If you thought all Amsterdam buildings were cute 17th century canal houses, think again. Architects are still at work, trying hard to outdo each other with their eye-catching creations.
At worst they make an impact. At best, they break new ground in public and residential buildings.
Here are a few examples from my bike ride around town yesterday.
Let’s start with the very latest thing, EYE, the new home of the Dutch National Film Instituut.The name is a play on its location on the stretch of water known to the Dutch as the ‘Ij’, pronounced roughly ‘eye’, and of course, it is a building dedicated to the promotion of film culture.
While people seem very pleased with its appearance inside and out, it has come in for some criticism as being not very wheelchair-friendly. There is access for those with limited mobility, but seating in the theatres is only available two metres from the screen or behind the pillar.
The architects, Delugan Meissl, are based in Vienna.
Across the Ij from EYE is the apartment complex known as Silodam. It suggests a stack of containers, a nod to its location by the working harbour harbour.
Further along the water I came to the Muziekgebouw, the ‘music building’, Amsterdam’s centre for new and classical music. The attached Bimhuis is dedicated to the best in jazz.
Architects MVRDV, building completed in 2002.
A short loop on the bike back towards Centraal Station brought me to two more remarkable structures. Arcam is the Centre for Architecture.Designed by Rene from Architects B.V. Zuuk.
NEMO is the science and technology museum. Its ship shape seems to refer to the boats on the wharves that surround it.
The interactive displays inside NEMO are particularly aimed at young people. The grandchildren loved the giant bubble machine.
I find the exterior memorable, but not particularly aesthetically pleasing. It reminds me of the huge metal hulk of a stranded ship. That was probably the intention of architect Renzo Piano.
Some time soon I’ll do a post on the architecture of the new residential areas of Amsterdam. I’m very impressed with how the Dutch have tackled the challenge of building with limited space on reclaimed land. Stay tuned.