Bonnefanten Cupola by Aldo Rossi
A couple of weeks ago I visited the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht. A design of Aldo Rossi.
The Museum Site:
The Bonnefantenmuseum, designed by Italian architect Aldo Rossi, is a splendid addition to the skyline of Maastricht. Featuring the famous Treppenstraße (monumental stairs) that leads to the exhibition rooms, its undisputed highlight is the cupola; the distinctive tower on the banks of the Maas. Rossi regarded the museum as a ‘viewing factory’.
The Bonnefantenmuseum is built in an E-shape, with four storeys and a separate, distinctive tower on the banks of the Maas. The main entrance is on the Avenue Céramique and there is a second entrance by the Café Ipanema. Most of the public areas are situated on the ground floor: the entrance hall, museum shop, auditorium, café and tower room. The museum galleries are higher up; collection on the first floor and temporary exhibitions on the second and third floors. At the top of the central wing is a ‘print room’. The exhibition space totals over 4,000 m².
As the museum has acquired part of his archive I also found a planning idea for a part of The Hague:
Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift
Touring in Belgium and visiting the cities of Mons (Bergen) and Namur (Namen) we made a small detour to visit the Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift.
In 2002 the boat lift of Strépy-Thieu was completed, almost 20 years after its construction started. Together with a deviation in the Central Canal it replaces 4 historical boat lifts. The Central Canal connects the Meuse and Scheldt rivers. Two rivers important for water transportation in Belgium. Until a boat lift in China ( 3 gorges dam lift) will be completed, the Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift is the largest boat lift of the World. On the photo both caissons are hanging in the air just under the building and in connection with the upper branch of the canal.
The caissons have useful dimensions of 112 m by 12 m and a water depth of between 3.35 and 4.15 m. Each caisson is supported by 112 suspension cables (for counterbalance) and 32 control cables (for lifting/lowering), each of 85 mm diameter. The mass of the counterbalance was calculated to keep the tension in each of the control cables below 100 kN at all times. The suspension cables pass over idler pulleys with a diameter of 4.8 m. Four electric motors power eight winches per caisson via speed-reduction gearboxes and the 73.15-metre lift is completed in seven minutes. The structure is massively reinforced to provide rigidity against torsional forces during operation and has a mass of approximately 200,000 tonnes. The vertically moving watertight gates are designed to withstand a 5 km/h impact from a 2000 tonne vessel.
Unfortunately we had no time to visit the 4 old boat lifts that are on the Unesco World Heritage list. Neither could we visit the Ronquières inclined plane which is in the vicinity.
Minka from Birdling Films on Vimeo.
A poetic documentary found on Made with Kickstarter, a series by the New York Times, about a Japanese farmhouse, taken apart an rebuilt by an American Journalist, John Roderick, Japanese and China correspondent for the Associated Press and his Japanese adopted son.
Royal Danish Play House
As an amateur photographer I’m proud I’ve licensed via Picfair – my first ever – this very photo of the Royal Danish Playhouse, one of the stages of the Royal Danish Theater. According to the Royal Danish Theater’s website this Playhous was inaugurated in 2008 and designed by Danish Architects Lundgaard & Tranberg, who won the 2008 RIBA (Royal Insitute of British Architects) award for this building.
Caixa Forum Madrid
Recently I was in Madrid. I visited the CaixaForum Museum of modern art: An old power station renovated by the Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron in 200-2001, shortly after they renovated the Tate London, also a decommissioned power station.
I could crop a selfie from the first photo.
What’s a bit annoying is that the CaixaForum Madrid doesn’t have its own web presence. It is part of the big Caixa Foundation. Caixa is a large Spanish bank. You can find a bit on the Foundations Website, but it’s not much.
This is what the architects say about the impressive buuilding:
A spectacular transformation
The only material of the old power station that we could use was the classified brick shell. In order to conceive and insert the new architectural components of the CaixaForum, we began with a surgical operation, separating and removing the base and the parts of the building no longer needed. This opened a completely novel and spectacular perspective that simultaneously solved a number of problems posed by the site. The removal of the base of the building left a covered plaza under the brick shell, which now appears to float above the street level. This sheltered space under the CaixaForum offers shade to visitors who want to spend time or meet outside, and at the same time, it is the entrance to the Forum itself. Problems such as the narrowness of the surrounding streets, the placement of the main entrance, and the architectural identity of this contemporary art institution are addressed and solved in a single urban and sculptural gesture.
Site Area: building site: 1,934sqm / 20,817sqft; plaza: 650sqm / 6,996sqft
Building Footprint: 1,400sqm /15,069sqft
Building Dimensions: Length 44m / 144ft; Width 37m / 121ft; Height 28m / 92ft
Gross Floor Area: 11,000sqm/ 118,404sqft