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: http://www.nlarchitects.nl/misc/happy-hour (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: https://nlarchitects.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/fabulous-fibonacci-happy-hour/


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


interface_02 Read the rest of this entry »

Where is Wally?

December 22, 2016


Walter is looking forward to his early pension

but less Walter is for us beyond comprehension

because ( and this is not too jolly)

the most frequent question in the office is: Where is Wally?




Read the rest of this entry »

Restaurants become Work Spaces!

October 13, 2016


Cedars becomes ChillySpaces @ WSTLND

De Hut

June 29, 2016


Inspired by Maakland -the coolest playground around: a wooden metropolis build by kids- Otis (10) became obsessed with building his own cabin. He learned here to build with pallets; the systematic uniformity lends itself for instant structures of prefabricated walls and floors: a kind of inhabitable Lego: brilliant!

Otis found a promising building site near his home: the public green flanking a parking lot: a very rare micro forest that serves a buffer zone: dense, seemingly impenetrable.

Otis and his friends scavenged the streets for building material, luckily pallets are ubiquitous. And they come in a baffling amount of dimensions and compositions… standardization run haywire.

What we were not prepared for is the Territorial Battles that emerged. Neighborhood kids also discovered the hidden lair and claimed the premises. Nerf gun attacks, booby traps, nail mats: war… But after forming strategic alliances, there is now a peace agreement, other kids bring hammers, nails and equipment too: now work continues collectively

If we aspire to make the city livable for kids it becomes clear that this type of space is vital: how can we bring about more undefined, unclaimed, unused, uncontrolled pocket parks?