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"Viewpoint Rietveld /process documentation" Project


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Come up with a solution for a specific place at the Wibautstraat, Amsterdam.
In the current situation it exists out of a field of grass with some threes en shrubs on it. It has no specific function.

I started with a book full of inspiration. I chose to pick the home of handicapped, the mgr. Verriet Institute to base the project up on. The mgr. Verriet Institute is designed by Gerrit Rietveld and you can find it in Curacao, Willemsstad.
In the tropical climate of Curacao, Rietveld had the opportunity to let himself go and create his ultimate architecture, not closed but open space!
In fact the building exists mostly out of a floor with a roof on small round columns. At the garden side there are no walls but panels that do not go all the way to the roof, so the room above is open.

Here you see a picture of the building and a picture of the model of the building, the building is not build completely as the idea was, because there was not enough money.

On the picture I saw it felt like a hallway around a garden and the garden was like an extra room, only with a roof of tree crowns.
I get the feeling of inside while you are outside (the opposite of Rietveld thoughts). This really inspired me, so I took it as a starting point. (more…)

Rietveld App

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rietveld Architecture iPhone application, which people can download via, the App (free, version 1.2, developped by Vincent Verweij ©2010) will help you find all the Rietveld buildings and houses in the Netherlands that still exist.

The Centraal Museum has launched the Rietveld collection online. Visitors of the website will find more than 8000 objects by Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964) kept by the Centraal Museum. The objects in question consist of mostly 8000 archive items and almost 300 museum objects, most of which furniture. Many people are familiar with the red-blue chair and the Rietveld Schröder House, but Rietveld designed many more pieces of furniture and houses. The website provides a complete overview of Rietveld’s entire oeuvre. It is quite unique that such a large part of a designer’s work has been retrieved.
The online Rietveld collection consists of almost 300 museum objects from the collection of the Centraal Museum and approximately 8000 archive items. The latter are owned by the Foundation Rietveld Schröder Archive and have been held by the Centraal Museum since 1985. The Rietveld Schröder Archive is the archive which was kept up to date by Truus Schröder at the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht. It consists of huge architectural drawings to personal scribbles on business cards.

Rietveld versus Calatrava

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Exploring Valencia (Spain) as a prologue to Manifesta8, most students of the Basic Year visited "The City of Arts & Sciences" designed by Santiago Calatrava. As inhabitants of The Gerrit Rietveld Academie designed by, and named after Gerrit Rietveld himself, a comparison became inevitable. What follows are their comments and images.

[comment by Alexandra Karpilovski]

Calatrava feels like something not for you and not for me, but for someone whom we do not see. It makes me feel small, but also nothing.
It makes me think of a monument over the times that has passed, something sculptural and grand and made to impress but fails in that and becomes something static and untouchable. That a buildng that takes up so much space is mostly used to see and not to be touched.
The difference between Calatrava and Rietveld is like comparing two different worlds. For me Rietveld represents a calm structure, everything fits effortless and live in symbiosis with each other, the whole mind behind the building is put into place, on the exact spot where they should be, the body of the houses is on the inside, while Calatrava on the other hand just goes manic and drags different forms into space, just to make it look interesting.
Calatrava makes me feel that someone is trying to say something, but of course I don´t understand, it is to big for me.

[comment by Michael Hautmulle]
Both Calatrava and Rietveld are known for the details in their work, and it shows in both their work. The way in which they both apply it is very different however, where Rietveld has designed beautiful buildings, they are beautifull because of their practicality, so that every detail is constructed to make the use of the building more clear and make the life and function of the occupant more clear. Calatrava has a very different approach, he uses details purely on an esthetic basis, his building may not be very practical, I do not say whether or not they are beautiful, that is an individual matter, but every centimeter has been specifically designed to create the image that he desires. Again I do not wish to say much on the matter of esthetics, but I do believe that the most beautiful design is that which serves a purpose, not for idle beauty but as an object, or building, that fulfills its purpose well. That is the most beautiful of all.

[comment by Titia Hoogendoorn]

While Calatrava’s architecture could be seen as a sculpture and sometimes almost as decoration for the surroundings, Rietveld’s buildings are anti-decorative and more an expression of architecture. They both include the environment in their works. One by fitting in (Calatrava) and the other by adding (Rietveld). The shapes and colours of Calatrava's buildings are flowing along with nature (blue and white/sea and air) in comparison to Rietveld who devides space accentuated by primary colours. The architectonic skeleton of his buildings coincide with the construction while the skeletons of Calatrava seem an effort to make them visible on the outside.

[comment by Anna Kinderman]

Inspired by organic beings Calatrava forms futuristic, abstract entities, which he covers with diverse details and additional figures. Many details are purely visual and omit practical ulterior motives. However, he is limiting to discreet colors like white, blue and azure. Inspirations: torso, bull ribs, foliage, wings. His buildings are more like sculptures than functional buildings.
In contrast Rietveld is interested in function. He was inspired directly by the materials and dealt with the use of the building. With the reduction of coloring to the primary
colors like red, yellow, blue, black and grey he wanted to emphasize the different layers/planes. His strict geometry and minimalistic tendency distinguishes him from Calatrava like black from white.

[comment by Lovie Peoples]

Rietveld and Calatrava are two totally different architectures to me, both in the way their buildings look and the feeling they mediate.

Calatravas buildings are like sculpture houses and bridges. Fixed artworks that was created to demonstrate what he wishes to show. His imaginations illustrated on the ground in a space. To me it doesn’t leave that much to my imagination you are in his world. Either you like it or you don’t.
Rietveld houses have an obvious presence, melting in to their environment instead of creating an environment totally in them self. Which makes them a part of it and lifts them up. They make a dialoged to the space around it and invite me to feel at ease with my own thoughts and feelings in them. A meeting point in what he has left as a building and the person in them. An open dialogue with the viewer.

[comment by Molnar Tamas]

The two architects represent opposite design philosophies and approaches to man and its created environment. While Rietveld takes man and its size as starting point and adjust details to this, Calatrava creates vast spaces and buildings to impress the viewer, making man’s size unimportant. The Spanish exaggerated “machosim” meets the cool and minimalist Dutch world. Experience vs. functionality.

However, both of them are lacking in cosiness, Rietveld’s sharp edges and grey colours are rather cold and not welcoming. Calatrava uses the huge size of his buildings to alienate the spectators, making them feel being in a church or at some futuristic place. His typical white colour also contributes to the sacred, church-like sensation, where one should feel devotion and its own littleness. The usage of forms is also different. Rietveld introduces forms derived from the cube, the “box”, making and industrial and artificial look. Calatrava prefers the organic shapes, however, those are clearly computer generated “natural” forms put in order which finally results in the experience of an artificial environment just like in the case of Rietveld.

[comment by Pieter Tensen]

Calatrava designs buildings you can hardly call buildings. They are more like sculptures you can visit.  This is something you really notice from the outside and is a major point where Calatrava confronts Rietveld in his designs. Rietveld cared about the outside of a building too, how it looks, but it appears obvious in that way.

In Rietveld’s buildings everything is build up out of 90 degrees corners. This was his main trademark. Natural shapes and the human body, on the other hand, inspires Calatrava. They have one major thing in comment. They both care a lot about details. Although the buildings they designed we’re big and impressive sometimes, the eye for detail is very specific for both.

[comment by Stefan Voets]

“Rietveld adored light and bright spaces without too much detail. This is why most of his buildings are made of primary colours and forms (squares, rectangles). According to Rietveld, a building has to be functional too (functionality is extremely present in his architecture). Calatrava’s work is differently shaped, because of the massive surfaces and the lesser subtility. The material is heavy-looking.”


Saturday, October 30, 2010

[comment by Joost van Loon]

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It was an impossible but nice fantasy. Gerrit Rietveld and Santiago Calatrava were strolling side by side between the Hemisfèric and the Palau de les Arts. Looking at The City of Arts and Sciences. Gerrit Rietveld, hands on his back, gazed up at the highest peaks of the Palau and nodded his head.
“So.” Calatrava opened up the conversation. “ What do you think of my building?”
“It’s big.” Rietveld replied.”
“I know.” said Santiago puzzled. “But it grew naturally , almost like an independent living organism.”
“Really?”  Rietveld was lost in thoughts for a moment. “A smaller building can also be grand and then the people inside will do the growing.”
Calatrava looked at Rietveld in shock, but Rietveld didn’t noticed and continued. “Maybe you could add some colors?”
Now Santiago stopped walking, too perplexed to carry on.
The man that should be in heaven wandered on alone. Looking at the buildings he mused to himself . “Yes, some red and blue would be nice.”

first impressions

Saturday, October 30, 2010

[comment by Aisha Fouad]

What really struck me of the Rietveld buildings I first saw is the way of arranging views from inside the building. Rietveld buildings have a certain lightness, a perfect balance of open and closed. Somehow they blend in with the environment and the surroundings, even though the Rietveld buildings are modern, concrete and often built with straight lines.

The Calatrava building I saw in Valencia was the Palau de les Arts Reine Sofia. Me and a classmate decide to walk in stead of taking the bus, and we were excited at first when we discovered the building from a distance. It became more and more impressive when we approached it. Then, standing at the foot of the building, I felt disappointment. The greatness did not work for me. The building made me insecure, like a monster that was asleep but could wake up any minute and eat me. It did not fit in with the surrounding park I think, or even in Spain. I wish I could have gone inside to experience the building and the views from the inside. Then I could double check my thoughts of the building and the surroundings, maybe I would understand it then.

I prefer Rietveld over Calatrava, I like the modesty that Rietveld radiates in his architecture (intended or unintended). Almost as if the open space within and around the building is the main subject, and not the beams and concrete walls. Calatrava's buildings seem more bombastic to me, almost an arrogant show off of what can be done in architecture. The building I saw was impressive but it did not fit in the environment at all. I felt as if it was designed first and then placed randomly in the city. Opposed to Rietveld, I did not feel or understand Calatrava's intentions with this building.

Rietveld grey and Mediterranean blue

Saturday, October 30, 2010

[comment by Lyubov Matyunina]

In our life we often compare different meanings and objects. Peoples, animals, jobs, close, building – everything becomes a point of comparison. If we look at 2 buildings, what do we see? Many differences and some similar things. Let’s compare The Rietveld Academy and Calatrava's City of Art and Sciences on 4 points: Age, Function, Design and Practical use.


The Rietveld Academie consists of two buildings: The main building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld between 1950 and 1963 and was finished in 1966. The new wing, designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects and built in 2003, is used by the fine arts departments. In our comparison, we will compare the main building, designed by Gerrit Rietveld.

The City of Arts and Sciences designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the project underwent the first stages of construction in July, 1996 and the finished "city" was inaugurated April 16, 1998 with the opening of L'Hemisfèric. The last great component of the City of the Arts and the Sciences, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, was presented at October 9, 2005, Valencia's Community Day.

As we can see, Rietveld is older then Calatrava by 30 years. But both of their buildings looked modern for the time in which they were built. Actually, Calatrava City of Art & Sciences still looks modern and futuristic, while Rietveld design start to be popular and today we can see buildings inspired by Gerrit Rietveld.


creating a performance

Saturday, October 30, 2010

[comment by Julia Estevao]

Calatrava /surrealistische sfeer
dit komt door de stilte, het water, de witte kleur van het ontwerp zelf in contrast met de donkere omgeving (bomen bijv.)en grijzige lucht, (grove, grootse) vormen, (grote) formaat. het doet denken aan een verlaten pretpark.
de mannen die het water schoonmaken, lijken een performance te geven; heel rustig lopen ze heen en weer.

Rietveld /
het enige door Gerrit Rietveld ontworpen gebouw, dat ik met eigen ogen heb gezien is de Gerrit Rietveld Academie.
wat me daaraan opgevallen is zijn de verschillende materialen; puur, grof en fijn, passend bij elkaar en lijnen, smal en breed. Fijn en eleganter, door de materialen en vormen. Het geheel oogt strak en simpel en is heel erg open. Ruimte om te creëren.

Een gevoel van openheid.

Santiago Calatrava

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Santiago Calatrava is a unique architect. He is not only an architect, but also an engineer and sculptor. Because of this he has, next to architectural knowledge, also knowledge of constructions, mechanics and technical details. He is able to find boundaries of constructions.  At that point, the most special constructions can appear.

Bach de Roda Bridge
One of the designs that made Calatrava famous was the Bach de Roda Bridge in Barcelona. The human body inspires this bridge. This is something that Calatrava does often. He relates constructions to the human body. He makes model drawings of human bodies to study forms and relates these drawings to his design. After this he looks as an engineer at his drawing and tries to figure out how to it can be made.

The bridge has a total length of 128 metres. He combined powerful concrete supports, monolithic granite columns and a steel arch structure, which grows lighter as it rises. It shows that Calatrava made a hierarchy in materials and forms, chosen in relation to their distance from the ground.

The special thing about this structure is that there are two independent sets of arches and each is capable of carrying its own section of the bridge. Unlike steel bridges that have been built before, there is no structure above the roadway itself. Stability in the bridge is gained from the sloping outside arches, which have an extreme wide base at their ends. The bridge serves both pedestrians and automobiles and gives access to a beautiful park. He also made balconies, allowing pedestrians to stop along the bridge to enjoy the view.

His older work (like the Zurich railway station 1983-84) is often site related. He considers the surroundings. The reason that this bridge had to be built was to revitalize two poor areas of Barcelona. The city –at that time in 1992– was chosen to host the Olympic games  and the bridge was one the first stages of improvement reconnecting a large part of the city with the sea. With this he proved that peripheral urban areas could be regenerated by such a symbolic intervention.

Swimming pool
His early work was also very experimental and innovative in the field of technique and materials.  This floating swimming pool is a good example. It is made of plastic and hangs on 24 strings. The form is invented by a combination making models and mathematical calculations. The concept was to take a bath in naked space.

Ernsting’s warehouse [1983-85]
Another project that is innovative in technique, are the folding doors in Ernsting’s Warehouse in Germany. Here he also made some form study’s of the human body. As you can see the folding doors are inspired by the human eye. He decided to cover the structure with untreated aluminium, a typical industrial and light material. They are 13 by 5 metres and the aluminium ribs rise to form a arch that curves inside, creating a overhanging. The form became an experiment in kinetics.

The way Santiago Calatrava explores new forms by combining technique is unique and with this he creates his own recognizable style.

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