Friday, October 21, 2005

OMA One of 30 Dutch Firms Involved in China's Building Boom

OMA's design for the headoffice of Central Chinese State Television, CCTV.

Delft Blue is wanted in China (where it hails from anyway, there's nothing like going home), but architects have to follow authorities' guidelines.

Influenced by the Olympics which will take place in Being in 2008, China is experiencing a building boom. Skyscrapers appear where bulldozers have taken down what's no longer wanted. Half of the world's yearly production of concrete and one third of the steel production is used to raise whole new cities. Delft Blue facades, tulip decorations, copies of Dutch isles and wetlands, it all goes.

"Fast" is the motto. Fast design, speedy delivery. Dutch style is popular, but style does not equal Dutch Design. Not all architects want to submit to the ruling authorities. Others take on the challenge to stay true to their own ideas, while catering to the client.

Until November 26, Dutch Architects in Booming China, an exhibit at Arcam, Prins Hendrikkade 600, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Open Tue - Sat 1-5 PM.
Book with same title, in English and Chinese, available at Arcam, online and in some specialty bookstores ISBN: 90-7686-331-8 Published by Arcam in: 2005 € 29,50

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

OMA Designs for PCM 3 Major Newsrooms Under One Roof

In my interpretation of the latest news from OMA, Floris Alkemade, the principle architect on the PCM account, plays with language. Words materialized. Three major newspapers, De Volkskrant, Trouw and NRC will find a new home in a giant column on the outskirts of Amsterdam. A pillar, the perfect metaphor --extended conceit-- for newspaper journalists. In Dutch "pillar" is often used to describe the political or religious affiliation of the different media.

The base or pedestal will house public spaces: a book store, a cafe where journalists will meet, media meeting rooms and lobbies where students, who live in the neighborhood, can get together. A floor with a low threshold, bringing in the community. A classic column, including fluted grooves (cannula), the "pillar" of the media will house the offices of PCM, the umbrella corporation. Transparency and daylight will be important. But the choice of materials hasn't been made. The architrave or head of the column will house the editorial offices. In the existing offices of De Volkskrant, journalists closed the blinds, trying to keep the light out. The people in the news room want a certain amount of seclution, while interaction remains crucial.