Earlier this week, French selection for the 2021 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe has been announced. Out of 75 applications received nation wide, the jury has chosen seven candidates, among which is the Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Hauts-De-France in Lille.
The CMA is the winning entry of an international competition for Eurartisanat campus in Lille, won by KAAN Architecten together with PRANLAS-DESCOURS architect & associates. The building acts as hub for both the local and regional Chamber of Trades and Crafts, and the associated training schools previously scattered throughout the historic city centre of Lille.
Other KAAN Architecten projects nominated in the previous editions of the EU Mies Award include ISMO and Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts, Education Centre Erasmus MC and the Supreme Court of The Netherlands. Organised by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe with support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission, the Award is dedicated to recognizing and commending excellence in European architecture.
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As urbanization continues to increase all over the world, cities are rapidly expanding and planners are trying to predict future scenarios. This is especially the case with the city of Amsterdam, where urbanization, above all, means intensification and diversification. The current global pandemic has refuelled the ongoing discussion on healthy cities. Is high density the only possible model, are there any alternatives?
For centuries Amsterdam has been a living laboratory of large-scale urban development, starting with the 17th-century canals, to Berlage and Van Eesteren’s plans in the 20th, towards docklands and the ring, the actual fringe belt developments of today. All of these are characterized by strong guidance of the city and an innovative pioneering mentality where it comes to developing new housing typology.
As its historic core is made up by the UNESCO Heritage canal system, Amsterdam has very limited possibilities for interventions in its centre due to a lack of spatial resources and limiting regulations. The city has already boldly expanded towards former docklands and wastelands, shaping a historic central node surrounded by residential and business clusters. Especially the ring road around the centre is now the focal point for many developments. It has the advantage of the proximity of large means of infrastructure while at the same time breaching a gap between the centre and the outskirts.
Although no prediction can be completely future-proof, city planners and developers are seeking ways and ideas to ensure the city continues to flourish. This situation creates a platform for fruitful discussion and a vast playground for architectural intervention.
Such a playground can be found in Overhoeks, which is located north of the city centre, along the river IJ. It is currently under development by Amvest with both owner-occupied and private sector rental apartments. In this context, KAAN Architecten is designing a residential project named The Stack, comprised of two buildings connected with underground parking. The challenge was to translate and express the oxymoron of individuality and collectivity which are both seen as specific qualities in this kind of urban living. This was achieved by a refinement of the building contours and elongated balcony slabs to increase spaciousness and views while giving a feeling of privacy and seclusion. This facilitates the individual’s experience within a relaxed, green and healthy living environment.
To the west of Overhoeks, across the IJ, another old ship- and dockyard area is transforming. As the port activity was slowly abandoned, the area developed into a mix of residential and commercial properties, and the site was put under heritage protection of the UNESCO. Built in the early 60s, De Walvis (Dutch for ‘the whale’) is now the only remaining office building on Bickerseiland, and although modern at its time, the building now no longer complies with contemporary day workplace standards. KAAN Architecten was commissioned by the Maarsen Groep for a complete strip-down and renovation of the building. The emphasis was put on sustainable use and ergonomic qualities with a sense of beauty as an implicit demand, by bringing in more daylight, increasing interior heights and upgrading all installations to the highest standards including BREEAM Excellent certification. After a year of construction works, De Walvis has been delivered in Spring 2020, with tenants planning to move throughout the summer.
One of the larger urban transformations in Amsterdam is taking place in the south-east part of the city. In this area, the SPOT project originates from the question on how to redevelop the Hogehilweg area, characterized by a series of typical low density and monofunctional office blocks from the 1980s surrounded by a sprawl of parking lots. This neighbourhood will be transformed into a cosmopolitan mixed-use part of the city over the next few years. KAAN Architecten has designed a masterplan for the area that establishes different atmospheres simultaneously, creating both an intimate inner-city environment and an expanding metropolis, the village and the city in one.
The rapid development of Amsterdam has already had a major impact on expanding the city’s infrastructure, as demonstrated by the new metro line opened in 2018, connecting North and South, either side reachable within 15 minutes. Additionally, architects and city planners have put forward plans to increase the capacity of public transport network by transforming stations and speeding up mobility.
The expansion was also required for the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to keep up the pace with the influx of passengers and the growth in aviation. As part of Schiphol’s 10-year expansion plan, KAAN Architecten took design lead in a collaboration with Estudio Lamela, ABT and Ineco (working collectively as KL AIR consortium) to plan, design and engineer the New Terminal at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The spatial organization of the new 130.000 m2 terminal, its functional and architectural design are boosting the existing facilities to update Schiphol to maintain its role as the leading European aviation hub.
As a multicultural capital, with bustling trade and high quality of life, Amsterdam is attractive not only to visitors but also to global companies, who are choosing the city’s Metropolitan area as a place to establish their European headquarters. This has led to the creation of Zuid-as district, strategically located between Schiphol and Amsterdam city center, as a combination of both Dutch and international businesses and institutions.
Contributing to the flourishing of this district is the location of the New Amsterdam Courthouse, at the intersection of the Zuidas and Parnassusweg, replacing the previous judicial complex. As the largest courthouse in the country, the building is exemplary in its efficiency, like the organization itself, and is part of the daily life surrounding it. Commissioned for the new Courthouse design in 2016, KAAN Architecten is expecting to complete the building by the end of the year with the construction being in its final stages.
A city amid globalization is not only a challenge but can also be a breeding ground for knowledge. Initiated by Kees Kaan at the Faculty of Architecture at the Delft University of Technology, the Chair of Complex Projects states that it ‘investigates settlements around the world that are ambiguous in their development and embedded in the process of globalization.’ Students are encouraged to look critically at their surroundings; to gather, organize, and question the complex forces that ultimately manifest themselves into our built environment.
For two years, Complex Projects teamed up with AMS Institute, where Kaan serves as a Principal Investigator, and the municipality of Amsterdam, to focus on the theme AMSTERDAM 2050. The research-through-design process of documenting and analyzing the present urban conditions of the City of Amsterdam and investigating various trends directing future urban development resulted in design solutions and visualizations of the predicted development of these locations.
By using Amsterdam as a living laboratory, graduate students, researchers, and teachers have been exploring how these changes might affect the city, to provide input for the decision making of the redevelopment plans 2025-2050. If you want to know more about AMS 2050 research, please check out the dedicated publication.
KAAN Architecten continues to actively help define and construct a new image of the city through a series of recent projects ranging in scale and function, from residential buildings to masterplans, public institutions and international transportation hubs. Located in all current hot spots of expansion, these projects have provided KAAN Architecten with a profound understanding of the city’s development. The office’s mission for contemporary Amsterdam aims to give people a sustainable comfort by offering high quality and comprehensible architecture.
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On a recent visit to the De Zalmhaven building site, photographer Sebastian van Damme captured the ongoing construction progress. Explore the full photo report below!
The two mid-rise towers designed by KAAN Architecten are each 70 metres tall, sprouting from a solid plinth with clearly marked entrances.
The footprint of each tower is a split and shifted square, creating more corners and an interesting range of apartments in differing sizes, all with corner windows offering astounding views.
The plinth includes family houses with rooftop gardens and has a direct relationship with the surroundings at ground level.
De Zalmhaven is developed by AM & Amvest on a site adjacent to the former eponymous port in the center of Rotterdam combining both urban and local scales. Construction on the residential complex started nearly two years ago and is expected to be completed in 2021.
Photographs by Sebastian van Damme.
On Saturday, 12 September, KAAN Architecten is participating in the Day of Architecture 2020 (Dag van de Architectuur) by opening the doors of our office to the public.
From 11.00-17.00 h, guided tours will take place at De Bank – our office located in De Nieuwe Boompjes – the former premises of De Nederlandsche Bank originally designed by Henri Timo Zwiers in the 1950s. Book your tour at the link below and find information about the precautions regarding corona safety.
Kees Kaan was interviewed as a part of Planet Netherlands, an online exhibition promoted by the Embassy and the General Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Italy in partnership with The Architecture Player.
In the interview with Marco Brizzi, Kaan discusses the renovated Provinciehuis of North-Brabant as well as other previously realized works, the consideration of the role of the masters and how their built works transmit knowledge. The discussion serves as an introduction to the short movie ‘Today’ directed by Marcel Ijzerman, which is a included in the ‘Planet Netherlands’ video series about the last twenty years of Dutch architecture. Between 22 June and 15 August 2020, eight videos and short films will be released as a part of the series, including the works of Dok Architecten, MVRDV, Next Architects, Maurice Nio, OMA/AMO, UNStudio, and Wiel Arets Architects.
On her recent visit to the Paleis Het Loo construction site, photographer Dominique Panhuysen captured the instances of the ongoing renovation and extension. Her latest report brings us inside the rapidly progressing Bassecourt of the museum.
In the last months, the walls of the underground facilities have been fully set up and covered by a steel construction. A circular pond will cover the Bassecourt and its circular outline is already showing.
Photographs by Dominique Panhuysen.
The seventh issue of the photo series by photographer Dominique Panhuysen has been published. The series follows the New Amsterdam Courthouse construction site and building process.
This edition covers the period from November 2019 to May 2020. Even though halfway through this period distancing measures were employed, the Courthouse construction has been steadily progressing.
The main focus has been on closing up the facades and working on the interior finishing. Glass and steel facade covers have been put in place, while natural stone and green walls were installed on the inside. The monumental steel staircase has also been hung in the central office void.
KAAN Architecten is undertaking works for the New Amsterdam Courthouse as part of a consortium which includes Macquarie Corporate Holdings Ltd., ABT, DVP, Heijmans and Facilicom.
French architectural magazine d’architectures is organizing the second edition of the Prix d’architectures, which seeks to reward the best built projects in France over the last year. Among the 30 nominees is the Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Hauts-De-France by KAAN Architecten and PRANLAS-DESCOURS architect & associates in Lille.
Earlier this year, construction started on the three new office buildings for iCampus in Munich’s Werksviertel district, whose facades have been designed by KAAN Architecten.
The modular facades will consist of over 800 prefab concrete elements altogether, which are currently in prototype phase. As the construction of the three buildings is extremely time sensitive, the facade design had to take into account short handling and mounting times.
These modules are the largest prefab concrete elements KAAN Architecten has designed as of yet. Their size implies less structural joints and plays an essential role in making them not only cost effective, but time efficient. In this way, the crane moves faster and completes the mounting in less time, considering the number of facade elements required for the three buildings.
The prefab panels are made out of self-compacting concrete and produced by Hemmerlein.
In the last months, countries all over the world have been collectively taking stock of their healthcare infrastructures, both spatial resources for therapeutic care, but also centres for research and prevention. Within The Netherlands, such a place is the BSL3 laboratory (Bio Safety Laboratory level 3) – a state of the art addition to the Erasmus MC complex in Rotterdam designed by KAAN Architecten.
The video below explores the BSL3 as a workspace designated to the research of infectious diseases threatening public health. Even after 6 years since its completion, it is a unique space since there are less than a hundred of these type of laboratories worldwide and BSL3 is currently the only one of this size in The Netherlands, working closely with research partners and public health authorities.
Explore the full project here.