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16/09 2020

CMA in the French selection for the 2021 Mies van der Rohe Award

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.

Find out more here!

10/09 2020

Planning for a resilient city

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.

The Stack, visualization by Zes x Zes

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.

SPOT, visualization by PF Visual

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.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Terminal, visualization by Filippo Bolognese

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.

New Amsterdam Courthouse, photograph by Sebastian van Damme

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.

AMS 2050, visualization courtesy of Complex Projects

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.

AMS2050 Complex Projects Studio Graduation Show, photograph by Sebastian van Damme

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.

Read the full story here

07/09 2020

De Zalmhaven construction is well under way

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.

28/08 2020

Day of Architecture at De Bank

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.

Book here! – De Nieuwe Boompjes – Day of Architecture 2020

 

31/07 2020

Interview with Kees Kaan for Planet Netherlands

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.

Watch the interview here – part 1 part 2

29/07 2020

Steady progress at Het Loo

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.

Keep an eye on our website or follow the official Paleis het Loo video channel for more updates on the construction progress.

Photographs by Dominique Panhuysen.

27/07 2020

Seventh issue of New Amsterdam Courthouse book series is out now!

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.

Explore the design here or browse the full photo report here.

 

20/07 2020

CMA nominated for Prix d’architectures 2020

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.

The winner will be announced on September 17, 2020 at the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris. In the meantime, see the full list of nominees here or explore our nominated project here.

 

15/07 2020

First look at iCampus facade

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.

29/06 2020

Inside the Bio Safety Laboratory of Erasmus MC

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.

 

23/06 2020

Second anniversary of Utopia opening

Past Sunday, 21 June, marked the second year since the official opening of Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts in Aalst.

The opening festivities in 2018 spanned 4 days and attracted more than 25 000 visitors who participated in concerts, workshops and dance performances. Since the grand opening, Utopia has been established as a cultural landmark of the city of Aalst, thriving on the inextricable link with its citizens and a delicate mixture of seemingly opposite programs it comprises.

Below we look back at the atmosphere of the opening weekend captured by Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti.

26/05 2020

Renovation of KMSKA nears completion

Photographer Toon Grobet takes us through the historical and new museum spaces of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, capturing the soon-to-be finished interiors of the exhibition halls. Take a look at the latest update from the construction site of KMSKA.

The inside of the historical museum has been brought back to its original look by reinstating bright wall colours, mosaic floors and wall trimmings, while a grand staircase has been installed at the entrance.

Hidden in the heart of the old building, a new vertical museum arises, offering a contrasting spatial experience. Large and small exhibition halls, hidden rooms, horizontal and vertical sightlines and varying gradations of daylight, the new extension charts a route full of surprising experiences.

Photographs by Toon Grobet.

20/05 2020

Progress at Paleis Het Loo

Photographer Dominique Panhuysen continues her periodical visits to the Paleis Het Loo construction site. In the latest photo report, she takes us through the rapidly progressing Bassecourt – the underground entrance facility of the museum.

The concrete structure of the underground extension is already showing outlines of the grand foyer and the exposition rooms.

The steel structure covering these spaces is also being put in place, and will later be covered by glass surfaces and a pond.

Meanwhile, the monumental facades of the side wings and the Corps de Logis are currently being supported by temporary construction that enables the underground connection with the Bassecourt facilities.

  

For more updates on the construction progress, keep an eye on our website or follow the official Paleis het Loo video channel.

Photographs by Dominique Panhuysen.

 

08/05 2020

Architectural practice in times of confinement

French magazine L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui initiated ‘Confiné.es’ (Fr. confined), an interview series that gives a voice to architects whose practices had to adapt to the new way of life, due to the imposed confinement over the COVID-19 spread. Kees Kaan, founding partner of KAAN Architecten, and Marylène Gallon, director of KAAN Architecten France, participated in the interview series. They reflected on differences in ‘confined living’ between Paris and Rotterdam and how this influenced their daily life routine as well as architectural practice.

Read the English version of the interview below. French translation will soon be available on L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui.

Where are you locked down and how did you get organised to continue working ?

KK: The lockdown in the Netherlands is relatively soft. A lot of responsibility is expected from the individual, there is no military in the streets. Overall, I see people taking care and behaving according to government’s recommendations. At the office, we started preparing for the lockdown in February. It was mainly about taking some extra IT measures and defining a protocol that enables a complete switch to remote work. We closed our offices in the middle of March, and since then ‘working from home’ has been the modus operandi. At the moment we are looking at how to reopen in the so called 1,5 meter economy.

MG: I am one of the people who left Paris to temporarily return to their native region, to facilitate the coexistence of professional and personal life. The other collaborators in Paris started working remotely from their homes, occasionally grouping up in one location with a couple of architects from different offices.

Are containment and architecture opposites?

KK: I wouldn’t say they are opposites. Architecture is not about enabling as much public interaction as possible. It is all about the relation of private behaviour in different public domains. It is about finding working relations and careful definitions of spaces for public and private interaction.
If social distancing permanently changes human interaction, then that will be a fundamental architectural issue. It will impact how we’ll redesign our physical world, from the detail to the territory.

MG: Considering our professional activity, it depends on the specific moment and phase of the project. Solitude and calm are often welcome. This confinement helps us avoid the compulsive need for meetings and facilitates concentration (once the kids are busy, of course…). Communication through email, team chats and video calls make things easier when we have to communicate with our partners. We were already quite familiar with working remotely between our Paris and Rotterdam offices, although we used to travel back and forth a lot, during certain key moments of the project (Rotterdam is only 2,40 hours from Paris). However, a team meeting around a blank sheet of paper, a plan, a model, a single screen is still extremely important. Projects are more and more collaborative; architecture resides precisely in this work of communication. This is what we keep on doing while adapting our process.

What lessons do you think you will learn from the ecological impact of this crisis?

KK: We see that nature is flourishing. No further explanation needed. Our standard behaviour has had a devastating impact on the environment.
Having said that, this does not mean we are lost and should not try to mitigate this effect. We are operating on the frontline of our profession and the building industry is one of the largest impactors in that environment. In our most recent experiences we learned that making our buildings more sustainable works better when the link that is made between capex and opex, when we not only design to win crazy competitions but also design to build and operate the building. When the lifecycle becomes an integral part of the brief, sustainable design gets a proper dimension.
This crisis shows us how quickly nature responds in a positive way to small changes in our behaviour. We should remember this when things turn back to ‘normal’.

MG: The speed of our society should be reconsidered: technologies, communications, mobility. Same goes for the balance between abundance and scarcity.
The society of abundance in which we live in often distracts us from what is essential. The available excess of seldom useless, energy or time-consuming goods and information, confronts me with the shortage of health supplies we are currently facing (masks, respirators, IC beds).
Within the building industry, many run after this abundance: concepts, materials, shapes, colours, technologies, labels, regulations; until they forget the essence of the projects. At our office, ‘the essential’ is a notion that we always keep in mind, as well as the importance of building something that lasts through time, fostering quality and adaptability.This leads to a certain architectural sobriety.

A film to see / a book to read during lockdown?

KK: Although in lockdown, I am still working both in our practice, as well as teaching and running the architecture department in Delft. At home, I am living with a family with children still in the school age. They are also ‘working’ from home. It is a very dynamic and lively setting here, no lonesome moments.
So now that we work remotely, it is not that I find an ocean of time to read or watch movies, rather the opposite. Not commuting saves time, but online work is slower and more focused.
I have no special books or films associated with the lockdown, although a very nice book comes to mind immediately. It is Being there by Jerzy Kozinski. It tells the story of a gardener, coming out of a lifetime lockdown in his garden, who is suddenly confronted with our society. It appears he has developed a completely fresh, non-corrupted and disarming state of mind.

MG: Considering the current atmosphere, I would suggest watching Soylent Green by Richard Fleischer and, for something more ‘French’, The wing or the thigh by Claude Zidi.
As for books, I would recommend some maritime tales to which we can relate at the moment: The long way by Bernard Moitessier, a story of a solo race lasting 11 months in 1969 and, more recently, Woman at sea by Catherine Poulain, a harsh story of large fishing boats in Alaska.
Finally, the special AA Hors-Série on KAAN Architecten: “Master Narrators” , of course😉

A social network to follow?

KK: @cp.complexprojects, @datapolis_cp, @espaciogris

MG: Keep in touch! Call your neighbour or your grandpa. Connect with your friends and family! Otherwise, follow @AA and @KAANArchitecten

What do you expect from this experience?

KK: I hope that after lockdown we can maintain some parts of the remote working system. In certain cases, it is more effective than continuously trying to meet physically. It saves travel time and it is better for health and the environment.
I also learned how vulnerable our system/economy is. It is entirely cashflow based. There are hardly any reserves. When the cash stops flowing – systems collapse. We somehow need to make our economy more sustainable. This requires us to plan for the longterm rather than for the quick win. Make companies more resilient on one hand, the employment system more flexible on the other.

A very interesting phenomenon is how quickly the new exceptional became the new normal.
People can adapt quickly and easily to new rules which become new norms, and then we display different behaviour. Dutch government bet on people’s sense of responsibility by announcing a relatively loose lockdown. I think it has worked, and it has set an example.
The 1.5-meter rule made us more gentle towards each other, and maybe even more polite. We avoid unnecessary movement and we have developed a cure from the ‘fear of missing out’ caused by intense social media exposure. Maybe we can hold on to this feeling after lockdown gets alleviated.

MG: First, I hope this will enhance Europe’s cohesion: beyond the circulation of people and capital, cultural and social ties are still far too weak. Education and sharing of knowledge still need to be consolidated and supported. Besides this, I wish the health system (finally) finds stability and balance. Being French and having lived in the Netherlands, I believe that the Dutch health system can teach us something in this regard. Finally, I hope education and culture get recognition as essential activities.

What impact does this containment have on the perception of both your workspace and domestic space?

KK: I have always loved working from home. I like the idea of participating in processes without being constantly present in the office. I have a great workspace in my house that allows me to work comfortably and in an effective way. Still, I miss the office and my team very much today.
The lockdown has forced many people with children to combine family life with daily work. Most of us have had a good opportunity now to test our homes, not just as places for touchdown and sleep, but as real homes to live in, spend hours together with family and find a good balance of privacy and company. I am sure the requirements for our living spaces will be critically reviewed in the near future.
I am also sure that most of us will be relieved when the kids go back to school and the office reopens.

I’m also doing my teaching and other TU Delft related work remotely. We meet students and have critique sessions online. It works, but it is far from ideal. Although it surely is a very interesting additional tool, online environments cannot replace real-life interaction (yet). This is why I believe that, as physical entities, the faculty and the office space will remain important for teamwork and for the special ambience they have for exchange of ideas and knowledge. The question is, however, if the large open floorplates crammed with people are sustainable in the coming years.

When the digital age started, some predicted that paper industry would die, but the opposite occurred. We use more paper now than ever before. On one hand remote work might reduce the need for office/work space, but increase need for living space on the other. Maybe the reduction was already assumed in the previous crisis implemented in flexwork offices. The need for social distance increases the demand for built space and infrastructure in general, and this is interesting in the context of the density debate.

The COVID-19 charts displayed on all media clearly showed the relation between urban density and levels of contamination. The denser the area, the more likely and quickly the virus could spread.
This puts the entire discussion on density, urbanity and territorial development of metropolitan areas in a new perspective. Maybe the polycentric model of The Netherlands is not such a bad one in this context after all.

MG: I constantly shift between my screen, on which I work at 200 km/h, and the slowness of family life. It is a bit like combining an early 20th-century lifestyle with the technologies of the 21st…Nevertheless, I’m grateful that this situation allows me to pursue both family and professional life in an isolated location.
Talking about housing conditions, isolation is not only a problem related to this crisis. Think about sick or elderly people, about geographically, socially or economically isolated citizens, or children who receive home-care and those who look after them (parents, nannies, babysitters), adolescents who spend a lot of time in their rooms, professionals who were already working remotely even before this crisis, etc. All living spaces must be dignified and comfortable, allowing people to spend most of their time there. It is now evident. This sanitary confinement consolidates certain ideas about house design and essential topics such as natural light, views, exposure to the sun, air circulation, flexibility and adaptability, outdoor spaces, nice atmosphere, etc. The city’s stakeholders should certainly learn the most from it. The opportunity is there, it must be seized and maximized.

 

 

06/05 2020

First look at De Walvis

After a year of renovation, De Walvis office building in Amsterdam has been delivered, and tenants are ready to move in. Below we bring you a first look at the completed building, meanwhile, the full project release will follow later this year.

De Walvis is the only remaining office building on Bickerseiland in Amsterdam. Although modern at its time, the building no longer complied with contemporary workplace standards. The complete strip down and renovation brought in more daylight, increased interior heights and upgraded all installations to the highest standards. By topping up the building, the future users will be welcomed by an even better view of the area. Meanwhile, redesign of the ground floor will bring life to this historic site.

Photographs by Sebastian van Damme.

29/04 2020

Conversations between art and architecture

Over the years, KAAN Architecten has achieved many fruitful collaborations with artists whose mediums of expression, among others, include painting, sculpture, furniture and lighting design. The central part of these collaborations is creating dialogue between the designed space and the artwork.

The artworks are never regarded just as stationary objects placed in space for the sole purpose of being admired. Their purpose is to enhance or contrast the atmosphere; to integrate with the scale, perspective and light which, in turn, determine the users’ experience of space.

© Karin Borghouts

© Karin Borghouts

Regarded as the heart of the public area, the atrium of renovated office building B30 in The Hague has been allocated for art. An invitation was extended to an artist to create a mosaic or floor pattern that visualises the magic of this space. Artist Rob Birza designed a pattern inspired by images from his travels, but which can be read as a garden abstraction. It has become the internal garden in a series of three gardens that traverse the building. The artwork has been beautifully executed by Van der Zande Terrazo & Mozaiek, in natural and precious stones, in combination with terrazzo concrete. The scale of the imagery is elusive, but at the same time, it manages to attune itself to the perspective of the beholder and the proportions of the space they occupy in that experience.

© Dominique Panhuysen

© Johannes Schwartz

In projects such as the Supreme Court and Crematorium Siesegem large scale paintings enhance the formal and solemn atmosphere of the spaces. ‘Hoge Raad’ by painter Helen Verhoeven was specifically commissioned for the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. The 4×6,5m painting reflects themes of law and justice by depicting a densely populated courtroom in which the walls are covered with (art-) historical references to the development of the Dutch legal system and constitution.

© Sebastian van Damme

Meanwhile, the 6x6m painting by Belgian artist Rinus van de Velde is the focal point of a long zenithally lit corridor of Crematorium Siesegem. In his characteristic haunting strokes of black and white, the painting depicts the symbolic crossing of the river, aproppriate for the programme of the building.

On the other hand, the artwork in projects such as the New Amsterdam Courthouse and the District Water Board Brabantse Delta exude an appropriate form of humour as a counterpart to the formality of the institutional architecture. Although the final design is yet to be revealed, a prominent 5.5m high sculpture by the American artist Nicole Eisenman will be placed on the public square in front of the New Amsterdam Courthouse. The artwork features a larger-than-life figure extending a hand holding an acorn (protection against evil), an owl (wisdom) and an arrow (power). Hopeful and optimistic in its symbolism, the artwork fits into the formal environment and acts as a recognizable landmark for the area. 

The location of the future artwork by Nicole Eisenman

Similarly, the colourful wooden sculptures by Stephan Balkenhol stand out against the classically symmetrical building of the District Water Board in Brabantse Delta. The wood for the 4 statues came from two oak trees that stood on the edge of the estate and were removed to make way for the renovation. The group of sculptures is characteristic of Balkenhol’s work – mundane human figures on a bulky pedestal, painted in simple colours, appearing both living and inanimate at the same time.

© Christian Richters

 

22/04 2020

Construction on iCampus in Munich breaks ground

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 new development blends existing industrial and office buildings with a new contemporary layer, dedicated to the creative industry. 

Within the past months, groundwork has commenced to accommodate the combined underground parking of the Alpha, Beta and Gamma buildings. The structure and floorplans have been designed by RKW Architektur +, while the facade design by KAAN Architecten will underline and support the identity of the buildings to consolidate and unite the Werksviertel aesthetic, while at the same time being iconic within in its own way

Follow the construction live here or click here to explore our design.

21/04 2020

Uncovering layers of history

Working on existing heritage with care and respect, and treating the historical context in its broadest form, is a central theme in KAAN Architecten’s thinking on architecture.

Over the last 20 years, the office has designed more than 40 projects related to renovation and restoration of built heritage. Whether it is an interior renovation such as De Bank, the office’s new headquarters in Rotterdam, or the addition of a new structure as in Erasmus MC Education Centre, the guiding principles are the same.

© Simone Bossi

Complex interventions on buildings of different periods must always present a clear hierarchy between the old and the new. The contemporary should not override the existing, but nevertheless ensure a comparable dignity, highlighting the monumental and the original. In this way, the new provides knowledge of the past.

© Bart Gosselin

The Education Center is part of the Rotterdam academic hospital Erasmus MC, originally designed in 1965 by Arie Hagoort (OD205) in collaboration with Jean Prouvé. Following the essence of the original design, the second floor has been reintroduced as the main floor and entrance of the complex. Since its completion in 2013, the new building has merged all medical student programmes within the education square with a pattern of study islands spanned by a large, glazed roof structure. The flexibility of the column-free space allows it to admit different functions. As such, the Education Centre has recently been transformed into a Dutch national coordination centre for corona patient distribution.

© Luuk Kramer

Among such projects is also Central Post in Rotterdam which has been was transformed into a contemporary and multifunctional office building. Due to the modernization of the postal process, the building fell into disuse. Through exterior restoration and transformation of the interior, 90% increase in floor area was achieved and the building was granted a Class A Energy Label. It is currently one of the five most sustainable buildings in the Netherlands. Last year it has also been categorized as a national monument by the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency.

© Karin Borghouts

Meanwhile, B30 a closed hierarchical building in The Hague, has been transformed into a contemporary and state-of-the-art working environment through a clear spatial configuration and additive design. Originally designed in 1917 as a ministry building, B30 is now an imposing structure with a distinct architectural character and is a Grade 1 listed building in the Netherlands.

More recently, the office has been commissioned to restore, renovate and extend two highly regarded museums – Paleis Het Loo in Apeldoorn and Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Both projects aim to improve and expand the visitor experience as well as highlight the grandeur of the existing institutions. With extensive photo reports from the construction sites, KAAN Architecten brings continuous coverage of updates on both projects – find the most recent ones here and here.

© Sebastian van Damme

© Karin Borghouts

17/04 2020

A vertical journey through the museum

Placed in the artwork freight elevator of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, the camera charts a route full of surprising experiences within the historical and the new museum.

To get a sense of the scale, consider that the inside of the elevator measures 5,3 by 4 m with 3,6 m height. The mesmerizing still shots take you through a sequence of large and small exhibition halls, hidden rooms, horizontal and vertical sightlines and varying gradations of daylight. These rare observations could only be filmed during construction and before closing the elevator shaft.

Video by Koen van Herk and Marcel Ijzerman for KAAN Architecten
Music score by Vague Imaginaires

 

14/04 2020

Fashion meets architecture at KMSKA

Women’s Spring-Summer 2020 collection by the Belgian fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester has been photographed in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) which is currently undergoing renovation and extension by KAAN Architecten.

Empty rooms of the historical museum made a perfect deconstructed backdrop for the avant-garde designs of the ‘Jolene’ collection, photographed by Charlie de Keersmaecker. Discover the full campaign here.

 

08/04 2020

Restoration of FAMA cultural centre begins

Last year KAAN Architecten has been commissioned with restoring the current headquarters of Fundação Marcos Amaro (FMA) and the associated cultural centre Fábrica de Arte Marcos Amaro (FAMA) housed in an old textile factory. Take a look at the first step in the process of restoring a cultural oasis in Brazil from factory grounds into a state-of-the-art cultural centre.

Previously a cotton mill, the complex was built in 1911 with brick masonry construction and refined finishing. As the building represents significant industrial heritage within the city, the central part of the assignment is restoring the intrinsic qualities of the space by reinstating original materials and colours.

The process started with the chromatic restoration of paint on facades where traces of original ochre colour were found on plastered fragments. Through pictorial prospecting and acid testing, it was possible to map the main elements of its composition. On areas with an exposed brick surface, it was necessary to first test the reintegration of mortar and the application of a protective solution.

All application tests were carried out within sampling windows which allow controlled and comparable results, to obtain the best solution for the originally painted facades, as well as to ensure the conservation of exposed brick masonry.

Restoration studies have been developed by Vinicius Martins de Oliveira (historian architect) and Jéssica Aparecida de Paula (architect) for KAAN Architecten

KAAN Architecten team: Raluca Firicel, Juliana Generoso, Renata Gilio, Danielle Gregorio, Carlos Jacquet, Kees Kaan, Ricardo Marmorato, Vincent Panhuysen, Marco Peixe D’Elia, Dikkie Scipio, Lais Xavier

31/03 2020

‘This will kill that’ – an essay by Dikkie Scipio for de Architect

In the March issue of de Architect, Dikkie Scipio wrote an essay about the shifting position of architecture within the scope of all arts, weaved through the story of the Parisian Notre-Dame cathedral. Find below the full transcript in English.

The original article written in Dutch can be found here

“Recently I read Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris, written in 1830. The book became widely known as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and is remembered as the love story between the gypsy beauty Esmeralda and the pitiful creature, deafened by the bells and living in the belfry of the cathedral. Victor Hugo wrote his novel as a plea for restoring the Notre Dame which was in great disrepair at the time. In doing so, Hugo showed a thorough and detailed knowledge of architecture. He formed a passionate opinion about the matter and did not avoid writing a strong manifesto against the damage done by the Academies, professors and “certain individuals that have adopted the title of the architect”.

Victor Hugo classified three sorts of devastation that had brought Notre Dame to its state of ruin at the beginning of the nineteenth century. First: Time, responsible for the wrinkles and warts on the building’s skin. Second: the acts of violence and the brutalities, the bruises and fractures being the work of Revolutions. And third: the mutilations, amputations, and dislocations by A Swarm of Architects from the schools – licensed and certified – who defaced by choice with the discrimination of bad taste. In summary, he applied the Latin quote Tempus edax, homo edacior (Time erodes, man erodes more) which he freely translated as: Time is blind, man is stupid.

To put this into perspective, the Notre Dame of Paris was built over a period of 182 years, starting in 1163, the age of Charlemagne and Romanesque architecture, and ending in 1345 after the reign of Philip IV in Gothic architecture. By the time of Victor Hugo, the Vitruvius books had been recovered, and the Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism and Romanticism had touched the cathedral. Revolutions of the religious kind (Luther’s Theses of 1517 and the Reformation), economic kind (rise of the bourgeoisie), social kind (French Revolution of 1789) and political kind (Napoleon’s reign 1804-1814) had all scratched and scarred Our Lady.

Victor Hugo was right to note the state of the cathedral, but after 600 years it could hardly be a surprise the building had been modified, even if they were bold modifications like the removal of the spire. What might have enraged him so about mankind and architects?

The answer to this is revealed when he explains the full significance of chapter one, ending with the Archdeacon directing our gaze away from a book, made possible by Gutenberg’s printing press, to the monumental cathedral, and lamenting: “Alas, this will kill that”.

Until the fifteenth century, architecture was the principal register of mankind, man’s chief form of expression. All ideas of any complexity which arose in the world became a building. Every popular idea, just like every religious dogma, had its monuments. In fact, the human race inscribed in stone every one of its important philosophies. When this was disseminated among the masses and then suppressed by feudalism, architecture was its one outlet, eventually being fully unleashed through this art form by the realization of cathedrals. The other arts all submitted to the discipline and dominance of architecture.

Thus, up until Gutenberg in 1439, architecture was the chief, the universal form of writing.

With the invention of the press, books took over the role of architecture as the exclusive mode of expression. Architecture was dethroned. It was no longer the total, the sovereign art; it no longer had the strength to keep hold of the other arts and so they set themselves free. Sculpture became statuary, imagery became painting, canon became music and, from the sixteenth century, the great artists rose to prominence. Architecture became merely one art among others.

As human ideas change their shape, they change their mode of expression. The central idea of each generation would no longer be written in the same way or with the same material. The book of stone would give way to the book of paper. Paper was to kill the building and the sole power of the Church, and the Archdeacon was feeling the transition. For Victor Hugo, it was the ignorance of the ‘architecture as one art among others’ making adaptations to the ‘architecture as the mother of all arts’ that infuriated him.

Today we are again in transition. This time books of paper are losing their absolute power to express knowledge, as the digital realm and internet rise. Like architecture, books will not be lost but they will have to reinvent an independent status as one art among many.

As for architecture, digitalization adds an extra dimension to our profession. It would not be surprising if many young architects started designing videos, virtual reality and gaming experiences of architecture and urban design, as a precursor to building. In the digital world, again many independent arts are being combined to create an energy that raises overall design quality. Who knows, architecture may regain a position of hegemony and virtual cities and buildings may become our combined mode of expression once again.”

 

Prof. Dikkie Scipio

for De Architect

1st quarter, 2020

 

Translated from Dutch by Dianna Beaufort (Words On The Run)

26/03 2020

A day at De Bank

In February photographer Inga Powilleit visited our office to capture a typical working day in our Rotterdam headquarter. Although we are currently working remotely, we look back fondly at our daily office routine and hope to return to it as soon as circumstances allow it.

Powilleit describes her process as concentrated observation and calmness, a waiting game of sorts for the right opportunity to arise even in the most complex of situations. In this way she captures the essence of her subject.

A day at De Bank is precisely such a complex situation, comprising a variety of dynamics. Busy periods of activity, team meetings and presentations are interspersed with moments of quiet contemplation and individual work. Powilleit welcomes this chaos, claiming: “I enjoy working when people no longer notice my presence, when I can really capture them in their own environment and concentration.”

All of this takes place in a photogenic space flooded with daylight coming in from both sides, with long corridors and passages allowing Powilleit to experiment with composition. Working, meeting and leisure spaces are all effectively connected, producing a variety of different shots ranging from still lifes to overviews.

18/03 2020

Building up the Bassecourt

The renovation and reconstruction of Paleis Het Loo started over two years ago. Within that time extensive groundwork made room for the new underground entrance of the museum – the Bassecourt. On her recent visit, photographer Dominique Panhuysen captured the instances from the ongoing construction.

During the past year major progress has been made in the Bassecourt, which was excavated to make room for the new entrance facilities, the Grand Foyer and several exhibition spaces.

The deepest point of the construction pit has been reached and concrete was poured and cured underwater to make sure the structure is without tears or leaks. Following that process, first walls of the underground facilities have been raised.

On the inside, the palace has been undergoing operations for removing asbestos and is now asbestos free; well ahead of the governmental requirements. The interior has been carefully dismantled in order to preserve the original elements from the 1600s to remove the dangerous material that was placed in the palace during the 1970s. Once the renovation and removal of asbestos are finished, all the pieces will be put back in place.

To find out more about the renovation process, watch the timelapse video of the construction here or click here to keep up with the ongoing video series following the construction progress. At this link, you can see the timeline of the construction process.

16/03 2020

KAAN Architecten remains fully operational

Collaboration and teamwork are key aspects of our daily work in architecture. While the circumstances of society change by the minute, KAAN Architecten’s workflow continues remotely to serve our clients and partners, safeguarding our fellow citizens’ and employees’ health and safety.

By means of our digital platform, the integral processes concerning design, meetings, presentations and communication are maintained without reservations. Our teams are active and can be contacted during office hours through the usual communication channels.

On behalf of the team, KAAN Architecten sends its warmest regards for your health and safety. Remain responsible and vigilant for the benefit of your community.

11/03 2020

Enter the KAAN Architecten publication giveaway!

Due to great interest, we are giving away several books and publications about the work of KAAN Architecten. Find out how to enter below!

Enter for a chance to win a copy of limited edition project books and monograph issues with rich illustrative and photographic documentation of KAAN Architecten projects. Click on links below to explore the publications eligible for the giveaway:

L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui Hors-série – KAAN Architecten

I Maestri dell’Architettura Collector’s Edition – KAAN Architecten

Crematorium Siesegem

Utopia – Library and Academy for Performing Arts

ISMO – Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay

To enter, fill in the form HERE with your contact information and mark your preferred publication. Please note the giveaway will close on 18 March 2020. Winners will be selected at random and notified by email. Collected information will be kept confidential and used solely for contacting the winners.

06/03 2020

KAAN Architecten to design the new Education Centre for University of Groningen

Following an international competition, the University of Groningen (UG) awarded KAAN Architecten as the winning entry for the design of a new Educational Centre for the faculties of Medical Sciences and Science & Engineering, located just outside the historical city centre.

In the past, the gradual expansion of the campus created a sprawling network of buildings with complex internal relations. The new Education Centre will re-establish the flows and clearly define the public space, becoming a central accessible core for the University and functioning as the main entrance for the Healthy Ageing Campus. The complex will rise between the ERIBA building, the Faculty of Medical Science complex and the new Proton Therapy Centre of the University Medical Center Groningen, joining a cluster of existing structures with shared facilities that provide access to the clinic, research facilities and companies.

“Educational buildings are always an exciting architectural challenge, and we couldn’t be more delighted to bring our concept to life. The new centre will bring fresh identity to this part of the campus while connecting and reinforcing the surrounding buildings.” says KAAN Architecten founding partner Vincent Panhuysen. Within its 11,000 m2 of surface, the new Education Centre will provide a sustainable, open and dynamic space for students. The connections with the existing buildings are gently integrated in the design, to highlight the Centre’s bonding purpose for the whole campus.

The Centre will provide lecture halls, libraries, classrooms, project rooms, education square, patios, a restaurant, an underground bicycle parking and some flexible workplaces that teachers can use between class hours. Busier and quietest facilities will be smartly arranged through a rational structure, providing adequate working and leisure environments for the students, with respect for their work and concentration, while still offering generous natural light and green spaces. Brick, wood and concrete will be the main materials used in the construction of the Centre, providing a robust yet friendly study environment.

The building will host up to 2.000 employees and students, with its facilities being highly flexible and adaptable to any possible future changes in the organization of the Campus. The winning competition team is composed by KAAN Architecten (architect), Sweegers en De Bruijn (installation advisor), ABT (sustainability), Peutz (building physics consultants).

The full project will be released soon. In the meantime, find out more information here.

28/02 2020

KAAN Architecten Hors-série monograph issue published by A’A’

KAAN Architecten is pleased to announce the release of a Hors-série publication focused on the firm’s projects and practice, published by L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, a Paris based international architecture magazine founded in 1930. The magazine, renowned for its critical look at architecture and urbanism, dedicated a 64-pages issue to the work of KAAN Architecten, available in both English and French.

The volume opens with Andrew Ayers’ in-depth interview with partner and co-founder Kees Kaan entitled ‘Master Storytellers’. It traces the milestones of the office’s history during the last two decades, touching upon important features of the firms’ philosophy, most prominently the narrative nature of the design process.

The publication further investigates the approach of KAAN Architecten through analysing four buildings as the highlights of the office portfolio: Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts, Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat and Erasmus MC Education Centre. These four essays are written by Christelle Granja, implementing the voice of Marylène Gallon and Vincent Panhuysen.

Furthermore, the Hors Série also features editorials by Emmanuelle Borne, editor-in-chief of A’A’, and three ‘Carte Blanche’ contributions. This editorial space is dedicated to selected artists who established fruitful collaborations with KAAN Architecten: Victor Vroegindeweij (filmmaker), Helen Verhoeven (painter) and Dominique Panhuysen (photographer).

The issue is available for purchase in selected architecture and art libraries world-wide, as well as online at the following link.

KAAN Architecten would like to thank the editorial team behind this publication: Laure Paugam, Guillaume Ackel, Anastasia de Villepin and Caterina Grosso, as well as the very talented journalists Andrew Ayers and Christelle Granja. This publication would not have been possible without the help and support of Groep Van Roey and Velux.  

18/02 2020

I find ‘women in architecture’ a difficult subject – an interview with Dikkie Scipio

Founding partner of KAAN Architecten, Dikkie Scipio, recently sat down for an interview with Merel Pit for A.ZINE’s Ms. Architect section. Read their conversation below!

 

Originally published on a-zine.nl (available in Dutch here

“The fact that there are fewer women than men in architectural firms has nothing to do with the profession itself.” Dikkie Scipio, founding partner of KAAN Architecten, launches right into the interview with a statement about women in architecture. What follows is a discussion about her desire to take her responsibility as a role model seriously, and her opinions on what quality means in architecture. If she could plan the future, she would be designing two more significant buildings and then become Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands.

Once we’ve taken our seats in the meeting room, Dikkie Scipio gets right down to business: “So you interview women working in architecture. I find ‘women in architecture’ a difficult subject; I’ve always felt this. I fight it tooth and nail, the idea that there are fewer female architects because of the nature of the work itself. It’s nonsense that gender has any kind of influence on the quality of work you produce as an architect.”

What is the reason behind it then?

“Everything has to happen in that first phase of life – buying a house, having children, building a career – and in the meantime our life expectancy keeps rising. We’re gaining more and more time, while our window of fertility remains the same. So we need to develop a vision for the entire span of our life. The time for having children and raising them is diminishing relative to a whole lifetime. In the first phase of life we should allow ourselves the freedom to focus on this and getting a good education. After 18 years of child-rearing, during which you’ve developed in all kinds of ways, you can devote yourself to a career. A comprehensive view like this will benefit society, creating happier, more relaxed people. But it won’t be happening just yet.”

When will it?

“Once the baby-boomers are gone. Then the urgency becomes real, because the responsibility for a functioning society will suddenly rest on the shoulders of a very small group of people. A large part of this group is already suffering from burn-outs, because it’s incredibly hard to raise kids and move up the career ladder at the same time – whatever the profession.”

So fewer women at architectural firms has mostly to do with having children?

“Yes. When a woman doesn’t have children, then the same rules apply as they do for men.  Then she can put all her energy into her career, without anything holding her back.”

But how can it be that young fathers do continue to work at architectural firms?

“Because they are men. Of course, they also have a caregiving role, but they do not get pregnant, give birth or breastfeed. We women can more or less act as though we don’t have children, at least if we are lucky with our partners. Yet, if we were to feel prouder about being a woman, then we would simply invest more time in that busy, early phase of life. We’d have children first and then later invest the time in our career.”

Take more time. Is that your advice for working mothers?

“Yes. Motherhood is the most beautiful thing in the world. When I think about it, it’s such a shame that I didn’t allow myself the space and time to enjoy it because of my own notions about needing to prove myself at work. I was just on the go all the time. But it’s not healthy, and it’s also not necessary. It’ll happen later. We women need to – calmly and confidently – establish our position. I decided a while ago that I would no longer work on projects that require me to be away from home for more than one night. This was a very conscious choice, and it means that I cannot take on any projects in China, for example.”

My column Ms. Architect is primarily intended to give a platform to female architects. I feel they are less visible. For example, many people don’t know that you are a full partner at KAAN Architecten. Everyone thinks that the office is run by Kees Kaan. How do you feel about that? 

“It’s really annoying. I’ve recently realized that a public presence is actually an important part of my job. If I want to be a role model for young women, then I need to step up and become visible. I also don’t want my work to be ascribed to someone else. This means I need to work on getting seen, but I find that tricky. I really just want to work on my projects, give them my full attention and ensure that we achieve quality. And all this should not suffer from efforts to increase visibility.”

 What does quality in architecture mean to you?

“That I take the skill and professionalism of our discipline very seriously, at all levels. As an architect I create spaces, but before I get there I have to examine what really needs to happen from a multitude of perspectives. I only start once I fully understand the needs of the client and users. There’s a big difference between what people think they want and what they actually need.

Ultimately, I want a building to last, and to bond with users by making it so innately attractive to their needs that they will continue to explore and experience the building. I want them to have a relationship with the spaces and materials that make up the building. As an architect it’s important to be able to visualize this. The biggest compliment I can get when a building is completed is when clients and users tell me: we never could have imagined it this beautiful.”

What do you think is the current state of quality in Dutch architecture?

“The discipline of architecture in the Netherlands is lacking leadership and vision at the moment. There seems to be a misguided view among many clients that you can call up an architect to get them to design a pretty picture. But that is a fallacy. Architecture is so much more complex, in both the design and the execution of projects. We as a community have unfortunately allowed this to happen. Now it’s a constant struggle to achieve quality. In a few years, when Floris [Alkemade] has finished his mandate, and after I’ve completed two large-scale projects, I would love to take on the role of Chief Government Architect.”

What would you be able to do as Chief Government Architect to raise the level of quality in Dutch architecture?

“During the recession we still had the DBFMOs. They had their disadvantages, but the collective priority of creating a building based on sustainable quality was good. Now that the market is restored, making money has become the priority and creating a building that lasts is less important. Now a building has to be ‘circular’, which means nothing more than ‘easy to demolish’. I can accept the mechanisms of the market, but not that municipalities and other governing authorities have lost the capacity to develop visions.”

I’ve spoken to a lot of architects who long for a return of the climate 20 years ago, when young architects in the Netherlands had much more access to opportunities.

“Yes, a lot of young architects have a chance to develop their skills then, thanks to the regulated Dutch housing market. But they didn’t really have access to the big projects, with the exception of a few. I think it’s presumptuous for young architects to think they have the right to design a big complex just after graduating. You need to have a lot of experience to do that. Fortunately, experience grows automatically, that is, if you work on developing your skills and talent. Architecture is about understanding the client, managing processes, designing details and building the actual structure. Quality means you strive for perfection in all these aspects.”

 What would you still like to achieve as an architect?

“A building that will stand for centuries. Many developers write off a building after fifteen years. In this context, I could create seven buildings in a century. But I’m not interested in numbers, only in quality. The French writer Marguerite Yourcenar inspires me, for example. She rewrote and rewrote the same book until it was perfect. I ask myself in my work: when have I captured the essence? If I want to design a building that will stand the test of time, its quality needs to be at 100%.”

Merel Pit is the founder of A.ZINE, initiator of Ms. Architect (Mevr. De Architect) column and a 2019 Quarterly Winner of Fleur Groenendijk Foundation. As a board member of the Foundation, Dikkie Scipio writes in response to the chosen winners, and her follow-up on Merel’s win can be found here.

Photographs by Inga Powilleit.

 

14/02 2020

Construction progress at NACH

Explore the full photo report of the ongoing construction from a recent visit to the New Amsterdam Courthouse building site.

Located in the south of Amsterdam, the new Courthouse building has been steadily progressing since topping out in 2019.

The facade glazing is being mounted, nearly closing up the building. On the inside rough finishes have been put in, as well as natural stone wall cladding.

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.

Photography by Sebastian van Damme.

10/02 2020

Two years of construction in one minute

This January marked the two year anniversary of starting the renovation and extension of Paleis Het Loo. During the past year, major progress has been made in the Bassecourt, which was excavated to make room for the new entrance facilities and exhibition spaces.

The deepest point of the construction pit has been reached and concrete was poured and cured underwater to make sure the structure is without tears or leaks. Following that process, first walls of the underground facilities have been raised.

Watch below the recap of the past two years, or click here to keep up with the ongoing video series following the construction progress.

Featured image by Sebastian van Damme.

 

07/02 2020

Italian monograph issue of KAAN Architecten has been published

As a part of their Masters of Architecture series, the Italian publishing house Hachette has dedicated an issue to the work of KAAN Architecten.

The publication traces the history of the office through milestone projects, most notably revisiting the Netherlands Embassy in Mozambique, Supreme Court of The Netherlands, as well as the UTOPIA library in Aalst and the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Terminal.

The Masters of Architecture series of illustrated monographs features the works and protagonists of contemporary architecture, including among others UN Studio, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Foster+Partners, Studio Liebeskind and Zaha Hadid Architects.

The issue is available in Italian only, and can be purchased online or on newsstands across Italy. Get your copy here!

06/02 2020

Tranquil landscape of Crematorium Siesegem takes shape

Vast cultivated landscape surrounding the Crematorium Siesegem in Aalst is captured in mesmerizing drone photos by Marcel IJzerman. 

Nestled in the landscape designed by Erik Dhont, the crematorium building is a comforting sequence of spaces in symbiotic relationship with its surroundings. Its calm, easily readable environment and tranquil landscape merge together to emanate genuine serenity. This cohesive relationship between the building and the nature is essential, and it became even stronger when the final form of the new landscape expressed its full potential after a few seasons.

Trees and shrubs line the perimeter while the crematorium is situated in the middle, with a footprint of 74 by 74 meters. The surrounding greenery is envisioned as an extension of the crematorium space and is an important part of the funeral ceremony.

Upon arrival, undulating hills emerge from the ground among the parking areas, while a dynamic landscape spreads to the east articulated by natural flora development on the sloping topography. The hills for scattering the ashes and the urn garden rise along the northern facade, bringing the landscape into the ceremonial proceedings.

Photgraphs by Marcel IJzerman.

20/12 2019

FLOWCITY at 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture Shenzhen

KAAN Architecten will participate in the 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) with FLOWCITY, a 24-screen immersive video installation documenting the era of new mobility, urban infrastructure and transport hubs.

FLOWCITY visualizes how we operate as collective space makers. The video traces the evolution of the new Terminal – from a winning competition entry through several phases of development, towards the current design decisions. The vast quantity of data, collected over the past three years, is quantified over time to illustrate the progressive and fluid nature of its design. The reflection on the quantity of stored data includes the prediction of the movement of people within the new terminal and the constant exchange of information between the different flows: workers, travellers and visitors.

FLOWCITY video has been designed by RNDR with OPENRNDR software, and commissioned by KAAN Architecten.

The Bi-City Biennale will open its doors to the public on December 21st, 2019 at the new Futian high-speed Railway Station and at the Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning. If you wish to know more about the 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) please visit the official website.

18/12 2019

Sixth issue of New Amsterdam Courthouse book series is out now!

The sixth 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 latest edition chronicles June throughout October 2019 during which the highest point of the building has been reached. Meanwhile, the facade glazing is being mounted, nearly closing up the building. On the inside rough finishes have been put in, as well as natural stone wall cladding.

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.

Explore the design here or browse the full photo report here.

 

15/11 2019

CMA in Lille nominated for Équerre d’Argent 2019

Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Hauts-De-France has been nominated for the prestigious Équerre d’Argent award in the category Activities.

Out of over 200 applications, the jury comprised of editors of Le Moniteur and AMC nominated 20 projects, divided into five categories. On Monday, 25 November at the Arab World Institute in Paris, each nominated project will be presented to the jury and the winner of each category will be announced.

Find out more here.

Photograph by Sebastian van Damme.

06/11 2019

KAAN Architecten in the running for Paris La Défense redesign

Paris La Défense has appointed five international offices to compete in reimagining of the vast space beneath the Esplanade of Axe historique, including the iconic ‘la Cathedrale’ located in the heart of the La Défense business district.

Besides KAAN Architecten, offices in the running include Baukunst, Emilio Tuñón, Lacaton & Vassal, and Tezuka Architects in association with Ciel Rouge Création. This selection was made based on relevance of previous work as well as the strength and multi-disciplinarity of skills.

Photography by Cyrille Weiner

Through a competitive dialogue process, Paris La Défense intends to enhance the 20,000 m² of underground space beneath the district. The competing firms will have several months to propose both a long-term vision necessary for the completion of this complex project, as well as more immediate first interventions to reveal these hidden spaces.

Photography by Cyrille Weiner

At the end of the dialogue in early 2020, Paris La Défense will choose the team that will make ‘la Cathedrale’ and its contiguous volumes a real urban experience, unusual and original, driven by its aesthetic DNA and an atypical programmatic ambition.

Historically, the platform of Paris La Défense was designed to separate the functions for the users of the district from technical or logistical purposes, leaving thousands of square meters unexploited with ceiling heights often reaching up to 15 meters.

Find out more information here.

04/11 2019

De Meester 2019 winner announced

The fifth edition of De Meester event and prize ceremony took place last Wednesday, 30 October at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. The jury led by Dikkie Scipio crowned De Meester 2019 winner Ruud van Leeuwen and his project ‘From Hammerbrook to Hammerstadt’. 

An impressive panel of judges, praised Ruud’s ‘extensive, refreshingly illustrated study in which all conceivable current questions, from sustainable mobility to decentralised waste processing, ecology, water and climate-proof living are answered in an ambitious way.’

Organized by the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation in collaboration with Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design, De Meester award aims to highlight and promote work of young architecture graduates in the Netherlands, giving them a platform to present themselves to larger audiences and make a debut within the professional sphere.This edition also marks the fifth and last year of Dikkie Scipio presiding as jury chairman for the award. During her tenure, she sought out to highlight the work of recent graduates that shows social and contextual relevance, craftsmanship, and a clear vision.

Explore the winning project here.
Photographs of the event by Rhalda Jansen Photography.

23/10 2019

ISMO wins Trophée béton 2019

Among more than 200 entries, Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay is one of 10 projects awarded the Trophée béton – a prize that distinguishes architectural achievements where concrete plays a key role; honouring architects, clients and structural and prefabrication companies.

Robust and elegant, while essentially open in character, ISMO building is distinguished by a harmonic coexistence of nature and scientific research. It unites two architecturally expressed realms, housing theoretical and practical research, into a single entity.

Consistent facade treatment unifies complementing approaches and activities that coexist within the institution. Sturdily stacked, smooth, pre-fab concrete posts and lintels protrude 80cm from the facade shading the interior from the sun.

Explore the full project here.

Photographs by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG.

25/09 2019

Construction starts on Loenen Pavilion

Yesterday’s festive ceremony at the National Field of Honour marked the beginning of construction on the multifunctional Loenen Pavilion.

KAAN Architecten was commissioned  by The Netherlands War Graves Foundation to design a new multifunctional memorial and education centre at the National Field of Honour in Loenen. The main focus of the centre will be to tell stories about Dutch war victims, the efforts of Dutch people during World War II and current international peace missions.

The pavilion will act as a connecting element between the new National Veterans Cemetery and the existing Field of Honour. The landscape, originally designed in 1949 by garden and landscape architect D. Haspels and extended by Karres + Brands, is characterised by the contrast between open spaces and the dense forest.

The rich woods, existing routes and the scenic qualities of this exceptional site have been used to underline the unifying role of the building.

The completion of the project and the official opening are set for next year. Explore the full project here.

 

18/09 2019

Utopia to participate in the Day of Architecture 2019 in Flanders

Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts in Aalst will be open to the public as a part of the Flemish Day of Architecture (Dag van de Architectuur). This Sunday, 22 September from 13.00-17.00h, visitors will have the opportunity to explore the vibrant new landmark in the city.

Day of Architecture is just one of many events taking place during the week long Festival of Architecture from 21 – 27 September. Organized by the Flemish Architecture Institute, the festival focuses on the quality of the designed space as the result of an open conversation in which designers, policy makers and residents meet. The program builds a bridge between all these actors and encourages everyone to think about a well-designed environment and how they can contribute to it.

Find out more information here.

06/09 2019

Save the date for De Meester 2019

The fifth edition of De Meester event and prize ceremony will take place on Wednesday, 30 October 2019. Join for an evening of dynamic discussions!

Organized by the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation in collaboration with Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design and under the guidance of Dikkie Scipio, the De Meester award aims to highlight and promote work of young architecture graduates in the Netherlands.

Serving as jury leader, Dikkie Scipio has assembled an impressive panel of judges comprising Dirk Jan Postel, partner at Kraaijvanger Architects; Harm Tilman, editor-in-chief of De Architect; Victor Mani, former dean of MSA Münster, and visual artist Joep van Lieshout.

During the evening ceremony, the jury will see project presentations by 3 nominees who will be selected out of 11 graduates of the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design.

Location to be announced. In the meantime, click here to register for the event.

19/08 2019

Conveying vibrancy and energy of CUBE

CUBE Education and Self Study Centre at Tilburg University will soon welcome new students for the second academic year since opening in 2018. To mark the occasion, the project has been reinterpreted through a publication by KAAN Architecten.

With its regular A4 size and wide central stitch binding, reminiscent of a typical school notebook, the publication was designed as a nod to the building’s programme.

The vitality of a university centre is conveyed using an energetic colour for both the cover and inside diagrams. The central spread of the book mimics the vibrancy of the study plaza as the heart of CUBE. Meanwhile, the elegance and robustness of the building is evoked by the clarity of the layout and supporting graphics.

The book features an original text by Kees Kaan, published both in English and in Dutch, while photographs by Simone Bossi and Sebastian van Damme capture the symbiotic atmosphere of the building and its users.

Browse the full publication here.

15/08 2019

KAAN Architecten enters dialogue phase for the renovation of Boijmans museum

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the municipality of Rotterdam have selected three architectural firms that will continue to work on their ideas on how to shape the ambitious renovation of the museum in the coming months. Among the selected are KAAN Architecten in association with Van Hoogevest Architecten, Mecanoo and David Chipperfield Architects with WDJ Architecten.

The European tender for architect selection was published in May 2019, after which an assessment committee of experts in the field of restoration, renovation and museum environments has unanimously chosen the aforementioned offices for the so-called dialogue phase.

The committee consists of Chief Government Architect Floris Alkemade, architect André van Stigt, former Director of the Cultural Heritage Agency Cees van ‘t Veen, director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and experts from the municipality of Rotterdam.

The assignment is not to design an entirely new building, but to make a design for the renovation, restoration and sustainability of the existing building and the associated outdoor space. The selected offices will be in talks with the museum and the municipality in the coming months. The members of the committee will then jointly decide on one architect. This definitive choice is expected in January 2020.

The museum has since closed its doors to the public and preparations are being made to make the museum building asbestos-free. Mid-2020 the city council will decide on the extent to which the museum will be renovated.

Read the full press release here.

Photograph courtesy of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

24/07 2019

KAAN Architecten set to restore a cultural oasis in Brazil

KAAN Architecten has been commissioned with restoring the current headquarters of Fundação Marcos Amaro (FMA) and the associated cultural centre Fábrica de Arte Marcos Amaro (FAMA) housed in an old textile factory with historical and cultural relevance to the city.

Located in Itú, 100 km from São Paulo, FAMA aims to preserve and promote contemporary artistic expressions within the city and state of São Paulo. It operates far beyond the usual constraints of a museum, offering ateliers, workshops and artist residences, enabling full immersion into research and creation. In addition to FAMA headquarters, the complex also displays Marcos Amaro’s art collection and part of the collection from Museum of Contemporary Latin American Sculpture (MESCLA).

In order to materialise FAMA’s ideals, KAAN Architecten was tasked with converting the old São Pedro factory grounds into a state-of-the-art cultural centre.

Fma2019 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

©FMA

Previously a cotton mill for the Companhia Fiação e Tecelagem São Pedro established in 1911, the complex was designed by Louis Marins Amirat, a French-Brazilian master builder, who introduced Itú to a branch of architecture analogous to what was happening in Europe at that time. He brought innovation by applying proper brick masonry construction resulting in monumental facades with refined finishing.

As the building represents significant industrial heritage within the city, the assignment is far more complex than designing a functional ensemble. Besides implementing the highest developments in sustainability and adapting the building to museum requirements, the design proposed by KAAN Architecten will create dialogue with the historic layers that have been part of the structure for more than a century, fortifying this cultural oasis in Itú.

Read more about FMA and FAMA here.

23/07 2019

Colour and light come through in KMSKA

Just before the summer holidays, photographer Karin Borghouts made her way to the construction site of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp to capture the progress. Explore the photo report below!

Bright wall colours have been reinstated, along with wooden floors and door trims, bringing the historic halls of KMSKA a step closer to their original look.

Meanwhile, progress has been made within the new ‘vertical’ museum where both large and small exhibition halls are being finished.

Photographs by Karin Borghouts. Click the link for more information.

10/07 2019

Inside the KAAN Architecten Studio Visit

Last Friday, 5 July, KAAN Architecten hosted a Studio Visit in collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut which elaborated on the design, building and communication methodology in the modern day practice. Photo report below takes you inside the event.

The event kicked off with an introduction by Kees Kaan, followed by an exploration of the layered process behind the making of the office’s projects. Divided into four phases – competition, design, construction and communication; the visitors got to participate in a series of interactive sessions in which architects shared tools and techniques as well as personal anecdotes relating to each project phase.

Photographs by Narine Gyulkhasyan (KAAN Architecten).

09/07 2019

Fifth New Amsterdam Courthouse photo report is out now!

In her latest photo report, photographer Dominique Panhuysen captures the progress made during past six months at the New Amsterdam Courthouse construction site.

As showcased in the previous issue, the building started to rise above ground with first facade columns being put in place. In the past months, the remainder of 22-metre high facade columns, spanning all the way up to fifth floor, have been set up and first glass panels mounted. This phase is also marked by the completion of the concrete structure of the public area.

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.

Explore the design here or browse the full photo report here.

24/06 2019

Studio Visit at KAAN Architecten

In an ongoing series of Studio Visits hosted and curated by architectural offices in collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut, KAAN Architecten will open their doors and invite professionals, students and the broader public to cross the threshold, take a peek into the office and join the conversation. Save the date on 5 July!

In a recent lecture, co-founder Kees Kaan anticipated a reinstatement of the architect’s position in a highly collaborative field. “Today, design practice is all about explaining the project to numerous stakeholders,” he said. “Architects are used to negotiating, dealing with criticism, and explaining things. New 3D-modelling techniques, which allow the rapid production of multiple variations, diagrams, spreadsheets and presentations, have enabled architects to be in control of the design process once more.”

In this context, this Studio Visit will offer insight into how KAAN Architecten positions itself in a shifting architectural practice, from DBFMO (design, build, finance, maintain and operate) tenders to the use of new design techniques in the office. Participants will be introduced to the studio through a series of interactive sessions in which architects will uncover the layered process behind the making of the office’s projects.

More information on tickets and the programme can be found at the link.

Photograph by Simone Bossi.

21/06 2019

Listen to Change – Eyes and Ears of the City

Ahead of the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB), titled “Urban Interactions”, Kees Kaan joins the collective discussion on the evolving relationship between cities and technology. 

Opening in December 2019 in Shenzhen, China, UABB will feature two shows run by two independent curatorial teams. The “Eyes of the City” section, curated by MIT professor Carlo Ratti, investigates the way digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence will impact both urban life and architectural practices. In his statement as Foundational Contributor, Kees Kaan discusses what happens when the sensor-imbued city acquires the ability to see – almost as if it had eyes.

Digital technology in the Information Age, and all its offspring, are having a significantly different effect on our lives than previous technological revolutions had. With the possibility to develop and produce in different and quicker ways, these new technologies allow us to use what we already have in a completely different manner. New technologies bear the promise of a more sustainable life.

The space that we move in will be aware of our presence and actions, and the vehicles we drive and the tools we use will be connected and communicate with us and each other directly. This opens a perspective on previously unimaginable possibilities of a different daily life coming true in the existing urban space. The future will not only be made of new buildings and spaces but will also reveal an entirely different use to what is already there.

Architects are ultimately interested in urban change caused by new ways of living and working, new infrastructure and urban facilities and different uses and management of public spaces. To be able to design for an unknown future we need to develop a proper understanding or informed intuition of this change. To predict the future based on what we know and can imagine today is hardly possible. However, it is possible to get a better understanding of what is already there and from that point onwards to identify and understand what is likely to change and what is not. Only then can we start to speculate on how to recover the future with architecture.

For planners/architects/designers, the challenge is to translate the impact of rapid changes – especially on energy, mobility, health and leisure – into planning and design questions. The question for us is: “how can the City of the Future be imagined? How can those smart innovations be introduced into the domain of architecture and urban design?”

By using Amsterdam as a living laboratory, graduate students, researchers and teachers have been exploring how these changes might affect this city. We aim to understand the structure of today’s Amsterdam, to explore possible future scenarios and to speculate on new architectural types and new ways of living in this city. By listening to the changes from the past, we foresee what is then coming.”

Find more information about the Biennale here.

06/06 2019

Day of Architecture and Day of Construction with KAAN Architecten

On Saturday, 15 June 2019, KAAN Architecten will participate in both the Day of Architecture and the Day of Construction. To mark this special day, our flagship projects in Rotterdam and Amsterdam will be open to the public.

From 11.00-17.00 h, guided tours will take place at De Bank, the Rotterdam office of KAAN Architecten. Meanwhile in Amsterdam, on the construction site of the new Courthouse, the project team will host the visitors from 10.00-16.00h and introduce the design of the building.

Explore the events here (Day of Architecture, Day of Construction)

03/06 2019

Work on KMSKA continues

Photographer Karin Borghouts continues her periodical visits to the site of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp where she captures instances of the ongoing renovation and extension. Explore the full photo report below!

Since the last construction update, major progress has been made with both the historical and the new museum taking shape. The complete overhaul of Antwerp’s prestigious institution aims to restore the original routing and decorations dignifying the intrinsic qualities of the space, while the new extension enriches the museum experience through contemporary practices.

Photographs by Karin Borghouts.

23/05 2019

Dikkie Scipio appointed Professor at Münster University of Applied Sciences

Dikkie Scipio, co-founding partner of KAAN Architecten, has recently joined the Faculty of Architecture at the Münster University of Applied Sciences, where she holds the position of the Professor of Architectural Design.

Having studied arts, design and architecture at renowned Dutch Royal academies as well as having spearheaded large scale transformation projects such as B30, Paleis Het Loo or the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Scipio has a unique arsenal of experiences to pass on to her students. However, her appointment to this position is not only a milestone in her multi-faceted career as an architect, but also a recognition of her advocacy and promotion of young architects, be it students or recent graduates.

Following initiatives like De Meester and her work with Fleur Groenendijk Foundation, she maintains the importance of dialogue as essential for the design process. It is her intention to teach students in Münster how to open themselves to critiques and impressions, how to make their own decisions, and in return: “Working with the younger generation, I hope to find things that I did not look for.”

Find more information here.

21/05 2019

Two realms, one building, one book

Created and published by KAAN Architecten, ‘ISMO’ is a book about Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay, a building for scientific research designed for Paris Saclay campus in 2018.

The subtle yet elegant design of the book mirrors the design of the building in several features. The duality of ISMO’s programme is reinterpreted through two types of paper sewn together by aptly chosen Swiss binding technique often used in scientific publishing. Meanwhile, the recognisable concrete facade is referenced in the grid-like positioning of the ISMO logo and the texture of the grey cover paper that uses genuine pulverised cement to give it a rough chapped feel.

Along with an original essay by Ruud Brouwers in both English and French, the book expresses the essence of the building through rich photographs by Fernando Guerra and Sebastian van Damme.

Explore the full publication here.

Kees Kaan to participate in the opening of the fourth Rotterdam Architecture Month

The fourth edition of Rotterdam Architecture Month will start on Friday, 24 May, with an opening lecture by Eran Chen (ODA) who will be joined by Kees Kaan for a panel discussion afterwards.

Guided by the notion of ‘layered city’ as the overarching theme of RAM, both architects will discuss their experiences and ideas for the future of Rotterdam city centre.

As the city’s supervisor of urban development, Kees Kaan will reflect on the importance of renovation processes such as the Post Office transformation by ODA together with Braaksma & Roos.

Suitably, the event will take place at 19.30 in the historic former Post Office at Coolsingel 42.

Featured image: Postkantoor Rotterdam by ODA and Braaksma & Roos.

 

10/05 2019

Kees Kaan to speak at INDESEM 2019 lecture series

On Monday, 13 May 2019, Kees Kaan will give a public lecture and participate in a discussion at INDESEM 2019, taking place at 17.40 h in the Orange Hall of the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment.

INDESEM, International Design Seminar, is a biennial event with lectures, excursions, debates and a workshop, all organised around a specific theme. This year’s theme, Beyond the Echo Chamber, focuses on how to position yourself as an architect in our rapidly changing, (digitally) connected society. Adhering to the seminar theme, Kaan will give his insight on the scope of an architect’s work and how it transforms with each project. After the lecture he will engage in a discussion with moderator Salomon Frausto and architect Alun Jones (Dow Jones Architects).

For more information follow the link or check out the programme in the PDF below.

09/04 2019

Vincent Panhuysen to give a lecture at NCSU College of Design

On Monday, April 15, Vincent Panhuysen, founding principal of KAAN Architecten, will give a lecture at the North Carolina State University College of Design in Raleigh.

With the overarching theme of contextuality and dialogue with the surroundings, Panhuysen’s lecture will revisit some of the office’s most notable projects such as the Dutch Embassy in Mozambique, Supreme Court of The Netherlands, as well as the UTOPIA library and Crematorium Siesegem in Aalst, Belgium.

The lecture is a part of the joint lecture series with AIA Triangle and will take place at Burns Auditorium at NCSU at 18.00. Find more information here.

04/04 2019

Paleis Het Loo renovation continues

The renovation and reconstruction of Paleis Het Loo started over a year ago. Within that time extensive groundwork began to make room for the new underground entrance of the museum. On his latest visit, photographer Sebastian van Damme captured the instances from the ongoing construction.

Continuing a series of advanced building techniques, the latest step of the expansion involved pouring and curing the concrete underwater. In this way, the pressure of water ensured that the concrete structure is without tears and leaks. Explore the full photo report below and click here to keep up with the ongoing video series following the construction progress.

Photographs by Sebastian van Damme.

20/03 2019

“The Profession of the Architect” – a column by Dikkie Scipio

Oscillating somewhere between art, engineering and entrepreneurship, architectural profession has always been difficult to categorise. Even within the institutions that provide architectural education, there is a systematic difference in opinion and, consequently, the focus of the curriculum.

In her latest column for Fleur Groenendijk Foundation, Dikkie Scipio explains the workings of the architecture education system in The Netherlands and how in 2015 it brought about the BEP (Professional Traineeship approved by the Register of Architects). This marked a tectonic shift in acquiring the title of ‘the architect’, impacting the career trajectories of architecture school graduates.

Promoting young architects has been a sole focus for Scipio, who is in her fifth year of serving as a board member of Fleur Groenendijk Foundation. In an interview earlier this year, she explained that aside from graduating with top marks, the success of every young architect relies heavily on being recognised and embraced by potential customers or employers. To that effect, with initiatives like De Meester, she seeks to highlight the work of recent graduates that shows social and contextual relevance, craftsmanship, and a clear vision.

Read the entire column here (English, Dutch).

 

11/03 2019

KAAN Architecten opens new Paris office

The launch of the Parisian office marks another milestone in the growing international presence of KAAN Architecten which, alongside the Rotterdam headquarters, includes a second outpost opened in 2015 in São Paulo, Brazil.

KAAN Architecten already has a firm footing in France after completing three projects in the country in recent years. The firm’s French oeuvre includes residential projects in Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande near Rennes and the Rives de la Haute Deûle area in Lille, as well as the highly lauded Institut des Sciences Moléculaires located within the Paris-Saclay Campus, in Orsay.

featured image: Cité des Métiers et de l’Artisanat ©Fernando Guerra FG+SG | left: Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande ©Christian Richters | right: Rives de la Haute Deûle ©Sebastian van Damme

The office has also participated in ambitious international studies such as the competition for the new Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris and the CHU hospital campus and research institute in Nantes.

Several other projects in France are due for completion this year, like the Cité des Métiers et de l’Artisanat in Lille, designed in collaboration with Pranlas-Descours Architect & Associates. Additionally, two large mixed-use complexes are in the final phase of construction: one close to EuraTechnologies area in Lille, the other in the ZAC Bottière-Chénaie in Nantes. Meanwhile, an office complex in Aubervilliers, Paris, is currently in design stage. Once completed, it is set to revitalize the former logistics area at the borders of Paris.

Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay ©Fernando Guerra FG+SG

Led by architect Marylène Gallon, the new Parisian office will continue the multidisciplinary design approach set out by the Dutch headquarters. Furthermore, it will reinforce the presence of KAAN Architecten within France, developing relationships with both new and established clients and partners. Using research, innovation and technical expertise acquired in projects of varying scale, the firm intends to deliver creative, yet context-specific solutions fit for contemporary use by both public and private clients in France.

Ilot 13 ©Sebastian van Damme

ZAC Bottière-Chénaie ©JF Molliere

01/03 2019

‘Stations as Nodes’ book is out now!

Led and curated by the Chair of Complex Projects, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment TU Delft and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, ‘Stations as Nodes’ explores the role of stations in future metropolitan areas from both French and Dutch perspective.

Summarizing the activities currently running at AMS Institute, Delft University of Technology and University of Paris-Est, the book presents Stations of the Future initiatives and the Integrated Mobility Challenges in Future Metropolitan Areas summer school, accompanied by a curated reportage of the Amsterdam Sloterdijk station area by Sebastian van Damme.

The book also features contributions by invited experts on specific aspects and problems of conception, management and development of stations. Included as a ‘project from practice’ is Kees Kaan’s essay about the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Terminal designed by KAAN Architecten. Other Dutch contributions include Benthem Crouwel Architects and UN Studio.

Find more information about the book here, or visit BK Books to download the e-book copy.

 

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.

25/01 2019

The year in review at Paleis Het Loo

After a winning proposal for renovation and reconstruction of Paleis Het Loo, this January marks the anniversary of starting the construction of the project. Within the year, the groundwork began to make room for the new underground entrance of the museum.

To enable the underground connection to the former palace, the side wings of the building had to be supported by a temporary foundation of steel beams, which made them seemingly floating above ground. Simultaneously, the square in front of the palace is being excavated, to make room for the new entrance facilities and exhibition spaces.

On the inside, operations for removing asbestos are well under way. The interior is being carefully dismantled in order to preserve the original elements from the 1600s but remove the dangerous substance that was placed in the museum during the 1970s. Once the renovation and removal of asbestos are finished, all the pieces will be put back in place.

The completion of the project is set for 2021. Meanwhile, explore the design or watch the year recap video.

Photographs courtesy of Paleis Het Loo.

15/01 2019

‘Non-Super Dutch’ – WA magazine issue curated by Kees Kaan

In order to present the exciting new currents of Dutch architecture, Chinese magazine World Architecture (WA) has invited Kees Kaan to curate the issue aptly titled ‘Non-Super Dutch’.

In his opening statement, Kees Kaan elaborates on the contemporary developments in Dutch building culture: “The Netherlands has an ideal culture for conventional architecture. The cultural consensus here leaves no room for the unbridled creativity of a genius. Property development has been regulated in such a way that all parties involved or tangential to the process have a right to voice their interests or concerns.” By default, this has influenced the role of the architect within that process, making it a role of inspiration, storytelling, conception and management. “Architects have relinquished control as master builders and are not the sole authority on how to build, but are now professional advisors in teams of interested parties,” says Kaan.

Along with Kaan, a group of independent writers – such as Ruud Brouwers, Kirsten Hannema and Yang Zhang, have contributed to revising the iconic, yet outdated notion of ‘Super Dutch’. Moreover, the issue includes a project selection which is completely arbitrary, in order to showcase a diverse range programs and typologies in recent architectural production.

Read the full opening statement here.

 

09/01 2019

Dikkie Scipio on creating a platform for young architects

‘Young people with fresh new ideas are the lifeblood of our office’ claims KAAN Architecten founding partner Dikkie Scipio in her latest interview for the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation where she serves as a board member. Right at the heels of announcing the new De Meester winner for 2018, this rings true more than ever. 

Graduating with top marks aside, the success of every young architect relies heavily on being recognized and embraced by potential customers or employers, explains Scipio. This is why De Meester award was created – to give young graduates a platform to present themselves to larger audiences and make a debut within the professional sphere. Along with a jury of industry professionals, she seeks to highlight the work of recent graduates that shows social and contextual relevance, craftsmanship, and a clear vision.

Same rules apply within the office, where combination of experienced and young architects meet in a dialogue that is essential for the design process. In her own words: ‘This is the start of the dialogue that you hope will lead to something better, something that you could not have thought of beforehand.’

Read the full interview here. (Dutch only)

 

08/01 2019

Fourth New Amsterdam Courthouse photo report is out now!

Photographer Dominique Panhuysen continues her photographic expeditions to the New Amsterdam Courthouse construction site, showcasing the progress made during past six months in the latest photo report issue.

After the completion groundwork and construction of the two basement levels, as showcased in the previous issue, the building started to rise above ground with first facade columns being put in place. KAAN Architecten is undertaking works for the New Amsterdam Courthouse as part of a consortium which includes Macquarie Capital, ABT, DVP, construction companies Heijmans and M.J. de Nijs & Zonen, and Facilicom. Completion of the project is expected in September 2020.

Explore the full publication or find out more about the project here.

18/12 2018

A visit to the KMSKA construction site

On a recent visit to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, photographer Sebastian van Damme recorded instances from the ongoing renovation. Explore the full photo report below!

The complete overhaul of Antwerp’s prestigious institution aims to restore the original routing and decorations dignifying the intrinsic qualities of the space, while the new extension enriches the museum experience through contemporary practices. End of construction is expected in 2021, while the museum will open its doors to visitors in early 2022.

Photography by Sebastian van Damme.

11/12 2018

Ilot 13 nearing completion

Construction of KAAN Architecten’s mixed use complex in Lille, France 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.

End of construction is expected in 2019. Once completed, Ilot 13 will be the fourth project by KAAN Architecten built in France including recently inaugurated Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay. In addition, the monolithic Cité de Métiers et de l’Artisanat in Lille will open its doors to the public at the beginning of 2019.

Photographs by Sebastian van Damme.

10/12 2018

‘Making Architecture’ – lecture by Kees Kaan at TU Eindhoven

This Thursday, 13 December, Kees Kaan will participate in the lecture series ‘Making Architecture’ at TU Eindhoven together with Jeroen van Schooten (Team V Architectuur). In a double lecture format, the speakers will elaborate on a number of projects that show how the process of making – from concept to building, unfolds within their offices.

The event will take place in the Filmzaal of the Zwarte Doos at the TU Eindhoven at 19.30. The lecture series is organized by AnArchi, Study Association for Architecture, and Juliette Bekkering of The Chair of Architectural Design and Engineering (ADE) at the TU Eindhoven. Find out more here.

30/11 2018

De Meester 2018 jury report announced

A month ago, the jury led by Dikkie Scipio crowned the De Meester 2018 award winner Bram van Ooijen and his project project ‘Wihdatopia’. Following the ceremony, a full report was issued elaborating the judging process, the nominated projects and the ultimate winner.

The De Meester jury was comprised of the journalist and author Tracy Metz, architect Bjarne Mastenbroek, urban planner Karen van Vliet, and Rotterdam Festivals director Johan Moerman, led by KAAN Architecten founding partner Dikkie Scipio. During the event, all three candidates presented their projects followed by a panel discussion with the judges.  However, it was Bram’s study of the refugee crisis as an urban problem of the 21st century that left a lasting impression on the jury and led him to the De Meester title.

Through his project, Bram questioned the role of the urban planner in a complex situation set in a Palestinian refugee settlement where there is no control by a form of central authority. Based on this, he formulated a strategy to develop the refugee camp from the state of exception into an inclusive urban district. The jury praised his impressive analysis and proposals which would serve as catalysts for future architectural and urban development of the area. Nevertheless, the prize also comes as a further assignment for Bram to clarify how city makers can contribute to this issue within their discipline.

Follow the link to explore the complete project and read the full jury report.

 

 

28/11 2018

A day on the university campus in CUBE

This September, CUBE Education and Self Study Centre opened its doors for the start of the new academic year at Tilburg University. Months later, the building is in full use by over 2200 students and faculty daily. Featured photo report captures the atmosphere and activities over the course of a typical school day in CUBE.

Nestled unassumingly among the trees, the building is anchored into the landscape by the paved orthogonal pathways that guide users to the entrances. Once inside, the ground floor unfolds as a progression of public spaces – open study areas, lounges, circulatory spaces and a restaurant. They stretch inside and out, allowing users of the study plaza the freedom to study or take a break within the same space. Abundant daylight and sweeping sight lines through the building allow the structure and surroundings to flow seamlessly into each other.

Photo reportage by Sebastian van Damme. See the atmosphere from the opening of the academic year in CUBE here.

22/11 2018

Crematorium Siesegem book is published

To mark the release of the new Crematorium Siesegem project, KAAN Architecten has published a book showcasing the design.

Nestled in the landscape, the crematorium building is a comforting sequence of spaces in symbiotic relationship with its tranquil surroundings. It is an ode to verticality, while being horizontal and pure in its geometry and balanced proportions. Its calm, easily readable environment and tranquil landscape merge together to emanate genuine serenity.

Explore the Crematorium Siesegem showcased through the photographs of Simone Bossi and Sebastian van Dame here.

 

 

05/11 2018

Two projects by KAAN Architecten nominated for EU Mies Award 2019

Utopia – Library and Academy for Performing Arts in Belgium and Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay in France have been nominated for 2019 edition of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award just months after their official release earlier this year.

Both buildings represent landmarks in their respective communities – Utopia as long-awaited cultural hub of Aalst, Belgium and ISMO as a flagship of the new urban campus in France. Complex programmes merging multiple functions and careful contextual design are other common aspects of the nominated projects.

Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts incorporates a striking historic building from the second half of the 19th century and rejuvenates the urban landscape while elegantly giving expression to the required functionality. The project was carried out through close collaboration between KAAN Architecten as designer and Van Roey as main contractor. Meanwhile, Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay, designed in collaboration with local architects FRES Architectes as a part of the future Paris-Saclay campus, is dedicated to higher education, research and innovation.

Other KAAN Architecten projects nominated in the previous editions of the EU Mies Award include 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. The Jury will announce the 40 shortlisted works at the beginning of 2019, while the 5 Finalist works will be known in February.

Photographs courtesy of Fernando Guerra FG+SG, Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti.

31/10 2018

B30 featured in the Grote Nederlandse Kunstkalender 2019

Every year the Grote Nederlandse Kunstkalender provides a cross section of the current art scene, and the newest issue will feature the work by KAAN Architecten. This year’s edition will be presented during a launch party on Friday, 2 November at Het Industriegebouw. 

Marked under the date 13 June 2019 of the new calendar is B30 – a historical building in Bezuidenhoutseweg 30 in The Hague, now transformed into a contemporary and state-of-the-art working environment. The original building acts a vital and sustainable component of the total design brought to life by use of rich materials and clear layouts. 

As such, the renovation process relied heavily on the expertise of the craftsmen who supplied their skills during the construction. In their honor, under the photograph by Karin Borghouts, the calendar also features a short ‘Ode to the Craft’ by KAAN Architecten founding partner Dikkie Scipio:

Ode to the Craft

This is an ode to the craftsmanship of
the carpenters, the painters, the plasterers and the tilers,
of the natural stone workers, the bricklayers and concrete makers,
from road workers, metalworkers, parquet layers and glass-workers,
from the mosaic layers, the furniture makers, upholsterers and carpet weavers.
This is an ode to the creators without whom we were left empty-handed.
This is an ode to the craft.

-Dikkie Scipio

Find more information on the calendar here.

26/10 2018

Construction starts on Zalmhaven in Rotterdam

On 25 October, 2018 construction started on De Zalmhaven residential complex on a site adjacent to the former eponymous port in the center of Rotterdam.

De Zalmhaven is developed by AM & Amvest and consists of approximately 450 high-quality apartments located inside two mid-rise towers (by KAAN Architecten) and a skyscraper (by Dam & Partners). The project is expected to be completed by 2021.

Combining both urban and local scales, the new complex feels stately and formal yet also extremely transparent. 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.

Explore the full design here.

 

22/10 2018

KAAN Architecten to design Margraten Visitor Center

KAAN Architecten was appointed by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) to design the Visitor Center at Netherlands American Cemetery (NEAC) in Margraten after a competitive contracting process.

The new visitor center will be a product of an integrated design process dedicated to creating an effective and efficient facility with the attention to the landscape. KAAN Architecten will take the lead on the design and collaborate with the landscape architecture firm Karres+Brands. Furthermore, the design process will be supported by DGMRPieters BouwtechniekHP Engineers and B3 Bouwadviseurs.

The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. Situated in the Limburg region, close to Maastricht and the Belgian border, it represents a significant site within the Dutch territory. The cemetery honors and protects the burials of 8,301 American military dead with another 1,722 names inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing, and provides an opportunity for families of the soldiers, local inhabitants and others affected by the war to commemorate those buried in the cemetery, and to learn about the dynamics leading to the liberation of Europe. For this reason, ABMC plans to enhance the understanding of the NEAC by constructing a visitor center with interpretative exhibits at the cemetery which will complement the site in both style and dignity.

16/10 2018

Meet the nominees of De Meester!

Organized by the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation in collaboration with Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design and under the guidance of Dikkie Scipio, the De Meester award serves to highlight and promote work of young architecture graduates in the Netherlands.

In less than two weeks, this years nominees will present their projects in front of the jury in order to win the title of De Meester. Led by chairman Dikkie Scipio, the jury is comprised of the journalist and author Tracy Metz, architect Bjarne Mastenbroek, urban planner Karen van Vliet, and Rotterdam Festivals director Johan Moerman. All nominated projects address topical issues of urban life while questioning the disciplines of architecture and urban planning.

The graduation project of Nina van Osta focuses on elderly people with physical or mental disabilities which are often marginalized by the community and forced to live in less than adequate conditions. The project offers an alternative in the form of a pleasant and safe living environment where the elderly can lead their lives as independently and actively as possible and where care facilities, activities and social relations are within reach.

On the other hand, nominee Jurian Voets forms an alternative to the ‘Living Vision 2030’, in which the municipality of Rotterdam actively encourages gentrification without showing a vision of suitable urban housing for existing and future residents. This alternative is the ‘intense city’, the city where living together and meeting are central, where high density and diversity of people lead to more variety, a rich level of amenities and a healthy local economy.

Finally, nominee Bram van Ooijen responds to the refugee crisis as an urban problem of the twenty first century. Based on this, Bram formulates a strategy on the basis of which the refugee camp can develop from the state of exception into an inclusive urban district. The project investigates the possible future for a Palestinian refugee settlement, which in 2017 was still dependent on international aid.

Interested to know more? Join the De Meester 2018 event and award ceremony on 31 October 2018, at Garage Rotterdam, for an evening of dynamic discussions and new ideas. Register to attend the event here.

09/10 2018

Opening of the Crematorium Siesegem

A grand opening was held on 6 September, 2018 at the recently completed crematorium in Aalst, Belgium.

Just three months after completing the Utopia Library and Academy for performing arts in Aalst, KAAN Architecten added another landmark to their Belgian opus right at the edge of the same city. Recently finished Crematorium Siesegem was opened in a lavish ceremony with several hundred visitors.

Former Westlede director Kris Coenegrachts and the mayor of Aalst, Christoph D’Haese gave inaugural speeches, while KAAN Architecten founding partner Vincent Panhuysen presented the design.

Visitors participated in a guided tour, where they explored the building and the landscape, as well as learned about the cremation process and ceremony. See the atmosphere from the opening event in a photo reportage by Sebastian van Damme.

Full release of the project is set for November. In the meantime, find out more about the design here.

 

08/10 2018

A crematorium in a park

Recently opened Crematorium Siesegem by KAAN Architecten is set in a vast cultivated landscape outside Aalst, Belgium designed by Erik Dhont.

In order to disengage from the surrounding commercial estates, the site was transformed with physical and visual barriers. Trees and shrubs line the perimeter while the crematorium is situated in the middle, with a footprint of 74 by 74 meters. The surrounding greenery is envisioned as an extension of the crematorium space and is an important part of the funeral ceremony.

Upon arrival, undulating hills emerge from the ground among the parking areas, while a dynamic landscape spreads to the east articulated by natural flora development on the sloping topography. The hills for scattering the ashes and the urn garden rise along the northern facade, bringing the landscape into the ceremonial proceedings. This cohesive relationship between the building and the nature is essential, and will only become stronger when the final form of the new landscape expresses its full potential after a few seasons.

The goal was to design a building capable of internalizing the landscape so that its tranquility could console visitors and provide strength. This is also why interior spaces are strategically oriented within the landscape to create enclosed patios blurring the distinction between interior and exterior.

Full release of the project is set for November. In the meantime, find out more about the design here. Photographs courtesy of Jean Pierre Gabriel.

04/10 2018

Inauguration of the new ISMO building

The new Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay was officially inaugurated Tuesday, 25 September, at the University Paris-Sud by Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

During the ceremony speeches were given by Sylvie Retailleau, President of Paris-Sud University, Antoine Petit, President and CEO of CNRS and Gilles Bloch, President of Université Paris-Saclay, and the architects from KAAN Architecten (Kees Kaan) and FRES architects (Laurent Gravier + Sara Martin Camara).

After the ceremony, Kees Kaan gave a presentation on the design of ISMO, which is distinguished by a harmonic coexistence of nature and scientific research. The newly opened building will serve over 160 students, researchers and teachers working in molecular physics, nano-science, chemistry and biology.

Explore the full project here.

 

28/09 2018

New Schiphol Terminal wins the 2018 International Architecture Award

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Terminal has been awarded the International Architecture Award for the ‘Transportation’ category. 

The award was announced just in time to mark a year since KAAN Architecten, Estudio Lamela, ABT bv, Ineco, DGMR, Arnout Meijer Studio and Planeground Airport Consulting, operating as KL AIR, won commission to design Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Terminal. Today, September 28, 2018, a special exhibition of all awarded buildings will open at the annual symposium, “The City and the World” at The Contemporary Space in Athens.

The International Architectural Awards are organized by The Chicago Athenaeum, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, and serve to honor new and cutting-edge design worldwide. Find out more about the awards here.

27/09 2018

Supreme Court at Marmomac Fair

Participating in the world’s biggest fair dedicated to natural stone, KAAN Architecten will present the Supreme Court project in The Hague.

Yesterday marked the start of Marmomac International Trade Fair for Stone Design and Technology which will continue over the next four days in Verona. Dedicated to the natural stone industry, the fair represents the entire supply chain from processing to application in architectural design. During today’s events, KAAN Architecten project leader Marco Lanna will give a lecture on the Supreme Court project in The Hague, which features pronounced use of light grey limestone within its interior.

Photographs © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG.

 

 

26/09 2018

KAAN Architecten nominated for Dutch Architect of the Year

Throughout the five years since founding the office, KAAN Architecten continues to produce exemplary projects, earning them the nomination for the Dutch Architect of the Year award.

Dedicated to recognizing the importance of well rounded architectural agency, Architect of the Year award is organized by the Dutch architecture platform Architectenweb. The jury is composed of  architects Koen van Velsen and Uri Gilad, developer Martijn Dirks and architecture critic Kirsten Hannema.

KAAN Architecten founding partners Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen and Dikkie Scipio are nominated as a collective, with the jury citing great craftsmanship demonstrated by recently completed Utopia library in Belgium, university buildings in Brazil as well as exciting future projects for the new Schiphol Terminal and the Amsterdam Courthouse. Read a detailed jury explanation here.

18/09 2018

Save the date for De Meester 2018

The fourth edition of ‘De Meester’ event and prize ceremony will take place on Wednesday, 31 October 2018, at Garage Rotterdam.

Organized by the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation in collaboration with Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design and under the guidance of Dikkie Scipio, the De Meester award serves to highlight and promote work of young architecture graduates in the Netherlands.

Serving as jury leader, Dikkie Scipio has assembled a panel of judges comprising journalist and author Tracy Metz, architect Bjarne Mastenbroek, urban planner Karen van Vliet, and Rotterdam Festivals director Johan Moerman.

During the evening ceremony, the jury will see project presentations by this year’s nominees: Nina van Osta (Beauty of the Grey), Jurian Voets (Intense Stad Oude Westen) and Bram van Ooijen (Al-Wihdat refuge camp in Amman). All projects address topical issues of urban life while questioning the disciplines of architecture and urban planning.

Join the De Meester 2018 event and award ceremony on 31 October 2018, at Garage Rotterdam, for an evening of dynamic discussions and new ideas. Register to attend the event here.

 

10/09 2018

Opening of Academic Year at Tilburg University

On Monday, September 3, Tilburg Universiry celebrated the opening of the academic year, which took place in the new education and independent study center on the campus, CUBE.

The ceremony included speeches by Professor Emile Aarts, Rector Magnificus, Ingrid van Engelshoven, Dutch Minister of Education, Culture, and Science, Professor Koen Becking, President of the Executive Board, and a group of students.

The CUBE is now officially open for the upcoming school year, with its 11,000 square meters floor area intended to better facilitate university students and raise the level of education on offer. Its position strengthens the landscape structure towards the northwest side and fully integrates the pre-existing campus configuration. 

Find more information about Tilburg University academic year opening ceremony here.

 

07/09 2018

‘Thank the crisis’ – column by Dikkie Scipio

Dikkie Scipio’s new quarterly column for Fleur Groenendijk foundation has been published.

In her latest column written as a board member of Fleur Groenendijk Foundation, Dikkie Scipio reflects on the implicit advantages for societies and economies that occur during troubling times. The essay elaborates on how unexpected debates and initiatives develop when different actors are brought together by extraordinary circumstances. At the same time, it also advocates keeping up that positive momentum even after the times of crisis have passed, in order to keep benefiting the larger community.

Read the full article here.

05/09 2018

Crematorium Aalst to hold grand opening

KAAN Architecten is set to unveil the recently finished crematorium in an opening ceremony tomorrow in Belgium.

The official opening of Crematorium Aalst will take place on Thursday 6 September at 17.00. The ceremony will include a welcome speech by Westlede director Kris Coenegrachts, the mayor of Aalst Christoph D’Haese, and a presentation by KAAN Architecten founding partner Vincent Panhuysen. A guided tour will take the visitors through the building, displaying the easily-read spaces and the cohesive relationship with landscape in which it is set.

The crematorium was built in the marshy pastures just outside of Aalst, Belgium. The serenity desired of such an institution has been carefully translated into a design that puts emphasis on natural light, varying textures and neutrality which can allow guests to find their own comfortable spaces. The goal was to design a building capable of internalizing the landscape so that its tranquility could console visitors and provide strength. Key to achieving this were its linearity, rhythmic layout of alternating patios, open courtyards, glass walls and – in the chapels – column-free spaces. Through the use of renewable and low carbon impact materials and the state-of-the-art heat recovery systems, zero-energy consumption is achieved, making sustainability an additional pillar of strength for the design.

Full release of the project is set for November. In the meantime, find out more about the design here. Photographs courtesy of Simone Bossi.

27/08 2018

CUBE teaser video released

In anticipation of the project release, KAAN Architecten presents a teaser video for CUBE in Tilburg.

The new addition to Tilburg University campus designed by KAAN Architecten, aptly named CUBE, will serve as the Education and Self-study Center (OZC). Comprising a floor area of 11,000 sqm, the OZC will support all faculties within the university, new building spaces forging connections among them. The teaser video offers a glimpse of the building just before it will open to host 2500 students and educators.

CUBE – OZC Tilburg from KAAN Architecten on Vimeo.

Video © Sebastian van Damme / KAAN Architecten

 

13/08 2018

UTOPIA featured in worldwide press

Almost two months have passed since UTOPIA Library and Academy for Performing Arts in Aalst has opened for public. In that period, the project as well as the grand opening weekend have been widely covered by local and international media, both in print and online.

Anna Winston of Dezeen has interviewed Vincent Panhuysen, one of KAAN Architecten founding partners, about the making of UTOPIA and the process behind the design. Read the full article here.

Other media platforms like Yatzer, Wallpaper and Archinect have all featured the UTOPIA project, praising its masterful integration with the old school building. The project has also received worldwide recognition with ArchDaily publishing it across its multiple international platforms in China, Brazil and wider South America. The most intensive coverage has been by the local Belgian press, which has written multiple newspaper articles about the library and academy, focusing on its importance on civic life of Aalst.

Below is a short overview of the extensive press coverage.

United Kingdom:  Wallpaper Dezeen

USA Archinect  ContractDesign  aWorkstation

Italy  Designboom URDesignmag Divisare ArketipoMagazine ProfessionArchitetto Floornature MaterialiCasa

Russia TheArchtect ADMagazine

Ireland Architecture-design

France Architecture d’aujourd’hui

Spain DXI Magazine Revistaad TCCuadernos

China Gooood Popbee

Netherlands Architectenweb deArchitect stedebouwarchitectuur NOBB

Germany Baunetz  DEAR Magazin

Poland PointofDesign

Argentina NoticiasArquitectura

Thailand Handhome ThepamDesign

Greece Yatzer Elculture

Turkey Arkitera

Brazil Archdaily

Switzerland World-Architects

27/07 2018

Complex Projects presents AMS MID-CITY Graduation show

After a yearlong studio, a graduation show of the Complex Projects AMS Mid-City was held on 12 July 2018 in the Orange Hall of the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture.

The itinerant exhibition already took place in Amsterdam’s  ZuiderKerk earlier this June, and has arrived to TU Delft’s Faculty of Architecture just in time for graduation period. The Chair of Complex Projects teamed up with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, the municipality of Amsterdam and KAAN Architecten to focus on the theme AMSTERDAM 2050.


Almost 80 students, comprising more than 50 graduates, exhibited group models as well as individual projects. Group models sized 2.1×2.1 meters, represented scaled down areas of Amsterdam like Zaanstad, Centraal, Amstel, City islands or Schiphol Corridor. Students reimagined what the specific sites would be in 2050, based on a critical analysis of current findings and practices in the city.


Some of the projects dealt with future mobility and connectivity in the city, ways of densifying the historic and UNESCO protected city center etc. Other imaginative ideas include an organ factory, a drone fighting arena where part of the students work as well as a zero polluting inner-city energy production. Aerial photos by Sebastian van Damme showcase the student interventions in their actual contextual relations.  

26/07 2018

New publication on UAM campus projects in Brazil

After completing two projects in Brazil just a year after the official launch of an outpost in São Paulo, KAAN Architecten has published a booklet showcasing the campus buildings of Universidade Anhembi Morumbi.

The sibling buildings in Piracicaba and São José dos Campos are landmarks that firmly and visually open themselves to the city, giving the University a recognizable position within the architectural panorama. Adhering to the motto ‘two campuses, one architectural identity’, both projects feature representative facades and generous central common spaces based on sustainable building principles of inner climate control. The projects were coordinated by BRC Group.

Browse the entire publication here.

23/07 2018

UTOPIA in Aalst now open for public

After almost two years of construction, Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts in Aalst has finally opened its doors to the public on Thursday, 21 June 2018.

More than 25 000 visitors gathered for the opening festivities spanning over 4 days (21-24 June) where they participated in concerts, workshops and dance performances. Official presentations took place on Friday, 22 June, with speeches from representatives of the Aalst city council, Utopia board of directors, KAAN Architecten and Aalst mayor.

Following a competition in 2015, the Aalst city council chose to establish a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) based on a Design & Build contract. The project was assigned to a team consisting of Van Roey as main contractor and KAAN Architecten as architect, working in close collaboration throughout the whole project development and construction.

This new cultural landmark for the city incorporates a striking historic building from the second half of the 19th century and rejuvenates the urban landscape while elegantly giving expression to the required functionality. The desire of KAAN Architecten to interact with the urban fabric has been achieved: Utopia is already a reference point in Aalst city center, with citizens eager to enjoy and welcome a new landmark in their everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

11/07 2018

‘Beauty does not judge’ – new column by Dikkie Scipio

“Stripped of its culpability or glory, what remains is the proof of craftsmanship by architects, artists and builders. Beauty does not judge.”

Continuing her work as a board member of the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation, Dikkie Scipio writes quarterly columns in response to the incoming funding applications. Her most recent column reacts to this quarter’s application ‘Controversial Heritage’ by Ankie Petersen. Aptly named ‘Beauty does not judge’, the essay discusses how we deal with politically charged heritage, and can we separate the valuable architectural and artistic opus from the regime that brought it about.

Read more here!

09/07 2018

Out now: third issue of New Amsterdam Courthouse photo report

The third issue of the book series by photographer Dominique Panhuysen has been published. The series is dedicated to the New Amsterdam Courthouse construction site and building process. This latest edition features a look at the current groundwork and construction of the two underground levels.

Spreading over approx. 10 000 sqm, the New Courthouse project aims to merge the city streets with the layout of the building, creating an extension of urban space within. Comprising 12 levels, the building is exemplary in its efficiency, like the organization itself, and is part of the daily life surrounding it.

KAAN Architecten is undertaking works for the New Amsterdam Courthouse as part of a consortium which includes Macquarie Capital, ABT, DVP, construction companies Heijmans and M.J. de Nijs & Zonen, and Facilicom. Completion of the project is expected in September 2020.

Browse the entire issue here!

28/06 2018

KAAN Architecten designs a new multifunctional centre at National Field of Honour in Loenen

The Netherlands War Graves Foundation commissioned KAAN Architecten to design a new multifunctional memorial and education centre at the National Field of Honour in Loenen, after a public tender. The main focus of the centre is to tell stories about Dutch war victims, the efforts of Dutch people during World War II and current international peace missions. The building is a layered and connecting element between the new National Veterans Cemetery and the existing Field of Honour.

The rich woods, existing routes and the scenic qualities of this exceptional site have been used to underline the unifying role of the building. The landscape, originally designed in 1949 by garden and landscape architect D. Haspels and extended by karres+brands, is characterised by the contrast between open spaces and the dense forest.
The design of the new centre consists of fluent open spaces, bound by a horizontally extended roof. This comprehensive openness blurs the transition between inside and outside and allows the natural elements to visually penetrate into the interior spaces. The flexible and logical organisation of the rooms and the roofed outdoor spaces gives the building a double function, while a multimedia educational installation informs students, families and visitors about the stories of war victims and veterans.

The three main rooms, the auditorium, the exhibition space and the condolence room, form a harmonious ‘sequence’ that can be combined for a single ceremony or can be used independently by different groups at the same time. These three key rooms each have their own identity, but at the same time form an architectural ensemble.

When entering the pavilion, the visitors experience the specific orientation of the building, which is positioned towards one of the sightlines of the Field of Honour with a central axis. In this way, the ceremonial route culminates with a view on the memorial cross seen from the auditorium of the pavilion. With this strong visual relationship, the pavilion occupies a central position between the two cemeteries, creating a timeless link between old and new.

14/06 2018

Universidade Anhembi Morumbi: two campuses, one architectural identity

A year after the official launch of KAAN Architecten’s second outpost in São Paulo (Brazil), the Dutch firm completes two new buildings, which will house the new campuses of the Universidade Anhembi Morumbi in São José dos Campos and Piracicaba, in the inland of São Paulo State. The projects were coordinated by BRC Group.

Both buildings have been driven by the same design choices: to create an elegant yet strong architectural identity for the campuses of the Universidade Anhembi Morumbi through a non-scale approach to the representative façades, providing the students and the institution with a generous central common space that promotes social interaction and responds to the hot Brazilian climate of these regions by allowing greater circulation of natural air.

Located in proximity to a main road junction, the future campus in São José dos Campos stands like a modern day Acropolis on an elevated plot, which creates isolation and the ideal conditions to turn it into a new reference point amid the dense urban fabric. In Piracicaba, the new building occupies a plot along a secondary urban expansion axis in the southern part of the city.

By optimizing the topographical characteristics of their areas and thanks to the balanced façade geometries, both projects are landmarks that firmly and visually open themselves to the city, giving the University a recognizable position within the architectural panorama.

The buildings have different volumetric proportions. São José dos Campos encompasses a more compact structure and consists of three floors with a total area of 5.300 sqm, while Piracicaba, is horizontally developed and lies on the slope of the surrounding landscape, directly dialoguing with it.

The intense Brazilian solar radiation is mitigated by a fully encompassing system of vertical slabs that fulfills the need for shade in every façade. Choosing a regular structural system enabled KAAN Architecten to feature glass in between the thin concrete slabs and the roof beams. In the case of São José dos Campos, this was molded in-situ, relying on the expertise of the local workforce, while in Piracicaba, it was prefabricated to enhance sharpness and exactitude in the attachment system.

The wide use of glass in the façades enhances transparency and reveals a deep connection with the architecture of the cities. Moreover, a caramel resin floor comfortably reflects the abundant natural light in the social core and passageways of the buildings. The natural ventilation and light are optimized via a ceiling pergola in concrete and smaller wooden elements acting as sun blades.

The shared program features classrooms, diverse laboratories for practice exercises and simulation, a space for the cafeteria, physiotherapy facilities, a library and offices. All educational spaces are situated alongside the longitudinal glazed façades to take advantage of the natural light and have been oriented towards the large-scale central void, to embody the buildings’ core social identity and its essence as a place for encounters, human connection and knowledge exchange.

Following a careful analysis of the structural opportunities, a system of ribbed slabs made possible by in-situ molded concrete was adopted in the São José dos Campos building. In Piracicaba instead a system of alveolar slabs was employed, exploring the best possibilities of precast concrete. These choices allow wide free spans and a significant modularity of space based on a rigid 1.50 x 1.50 meter grid. Moreover, the in-depth study into solar radiation results in large floor-to-ceiling windows, which grant abundant daylight to classrooms and laboratories, playing with the deep shadows generated by the vertical concrete elements.

Sustainability plays a central role in the design of the two campuses, which feature an innovative energy management system for thermal control to prevent refrigeration waste and enhance the efficiency of the roof system with chimney effect. The use of BIM software and technology is also at the core of both projects: each façade has been designed following specific comfort studies, resulting in a wide protection porch for the north and south elevations, and in a dense grid of vertical brise-soleil for the east and west elevations.