Netherlands American Cemetery Visitor Center

Margraten, NL
American Battle Monuments Commission
600 sqm
Project Team, Photos & Collaborators
Rita Alessio, Alessandro Arcangeli, Bas Barendse, Alice Colombo, Kees Kaan, Adam Kelly, Nicki van Loon, Edoardo Mancini, Alexis Oh, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio, Frane Stancic

Landscape: Karres + Brands; Civil design: Karres en Brands and Smits Rinsma; Fire control and acoustics: DGMR Raadgevende Ingenieurs B.V.; Structural design: Pieters Bouwtechniek; Mechanical and electrical design: HP Engineers; Cost advisors: B3 Bouwadviseurs; General contractor: Groep van Roey

The new Visitor Center at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten was designed to host interpretative exhibits which will enhance the understanding of the site’s history and complement it in both style and dignity. It is a product of an integrated design process dedicated to creating an effective and efficient facility with the attention to the landscape. Located southwest of the entrance of the Court of Honor, on an opening amid a ring of scattered trees, the building blends with the sloping topography, its presence delicate in relation to the monumental features of the Cemetery. Pathways naturally lead toward the entry plaza surrounded with deep seating edges that form the soft border between an existing serene landscape and a gently inserted new building. Both the plaza and the Visitor Center are sunken into the ground, revealing an excavated surface on which furniture and pedestals appear as archaeological artefacts. The abstract cubic volume of the building is suspended above the landscape, its sculptural shape creating a subtle tension with the natural environment. The panoramic curtain (glazing facade) wraps around the building eventually revealing the interior of the building in its full height and becoming an essential aspect of the exhibition experience.