Arquitectura Viva
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Arquitectura Viva 54


Arets, Claus y Kaan, Coenen, MVRDV, V. Berkel, V. Belsen
V-VI 1997
Holland Anew. Twentieth-century Dutch architecture is characterized by a devotion to modernity that regularly renews itself. While economic growth in recent years has brought about a general building boom, the magisterial examples of successive emblematic figures like Aldo van Eyck, Herman Hertzberger and Rem Koolhaas on one hand, and the vitality of the country's architecture schools on the other, have led to the emergence of a new generation of architects that is profoundly modifying the professional practice and the built landscape of the Netherlands.   Bart Lootsma
Innovation and Difference
Holland in the Nineties
Hans van Dijk
Last Figures
V. Eyck, Hertzberger, Koolhaas
Domingo Merino
Nine Plus One
The Rising Generation
Buildings: Projects and Realizations
Promoting the Collective. Architectures of a communal character frequently are valuable instruments for overall urban regeneration. Whether involving the extension of a museum in a small locality or the provision of altogether new cultural facilities in significant locations, these refill pieces contribute to the refurbishing of cities.   Van Berkel y Bos
Rijskmuseum Twente, Enschede
Jo Coenen
Arts Academy, Tilburg
Koen van Velsen
Megabioscoop Cinema, Rotterdam
Domestic Models. Holland has been a pioneer in housing proposals ever since the Modern Movement. But besides the architectural avant-garde, societal movements in the period between the wars did their part to encourage innovation in the field of collective housing. The legacy of all this is patent in some recent residential projects.   Wiel Arets
KNSM Tower, Amsterdam
Claus & Kaan
Residential Complex, Groningen
Housing Block, Amsterdam
Books, Exhibitions, Personalities
  Art / Culture
Disornamented. An exhibition in Madrid commemorates the four hundredth death anniversary of Juan de Herrera, while a show at Vicenza's Palladian basilica celebrates the Norwegian Sverre Fehn's Pritzker Prize.   Juan Antonio Ramírez
Juan de Herrera, 4th Centenary
Francesco Dal Co
Fehn, Between Earth and Sea
American Museums. Taniguchi, Herzog&De Meuron and Tschumi are the finalists in the competition for the MoMA's enlargement, while Ando has won that for Forth Worth's new museum, which is to stand beside the Kimbell.   Herbert Muschamp
The MoMA Enlarges
David Dillon
Fort Worth: Ando Faces Kahn
Chronicles of Seduction. The anthropologist Joseba Zulaika relates the details of the agreement between the Basque government and the Guggenheim Foundation that has made the building of Gehry's museum in Bilbao possible.   Focho's Cartoon
Eduardo Torroja
Various Authors
Interiors, Desing, Construction
  Technique / Style
Berlin Works. Projects by the Germans Dudler, Kollhoff, Sawade, Kleihues and Hilmer&Sattler materialize the urban model of perimetral city blocks and stone facades that is being applied for the recuperation of Berlin's east sector; though Germany's new capital is also the scene of unique works, including two by the French architects Nouvel and Perrault.   Peter Rumpf
Berlin in Stone
Jean Nouvel
Lafayette Galleries, Berlin
Dominique Perrault
Velodrome and Pools, Berlin
To close, an item-by-item look at the newest industrial products specifically devised for the building of roofs; and reflections by the architect and critic Roemer van Toorn about the motivations, attitudes and strategies of the latest generation of Dutch architects, which could be extrapolated to apply to other groupings of young European professionals.   Products
English Summary
Berlin Anew
Roemer van Toorn
Fresh Conservatism

Holland Anew

This artificial country is a laboratory of architecture. Perhaps because it is a fabricated territory, the Netherlands manifests a sensibility and an experimental attitude toward the built environment that has no parallel in Europe. No country of similar dimensions can boast as many examples of innovative architecture, nor as great a receptiveness to alterations of its communal fabric. If a tradition does exist there, it is the tradition of the new: the physical new and the social new, bound by a pact between landscapes and people that is regularly altered and renewed. The deliberately changing character of its horizontal and aquatic geography is both a foundation and a metaphor of its artificial nature.

If the Dutch, as Simon Schama affirms, have invented themselves in the fields of art and politics, Spaniards paradoxically provoked this contrived self-construction through a long and cruel imperial war, in reaction to which Holland's symbolic and material identity was forged four centuries ago. Woven with the warp of Erasmus and the weft of Calvino, the enterprising, sober and egalitarian spirit of the Dutch did not only give rise to a great maritime and mercantile power; it also created an intricate and distinctive culture in which are rooted many episodes of the 20th-century avant-garde, with its marked preference for objectivity and the utilitarian.

Over the tabula rasa of these low landscapes rose the innovative tradition of Berlage and Brinkman, Duiker and Oud. As Bart Lootsma and Hans van Dijk point out, such inventive endeavor has come down to our days through the humanistic geometries of Van Eyck or Hertzberger and the pragmatic Utopias of Koolhaas. These radical fountainheads nourish today's Dutch architects, who contemplate the future of their territory with a realistic ambition and an imaginative freshness that are hard to find in other Europeans, more inclined as the latter are to enclose themselves in the narrow ambit of form. The young Dutch, in contrast, look for artistry — beyond the object — in an efficient urbanism and a functional landscape.

As Roemer van Toorn explains, the determined realism of the latest generations may sometimes border on a conservatism that unquestioningly accepts ”the rationality of the real.” Not all that exists is rational, but only by recognizing and exposing its existence can we make informed intervention feasible. The planetary process of homogenization, urban and territorial deregulation, and the accelerated alteration of the technical and human environment all have a receptive field of experiences in the dense country of polders: the physical and social perspectives of Europe are being tested in these extreme experiments, so perhaps our future is once again hidden among the tulips.

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