All posts in Review

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

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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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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…