Dutch Dutch Design (24): "The Hague" studies new Tulip Island in North Sea

Tulip Island
Via Bert Brussen from Trouw

On initiative of the Christian Democratic Party CDA, Dutch Parliament has instructed the Dutch Ministers (who reside in The Hague, hence the “The Hague” reference in the title as a metaphor for Dutch government) to study the possibility of an artificial island in the Northsea between Rotterdam and IJmuiden. IJmuiden is the access to Amsterdam Harbour. Its secondary function would be to protect the weak Dutch coastline that seems under threat by global warming. Not a bad idea now so many Dutch contractors are getting a lot of experience by their involvement in the Emirates Islands building and helping New Orleans out with advice about flood protection.

In the proposal the Island gets a tulip form. The tulip is one of the national symbols of The Netherlands. Most marketeers who use it as marketing symbol tend to forget once the Dutch “traders” “stole” the tulip bulbs from the Turks and initiated the Tulip Mania.

In this context it is funny how Bert Brussen, a free lance journalist, placed as a prank an alternative Turkish Island form as a counter proposal for the Island form by the leftist PVDA (Dutch Workers) party on his Blog :

Turkish Island in The North Sea

Some “Turkish Delight” as consolation in case Turkey won’t become a EG member?

However I do like the Tulip idea!

Graphic Concrete: Stencil Your Face in Concrete, rather than Concreting your Hand at the Walk of Fame!

Graphic Concrete 01
Inside use

Graphic Concrete, Ltd is a privately-owned Helsinki based Finnish company. Its Finish name is Graafinen Betoni, Oy.

Its product is based on an invention by architect Samuli Naamanka.

It works as follows:
Apply a retardant to a special film in the pattern of your desire. Put the film on a still wet concrete slab. Let the concrete harden pull the film off and wash away the retarded, i.e. the only partly hardened, parts . The washed surface stands out from the surrounding unwashed concrete surface due to its roughness that also gives it another color.

Graphic Design 04
The film is being pulled off

The film is 3,1 meters wide, which means that it can be used in the production of regular height facade elements without the need for joints. The length of the film is mainly limited by the maximum allowable weight of a roll, so it can be hundreds of meters long if necessary.

The normal depth of the pattern is usually the so-called fine exposure, approximately 1 mm, but shallower or deeper exposures are also possible. The concrete can also be pigmented.

The accuracy of the method makes it possible to copy the bitmap made from a photograph, in which case the minimum diameter and distance between the dots can be as little as 2 mm.

Graphic Concrete 05

A Slab just before application

Graphic Concrete 03

Finished product

I have a slab of concrete of 7 X 12 meters that forms a terrace…..This is a great idea whenever I have to redo the surface….the only problem I foresee is the usual pollution in a city that may affect the picture within a short time….therefor I believe it better for inside than for outside use, but it offers fantastic design opportunities.

NYC: Are you KIDding? A Gehry Playground

Gehry Playground

Thanks to Gothamist we know that there ar plans for a playground designed by Frank Gehry for the NYC Battery Park, the “Birthplace of NYC”. An excellent example of city marketing I would say.

New five star Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam opened

Amrâth Exterior
Amrâth Exterior

On June 8, 2007, only a couple of months later than planned, the new five star Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam opened in the beautiful historic Art Deco building, the “Scheepvaarthuis” (The Shipping Companies’ Building) once belonging to the rich Amsterdam shipping companies.

The shipping companies have long disappeared, and their ships no longer proudly sail the oceans of the world. But the Scheepvaarthuis still stands, completely intact, as a beautiful monument to those times.The romance of the sea and the building’s creators can still be seen and admired, given shape in authentic materials of the time.Within this space and ambiance, a grand five-star hotel is being created with all the respect due to the monumental beauty of the building. It is a new lease of life for the Scheepvaarthuis! The grandeur of the past is being combined with modern-day comfort and luxury – technically perfect and benignly comfortable. The guests are accommodated in the past as well as the present – in a unique artwork as well as the most
beautiful luxury hotel in modern-day Amsterdam.

So far the quote.

It has 160 rooms and 15 suites which will be available as of December 2007. It is located on walking distance of the Central Station and has some beautiful views on the Historic Shipping quarter with the still active Dutch Royal Marine basis (yes blocked out on Google Maps) and the

Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam
Dutch Historic Shipping Museum wit “Amsterdam” replica

Historic Shipping Museum of Amsterdam with its replica of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) trader “Amsterdam”. Alas, for the time being the shipping museum is closed due to an extensive renovation.
Last edited by GJE on December 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Dutch Design (10): Massive new office for Europol in The Hague

Europol present building
Europol’s present building
Photo Dr Meierhofen (interesting wiki)

Europol calls itself “The European Police Office”. Its is the European Union Law Enforcement Organization that handles criminal intelligence. Its mission is to assist the law enforcement authorities of Member States in their fight against serious forms of organized crime. It has its main office in The Hague in a building that used to be a college campus.

There are plans to move the main office to another location in The Hague,
because of the necessary(?) increase of the number of international employees due to the influx of many new member States into the European Union.

Europol New 1
Marquette of New Europol office,
rendering thanks to the winning
Quist Wintermans Architects

The designated building plot for the new office is close to a residential area with a great monumental value.

Doesn’t look too bad. However, if I’m well informed that for security reasons the current plan is the same building, but 90 degrees rotated left which is far worse compared to this situating, because the residents in this Marquette situated in the lower left corner will only see the blind walls of the left building and of the highest building (The architect’s rendering cleverly don’t show the blind walls.)

Today the Municipal Committee that monitors the design of new buildings (and their impact in monumentally valuable environments) will have a public hearing, while about 300 near by residents have lodged protests against the building plans the massiveness of the buildings itself and the necessity of taking a lot of space for security measures. Just because of the heavy post 9/11 security measures around the USA Embassy, The Hague and the US ambassador recently agreed to move the Embassy outside the city center. This on its turn caused protests of the residents around the building plot for the new Embassy. Civil servants jargon for such protest is NIMBY: “No In My Back Yard!”

Europol New 2
Massive New Europol office,
Rendering thanks to the winning
Quist Wintermans Architects

Even the former state architect and a couple of influential Dutch architects have written an open letter to the The Hague Municipal authorities to urge them not to take this spot, or at least not to build the building that is anticipated.

Europol New 3
Another angle that the residents will not see!
Rendering thanks to the winning
Quist Wintermans Architects

At first glance Europol’s site doesn’t divulge a word about this plans except for this ancient press release. Probably, because they lack some corporate governance officers: See their job opportunities. Come on ladies and gentlemen, the salaries are -as usual with inter governmental organizations- on a very low tax base…. I find it strange, as in the past (well already about 20 years ago now) another intergovernmental organization, the European Patent Office with main seat in Munich, Germany and second important office in Rijswijk, a suburb of The Hague, attracted a lot of publicity with new building plans that eventually didn’t com through, because the number of European patent application all of a sudden decreased enormously.

Well we will see what the wise man will decide. Maybe they will rotate it back 90 degrees 🙂 “And they took a sip from their glass and left it as it was”