Archive for December, 2009


December 23, 2009

The recently renovated Rembrandt square in Amsterdam features an impressive lighting system. It can increase intensity from a romantic ambiance to an approximation of daylight. You can dim the light for intimacy. Public space turned into living room. But who controls the switch? The real reason for the innovation is that in case of a riot the square can be flooded with light.


December 19, 2009

Prisma reaches completion. The Tower is now fully erect; all balcony fences are in place. After the initial acceptance some issues still have to be resolved.
The contractor is now aligning the fences. The appearance improves immensely: the unintentional additional ‘fractal’ wave in the balconies will be straightened out.

The perforated white corrugated steel that forms the ‘ceiling’ of the balconies is stained by a brown liquid that seeps from the wood of the balcony floor on top of it. But this ‘color bleeding’ will stop. After that these stains -that look like rust and create the appearance of early decay- will be cleaned.


December 15, 2009

Rumor has it that during the summit in Copenhagen Sarkozy stays in Hotel d’Angleterre…

Frohes Fest!

December 13, 2009

Zwaluwen Utrecht 1911: MAD COW

December 9, 2009

From our correspondent Sybren Hoek.

Sybren was part of the design team for this clubhouse in Utrecht and now is responsible for the creation of the new grandstand on the premises. He ran into this cow on the terrace.

The central idea of the project was to hide the dressing rooms in a kind of dike that had to extend the soccer pitches all the way up to the veranda that wraps around the bar on the first floor. Apparently a very inviting gesture…

But where did the cow come from? Where was it going?

We’re still fishing for answers…  

Karspeldreef by Joanna Quispel

December 8, 2009

Crisis? What Crisis?

December 7, 2009

We are currently in the process of ‘redeveloping’ our ‘mega structure’ Kameleon at the Karspeldreef in Amsterdam.

Re-arranging a project in the design phase happens regularly: the building process is slow and the conditions change continuously; among developers the ideas about what is the ideal ‘content’ of a project fluctuate perpetually. But in our practice this case is unique: this building is already under construction…

Developments in the market forced the housing corporation to reconsider the starting points for this project. The initial idea was to build apartments that are for sale. But since the market imploded it now seems more sensible to create apartments that will be for rent.

Market research indicated that the maximum rent that can be collected in this particular area is the equivalent of a 100m2 apartment. It turns out that if a larger surface per dwelling is offered, the rent can not be raised accordingly. As such any additional space will be pure financial loss.

Since the project consists of a big amount of very large apartments (150m2) some action was needed. Fortunately the big apartments were complemented by exactly the same amount of very small ones (50m2). So without fundamentally changing the structure, it is possible to convert the scheme of mixed apartment sizes into an array of units that now are considered the optimum (100m2).

We are forced to redraw the project under considerable pressure: we have to keep up with the pouring of concrete… But there is a positive side-effect: in this case the crisis directly produces new work!

Notorious Bijlmer

December 3, 2009

The Bijlmermeer can be considered the only ghetto in the Netherlands. It had a very optimistic start in the sixties, but soon the enthusiasm for this radical residential area turned into fear-for-the-unknown. Fed by heavily economized execution, bad publicity and lack of understanding by the general public the Bijlmer turned into a freak circus of urbanism.

A renewal operation started mid nineties. The honeycomb slabs were replaced by mostly suburban substance. The PR seemed to work. The ticking time bomb was diffused; the Bijlmer became ‘normal’. Almost.

But this year alone 22 shootings were reported in the area. Gangster’s Paradise?

You could wonder whether the standard body armor that is required on building sites -Hard Tops and Steel Cap Boots- here still is sufficient… But according to the contractor, on the construction site of our project on the Karspeldreef there is no need for Bulletproof Vests.