All posts in English

My collection of Koolhaas / OMA (fan) art.

Ken Yeang – Bioclimatic City / Vertical urbanism.

On 28 March 2008, as part of the Academy of Architecture Rotterdam /AIR lecture series on the future of Rotterdam – Rotterdam Reinvented, the Malaysian architect Ken Yeang talked about high-rise, and about eco skyscrapers in particular.

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Wall House for beginners: the practical use of a theoretical model


It all started with the stairs. There’s something uncomfortable about them, the steps are too high. Could that be because the Wall House was built on a larger scale than originally conceived and drawn? And I also had my doubts about the finish. There was something about it. It would have been better to have concealed the mullions behind the columns and the ‘wall’, too, would have gained power if the materialization had been pushed through. Also surely Hejduk never intended the Wall House to be covered in all that pigeon shit. But do these defects detract from the design? Or do they only serve to make it more ‘real’?

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Maximum Security City


Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both. – Benjamin Franklin

Technology is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. – C.P. Snow

Do we opt for the tough concrete barrier, the cast-iron baroque bench that can withstand the impact of a lorry, or do we engage a trendy office to design a stylized fence? Actually, it does not matter, it is just a question of style. As a direct consequence of the events of 9/11, high-risk buildings are being turned into fortresses. Walls, fences, posts and cordons sanitaires seal such buildings off from the surrounding area. In the process, valuable public space is lost. The concrete barriers are the most frequently mentioned examples of this fortification offensive. Still, the effects of these highly visible security measures are confined to the immediate vicinity; the interventions do not change society substantially and besides, they are reversible.
Anti-terrorism measures with no obvious visible consequences have a much greater impact on society. Such interventions are ubiquitous and of a permanent nature. Their purpose is to detect terrorists early on and to prevent attacks from taking place. They are coupled with increased powers for the state, allowing it to monitor people even before they have committed an indictable offence and to deny citizens the use of public space. These legal amendments are accompanied by the deployment of new technologies to detect, monitor and intervene. The role of public space shifts and its users are relegated to the status of consumers. This article describes these changes and argues in favour of finding solutions that strengthen the city.

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Binckhorst: genuine ambition or hysterical impression?

impression park - oma and others

OMA, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, recently [ in 2008]  presented a vision for the regeneration of the Hague industrial area known as Binckhorst. A public debate, at which the municipal authorities – and OMA – were conspicuous by their absence, revealed that not everyone was equally enthusiastic.

Artist impressions dominated the debate. As columnist Julius Pasgeld put it in his trenchant article: ‘In the revamped Binckhorst the buildings are all a transparent grey, it’s always spring and the workers take a day-long lunch break.’ He thus went straight to the heart of the matter. There is no suggestion of a masterplan in the classic sense. What is actually waiting for approval by the Hague city council are a series of towering ambitions, artist impressions, a simple zoning model, a PPS development company and a colossal square-metre package still to be realized.

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A 150-million-euro station

Amsterdam Bijlmer Station

After ten years building and 150 million euros Amsterdam finally has a new and imposing station in Zuidoost, the southeast of the city. The first of a new generation of stations that are to be built in the Netherlands in the coming years.

Amsterdam Zuidoost is to be developed as a new centre for Amsterdam. Major recreational programmes that are not suitable for the inner city, such as the ArenA Stadium, the Heineken Music Hall and a furniture mall, are to be concentrated in this part of the city. With its narrow underground passage and two small platforms, the old 1976 Bijlmerstation does not fit into this vision. In 1998 the doubling of the railway track (between Utrecht and Amsterdam) and the construction of the Utrechtboog flyover railway line were the springboard for realizing a new and striking station. A station that can cope with the extra passengers.

The design by Grimshaw Architects (architect Neven Sidor) and ARCADIS Architecten (architect Jan van Belkum) is easy to describe. The station is Read more…

Rotterdam Decentral Station

Rotterdam Decentraal

Construction on the new Rotterdam central station was officially launched last week with the closure of the old station. But is demolishing the old and building a new one a reason for shedding a tear? Not according to Tim de Boer, who thoroughly enjoys the temporary station ‘Rotterdam Decentral’.

The blue block-like boxes immediately highlight what an unusual work this is. Indeed it’s so radical that no architect could possibly have conceived it. The different amenities that normally go to make up a station have been dispersed and spread out over the entire station area. Most of the amenities are situated on the forecourt. There’s a music-block, a Burger King block and, next to the interconnecting tunnel, there’s the large four-storey main block of the Dutch Railways itself. There’s also a blue block on the north-side of the tunnel: the kiosk. And with the RET ticket-hall block (grey) and the  metro entrance covering (yellow), the traveller lacks none of the usual conveniences.

The decentralized layout pays Read more…

This site features mostly articles in Dutch. A selection is made available in English. To see Dutch articles choose Nederlands in top menu bar.

Look: @dezeen also has 3d printing of weapons. Open source weapondesign will change warfare. No doubt.

Tim de Boer

Forward! Symposium on the revitalisation of modernist heritage.


One hundred modernistic structures in the Netherlands were designated as monuments last year. But what should we do with this modern heritage? On December 15, 2007, the symposium Forward! On the Revitalisation of Modern Architecture took place at the SMART Project Space in Amsterdam. Major differences of opinion emerged between architects, theorists and artists on the significance and value of modernism. Artists in particular offered interesting suggestions for revitalising modernist heritage.

It became clear during the symposium that each speaker not only interpreted modernism differently but also approached the revitalisation of heritage in a different way. For one speaker modernism was a movement linked the major socialist ideals, for another it symbolised the ‘third way’ according to Tito, while others were of the view that modernism had above all produced beautiful and radical architecture. And how do occupants experience modernist architecture? Read more…