Archive for January, 2011

January 28, 2011

Groninger Forum in 3D? Get your 3D glasses and check this…  (Master Gen thanks Florent le Core)

There is a petition online (in Dutch): go-forum!


January 17, 2011

Groninger Forum R.I.P?

January 5, 2011

Forum redevelopment? Click image!

On December 14th -during our Christmas dinner- we were informed that the Province of Groningen would retract the 35 million Euros that were reserved for the Groninger Forum. The governing parties say the required political support is no longer available.

It seems that the provincial Labor Party is afraid that in the upcoming elections voters will turn to populist parties over the construction of what by some is considered a ‘left-wing cultural palace’. Apparently a ‘Tea Party’ does not even have to be elected to rule…  This bitter irony seems to be the main dilemma of the current political climate.

Cutting the budget in half will of course jeopardize the project. Will this mean the end of the Forum?

We certainly hope not. Of course there is worldwide an increasing skepticism about Administrations and the State. But we think the city of Groningen is one of the rare ‘pockets of resistance’. We believe that Groningen will be able to proof that governments actually can contribute to public life and successful cities…

And there is good news: the provincial and local government have just decided to work together to find a solution for the deadlock.

There is a petition online (in Dutch): go-forum! go!

Wittgenstein at the Muziekpaleis

January 4, 2011

About 15 years ago we were witness of a lecture by Christian Rapp. Rapp divided our profession in two categories: the domain of the Conceptual vs. the Empirical, abstract thinking vs. pragmatic embedding, Greek Temple vs. Primitive Hut.

According to Rapp symmetry is the most significant tool in the realm of the Conceptual. But he identified the ‘stubborn’ character of reality frustrating the purity of the abstract idea. Material thickness can be a pain. He mentioned the issue of the Mauerwerkvorsprung as signaled by Jan Turnovsky in an essay about the Wittgenstein house. In the breakfast room every window is the sole opening in the wall in which it is placed. Hence, the windows should be positioned in the middle of the wall. Both inside and outside. But since there is an inner corner and an outer corner involved the material thickness varies: the axis of the inner wall does no longer coincide with the axis of the outer wall… So asymmetry had to be accepted. Wittgenstein however could not live with this imperfection: he devised a local expansion of the wall; a fake column in the corner would set things straight! “The desperate act of a brilliant amateur” in Rapp’s words.

Our intuitive response to the problem was to use a kind of ‘double glazing’; to place one windowpane in the center of the interior wall and one in the center of the outer wall. And connect them through an oblique aperture, morphing the inside to the outside. Would it be possible to be empirical and conceptual at the same time?

Recently we were confronted by a similar problem. In the Crossoverzaal, our contribution to the Muziekpaleis, some building parts, we call them tentacles, reach to the facade. The idea was to open up the interior to the wonderful view. However the masterplan by Studio Hertzberger would not allow full glazing on the east and west facades; the wrapping of the building should remain complete and continuous. No accents or distracting openings are permitted. Luckily the paneled skin of the building is perforated by oval holes. So we could make openings. But the outside pattern did not match the interior outline. How to overcome this incongruity? We applied our ‘discovery’ on the Wittgenstein problem: we took the outside pattern as a given and redistributed the windows into a ‘perfect’ arrangement in the interior. And then connected the inside and outside. The wall thickness allowed this sculptural shift. Let’s see if we can make this crossover work…

Last Christmas

January 3, 2011

The theme of this year’s Christmas Dinner: the Devil is in the Detail…

Ad’s customized buttons.

It took a while to figure out Gerbrand’s detail: this year no bowtie…

Game on!

Gert Jan with his handmade Styrofoam dice…

Shui with his new shoe