SuperDutch : New Architecture in the Netherlands

Bart Lootsma

Published by Princeton Architectural Press
ISBN 10: 1568982399 / ISBN 13: 9781568982397
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Synopsis: Propelled into the limelight by the success of Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architecture is achieving popularity and influence across the globe. Fostered by a cultural interest in architecture (and a government willing to support it), the Netherlands is producing a generation of architects whose work is characterized by inventiveness, whimsy, creative use of materials, and dynamic formal experimentation. Koolhaas and a subsequent generation of Dutch designers routinely get the most sought-after commissions and are among the most widely published in the world. This small yet extremely influential handful of practitioners is shaping the future direction of architecture.?

A phone-book-size collection, SuperDutch features all of the key figures in Dutch architecture today. Their work is presented through detailed drawings and stunning photography.

Review: Does the term Dutch architecture evoke for you almost sickeningly quaint images of windmills, stone dykes, and Golden Age townhouses? Then hang on to your wooden shoes (or silver skates) and brace yourself for SuperDutch, a superfunky look at what some of the hottest design firms in the Netherlands have been turning out in the past decade or so. If you're familiar with the writing or work of iconoclastic Dutch architect and author Rem Koolhaas, you'll feel at home in this somewhat cerebrally annotated volume that nonetheless boasts a wealth of full-color photographs showcasing the best of the Netherlands's so-called "Second Modernity."

From UN Studio/Van Berkely & Bos, for example, there's the breathtaking Erasmus Bridge on Rotterdam's Mense River, with its superhigh-tech "tensile" engineering and sky-shooting asymmetrical central arm. From Atelier van Lieshout in Rotterdam (where much of what's shown herein is located) comes a profusion of furniture, architectural components (like toilets), and boldly colored, highly modular mobile homes almost lewd in their lumpy, bumpy playfulness of form. MVRDV weighs in here with the Villa VPRO broadcasting center, a big concrete and glass Mondrian grid that's rather homely by day, but when lit at night the full genius of its openness becomes apparent. And from Koolhaas's own Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) comes a handful of examples that demonstrate what his fractured theories look like "in action": the University of Utrecht's floaty, translucent Educatorium; the Congrexpo in Lille, France; and the coldly handsome private residence Villa Bordeaux.

There's a lot more here from a total of a dozen studios--including, in addition to those mentioned above, Wiel Arets, Erick van Egeraat, Mecanoo, Neutelings Riedijk, NOX, Oosterhuis NL, Koen Van Velsen, and West 8. Much of it evokes a kind of harshly and deliberately deconstructivist Blade Runner world where it's much more important to be conceptual and edgy (and, we learn here, frugally executed) than beautiful. Many of the projects featured here (some of which are viewable by clicking on the Look inside this book! link below the cover image) look like they're straining to become alien spacecraft or cybermedia phantasmagoria--indeed, anything but attractive public buildings as we know them, even in our postmodern era. But even when these cutting-edge Dutch treats are ugly, they're never boring. --Timothy Murphy

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Title: SuperDutch : New Architecture in the ...
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: VERY GOOD

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