Epic Hipster Architecture School: TU Delft

Weekend Travel: Delft | NL

If you are an architecture geek, having hipster lifestyle, and you like the freedom that Netherlands has to offer; maybe, here is your sanctuary. Here in Delft?

The city is home for TU Delft, one of the biggest academic institution in Netherlands and hey, it is no small player in the world either. The architecture school is considered as top 4 best architecture school in the world according to recent article by Archdaily


The Architecture Gigafactory

I would imagine this is how it looks if they convert Tesla Gigafactory into architecture school.

I would imagine this is how it looks if they convert Tesla Gigafactory into architecture school.

And that is only the model room, the workshop is located underneath the mezzanine and you have full access of all kind of tools and machineries. I can work all day here, very spacious, filled with daylight, and never to worry not to get any working space.

But..

They close at 10.00PM. This is the stake... Well it really depends on the individual, it can be good news or a disaster. Most of the architecture schools across Europeimplemented the curfew system where they close down the building after a certain time that force students to go home and not overwork themselves.

 

Neon Lights Ain't No Broadway

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Here is the fancy alleyway that makes a rendition of New York Broadway with its neon light signage sticking from both sides. Feeling like walking in a middle of the night at a bar street in downtown area? Maybe that's the intention. Walking through the corridor and the canteen feels festive and fun. The division of space is defined in different levels to accommodate different kind of activities.

The corridor, the canteen, and the model shop is designed in such a way that it could transforms into a giant party area  at some time during the semester apart from their weekly happy hour every Friday night.


The Model Superwarehouse

This is the playground!

There are massive amount of exploration in terms of communicating the idea through the translation to physical model. This is totally different than architecture schools in the west coast where the majority of the models are 3d printed with minor part is laser cut. It is so refreshing to see some of the analog technique is still used or perhaps newly introduced here. Proof that analogue technique still holds some degree of relevancy among the representation of physicalized digital model that tends to be monotone.

Of course these models are not without the help of digital technology, but it is a good reminder at least for me to see broader possibilities in model making technique and representation.

 

The Why Factory

This is it.

The world famous research studio in collaboration with MVRDV is inside the over-sized orange stairs. Here lies the production of speculative urban projects, urban research, basically everything. 


The Ultimate

Double purpose is always the fundamental design intent of the space in this architecture school. First, an adequate space to carry out academic activities, and second, to accommodate faculty-wide party! 

Seems absurd right, in fact, they just had such event last weekend. Check this rad video by #donotsettle where they did transform the entire space for the ultimate epic party! 


Library / Mecanoo

Apart from the very happening architecture school, the school also known for its library building designed by local firm, Mecanoo. The library features a swooping landscape roof where student can have a bit of fun, feel the sun and Netherland's breeze air, when its time to study, you can just slide down and get inside the huge cone. 

The cone essentially penetrates through the library's plynth, consisting layers of enclosed study area isolated from any outside view or noise. 

Work area and common room.

Work area and common room.

Ascending towards the cone of isolation.

Ascending towards the cone of isolation.


Delft - Centrum

If one wants to be a student in TU Delft, most likely it means living in the city of Delft also. It is a bit daunting, isn't it? I get a chance to stay there for several days to just feel how it's like to be a student there. To be honest, it is a pretty compact city, seems not much to see or to do.

The  kaart figuratief, famous  old city map of Delft, handrawn by Joan Blaeu

The kaart figuratief, famous old city map of Delft, handrawn by Joan Blaeu

The Kaart Figuratief is undoubtedly the most important map of Delft, a “true topographical monument (B. van ‘t Hoff).”3 However, it is not a map in the modern sense, rather, it is a hybrid of a map, an aerial photograph and theatre stage in which the whole town of Delft is seen from a bird’s-eye view with buildings shown in isometric perspective. The drawing’s three-dimensional relief offers an unparalleled sensation of a real brick-and-mortar town in miniature and it is difficult not to be moved by it. Beautiful as the Kaart Figuratief may be, it still has one drawback for the modern historian: it depicts a smaller number of buildings on any given city block than there actually were.4 Thus, exact measurements and identifications of specific building is not always possible.It also does not show the improvised wood structures in which the poor lived in the areas immediately surrounding the walled town
— http://www.essentialvermeer.com/maps/delft/maps_of_delft.html#.Vx8wMVZ9670

However, Delft is located comfortably in between the Hague and Rotterdam. Both are major cities in Southern Holland. Together, the trio becomes the key economy generator for the country after Amsterdam. 

Well there's an old saying, you study in Delft, earn money in Rotterdam, and spend it in Amsterdam.

Tabee !

Event Report: Dutch Design Week 2015, Eindhoven | NL

Shopping street in central area surrounded with newly-built stores with medieval clock tower as the background.

Shopping street in central area surrounded with newly-built stores with medieval clock tower as the background.

Happy Back to the Future day!

I went to Eindhoven to check Dutch Design Week 2015 event this weekend to see a glimpse of our future, and it was awesome!

It was my first time in the city. However, I didn't get to see much of the city yet because I am focusing on checking out the event. My first impression of the city was that it's a pretty modern city, pretty much like Rotterdam but more laid-back and not as intense.

I was wrong...

Industrial material used at Eindhoven Design Institute.

Industrial material used at Eindhoven Design Institute.

Looks can be deceiving, when it comes to Eindhoven’s history. Modern as the city is today, it is in fact one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands. Henry I, Duke of Brabant, already chartered the then little village of “Endehoven” in 1232, as part of his extensive town planning process. The city was destroyed and rebuilt several times in its written history. Eventually the town established itself as a trade location en route from Holland to Liège. Its industrial activities initially centered around tobacco and textiles.
— http://wikitravel.org/en/Eindhoven
Downtown scene during WW II, 1944.

Downtown scene during WW II, 1944.

Apparently the city has gone through several number of re-starts. Eindhoven has an interesting condition where those start-overs can mean the city has been constantly re-defining its center until its current state. Home for Phillips and DAF (Truck / lorry manufacturer), industrial revolution definitely plays a great role into the dynamic of the city. Eindhoven has adapted a successful integration of academia, industry, and government. It's been awarded as the world smartest region and is referred as Brainport.

Having said that, no wonder the city is able to manage major event in such a scale like Dutch Design Week.

 

DDW 2015

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The event is happening in more than 100 locations throughout the city with 3 main locations, Central, East, and West (Strijp Area). Apart from exhibitions, they also have music venues and performances in multiple areas every day. The event offers many things to see and is really a big thing for the city of Eindhoven and even Netherland. It is overwhelming in a positive way and impossible to check everything in one day or even a week.

They've curated themed routes for different audiences to experience the event. I was there only for the day and went to check several areas in Central, one of the main highlights is the graduation show of students from Design Academy Eindhoven.

Check here for DDW 15 map.

 

Graduation Show Design Academy Eindhoven

I was blown away by the quality of the work by the students. The entire fourth floor of DAE Building was filled with amazing projects that can be easily be placed in art museums or be in the front page of designboom or dezeen. 

Checked wikipedia real quick, turns out some alumni from DAE has been nominated as designers of the year by Design Museum, London. Legit.

Among all brilliant projects, I sum up several projects that caught my attention.

 

Textiles

Stuffed quilting, manipulating material behavior through injecting new element. 

Stuffed quilting, manipulating material behavior through injecting new element. 

Biff's jacket in Back to the Future

Biff's jacket in Back to the Future

This project has been predicted by the movie decades ago and here we are now living the future. Expanding its possible application beyond clothing, Anaick Lejart developed stuffed quilting in relation to her vision on industrial production of 3D carpets. Her project opens up the possibility to be integrated to outdoor structures or inflatable elements.

Please do touch! - Exploring the language of tactility.

Please do touch! - Exploring the language of tactility.

Instead of investigating the field of visual and digital design, this project is pushing further possibilities of incorporating etherial experience of touch and feel towards surfaces or objects. The surface iteration derives from Bori Kovacs's argument on offering similar stimuli experience of nature on manmade objects.

 

Digital Fabrication

Delta 3D printer with modified nozzle for clay.

Delta 3D printer with modified nozzle for clay.

Pepsi Perfect bottle in BTTF.

Pepsi Perfect bottle in BTTF.

No, this is not a machine to print your own Pepsi Perfect bottle at home. MIT recently developed 3D printing method using glass. Here in Eindhoven, students get to modify Delta 3D printer to be able to print with clay. Emulating the traditional handicraft, with custom algorithm, the printer gets to produce a certain glitch in order to make every print unique. This project is in a way a successful strategy to congregate vernacular material with digital fabrication method. 

Combination of resin and braided yarn to create 3D printed like structure.

Combination of resin and braided yarn to create 3D printed like structure.

3D Weaving Warp is not another 3D printing related project. Arielle Andreotti is investigating traditional weaving techniques and combines it with todays technology. She developed a method to freeze the braided yarn and use it as element of structure depends on its shape. This is an exciting alternative fabrication method apart from increasingly getting saturated fused deposition modeling 3D printing method. 

 

Analog Fabrication

Metal inserts and joints to further utilize bamboo in building construction.

This project is taking advantage of layering the plywood to create alternative way to fabricate plywood. The result is a whole new possibility to explore a new dimension from what was before perceived as surface or 2 dimensional material.

This project is trying to preserve ancient wood working method that is on the brink of extinction. Pegs as part of fabrication method is incorporated as part of the final product.

 

Other Products

Space, a brilliant project by Ward Wijnant, explores the duality characteristic of a lamp when its being switch on or off. By enclosing the lamp with reflective material, the presence of the lamp when it's turned off will transform the room by blending in with the surrounding and expanding the space it's in.

Shay Raviv's vision of the future. Work doesn't have to be bounded with physical space anymore. Technology has allowed the activity to be executed in a more agile and dynamic fashion. As work can be done anywhere, Hotel Travail provide mobile stations for traveling workers.

Neo, a new concept of musical instrument by Lola Gielen offers anyone to experience making music. The instrument is designed to be operated through simple gestures. 

At the era of digital information, Jos Klarenbeek's creates analog infographic model called Cowtarium, an installation that explains dairy products that are extracted from a cow, milk, butter, cheese, eat, bones, veal, etc. The model in the center along with the ring reveals information of a certain project as you orient the cow around.

 

 

Weekend Travel: Utrecht | NL

Canal in downtown area.

Canal in downtown area.

For my first weekend in Amsterdam, I visited Utrecht, a small city just 20 minutes east of Amsterdam. Noticed that the city is based out of canal system similar to Amsterdam. 

Canal houses with direct access to the water.

Canal houses with direct access to the water.

... but much smaller in scale and rather established in parallel to the river.

 
Utrecht’s ancient city centre features many buildings and structures several dating as far back as the High Middle Ages. It has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the 8th century. It lost the status of prince-bishopric but remains the main religious center in the country. Utrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands until the Dutch Golden Age, when it was succeeded by Amsterdam as the country’s cultural centre and most populous city.

Utrecht is host to Utrecht University, the largest university in the Netherlands, as well as several other institutes for higher education. Due to its central position within the country, it is an important transport hub for both rail and road transport. It has the second highest number of cultural events in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam.
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utrecht
Typology of downtown area, commercial at ground floor and residential at the upper floor.

Typology of downtown area, commercial at ground floor and residential at the upper floor.

According to wikipedia, the city consists of two major elements, the downtown historical area and the university complex.  

Dom toren, church tower as prominent landmark and structure of the city (also known as the tallest church tower in the Netherlands.

Dom toren, church tower as prominent landmark and structure of the city (also known as the tallest church tower in the Netherlands.

 

Utrecht University Complex

Even though Utrecht University is known for one of the oldest university in the country, the whole complex is proliferated with newly built structures. Walking through the main avenue feels like in the middle of a life-sized architect's playground.

Facade #1: Utrecht Hogeschool by Mecanoo Architects.

Facade #1: Utrecht Hogeschool by Mecanoo Architects.

Steven Holl perception shifts of scale through window grids.

Steven Holl perception shifts of scale through window grids.

The high school building greets the visitor with very colorful and very graphic horizontal facade. The design is rather to be considered as 2 dimensional surface treatment, as a strategy to animate boring utilitarian modernist building massing. Some horizontal elements also running through the windows, breaking the boundary of floor slabs and giving different perception on how many floors the building has. Similar intent as such reminds me of Simmons Hall in Massachusetts by Steven Holl.

Facade #2: University Library Ubu by Wiel Arets Architects

Facade #2: University Library Ubu by Wiel Arets Architects

Utilizing graphic image rasterized onto the glass frit pattern. The whole building mass is wrapped with this typical curtain wall module. This gesture gives the impression of emphasizing the volumetric presence of the building. Pretty interesting experiment on glass facade. However, I was not quite sure with the intention on using image of bamboo (I assume it is) and also obvious repetitive image. I am assuming there is an effort to create etherial facade surface in a simple and affordable way. If so, that is quite smart! :)

Facade #3: Dorm of Utrecht Highschool

Facade #3: Dorm of Utrecht Highschool

Again, patterning on facade. Achieved in a very simple way. Altering between 2 types of facade pattern. In each floor there are up to 3-4 typical wall panel and being played out quite beautifully. Furthermore, the use of different color of curtains on each floor create gradient that adds another layer of complexity, allowing the eyes to stray away from recognizing the repetitive wall pattern. 

Facade #4: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facility by UNStudio

Facade #4: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facility by UNStudio

Facade #4: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facility by UNStudio

Facade #4: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facility by UNStudio

A little bit tucked away from the main avenue is this small structure by UNStudio done in early 2000. I personally quite fancy the materiality of this project. Interesting clash between glass with printed digital frit pattern and rough cast in-situ exposed concrete. The play of massive and light in the facade is the expression of the building program. Pretty modernist approach. 

 

Facade #5: Johanna Studenthousing by Onix Architects

Facade #5: Johanna Studenthousing by Onix Architects

Very expressive facade, again, similar strategy by super-imposing an image of cloud onto the facade. In order to create excitement on the boring repetitive facade of the modular unit; graphical imagery is introduced by pixel mapping it through porcelain tiles. Variation is achieved through subtle gesture on laying out the tiles in horizontal and vertical fashion, 

Facade #6: Cantilever series #1, dorm of Utrecht Highschool.

Facade #6: Cantilever series #1, dorm of Utrecht Highschool.

I didn't expect to see this protrusion object cantilevered out from a rather straightforward building. This surprise moment adds up with the odd geometry of the object that gets bigger as it protrudes out, giving the impression of defying the law of gravity.

Facade #7: Exposition Pavilion by Stanley Brouwn and Bertus Mulder

Facade #7: Exposition Pavilion by Stanley Brouwn and Bertus Mulder

This project is actually outside the campus complex. However, I am so staggered by the extreme cantilever. The building massing is basically two long identical boxes sitting on top of each other. The top massing is actually cantilevered on both side with only 1/7th of the length touching the podium. Stunning!

 

Street

Biking is common as public transportation in Utrecht as it is throughout the country.

Biking is common as public transportation in Utrecht as it is throughout the country.

I really like the fact of having bicycle as the typical public transportation mode. Apart from being green and environmental friendly, biking in the city is really enjoyable especially in the beautiful setting of downtown Utrecht. There is a certain intimacy of biking where you are always directly interact with your surrounding, experience as such is impossible in driving a car. 

Citroen H Van in downtown plaza

Citroen H Van in downtown plaza

I stumble upon this old Citroen in the downtown plaza and it turns out the car is quite an important artifact in car manufacturing industry. The aesthetic of the exterior is indeed very utilitarian. However, this is one of the aspect that I miss in current car design. Car manufacturing technology has developed to an extent that material and fabrication method is conceived under all the cosmetic aero body panels. Somehow it's relieving to see honesty of material and fabrication was expressed in car design back then.

 
The Citroën H Van, Type H, H-Type or HY is a light truck (or delivery van) produced by the French car maker Citroën between 1947 and 1981. It was developed as a simple front wheel driven van after World War II. Most of them were sold in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. In France, this van is known as “Nez de Cochon”, “Pig Nose”. When used by the police, it was called “panier à salade”, “salad basket”. The distinctive corrugated body work used throughout the period of production was inspired by German Junkers (Aircraft) starting from the First World War until the 1930s. The ribs added strength without adding weight, and required only simple, low cost press tools.
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn_H_Van
Domtoren, freestanding bell tower in downtown Utrecht 

Domtoren, freestanding bell tower in downtown Utrecht 

Dom Tower with the nave still standing, 1660.

Dom Tower with the nave still standing, 1660.

The tower was part of the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht, also known as Dom Church, and was built between 1321 and 1382,[1] to a design by John of Hainaut.[3] The cathedral was never fully completed due to lack of money. Since the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674 the Dom tower became a free standing tower.
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dom_Tower_of_Utrecht

Dom tower currently becomes a tourist attraction and landmark for the city. Its presence for the downtown urban area is however, insignificant. The unfortunate event in 1674 causing the perception of Dom tower is sort of misplaced. The plaza besides it is where the nave was supposedly there, it is rather undefined. There is though, an underground museum, DOMunder underneath, apart from the collapsible entry, the rest of the space is blank. Maybe there is an opportunity to consider redefining the historic plaza.. Very tricky and sensitive though.

Alleyway in downtown with herring bone pattern brick.

Alleyway in downtown with herring bone pattern brick.