Good IDEA for the AMC

April 19, 2019




The AMC, the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, is the largest hospital of The Netherlands. And one of the biggest buildings in the country.

The AMC was designed by Architectenburo Duintjer Istha Kramer van Willegen in collaboration with ir. D van Mourik and opened in 1981. Now the facades are up for renovation. What to do with the immense surface?

The AMC was conceived as a city, the volumes build an intricate sequence of interior streets and squares that are all day lit. This Cité Médicale provides a remarkably pleasant experience for both patients, medical staff, students and visitors.

The AMC in principle consists of two spatial types; six so-called beddenhuizen, interconnected tower blocks with the rooms for the patients rest on an extensive low rise base with the operation rooms, research facilities, public spaces and services.

Both facades consist of horizontal concrete bands alternated with strips of glass or corrugated steel plates. The four story base features characteristic window cleaning galleries resting on protruding consoles that together render a sculptural expression. Brut is beautiful : )

The spatial organization of the AMC is incredibly innovative. The building features a rather amazing section: in the low rise pedestal so-called sub-floors, floors that contain the necessary installations, intersect the regular floors. So one floor with medical rooms is followed by a floor dedicated to the technical facilities! This principle allows maintenance and adaptation of the ducting over time without jeopardizing the operations below.

The ‘interstitials’ are quite perceptible. On the outside, the sub-floors are obscured by corrugated steel plate. Can we replace this opaque cladding with glass panels?

Opening up the technical floors will bring to the fore the hidden beauty of the AMC: exposing the intricate insides like the Anatomy Lesson.

Some sort of ‘sandwiched’ Centre Pompidou could come into being that would reveal the brute intelligence of this structure.



April 16, 2019

The city of Zandvoort aspires to bring back the Formula 1 to its gorgeous circuit by 2020.

The municipal council of the car crazy coastal city unanimously voted in favor of investing 4 million euros into returning the Grandprix to the Netherlands. reports.

GroenLinks (the green party) added an amendment stipulating that the return of the Grand Prix must be done as sustainably as possible. A narrow majority adopted this amendment : )

The elegant curves of the race track formed the basis for our project Circuit City in 2002.

Circuit City


Street Races are immensely popular. The illegal races are generally held in peripheral business districts and warehouse areas.

While designing these ‘Business Parks’ it might be a good idea to consider the activities that normally are just a derivative of the real function in an early stage. The hypothesis is that a reciprocal relation between both types of use could come into being: a situation of mutual benefit.

Circuit City optimizes the infrastructure for new Business Areas for driving fast. In the weekends and evenings ‘illegal’ races can take place. And during the day the circuit is a wonderful driveway along which you can park. Official races can be organized that will have a positive effect on the surrounding corporations: the glamour that comes with motorsports will reinforce the ‘dynamic character’ of the entire district, real estate values will go up. Identity, fundamentally lacking from this type of generic environment, can be derived from the additional function: infrastructure becomes Logo”.

More here:

Remote Controlled Trash Bin

February 5, 2019


Our Remote Controlled Trash Bin now has a more intelligent follow up: the Smart Trash Can.

Where our trash bin, that was built in the early nineties (and is now pretty much trashed), still depended on human skill and dexterity in handling the joystick, the new invention deploys sensors and a PC to calculate where your waste will fall and autonomously moves to catch it!

Trashcan catches trash

what? wow! why?

January 31, 2019

file-16eWhile going through our archive (we are in the process of moving: ) we made some strange discoveries like the one above: an early handcrafted collage (from before the Internet and Photoshop) of an escalator with two different inclinations. But why?

Kleiburg: a self fulfilling prophecy

November 26, 2018

Kleiburg Wallpaper


On May 30, 2011 we launched a Blog post about Kleiburg. It had just been announced that four teams were selected to further develop their plans to rescue the building. Our pamphlet supported the idea of preserving the mega-structure with the slogan: if you’re short-sighted what use is a vista? And to articulate the latent potential of the building we published a Mash-up of a proud photograph of Kleiburg on the cover of Wallpaper magazine:

Many attempts to renovate the slabs in the Bijlmer, Kleiburg in particular, have focused on differentiation, in an attempt to get rid of the uniformity, the repetition, to ‘humanize’ the architecture. BAD idea. Time for a new approach: emphasize the intrinsic beauty. Sublimize. Kleiburg will soon make it into Wallpaper”.

A year later we were invited to become part of the winning team Consortium DeFlat. The result of the collective effort was stunning and in 2017 the building was awarded with the EUMiesaward. What a blast! And the prediction came through: this autumn Ellen Himelfarb of Wallpaper visited the Bijlmer. Kleiburg did not actually land on the cover but never the less made it into the magazine : )

Bazaar Lelylaan

March 12, 2018

According to Monitor sociale veiligheid openbaar vervoer Lelylaan is still considered the most unsafe station of Amsterdam. What can be done to improve this gloomy hub?

Time to re-launch the brilliant solution that we proposed in 2010: pick up the least appealing element and copy paste it until it becomes gorgeous 🙂

What about an exotic market under the tracks? A bazaar could turn the Station into a destination and as such improve the well-being of travelers; density as a catalyst for safety.

Transvaal Train Track Park

March 1, 2018

In the midst of the financial crisis Rijksbouwmeester Liesbeth van der Pol initiated a program to keep young architects ‘off the streets’. Among many other things a ‘masterclass’ was organized to reflect on the potential of a ‘problematic’ neighborhood in Amsterdam.

Our team was asked to address the deficient connection with the rest of the city caused by the train tracks and more specifically to ‘reinvent’ the long, low and dark underpasses.

During the two day workshop a wonderful discovery was made: an unused stretch of land lay idle in-between the train tracks; a rare wasteland in the middle of the city with great potential. Could we reclaim this vacant land for the city?

The swoosh shaped plot of about 20.000m2 is sandwiched between two train tracks. There is no apparent reason why the tracks are spaced so wide apart. Squeezing them together, tapering this bundle of infrastructure, would make the valuable land available: a new park could emerge.

Local authorities at the time were very excited with this discovery. But we passed by the site again recently: in 8 years nothing has happened. Time for action. What a niiice present to the city this could be… more here


The extinguisher that might start a fire

January 11, 2018

The dominant brand of fire extinguishers in the Netherlands is Ajax, named after the Greek God. As is the soccer club from Amsterdam.

In the contract documents for the Clubhouse Varkenoord @ Sporcampus Rotterdam it was clearly stated that no Ajax lettering should be visible. The word Ajax might trigger outrage in this particular part of the Netherlands.

But now there seems to be a solution: a new brand of extinguisher is on the market: FEYENOORD

VARK_AJAX_01let op: geen Ajax belettering zichtbaar ter voorkoming van vandalismefeyenoord-brandblusser


Vitruvius Happy Hour

November 15, 2017

There are three departments of architecture: the art of building, the making of time-pieces, and the construction of machinery. Building is, in its turn, divided into two parts, of which the first is the construction of fortified towns and of works for general use in public places, and the second is the putting up of structures for private individuals. There are three classes of public buildings: the first for defensive, the second for religious, and the third for utilitarian purposes. Under defence comes the planning of walls, towers, and gates, permanent devices for resistance against hostile attacks; under religion, the erection of fanes and temples to the immortal gods; under utility, the provision of meeting places for public use, such as harbours, markets, colonnades, baths, theatres, promenades, and all other similar arrangements in public places”.

Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture. Morris Hicky Morgan. Oxford University Press. 1914.

So according to Vitruvius the construction of sundials and water clocks is a fundamental part of Architecture. Please check out our version of a time piece: Happy Hour

Happy Hour is available as a screensaver. Please download the file (exe) here: (click the clock in the middle to install it on your computer)


Why do clocks in advertisements always indicate 10 past 10?
Did they all stop ticking at their finest hour?

The logic behind this phenomenon seems to be a matter of seduction; 10 past 10 is considered an optimistic figure!

Taking this superior configuration of the pointers as a starting point a new paradigm could be set: not the pointers should move but the face of the clock!

The dial is split in two rings: the inner circle indicates the hours, the outer shows the minutes.

The hands remain steady in the most positive position: “Happy Hour”!

More here:


Binary Pottery: Bulb Vase

February 9, 2017

Flowers, when ‘harvested’ are cut loose from their life source. Bulb Vase replaces the missing ‘body part’, Bulb Vase is a prosthesis.

Bulb Vase is a form of binary pottery: an exploration into the potential of mass customization.

Bulb Vase is a web tool that allows you to digitally mould a small vase according to your liking. Just drag the sliders to adjust the figure: twist the base, stretch the neck, swing the body, squeeze the butt.

Once you’ve created a satisfying shape you can place your order. You will receive an email with the exact price that is depending on the chosen shape and the amount of material used. After we’ve received your payment, a delightful package will soon arrive with the solid result of your exercise in virtual modeling.

It is fun, try it here: Bulb Vase


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