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Copyright 2012 Š - DT101/4, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT

Copyright 2012 Š - DT101/4, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT

The architecture of the Netherlands is almost apposite to the type of architecture present in Ireland. The grand gesture is held supreme, the sum of the parts greater than the components. It is a world of architectural freedom and exuberance that bewilders the Irish student. Here there is a true public acceptance of architecture, where a once-off home is unquestioningly put into the hands of an architect and a unique building expected. Fascinating too is the urban environment - the seas of bikes, the masses of canals, docks and quaysides, the almost unrelenting flatness of the place. The architecture has developed in response to the environment, either working with it or against it. Hence the huge tasteful-but-sober office blocks with arrayed facades of tall narrow windows which so excellently complement the grey, overcast skies. In contrast to this are the more joyful buildings of the Dutch built environment - colourful, erratic and inventive, they rebel against the dreary weather. This is an architectural culture that has been built up over a century or more, from Beus Van Berlage’s early attempts to bring classical architectural archietcure into the modern era. It serves as a model for a national appreciation of architecture to which we all can aspire.

Amsterdam Utrecht Delft




Kraanspoor 2007

Trude Hooykaas Offices Oslofjordweg, 1033 SL, Amsterdam An interesting re-use of an abandoned industrial structure as a modern office block. The concrete substructure originally supported a dock crane that literally moved laterally on tracks. The offices are now situated in a threestorey block some 15m above the pier level.

Borneo Eiland 1995

West 8 Housing Eastern Docklands, Amsterdam

Masterplanned by West 8, this former harbour district was allocated to housing in 1995 with the goal of creating a waterfront location without equal. The islands of Borneo and Sporenburg now contain almost 2500 dwellings in various densities by both local and international architects, alongside 2 of 3 landmarks, the Whale, IJ Tower and the unbuilt Fountainhead. West 8 included a serpentine Python Bridge of their own design connecting the two islands. The masterplan demanded a 30-50% void in each property, giving rise to a new canal house typology. The challenge lay in designing a contemporary house fronting the water but allowing for private outdoor space within a confined plot. Each solution is unique, creating a collage of material and form.

The Whale 2000

de Architekten Cie Housing Baron G. A. Tindalplein 1, 1019 TW Amsterdam

The Whale is one of the three landmark buildings envisioned in West 8’s Borneo Eisland masterplan. The building contains 214 apartments and commercial space. It is a traditional closed courtyard apartment block, but with it’s ends lifted to expose the usually hidden centre. The garden in the middle was landscaped by West 8 rather than de Architekten Cie. The angular form serves to provide sufficient lighting, ventilation and views to the dwellings while generating variation in the unit types. The zinc facade in combination with the form and scale have given the Whale landmark status in the generally low rise context of Borneo Eiland.

Het Oosten Pavilion 2000

Stephen Holl Pavilion Sarphatistraat 410, 1018 GW, Amsterdam

This pavilion is part of a renovation of an ajacent building, an old medicine storage building built in 1889. The developer, Het Oosten, intended the building to be used as a public building, open for use by any organisation that wishes to use it. It is capable of accommodation up to 280 people. The outer skin consists of perforated copper suspended 40cm from the concrete structure, giving the building a sponge-like texture. The interior surface is also clad in a perforated material, this time steel. The building is filled with seemingly random windows likening the building to a Menger Sponge, a mathematical form with an infinitely small volume and a infinitely large surface area.

Silodam 2002

MVRDV Apartments Silodam, Amsterdam This project is named after the approach road, the silodam, a former dock where grain and wheat was unloaded and stored. The building is built on stilts over the river IJ, it is even possible to dock a boat beneath it. The building is clad in a bewildering array of different materials and glazing systems, and while this seems like a novelty effect, it fact it delineates the different apartment types within the building. There is a total of 157 apartments in the building with a smattering of commercial space. A publicly accessible deck containing a single bench in splended isolation allows an expansive view over the river and it’s traffic.

WoZoCo Housing 1997

MVRDV Apartments Osdorp, Amsterdam

Known to architects as the WoZoCo Building, but as the Oklahoma Building to locals, it’s distinctive projecting blocks were the result of local planning laws stipulating the plot ratio. In an effort to keep the building’s height down, MVRDV cantilevered the additional apartments off the north face of the building. Behind the building is a landscaped car park with flower beds and benches. The building is occupied by the elderly, all of whom were allowed to choose the colour of the glass on their balconies when the building was being built. The cladding on the south facade has also been replaced recently and is noticably more vibrant than the original cladding on the rest of the building.

Parkrand Housing 2007

MVRDV Apartments Dr. H. Colijnstraat, Geuzenveld-Slotermeer, Amsterdam

Located in an otherwise dreary suburb this housing project means park-edge in Dutch. The building is situated next to a large park and almost all occupants are afforded a view of the park, even those on the far side of the building. The building reads both as a huge rectangular block with large voids cut out of it , or a series of five towers connected at the top by a zigzagging bridge. Outside the facade is composed of precast concrete panels with a rough finish. The inside, “cut-away� sections are all faced in white bricks, some of which have an irregular enamelled surface, reminiscent of condensation. On the first level is a meandering outdoor area containing childrens play areas and monumental 4m high flowerpots. Playing on the idea of an outdoor room, these are lit at night by oversized chandeliers.

Beurs Van Berlage 1903

Hendrik Petru Berlage Civic Building Damrak 243, 1012 ZJ Amsterdam

The Beurs Van Berlage was built between 1898 and 1903 to replace the Zocher Stock Exchange. It broke with the Neo Classical traditional dominant at the time and the initial reaction was quite negative. Now, we can see it as one of the precursors to modern Dutch architecture. Berlage designed the building with a socialist ideal, the many bricks symbolic of the workers. This creates quite the conflict between it’s overtly capitalist function and it’s socialist symbolism. Today, the building is truly a social centre, housing concerts, exhibitions, cultural events, lectures and conferences.

Apolloschool 1983

Herman Hertzberger School Willem Witsenstraat 12-14, 1077AZ Amsterdam

Herzberger designed this school during the eighties in the face of shrinking budgets. To combat this he tightened up the design and created a cohesive organisation. The school is centred around a sunken courtyard, similar to an amphitheatre that has been since emulated across the world. As a great believer in the Montessori method, Hertzberger created spaces to promote self learning. He also created school for children rather than for childrens use. There are blocked out areas and smaller corridors suited more to a child than to an adult. It is worth noting that Hertzberger referred to people and users during design rather than children.

Rotterdam and Delft

The Why Factory 2009

MVRDV, Richard Hutten Research unit Julianalaan 132-134, Delft

In 2008 the Faculty of Architecture in Deflt burned to the ground, leaving the students without facilities. With great haste new space was provided and interventions made by several Dutch architecture firms. MVRDV designed The Why Factory (T?F), a three storey high wooden pavilion containing lecture halls, meeting rooms and research facilities. The large set of steps up the side of the building allow it to be used as an auditorium. Richard Hutten designed furniture to be used in the space surrounding the building that can be adapted for various uses such as lectures, exhibitions and tutorials.

Kunsthal 1992

OMA Art Museum, Cultural Centre Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341 3015 AA Rotterdam

An early OMA project, showing Koolhaas’s penchant for spatial innovation and eccentric detailing. The building is square on plan, divided by a public ramp running north -south and a road running under the building east - west. The four squares are connected by large ramps, the largest serving the double function of being an auditorum and a circulation route. The intention of all this being to create a spiral out of four squares. The building is clad in an endlessly innovative selection of materials - clear corrugated plastic both inside and out, expanded metal, channel glass, various stone claddings. Elsewhere, impeccable detailing contrasts with unexpectedly rough finishes - two huge tree trunks apparently support the upper hall, and galvanised fire-escape-like stairs connects two galleries. At the front of the building a series of columns support the roof, none quite the same, one of concrete with a square profile, cross braced to a castellated girder standing next to a circular steel column. In the main hall the lateral roof bracing cuts through the roof, blissfully unintegrated with the rest of the building. This is a playful and intriguing building, just as advant garde today as it was the day it was built.

Shipping and Transport College 2006

Neutelings Riedjik Lecture halls, Student Centre, Cafeteria Leuvenlaan, De Uithof, Utrecht

The meandering form of this building rises to a height of 65 as it cantilevers out over itself to look westwards down to Rotterdam Port and out to sea. The upper end of the tube form contains an auditorium, the tower is composed of classrooms. The lower end of the the building contains simulation rooms, a media centre and the tube is then truncated in a stepped cafeteria overlooking the Meuse

River. The building is an excellent example of an icon building, the instantly recognisable form is visible for miles up and down the river. Up close the building is almost crude, the building being clad in huge slatted panels in checkerboard fashion. In places windows sit behind the panels, allowing light to seep through the slats and expose internal spaces hidden behind the facade.

Erasmus Bridge 1996

UN Studio Vehicular and pedestrian bridge. Rotterdam

The building of the Erasmus bridge linked the northern half of Rotterdam to a new business and residential site to the south, on the site of old docks. Won in competition, Ben van Berkels design incorporates an underground carpark at it’s northern landing, with several levels of parking situated beneath the roadway. Attached to this are several buildings in the undercroft of the road deck, cafes and kiosks overlooking the river. The bridge comprises an 139m high pylon supporting a 290m long road deck. To the south is an 89m long bascule bridge which lifts to allow ships pass the bridge. It is the largest lifting bridge in Europe.

New Orleans Tower 2010

Alvaro Siza Residental building Otto Reuchlinweg, Rotterdam

This 158m high residental tower is an unlikely project for Siza, usually found designing art galleries in Portugal. The New Orleans tower has an art deco look, referencing the great 1930’s buildings of New York and Chicago. The building looks well in sunlight, the shadows playing nicely across it’s sharp surfaces. Unfortunately the sun almost never shines in Rotterdam, a grey haze is far more common. Ultimately, while there’s nothing overly wrong with this building, it certainly seems out of place, a glamorous tower in a no-nonsense port city.

Cube Houses 1977

Piet Blom Housing, Retail Spaces Overblaak 70, Rotterdam

The cube houses designed by Piet Blom in 1974, who promptly constructed three test versions. The first set of Cube houses was built in the city of Helmond and completed in 1977. The second, more famous set of Cube houses was begun in Rotterdam in 1977 and completed by 1982. Blom’s idea was strongly influenced by ideas of ecology and he aimed to construct a ‘living forest’, where each cluster of cube houses represented a village and each house represented a tree. The Rotterdam cube houses are built on an overpass, a major road passes beneath the buildngs. A publically accessible concourse then flows beneath the cube houses, sheltered from the elements by the canopy of buildings overhead. There is a number of small retail units on this level. Of the total 39 houses that were built one is open to the public as a show house. Once the novelty of being in a house where the walls slope at 54° wears off, it becomes apparent that the ceilings are extremely low, the rooms dark and the layouts very awkward.


Utrecht Townhall 2000

Enric Miralles Town Hall Korte Minrebroederstraat, Utrecht

The administration of Utrecht has been in this location for over six centuries, a labyrinth of medieval building and city castles. Enric Miralles was given a brief to create a new wing that would combine the monumental elements yet create an open, inviting building. Miralles has housed the civil servants offices in a separate wing to the council rooms and public areas, giving the public a closer view of their civic governance. He also designed the lamps, benches and council furniture, adding a more personal touch to the interior.

Two Family House 1997

MVRDV & Bjarne Mastenbroek Private Houses 124a/b Koningslaan, Utrecht

This project by MVRDV and Bjanre Mastenbroek was originally for two businessmen but, due to financial restrictions, a different client occupies the second house. Designed as two interlocking forms, this project maximizes living space for both without one infringing on the other. One house may lose space on one floor only to regain it on the next. Each house has it’s own entrance but the rear garden is shared by both. The building is clad in stained plywood. Originally a reddish brown colour, it has darkened over the years to the grey black we see today. The plywood cladding remains in good condition after 15 years without much maintenance. The facade plays with transparency through varying glazed panels, revealing the living spaces while concealing the private rooms behind smaller glazing.

Schroder House 1924

Gerrit Rietveld House Prinz Henriklaan 50, Utrecht

Built in 1924 for Mrs. Truus Schroder-Schrader and her three children, the Schroderhuis is the only example of a design based on the architectural pricniples of the de Stijl movement. It is located at the end of a terraced row and originally looked out over meadowland. A 1960’s motorway changed this, as did the urban sprawl beyond it to which Rietveld himself added. The freeform plan divides space with sliding partitions and changes in surface, containing three bedrooms, living room and bathroom when closed and one large space when open. Folding shelves and desks occupy walls where needed and original Rietveld Berlin and Red and Blue chairs remain in the house for exhibition. The relationship between inside and out is blurred, large windows dominate the living space and each bedroom has a balcony directly accessible. A rather fantastical building, full of quirks and unexpected details.

Chauffeur’s House 1927

Gerrit Rietveld Garage & Flat Waldeck Pyrmontkade 20, Utrecht

Taking only three weeks to build in either 1927 or 1928, this flat above a garage for a chauffeur shows Rietveld’s changing architectural ideas. Here he experiments with prefabrication and standardised components, a marked departure from the Schroder House of 1924 situated not far away. The steel I beam structure is clearly visible from the exterior, infilled with white enamel spotted concrete panels. It’s construction is based on a simple 1x1m grid and Rietveld is quoted as having called it “an experiment in industrialized building.

Basketbar 2003

NL Architects Basketball court, bar, skatepark. Heidelberglaan, De Uithof, Utrecht

An unusual building consisting of a bar set below the level of the street roofed with a large basketball court. Disabled access is via a access ramp-cum-skatepark to one side. All of this permits a interesting interplay of activity. Bar patrons drink with passerby’s feet at eye level and are able to watch basketball players run overhead through the glass centre circle of the court.

Educatorium 1997

OMA Lecture halls, classrooms, cafeteria. Leuvenlaan, De Uithof, Utrecht

Similar to the Kunsthal in Rotterdam this building is filled with overlapping spaces with huge sloping floorplates envisaged to bread down strict spatial organisation and create looser, more social spaces. Most notable is the major ramp that begins at the entrance, slopes up to an entrance concourse, becomes the roof of the cafeteria and then wraps around an auditorium before becoming the floorplate of a higher floor. While this is an interesting concept this leads to huge amounts of circulation space, in fact this huge building seems to contain little more than two auditoriums, a cafeteria and several classrooms.

“The detailing in the Educatorium is a mode of detailing that frees the attention for other aspects such as the way the ground is read, the sensing of abstractions, of transparency and translucency, of concrete and of the conditions themselves. The sensing of a whole encounters.” – Rem Koolhaas

Minnaert Building 2003

Neutelings Riedjik Labs, Student Centre, Cafeteria Leuvenlaan, De Uithof, Utrecht

A classic oddball Dutch building, this long building has the massing of an oceangoing tanker, the rough skin of a prehistoric dinosaur, and the interior of a leisureplex. The dark central space originally held a large pool of rainwater from the roof, which cascaded noisily into bowls of gravel from the roof. This was intended as a means of cooling the build-

ing, however this system failed to work and was removed. The space now contains a few patches of astroturf and a defunct pool table. The building is both nauseatingly kitsch and infuriatingly obtuse - most of the moves of the building are difficult to understand and the internal circulation spaces oppressively dark and uninviting.

Utrecht University Library 2004

Wiel Arets Library Heidelberglaan, De Uithof, Utrecht

Won in competition in 1997 and completed in 2004, Arets’s library is a major chapter in the development of the Uithof campus of Utrecht university. Planned since the late 1950’s, the plan only began to come together from the late 90’s onwards, following decades of fitful work. The building is composed of two parts, a multi-storey carpark to the rear of the building and the main library block, which is connected to other campus buildings via a bridge over the main thoroughfare through the campus. This bridge leads into the central space of the library, a huge piranesian atrium intersected by a multitude of different volumes. On one floor a huge beam containing reading desks strides across the volume, on another a meeting room overhangs the reception space. Ascending a staircase one finds that every floor is unique, and every ascent of a staircase presents a new view into a reading area or across a previously hidden void. From the interior the exterior facade then makes sense, every expanse of glass reflects

an interior void, likewise every exterior section of black concrete reflects a interior enclosed void. The glass is ecthed with a pattern of willow trees, from a picture by Kim Zwart. This pattern is also cast into the concrete of the building, creating a continuity between the exterior facades and the interior surfaces. The interior concrete is painted black, contrasting with the white floors. This then is contrasted by the use of red furniture placed in the circulation spaces of the building. Altogether, a joy of a building to move through.

Cambridgelaan Housing 2000

Rudy Uytenhaak Student Housing Cambridgelaan, De Uithof, Utrecht

A massive 51 metre high student housing block located imediately behind the Wiel Arets Library. Striding over drains and pathways on huge concrete feet, the building climbs up to the 11th floor before bridging dramatically over to the adjoining block. Each three storey beam steps down progressively to allow sunlight from the south to penetrate the apartments. Much of the supporting structure for the beams is set apart from the building giving the building a curious exoskeleton.

Smarties 2008

Marlies Rohmer Student Accommodation Heidelberglaan, De Uithof, Utrecht

The De Uithof Campus in the eastern Suburbs of Utrecht is the location of the majority of the university’s faculties. Despite this the city has suffered chronic student housing shortages, only solved in recent years with the construction of numerous units of student housing through out the campus. One of these, the Smarties building, provides 380 units of accommodation for the ‘Smarties’ of the university. The lower section, housed in the massive green structure, contains bike sheds, communal spaces and hosts a basketball court in the undercroft. The upper section contains the apartments, the stilted, regular arrangement of the apartments is hidden by the random pixelated aluminium cladding.

De Blob 2009

Massimiliano Fuksas Retail, Office space September 18-plein, Eindhoven

Designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and with the predictable name of the De Blob, this is a new landmark for Eindhoven. While the building sits entirely incongruously at the end of September 18-plein, it functions as an excellent landmark, visible from miles about and surrounded by otherwise dreary buildings. Up close the glazing impresses but otherwise is a disappointing experience, with little other than a H&M inside. A building best seen from afar.

Underground Carpark Entrances 2004

Van Aken Architechten Carpark entrance, plaza Kennedyplein, Eindhoven What could have been an otherwise dreary set of carpark entrances has been made into a fantastic outdoor space by cladding the sloping roofs with sheets of Corten Steel, thus transforming the roofs into giant slides. The remainder of the plaza is also floored in gently sloping steel sheets and the buildings above, also by Van Aken Architechten are wider at the top than at the bottom, adding to the pleasant sense of distortion of the surrounds

The Netherlands 13 - 18 March 2012 Paul Kelly Shane de Faoite Grace Mullen Ruth Elena Karl Tobin Sam Teo Conor Boyle Shane Fitzpatrick Petie Barry Anna Reidy Phil Ryan Noel Roche Tomรกs Conners Stephen Murphy Booklet: Petie Barry Shane Fitzpatrick

The Netherlands Travelogue  

Descrption of 4th Year Students of Architecture from the Dublin School of Architecture field trip to The Netherlands, 2012