The Shell Building by J.J.P.Oud was a building that was both ahead and behind the times when it was built. A building that irrevocably damaged the reputation of its designer for the crime of adding ornamentation but has perhaps unfairly not been reappraised since it was finished.
- Name: De Rotterdam
- Location: Rotterdam
- Architect: OMA
- Year: 2009-20113
- Cost: approx €340 million Euros
- Program: Mixed use
Rem Koolhaas is The Netherlands most influential Architect and he built a Skyscraper in Rotterdam, the biggest building in the nation. It’s a compelling matchup of Architect, program and city.
The Markthal in Rotterdam stands as a iconic building set in Rotterdam the city that has iconic buildings strewn across it. Trumpeted as a new kind of hybrid typology, apartment block and market hall together it’s actually one of the latest and more interesting attempts at the type.
The Tij observatory (2019) sits in the Haringvilet Dam, part of the Sceelhoek Nature reserve in The Netherlands which was opened in 2018 to help improve the biodiversity of the water and coastline there. Tij is Dutch for tide which is apt as the building sits just on the shore overlooking the water.
The reserve is a nesting area for Sandwich terns and the building is inspired by the shape of their eggs. You enter the building via a tunnel so as not to disturb the birds nesting by the shore.
- The Van Nelle Factory
- Constructed 1925-1931
- Architects: Leendert van der Vlugt of Brinkman & Van der Vlugt
- Address: Van Nelleweg 1, Rotterdam, Netherlands
At 220m long, 8 stories high and 60,000m² in size the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam rises up against the flat landscape surrounding it even if it doesn’t tower above the other buildings like it once did when it was finished in 1931.
Designed and built in the 1920’s on the banks of a canal in an industrial zone on the then outskirts of Rotterdam it was a pioneer of a new form of Construction that the Dutch called literally New Building or ‘Nieuwe Bouwen’. This was a modern factory building made just at the birth of Modernism and incorporating the latest technology plus techniques developed on site by the constructors it became one of the buildings that would go on to define the style of modernism itself. A modernist classic from the day it opened.
Now a UNESCO heritage site it still maybe is not as well known as it should be being both a great influence in early modernism and an beautiful piece of frozen social history that is often overlooked.
When I lived and worked in Amsterdam MVRDV was one of my favourite Dutch Architects Offices, I loved their experimental bent and when I was back in Amsterdam in 2016 I saw their recently completed Chanel shop a refit of a 19th century Amsterdam town house.
The new shop front is a lovely play on the old brick facade and a modern glass fronted designer shopfront. The bricks of the old facade at the top slowly dissolving into the new glass ones of the shop front.
The shop is in PC Hooftstraat which has since I lived there has been a street for luxury brands and shopping situated beside Vondel park just outside of the old Amsterdam. It’s outside of the 9 streets or the old city main shopping lanes but thanks to that can probably accommodate an older richer clientele.
It is worth noting that increasingly Amsterdam is a major player in the Fashion world. Major brands have their world HQ’s there like Tommy Hilfiger the home of preppy US fashion is based in Amsterdam, and many others have their Euorpean HQ’s there like Nike for example. The Chanel shop is a small piece of evidence for Amsterdams fashion chops.