“Hello Bandoeng, hello Bandoeng, Kootwijk here”, said the queen in 1929, using the radio connection with the Dutch colonies in Indonesia. After completing the radio transmitter complex 12.000 kilometers away in Bandoeng, the high plain of Kootwijk was chosen for the Dutch radio receiver. Architect Jules Luthmann designed the iconic transmission building, also known as ‘the cathedral’, along with other typical structures in reinforced concrete. A hexagon of 200 meter high towers was erected around the central building, interconnected with copper wires to form a gigantic antenna. The complex was inaugurated in 1923.
After the radio antennas in the area had become obsolete, in 1998, the by then privatized telephone company KPN sold the complex to the Ministry of Agriculture. On the one hand, the population of Radio Kootwijk (less then a hundred people) was afraid of new antennas with disturbing effects on health and the environment. On the other hand, demolishing the unique heritage of the radio complex was polemic. The buildings could only be maintained if a new function for them was found. In 2009, the complex was sold back to the national foresting department Staatsbosbeheer, who developed a joint vision for redevelopment of Radio Kootwijk. The plan strives to find new cultural and leisure uses for the historic radio buildings and surroundings, while maintaining the quiet and natural qualities of the place.
At the moment, especially summer activities are scheduled, on a temporary basis, in and around the ‘cathedral’ and in a so-called ‘theater shed’. In winter, the place is very silent. The spaces can also be rented for events. The hotel building caught fire in 2006, but is to be rebuilt in its former glory. In the area, management training facilities have landed, using the green surroundings for inspiration.
After successful transformation of overhead infrastructures into leisure spaces, such as the New York HighLine park, new possibilities are being explored underground. The LowLine project uses crowd funding to turn the old Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, an underground complex, into a community park. The complex was built in 1903 and has remained unused since 1948.
The location in the Lower East Side, which lacks public green space and business opportunities, challenged a neighboring architecture firm to come up with this plan. The designers developed a system that captures sunlight and transmits it to the subterranean park, in sufficient quantities for photosynthesis, in other words to grow trees and other plants.
Current times of bottom-up planning, urban acupuncture, pocket parks and temporary uses make the Grand Projets of president Mitterand – merely a few decades ago – look like remnants of a distant past. One way or another, these projects create the context of our current interventions and will determine the face of the city for centuries. Parque de la Villette, Grand Arche (La Défense) and the Bibliotèque de France became landmarks and icons for Paris, despite heavy criticism about the high costs for the tax payers and elitist locations of the project, predominantly in the west near the river Seine.
The expansion of the national library – with its historic location at the Rue Richelieu – was to create a new hot spot at the margins of the river, stimulating the revitalization of the Rive Gauche area. It was the most costly of the Grand Projets, and suffered various operational problems, such as creating a good climate for conservation of the books inside the glass towers. The project by Dominique Perrault was the winning design of the 1989 competition. The honorary mention of the OMA project also became famous. The project was inaugurated in 1996, a year after Mitterands death.
The library occupies 60 thousand square meters, with a stunningly quitet forest patio in the middle.
The project is connected to the other side of the river by a new pedestrian bridge. The full perimeter of the library is accessible as a wooden staircase.
Sarkis’ installation in the submarine wharf – feathered bicycles and colored window filters
Arriving at the RDM campus by ferry from the center of Rotterdam, the first thing that comes to mind is: What is this pirate ship doing here?
‘Los tres hombres’ is temporarily docked here. Several hobbyists climb on ladders to paint the old wooden vessel. It has nothing to do, however, with the exhibition in the Submarine Wharf, 20 meters away.
Los tres hombres
Each year museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Port of Rotterdam organize a large art installation. Summer 2011, two nordic artists created a dark and creepy ghetto in the big shipyard, with broken cars, a teenage mother, creeps hanging around the lavatories, and a rundown apartment building. Very impressive.
This year, Istanbul based artist Sarkis presents his ‘Ballads’, featuring feathered bicycles to tour around in the exhibition, a UFO-like mobile summer house by the Finnish architect Matti Suroonen, chimes and much more. The exhibition will close in a few days, on Sunday September 30.
What happens to a city after the Olympics are gone? This question is asked frequently these days, now mostly concerning the East London area. The exhibition on The Post-Olympic City, opened today in Storefront, New York, tries to answer this question.
“The Olympic City” is an ongoing project by Pack and Hustwit that looks at the legacy of the Olympic Games in former host cities around the world. Since 2008, Pack and Hustwit have sought out and photographed the successes and failures, the forgotten remnants and ghosts of the Olympic spectacle. Thus far they’ve documented Athens, Barcelona, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Montreal, Lake Placid, Rome, and Sarajevo, with plans to document Beijing, Moscow, Berlin, London, and other Olympic cities.