02 2019
February 2019
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26/02 2019

A brick-red book about Utopia

Following a sequence of awards and honours, KAAN Architecten published a “brick-coloured” book about Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts in Aalst capturing the intricacies of its design.

The book includes a text written by architecture critic Ruud Brouwers describing the history of this peculiar project and its relation to the city of Aalst, accompanied by a rich illustrative and photographic documentation.

Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts has been slotted into the urban fabric of the city center creating three new squares alongside adjacent streets. The new building integrates into its design the ‘Pupillenschool’ building from 1880: its historic façades blending perfectly with the new structure through a dialogue of materials.

The complex is enriched by the vibrancy of the two seemingly opposite programs it comprises – the library and the academy for performing arts. The windows offer unobstructed views through the building showcasing the bookshelves and the rehearsal spaces for the various performing arts. The complex is not ornamented but is itself an ornament for the city.

Browse the full publication here.


21/02 2019

Utopia wins FRAME People’s Vote Award 2019

The project of Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts has won FRAME Awards 2019 people’s vote as Best Governmental Interior of the Year.

Vincent Panhuysen (KAAN Architecten founding partner) and Bas Barendse (project architect) attended the award ceremony in the name of the building team.

The project is the result of a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) based on a Design & Build contract, with Van Roey as main contractor and KAAN Architecten as leading architect, working in close collaboration. Utopia opened to the public in June 2018 and since then has been an important landmark for the Aalst community.

Here you can see the full list of winning projects of the Frame Awards 2019.


14/02 2019

Three projects in France to be completed in 2019

Three projects by KAAN Architecten are currently under construction in France. Due to great progress over the past year, all the buildings will be finished in the coming months. These new projects add to the existing French opus of KAAN Architecten, highlighted by last year’s Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay.

The monolithic Cité de Métiers et de l’Artisanat in Lille is a multi-use building featuring a different programme on each floor: public space on the ground floor, education and offices on the first and second floor respectively, while the auditorium is placed at the core of the building. The project was done in collaboration with local architects Pranlas-Descours architect & associates.

Additionally in Lille, a mixed use complex Ilot 13 is in its final stages. Located right along the canal of the Deûle river, the set of buildings will encompass residential units, offices and a group of commercial spaces located on the lower levels.

Meanwhile in Nantes, Bottière-Chênaie project is set to revitalize a high-traffic area in the north-eastern part of the city, and bring residential, commercial and office buildings together into a comfortable whole.

Photographs by: Sebastian van Damme (Cité de Métiers et de l’Artisanat, Ilot 13) and Dimitri Lamour (Bottière-Chênaie).



05/02 2019

KAAN Architecten to participate in BYHMC competition

Based on 165 applications from 36 countries, KAAN Architecten is among 10 leading international architecture firms selected to participate in the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre competition in Kiev, Ukraine. Other participants moving further into the Stage 1 of the competition include Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Eisenman Architects, and Dorte Mandrup A/S.

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre will be located in Kiev, near the site of the historical events in the Babyn Yar ravine. The new center aims to commemorate and reflect on the mass shootings that occurred in 1941, in addition to being a platform for research and public discourse. The project will include exhibition and public event spaces, centers for research and education as well as a memorial park.

Following the preselection and Stage 1 results due in spring, only four to six participants will go on to Stage 2 with the final winner being announced at the end of July. For more information on the competition and the memorial visit the BYHMC website.

Photographs courtesy of [phase eins]


04/02 2019

Central Post receives national monument status

In a recent announcement by the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency, Stationspostgebouw in Rotterdam – now commonly known as Central Post, has been categorized as a national monument. This title comes just in time to mark the tenth year since the building was transformed by KAAN Architecten into a contemporary and multifunctional office building. 

Built in the late fifties by architects Herman and Evert Kraaijvanger, Central Post stood 15 stories tall, making it one of the highest buildings in Rotterdam which was undergoing extensive reconstruction at the time. The building featured an extensive art collection as well as an original Louis van Roode art piece covering the entire height of the building.

Decades later due to the modernization of the postal process, the building fell into disuse. KAAN Architecten was commissioned for exterior restoration work and transformation of the interior which included insertion of hanging floors replacing the mail sorting machine. The result was a 90% increase in floor area and a listed building that achieved a Class A Energy Label. It is currently one of the five most sustainable buildings in the Netherlands.

The existing cores on both sides of the building were updated. The long office floors were divided by a wall to reduce the size of rentable units and to create fire proofing compartments. A corporate penthouse is housed on the top floor, with a terrace overlooking the city, while the ground-floor uses and tenants add vibrancy to a completely new and contemporary Delftseplein. Meanwhile, the numerous integrated art pieces were kept in their original place, restored, or if possible returned.

Explore the full project here.

Photographs courtesy of Luuk Kramer (featured image) and Christian Richters.