climate change

October 29, 2015

The so-called ‘Portiek’ used to be a very popular access type for apartment buildings in the Netherlands. It is a type of covered forecourt (vestibule or portico), a space in front of the entrance that lies entirely within the building and is open to the street.

The ‘Portiek’ was one of the favorite tools of the Amsterdamse School (the Dutch expressionistic architectural style of the first part of the 20th century) to create sculptural effects. The entrances are articulated dramatically, to form a kind of welcoming ‘caves’.

In the nineties however this type of covered outdoor space disappeared from the toolbox of the city planner.

The ‘urban grotto’ now was considered dangerous; a place where possible muggers could lurk, a hideout for potential rapists or assailants… In the past three decades roofed open-air space has been banned; in our city expansions streets have become non-stick conduits.

But since increasingly heavy rainstorms become more and more frequent, we could really benefit from some basic form of shelter…

And in the mean time another climate change is taking place: crime rates have been going down rapidly. The city no longer is dangerous…. time for the second coming of the Portiek?



Earthquake Hotel

September 25, 2015

Master G. just returned from a trip to Japan. The people he had brought along were thrilled to experience a real earthquake.

This notion of excitement sparked the idea for a new hospitality concept: The Earth Moved Love Hotel. An occasional fake quake will create a lasting memory. And perhaps a real orgasm…


September 23, 2015

Spielbudenplatz_sun study SW march

We’re very happy to announce that together with BeL we’ve won the competition for the Spielbudenplatz. Here is the German text (english will follow soon):

Städtebau von Straße, Haus und Tür

Die Straße ist Aktionsfeld gesellschaftlicher Mischung. St. Pauli ist aktives Gemenge auf der Straße. St. Pauli entsteht durch eine Vielzahl unterschiedlicher Akteuren, die sich auf der Straße treffen.

Wir erzeugen städtebauliche Heterogenität mit einfachen Häusern. Die verschiedenen Wohnungstypen sind gebäudeweise sortiert. In diesen Häusern leben jeweils relativ homogene Gruppen, sie stellen eine Gemeinschaft dar. Die Gruppen und ihre Mitglieder treffen auf der Straße aufeinander. Stadt wird auf der Straße gelebt, die Tür im Erdgeschoss ist der Übergang vom Gemeinschaftlichen zum Öffentlichen. Die Anzahl der Türen bestimmt den Grad der Mischung des Öffentlichen, dieser sollte maximal sein. Mit der großen Anzahl an Türen entsteht gesellschaftliche Vielfalt, Mischung und selbstbestimmte Begegnung.

Städtebau als Verhandlung

Die Realteilung wird sowohl als soziales als auch als wirtschaftliches Werkzeug eingesetzt. Das Gesamtgrundstücks wird in vier Grundstücke geteilt, die nach Art ihrer Nutzung sortiert sind. Das Hotel liegt am Spielbudenplatz, der geförderte Wohnungsbau an Taubenstraße und Kastanienallee, der freifinanzierte Mietwohnungsbau und die Baugruppe an der Kastanienallee und der Quartiersstraße.

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August 28, 2015

Welcome to our all-you-can-sleep hotel

Virtual Reality

June 17, 2015

Renderings are becoming the new contract drawings… no longer they are ‘artist impressions’: we’re now thoroughly assessing the visuals with our cost consultants.


June 10, 2015

I just woke up from a dream about a so-called DBMO tender. In order for the client to get a better performance, this type of contract involves not just the design but also the maintenance of the project. The contractor, in addition to erecting the building also has to provide toilet paper and coffee for a 25 year time frame. The hallucination was about the menu of one of the required restaurants. According to the program of demands we did not provide enough red pepper icons in the side line. How could we rescue the project? What if we placed some extra peppers on the children’s menu?

Expanding Universes on Shrinking Footprints

April 8, 2015

ostrava sokkel test

In 2010 The City of Ostrava aspired to become the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2015. In this framework the city organized an Urban Design Competition for a site called Černá Louka (or Black Meadow). NL Architects was invited to make a proposal that should catalyze cultural development and urban transformation.

Black Meadow offered a unique opportunity to experiment with a new type of park; an urban park, a park that combines lush greenery with real urban substance. It perhaps could serve as a model of a new type of city: Tokyo meets suburbia.

Although our dear friends of MAXWAN won this competition (and Mons in Belgium and Plzeň in Czech Republic won the final bid for the cultural capital) we are still very exited by the potential of our proposal: Black Meadow to us serves as some sort of manifesto: how to rescue vulnerable green in the city and intensify urban life at the same time?

We are delighted by the opportunity offered by Kabinet Architektury to present our work once more in Ostrava. The idea of the exhibition is to show a number of projects that are thematically related to the premises of the Černá Louka competition entry, some build others still speculative, but all ‘family’: expanding universes on shrinking footprints.




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February 24, 2015

UGE on Eiffel

UGE has mounted two vertical axis turbines on the Eiffel Tower. “Located above the second level, the turbines will produce over 10,000kWh of electricity a year, offsetting the annual consumption of all commercial activity on the Eiffel Tower’s first floor.

The two UGE VisionAIR5 vertical axis wind turbines were specially painted to match the iconic tower, and are located 400 feet above ground level to maximize energy production”.

It feels a bit like a déjà vue if you excuse my French. It could be considered a mock up for the Power Tower:

UGE 01

UGE 04

UGE 02

John Jerde dies

February 11, 2015

I remember visiting the Partnership in Los Angeles. The hotel was nearby so we walked along the Ocean Front Walk. When we arrived we could not find the entrance. The building did not have a front door. The only way in was through the parking garage…

Fly United_For Real!

December 15, 2014

Fly United_Airbus

Fly United Airbus Formation for real copy

Fly United sm

For the Biennale in 2008 we created a Virtual Reality called Fly United. The Mash-up shows nine jets in the V-shape typical for migrating birds like geese. The idea is that the slipstream will reduce air-resistance; the airplanes will become lighter because they have to bring less fuel! Airliners from London, Brussels and Paris for instance could gather in the sky to ‘embark’ on the collective long haul flight to NY… and safe 10%.

It of course requires really good pilots. Now Airbus for the first time succeeded to make formations with passenger class flights… check this amazing family flight video. It is getting time to check the hypothesis.

Thank you Daan Roggeveen for the in-flight information!