Feature: SuperNormal Architecture in the Netherlands 2010–2020.
The Sixteen Oak is published in Architecture + Urbanism #592
This issue, together with guest editor Kirsten Hannema, Chief Editor of the nai010 Yearbook Architecture in the Netherlands, takes a look at the last 10 years of Dutch architecture discourse. Previously, in a+u 12:01 issue (Architecture in the Netherlands 2000–2011), which highlighted the country’s architecture scene right after the global financial crisis in 2008, the construction industry faced a slowdown. What was seen then, as “typically” Dutch, has gradually faded. Looking away from the “SuperDutch” stigma, projects now combining broader social issues, and taking on new forms of cultural energy. Yet, compared to the superstar generation that preceded them, these architects and their projects often go unnoticed. Therefore, in this issue, 19 projects are selected and placed into 3 themes to introduce a new attitude on today’s architecture in the Netherlands – the “SuperNormal”.
The 3 themes: “Reshaping the Polder” looks into pilot projects that rethink the sustainability of our construction practice. “Tabula Scripta” introduces transformation projects exploring rebuilding under pre-existing conditions. “After the NAi” presents a body of public projects built during the period after 2012 when the national budget was cut.
Each theme is accompanied by an essay written by Bob Witman, Jarrik Ouburg, and Sergio M Figueiredo, respectively. Finally, Floris Alkemade, Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands, shares an interview about his reflections, actions, and predictions on the country’s architectural setting.
From the essay ‘Reshaping the Polder’ by Bob Witman:
‘The appreciation for landscape architecture says a lot about how much careful consideration is given to the relationship between the natural landscape and its built environment in the Netherlands. The new polderprojects literally use what the country offers. For instance, The Sixteen Oak Barn in the small town of Berlicum that is nominated as BNA Building of the Year 2019. Here, it is not the aesthetic vision of the designer that led the way but the application of the material sourced that did.
Every splinter of the sick old oaks on the courtyard of the building site was used to make the barn house, including the bark of the trees that has been poured into the concrete to let the building blend in to its environment. The Sixteen Oak Barn is an example of this new “natural’ aesthetic”, in which visual choices are selected based on the availability of a material. It is a form of incidental aesthetic that can be said to be typical of Dutch sustainability.’
a+u SuperNormal Architecture in the Netherlands 2010–2020 includes:
Reshaping the Polder
bureau SLA, ZakenMaker
The Sixteen-Oak Barn
RAU Architects, RO&AD Architects
RAAAF, Atelier de Lyon
Beurspassage – Oersoep
Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), Rijnboutt
Deventer City Hall
Neutelings Riedijk Architects
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Neutelings Riedijk Architects
Education Center Erasmus MC
Frits van Dongen Architects and Planners, Koschuch Architects
Museum De Lakenhal
Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven
Kleiburg De Flat
NL Architects, XVW Architecture
After the NAi: Grand Projects in the Netherlands
Sergio M. Figueiredo
Utrecht Bicycle Parking
Ector Hoogstad Architects
Delft City Hall and Train Station
Public Transport Terminal Breda
Koen van Velzen Architects
Cruz y Ortiz Architects
An Interview with Floris Alkemade
The Future of the Netherlands
fotografie Rene de Wit