Opening #B30

Openingday of the B30 building by KAAN Architecten, now published as a freshly released project on Wallpaper, Baunetz, Domusweb, Architectenweb, De Architect etc. 


The white room

Uhmpf, these are busy times, but walking around and shooting those grand projects is always a joy. The intervention in the Provinciehuis Noord-Brabant by KAAN Architecten focusses, amongst others, on the use of stairs within the clusters of thee floors in the tower: Het Nieuwe Werken.


Nieuw leven voor Huis van Brabant

Today I am proud to present the new book ‘Nieuw leven voor Huis van Brabant’.

The Provinciehuis of North-Brabant was originally designed in 1971 by Dutch architect Hugh Maaskant. The challenge of the renovation project by KAAN Architecten, completed in 2015, stands in the right reading of the original spatial quality and in updating the building to contemporary needs.

KAAN Architecten’s intervention achieves an extensive openness of the three levels of the horizontal plinth; in the office tower rooms are replaced by a flexible working space and clustered in three floors each.

The dualism of then and now, the contemporary renewal by KAAN Architecten in the Maaskant spirit, have been captured in both photographs by Sebastian van Damme, and words by Ruud Brouwers. Ruud Brouwers is an architecture critic and a consultant on urban development and architecture policy.



#DeTrap

On May 16th at 12.30h, our mayor Mr. Aboutaleb opened De Trap, the connotation of 75 years of scaffolding while rebuilding the city of Rotterdam, generating a view on this building impulse. The installation by MVRDV will be at Central Station and Groothandelsgebouw until June 12th 2016.


Vogeltjesbuurt

Oh Joy. Ik werd gevraagd door KAW Architecten om een project dat al een tijdje opgeleverd was nog eens te fotograferen. Het moest binnen ongeveer een maand gebeuren. Na lang wachten op een dag met zon en contrast was het moment eindelijk daar. Tilburg is het, de wijk Vogeltjesbuurt. Niet een makkelijke buurt, wel doorleefd en interessant. KAW heeft een mooi project afgeleverd in samenspraak met deze buurt. Lopend door de buurt zie je de referenties die gebruikt zijn om dit stuk stadsvernieuwing vorm en inhoud te geven. Baksteenarchitectuur. Strijkschaduw. Variatie. Detail. Rijke schakeringen. Niet iedereen is er even zuinig op, maar toch. Nestelgedrag. Kwalitatieve ingreep. Kom maar op!





Toekomst van de stad

Afgelopen vrijdag (11 december) werd het Timmerhuis in Rotterdam geopend. In de Halvemaanpassage werd een show weggegeven voor genodigden met groene lasers en muziek onder leiding van Wilfried de Jong. Spinvis presenteerde een geweldig muziekspektakel, geïnspireerd op het heien van de wederopbouwstad. Vier sprekers konden voordat na twee minuten elk het heien weer knalhard inzette hun ideeën over de ‘Toekomst van de stad’ weergeven. Architect Reinier de Graaf had geen twee minuten nodig om zijn idee over de aaneenschakeling van Visies voor Rotterdam uiteen te zetten. Toch gaf hij genoeg inzicht, bewust van zijn rol in het grotere geheel van de stad. Elke spreker mocht een ondersteunend beeld meenemen, groot geprojecteerd. Deze nam hij mee.


Timmerhuis

Only 9 days to go and then it’s finished, the grand opening on december 11th: Timmerhuis by OMA.

OMA: Rather than being yet another statement in Rotterdam’s crowded history of revisionist planning and cacophony of architectural styles, the ambiguous mass of the Timmerhuis tries to mediate between the existing buildings surrounding it. The axis between the existing town hall and the post office coincides with the axis of symmetry of the Timmerhuis , and the street between these two buildings continues into a passageway to the Haagseveer. The Timmerhuis integrates with the neighbouring Stadtimmerhuis by maintaining the same floor heights, while the plinth height of 20m conforms to the character of the surrounding Laurenskwartier.


Provinciehuis Noord-Brabant

The Provinciehuis of North-Brabant is located South-East of the city of
‘s-Hertogenbosch, capital of the province of North Brabant, and is
surrounded by the water landscape of the Zuiderplas and the motor
landscape of E25.

The building, originally designed in the Seventies by Dutch architect
Hugh Maaskant, was initially unpopular because too expensive and too
big. Now after forty years, Provinciehuis has become a symbol of
active public service and its eighteen storey tower a striking
landmark of the Brabantse landscape. The building shows a perfect
balance between the horizontality of the public and representative
plinth and the elevation of the office tower. Both volumes are raised
of one floor above the ground level to house the parking area, symbol
itself of the modern industrial nature of the concrete architecture.

The strong character of Maaskant’s architecture speaks through the
perfect balance of grand gestures and small details to promote the
interaction between civil servants and administrators. This
interaction was gradually lost. The challenge of the renovation
project was in the correct reading of the original spatial quality of
the plan, in freeing the plinth from the security barriers and in
updating the building to the contemporary needs.

KAAN Architecten works in accordance with Maaskant’s interpretation, yet
with a personal approach. The central hall is now permanently
accessible; the State Hall and the Bois Le Duc Hall are also
accessible when in session. The main entrance area opens now up to
all three levels of the horizontal plinth and houses a curved
staircase to the parking floor, a café and the imposing stairway to
the first floor auditorium. Offices are located in the longitudinal
walls behind the original bricks and lights.


In the office tower the rooms are replaced by a flexible working space
and the floors are clustered in three by three. Every cluster is
provided with open and closed working space: 80 workplaces for 100
employees to highlight the dynamics of the new work environment.
Vertical circulation is streamlined, lifts stop every three floors
and two flights of stairs serve each independent cluster.  


POLAK

Op campus Woudestein van de Erasmus University staat het nieuwe Polak gebouw van Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter. Een ingetogen gebouw met een spectaculair en licht atrium en studieruimtes rondom.

Het gebouw is als een flexibele structuur ontworpen waarbinnen ruimte is voor een ‘wisselprogramma’; de eerste jaren komt hier de bibliotheek, kan er worden gestudeerd en komen er winkels. Na verloop van tijd gaat het gebouw onderdak bieden aan de wetenschappelijke gemeenschap.

Nico Jacob Polak was een Nederlands bedrijfseconoom, en hoogleraar bedrijfshuishoudkunde aan de Nederlandsche Handelshoogeschool in Rotterdam (De voorloper van EUR). Zijn proefschrift ‘Enige grondslagen voor de financiering der onderneming’ is één van de eerste standaardwerken op het gebied van de bedrijfseconomie in Nederland.


The Learn’d on AFFR

This splendid short video, for which I had the honour to assist in it’s creation, will be shown on the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (www.AFFR.nl)
on Friday October 9th next week at 13.30h in Lantaren Venster, just before the main film ‘Strange and Familiar’.

I invite you all to go and watch it!

The title of this short video, directed by Victor Vroegindeweij (The Office for Nonfiction Storytelling), on the Education Center of Erasmus MC Rotterdam by KAAN Architecten, originates from the poem by Walt Whitman ’When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer’, performed during the film.

It is a short film about architecture and the poetry of light and space. In an empty building, a temple of knowledge, movement is detected. Two people in their youth, desperate for meaning, are looking for human contact in a world of facts and figures.

The Learn’d has been realized in occasion of the shortlist nomination for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2015 and will be part of the exhibition that opened its doors on May 7th, 2015 at the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion in Barcelona.
This exhibition can currently be seen in BOZAR Brussels.

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.


EU Identity - Made in Europe: Rotterdam, KAAN Architecten

I am thrilled to post this video on the cultural, architectural and urban city of Rotterdam:

European identity - Made in Europe: Rotterdam, KAAN Architecten’

I was given the opportunity and honour to participate with Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Nihao Films and Creative Europe in making this episode possible. It is one feature in the series by Fundació Mies van der Rohe about the cultural identity of contemporary European cities. Kees Kaan of KAAN Architecten is interviewed on the Rotterdam identity. Please see for yourself!

From the foundation:

Fundació Mies van der Rohe
The Fundació Mies van der Rohe was set up in 1983 by the Barcelona City Hall with the initial purpose of reconstructing the German Pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. Besides conserving and disseminating knowledge about the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, the Fundació today also fosters debate on and awareness of themes related to contemporary architecture and urban planning, as well as encouraging studies on the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and on the Modern Movement. In accordance with these objectives, the Fundació organises awards, congresses, conferences, exhibitions, workshops and installations.

Is there a European Identity?
This project continues the debate on the identity of architecture in Europe that began at the 2014 Biennale di Venezia. It reflects a broad, varied panorama, bringing together the views of several architects on a tour of 16 cities, from London to Lisbon, from Bucharest to Trondheim. This is an open debate around a question that is not looking for a single answer but rather an ongoing reflection that will help us to understand what Europe is, what distinguishes us, what unites us and what makes us different.
It shows a broad palette of visions from each architect’s perspective, through their experience as teachers, researchers and practising professionals in and outside Europe. These different ways of understanding architecture, location, traditions and technology build up a map of visions. The architects are asked whether there is a European identity, what qualities stand out in their locality as a European city, and also what values they think should be reflected in the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. All of them have been involved in the Prize as nominees, finalists, winners or emerging architects, but most importantly, they all have a vision of Europe that reveals a Europe with a huge diversity of cultures, languages, techniques and artistic and architectural expression. They show that our identity is a sum of identities, and that much of our enormous wealth resides precisely in our respect for differences. The value of the public realm, of harmonious coexistence, of acknowledgement of the local perspective, the connection with what already exists, the city and its layers of history, etc. are transmitted through the images and opinions of the interviewed architects. This is where we can find our common values.




Modernist still life

Every month in 2015, dutch newspaper NRC organizes a photography contest with a theme. Street photography, movement, contrast, etc. This month, September, it promotes the theme of still lifes. The modern interpretation that is. We all know still lives made by famous painters, with beautiful compositions and cultural symbolism. To me they often generate a bit ‘dusty’ impression. Old skulls, dried out fruit, ancient vernacular tableware. And the classic setting is well known. A training in composition for learning painters. Continuing the classic setting I introduce modern design and a white background in order to make the vibrant reds explode. Vases by Alvar Aalto and glasses by Marc Newson, modern-made top quality German Riesling by Schloss Lieser and fresh vegetables.

If you wish to vote, here’s the link: NRC 


Rotterdam

Honestly, I couldn’t be starting a blog on architecture and the built environment without bringing an homage to the city of Rotterdam, my hometown and the most dynamic city in The Netherlands. As a photographer I am always using my eyes walking around the city. Given entrance to special places and locations means bringing the camera definitively. At the World Port Center at Wilhelminapier, the first tower at the pier designed by Norman Foster, the view north is spectacular.


First blog.

Special moment: first blog. Early morning today, heading for the Provinciehuis Noord-Brabant for a shoot with as little people as possible. Happy to have the opportunity to photograph this very special building.

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