cables and utility pipelines and even channel rainwater. Sections of road can be prefabricated in a factory, reducing on-site construction and ensuing congestion caused by roadworks. “As far as I know we’re the first in the world [to try this],” Rolf Mars, director of VolkerWessels’ roads subdivision, KWS Infra, told The Guardian. “It’s still an idea on paper at the moment; the next stage is to build it and test it in a laboratory to make sure it’s safe in wet and slippery conditions and so on. We’re looking for partners who want to collaborate on a pilot – as well as manufacturers in the plastics industry. We’re thinking of the recycling sector, universities and other knowledge institutions.” Although still at the conception stage, VolkerWessels hopes to lay the first fully recycled thoroughfare within the next three years, and the city of Rotterdam is raring to host the pilot test. “We’re very positive towards developments around PlasticRoad,” said Jaap Peters from the city council engineering bureau. “Rotterdam is a city that is open to experiments and innovative adaptations in practice. We have a ‘street lab’ available where innovations like this can be tested.” The initiative should perhaps be most lauded for its potentially massive-scale, industrial use of waste materials. And while plastic bottles are already widely recycled and repurposed into garden furniture, compost bins, and more plastic bottles, the questions becomes: can used up PlasticRoads be recycled?
A residential development in downtown Minneapolis is set to give the city its first woonerf, a road type developed in the Netherlands that integrates vehicle traffic and parking with pedestrians, bicyclists and public amenities. The BKV Architects–designed Mill City Quarter housing breaks ground later this year, starting with a six-story building that will include up to 150 rental housing units priced to be affordable for those making 60 percent of the metropolitan median income or less. Later phases will add more units, say developers Wall Cos. and Lupe Development Partners, including 45 units for those with memory problems and 105 for assisted and independent living. Taking up the block at the northwest corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue, the development hopes to connects the Mill District—home to the popular riverside Mill City Museum, Guthrie Theater, and soon a massive mixed-use development in the shadow of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium—with the rehabbed warehouses and thriving cultural scene of the North Loop neighborhood. Bisecting that block is a former rail corridor leading toward Mississippi River trails and a riverside visitor center that Minneapolis' Park Board has proposed for just downstream of the 3rd Avenue Bridge. Mill City Quarter's developers have agreed to make that side street into a woonerf with 80 diagonal parking spaces flanking colored pavement demarcating reduced-speed vehicle traffic, green space, bike lanes and pedestrian zones. Minneapolis' Park Board approved plans for the “amenity-rich plaza street,” through the $73.8 million development, but expressed concerns over developer and former City Council member Steve Minn's plans to install a gate at the park end of the woonerf, which he said he'd keep closed during park off-hours, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. By exempting the development from a new parks law that would require them to donate land to public space, the Park Board gave their agreement some teeth—if the developers restrict public access to the land they could be on the hook for $61,400.
Dutch product designer David Graas started with this premise: what if the cityscape as we know it were literally flipped upside down? His answer is a collection of 3D-printed light bulb covers shaped like some of the world’s glitziest skyscrapers. Suspended from the ceiling, these so-called "Stalaclights" appear at once disorienting and enchanting from the impression of icy stalactites descending from the ceiling like tiny cities floating untethered in mid-air. Designed to fit over LED bulbs, which are more energy-efficient than incandescents and have a nearly heatless surface, the Stalaclights are inspired by the 1920s art deco era when skyscrapers began mushrooming in major cities such as New York and Chicago. Each cover is loosely modeled after a famous building and includes the complete wherewithal for ceiling installation, including a 5.5 watt LED bulb, lamp holder, ceiling cap, and 8.2 foot cable. Larger light fixtures such as a pendant lamp can be fitted with the "Huddle," which features a clump of jostling tall buildings which appear to glow with light from within. The regular-sized covers retail for $210 apiece from Layers in Design, excluding tax for non-EU purchases.
The Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands has produced renderings of their newest venture: a scaled model of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, built from the unlikely combination of ice and sawdust. This peculiar material amalgam is known as “pykrete”—a very inexpensive and abundant material—was thought of by Geoffrey Pyke, and was first utilized in 1942 during World War II in Project Habakkuk. That project’s objective was to use pykrete to create aircraft carriers to combat German U-boats in the Mid-Atlantic. This technique was tested in 2009 on an episode of the television show Mythbusters, and was recreated again in 2010 on the show Bang Goes The Theory. Both shows successfully recreated pykrete boats and confirmed the effectiveness and sturdiness of the building material. Now, faculty members and students at the Eindhoven University of Technology are planning on creating the largest pykrete-based building in the world. Upon completion, the church would surpass the ice dome finished earlier this year by the same university (see a time lapse video it its construction below). While the ice-and-sawdust church is modeled after the Sagrada Família, it's forms are generalized to facilitate the construction method. Once the structure is complete, however, it will stand at a monumental 123 feet at its highest dome and will stretch some 122 feet long. Construction is slated to begin well into December in Northern Finland.
Rotterdam Centraal Station's relationship to the existing urban fabric called for different treatments of its north and south facades.To call the commission for a new central railway station in Rotterdam complicated would be an understatement. The project had multiple clients, including the city council and the railway company ProRail. The program was complex, encompassing the north and south station halls, train platforms, concourse, commercial space, offices, outdoor public space, and more. Finally, there was the station’s relationship to Rotterdam itself: while city leaders envisioned the south entrance as a monumental gateway to the city, the proximity of an historic neighborhood to the north necessitated a more temperate approach. Team CS, a collaboration among Benthem Crouwel Architekten, MVSA Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, and West 8, achieved a balancing act with a multipart facade conceived over the project’s decade-long gestation. On the south, Rotterdam Centraal Station trumpets its presence with a swooping triangular stainless steel and glass entryway, while to the north a delicate glass-house exterior defers to the surrounding urban fabric. Team CS, which formed in response to the 2003 competition to design the station, began with a practical question: how should they cover the railroad tracks? Rotterdam Centraal Station serves Dutch Railways, the European High Speed Train network, and RandstadRail, the regional light rail system. Team CS wanted to enclose all of the tracks within a single structure, but they came up against two problems. First, the client team had budgeted for multiple freestanding shelters rather than a full roof. Second, this part of the project was designated a design-construct tender in which the winning contractor would have a high degree of control over the final design. To work around both issues, Team CS turned to an unusual source: agricultural buildings. “We started to come up with a project built from catalog materials, so efficient and so simple that any contractor would maybe think, ‘I’m going to build what they draw because then I can do a competition on being cheap, and then I don’t need to [reinvent] the wheel,’” explained West 8’s Geuze. For the spans, they chose prelaminated wood beams meant for barns and similar structures from GLC. They designed the five-acre roof as an oversized Venlo greenhouse. It comprises 30,000 laminated glass panels manufactured by Scheuten. Integrated solar cells, also provided by Scheuten, produce about one-third of the energy required to run Rotterdam Centraal Station’s escalators. The north facade of the station continues the glass house theme. “We [took] the roof and we pull[ed] it over to the facade and made the entire elevation out of that,” explained Geuze. “What is on the roof becomes vertically the same. In plan you see a zigzag sort of meandering facade.” By day, the glass reflects the nineteenth-century brick architecture characteristic of the Provenierswijk neighborhood in which the station is located. At night, the relatively modest entrance seems almost to fade into the sky, except for a slice of white LED lettering over the passenger portal. Rotterdam Centraal Station’s south facade, by contrast, is self consciously extroverted. The entryway, which spans 300 feet over the subway station, was given a “very sculptural identity,” said Geuze, with a triangular mouth framed by stainless steel panels. ME Construct welded the 30-foot-long panels one to another to create a non-permeable surface. Within the steel surround are horizontal glass panels (Scheuten) through which the vertical interior structural beams are visible. “This plays beautifully with the station because the roof makes a triangle. The horizontal and vertical lines are a beautiful composition within,” said Geuze. Two reminders of the 1957 central station, demolished to make way for the new iteration, make an appearance on the south facade. The first is the old station clock. The second is the historic sign, restored in LED. “They are in a beautiful font, blue neon letters,” said Geuze. “We put them very low on the facade, the letters. The font became a part of the identity.” While its preponderance of glass and stainless steel marks it as a contemporary creation, Rotterdam Centraal Station was inspired by historic precedents, like Los Angeles’ Union Station and the European railway stations of the 1800s. Geuze spoke of the interior’s warm material palette, including a rough wood ceiling by Verwol that bleeds onto the building’s south facade. “We thought we could learn a lot [from history] instead of making what is totally the [norm] today with granite from China,” he said. “We have to make a station which is part of this tradition of cathedrals, where the use and aging is relevant and interesting.”
A neoclassical museum in the Netherlands gets an iconic update and vertical expansion of ceramic and glass.The Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle, the Netherlands, houses an international collection of art and sculpture. Its venerable neoclassical edifice symbolizes the city’s rise from its Medieval foundations into the 19th century period of enlightenment. Designed in 1840 by Eduard Louis de Coninck, the building reflects the dissolution of feudalism and a dynamic, forward-thinking perspective on the future. Now, a recent expansion of the museum has shown that the city has not stopped evolving, but is in fact moving quite steadily into the 21st century. The elliptical, organically formed addition, designed by Bierman Henket Architecten, perches atop the 19th century structure, its textured ceramic facade evincing a progressive aesthetic hitherto unknown to this sleepy Dutch town. When deciding where to locate the expansion, the client was wary about disrupting the building’s classical symmetry. Besides which, the structure’s foundation was too old to withstand much tampering, and the site itself was quite constrained. As a result, the team opted to place the new space atop the existing building, housing it in an elliptical volume that would communicate its modernity without competing with the original design. “Normally in this country, it takes about eight to 10 years for approval on this kind of project, but this took only two-and-a-half years,” said Hubert-Jan Henket, founder of Bierman Henket Architecten and project architect on the museum. “In a Medieval city where everything is restricted and protected, it was liked because it changes the scope of the city and presents Zwolle as a modern city.” The elliptical addition nearly doubles the museum’s square footage with a newly reinforced structural system. A traditional and rectilinear structural steel system comprises eight vertical structural columns that thread through the existing building from new footings, and connect to a series of steel trusses that distribute the addition’s weight. The elliptical form is framed in treated soft timber with a plywood shell, insulated and sealed with a black EPDM. The shell is clad with custom designed, three-dimensional glazed ceramic tiles. The tiles feature four different ramped surface configurations that direct water off the structure and reduce streaking from polluted rain. Each angled tile is installed so that gravity pulls water off the surface, rather than settling in the crevices between the tile and the EPDM. To develop the tiles, the architects worked with Royal Tichelaar Makkum, Holland’s oldest ceramic company (it introduced blue-glazed earthenware from China to Europe in the 1700s). It took 26,000 8-inch and 29,000 4-inch square tiles to fully cover the dome’s oblong surface. Since the surface area is irregular, the designers produced 4,000 small filler pieces of ceramic that conceal the darkly colored EPDM below the gaps. The proprietary blue-white ombre glaze on the tiles was designed to resemble a cloud in the sky. “From summer to winter, and from morning to night, the sun’s reflection off the tiles is always different,” Henket explained. Although natural lighting in museums can damage certain artifacts, the clients insisted on a large window. To minimize the sun’s direct effects, the window is located on the northern side of the addition and only admits indirect light. Since solar heat gain was not an issue at the city’s northern latitude, the window is made from laminated tempered glass units that reflect enough incoming light without producing glare. Coincidently, the northerly positioning of the window also affords a stellar view of the Medieval section of the city, creating a direct visual link between this 21st century structure and the dark past from which it arose.
The Berlage Institute in Holland, recently reformed as part of Delft University has named Nanne de Ru to be its new Director. De Ru follows an illustrious series of Directors that include Herman Hertzberger, Wiel Arets, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, and Vedran Mimica. The new director is an architect and partner of Powerhouse Company in Rotterdam and holds a Masters Degree in architecture form the Institute in 2002. There is no word yet on the role and direction of the newly restructured Institute.
A fantastical sounding urban garden paradise imagined by Rotterdam-based MVRDV and made up of jasmine hotels, lily pond swimming pools, offices decked with planted interiors and bamboo parks, and an alphabetized plant library will be brought to reality over the next ten years in the city of Almere, Netherlands. Today, the Nederlandse Tuinbouwraad (NTR) chose MVRDV's plan for Almere as the winner of the esteemed Floriade 2022 World Horticulture Expo, which takes place only once every ten years. The blanket of new city fabric draped over a 111-acre peninsula will transform it into a permanent green extension directly opposite Almere’s existing city center. The venture will develop the waterfront site into a green urban neighborhood and a vast grid of gardens forming a living plant library where each block is dedicated to different, diverse plantings. A new university will be organized as a stacked botanical garden and vertical eco-system where every classroom will have a distinctive climate appropriate to the various plants. MVRDV aims for the expo to demonstrate how plants can provide for and enhance all aspects of daily life. In doing so, the city hopes to boost its image as a self-sustainable and ecological center with the ability to generate its own food and energy, clean its own water, and to recycle its own waste. The peninsula will also accommodate a new panorama tower, hotel, marina, open-air theatre, camping facilities, and nearly 236,800 square-feet of green housing.