Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Multi Mill in Haparandadam, Westelijke Houthavens by NL Architects designed using Rhino
May 3rd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Competition entry for a cultural facility in Houthavens West, Amsterdam: 1st prize
The Port of Amsterdam commissioned Roos Burger & Yvon Yzermans, two collaborating art historians, to develop a cultural facility in Houthavens West. The Port wants to improve the attractiveness of the area to the public by realizing a cultural meeting place in the transforming area between city and port. The idea of NL Architects is to construct a flexible ‘base’ that can facilitate various art forms like: theater, film, fashion, sculpture, sound and light art, dance, video, music… Roos Burger & Yvon Yzermans will curate the outdoor events.
The ‘object’ will be positioned on the Haparandadam on the banks of the IJ River. Introducing a cultural stage in this vibrant environment is exhilarating: the view is inspiring, the backdrop dynamic. This stretch of land in Amsterdam is so recent that it doesn’t even show up on Google Earth! But the Haparandadam will be ‘on the map’ soon…
The Port of Amsterdam is in a perpetual process of transformation. Due to scale enlargements harbor activities migrate from east to west – towards the Sea. This opens up large areas for new developments. Beside the already existing port industry the environment becomes more and more a complex ‘urban ecology’. This implicates an amalgam of functions: living, education, working, culture and leisure. The Houthavens, the former ‘wood port’, now will be turned into a residential area. And of course the creative industry will find an exciting biotope around here. Although this old part of the port is being domesticated, it still forms an ‘edgy’ alternative for the increasingly cultivated inner city. The port is becoming the energetic alter ego of Amsterdam.
The versatility of the assignment is the ultimate challenge for Architecture: how can one single spatial given host all these functionalities in a credible way?
The sketch consists of three wings that are connected to a central platform. The wings have specific shapes that cater for specific usage. The ‘arms’ can support fashion shows, cinema and theatre. The design will evoke varied programming; besides the evident ways to deploy the object, it hopes to catalyze unexpected ‘inhabitation’. The idea is to develop an adaptable object that can be used both as a stage and as a stand.
The design is intended as a revolving structure. The turning multi-form plateau will allow performances with changing backgrounds. The relationship with the context can be changed at will; the view to and from the bowl will be dynamic. By turning the plateau a specific function can be ‘switched on’. As such the square in front of it can be ‘charged’ in different ways.
The location at the tip of the jetty is exciting. It will feature an elevated restaurant in a former offshore radio station; a drop off point for the private cars of skippers; a parking-lot and a turning circle for trucks. The object will activate the fairly large paved area; from a purely functional square it will transform into a cultural stage!
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