WAA begin construction on the Van der Valk Hotel in Amsterdam’s Zuidas District

            <img src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/30/30i9rj02e0t5anve.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=1200" border="0" /><p>With origins as a highway-centric motel chain for travelers by automobile; Van der Valk is an international company, whose roots are Dutch, and whose hotels are almost always sited adjacent to highways, providing standard lodging and dining for those traveling long distances by car. Seeking to reposition itself in the Dutch market, while spurring a renewal of its image; the chain, long known for its hotels sited in-between major Dutch cities, will add a new location to their portfolio of properties, with a 26.000 m2 hotel in Amsterdam. Situated along the southern edge of the ring highway that encircles the city&ndash;the A10&ndash;the new hotel encompasses circa 240 rooms, several caf&eacute;s and restaurants, a meeting center, congress hall, spa and wellness center, and a plethora of terraces offering views out over Amsterdam. Because the hotel is steps away from the city&rsquo;s convention center&ndash;between the business district and &lsquo;Old South&rsquo; neighborhood <!--more--> the city, constructed just before the 1929 Olymp...</p>          

WAA complete the IJhal in Amsterdam

The IJhal is a recently completed pedestrian passageway situated within Amsterdam’s central train station, on its the northern, waterside–which abuts the river it’s named for, the IJ. The central station has been under continuous construction, for approximately the last decade, as the city spearheaded a total transformation of the original nineteenth century building, by expanding it below, above, and at its rear, in order to accommodate the city’s growing population, and increasing number of tourists. A major portion of the station’s renovation and expansion is related to the soon to-be opened 'North-South' metro line–which is set to run along that axis of the city, and for the first time, enable one of the city’s metro lines to cross under the river IJ, at the back of the city’s train station. Amsterdam’s central train station is thus a confluence point for its many taxis, metro lines, trams, trains, and infinite cyclists, Continue reading "WAA complete the IJhal in Amsterdam"

Blumenhaus by Wiel Arets Architects

A mixed-use program of office and retail, with private residences above, define the Blumenhaus. The building is an integral component of a larger effort by the city of Zürich to rebrand its Escher-Wyss district through a metamorphosis of new development, including green spaces, bikes lanes, and a plethora of new housing. The district is characterized by its industrial heritage, and palette of raw concrete, burgundy brick, and rusted steel; it is bounded to its north by the Limmat River, and to its south by the entanglement of railway tracks that lead to the city’s main train station. Blumenhaus is adjacent to a former ship-building hall–or Schiffbau, in German–of Escher Wyss & Cie., an industrial company that was absorbed by another in the twentieth century; its expertise was turbines and electrical engineering. When the company left this location, the area began to decline in its industrial prominence, Continue reading "Blumenhaus by Wiel Arets Architects"

WAA progress construction on the Blumenhaus in Zürich

Blumenhaus is located in the Escher-Wyss district of Zürich–a 'rough' area of the city and one of the most urban spaces in Switzerland. When juxtaposed against the backdrop of Zürich's center, relics from the city’s industrial past characterize this neighborhood. Steps away from the Hardbrücke transit station; the area is currently being redeveloped to incorporate extensive residential units, alongside more commercial spaces, such as restaurants and cafés. Reflecting the project's immediate surrounding, its raw matte-aluminum façade is accentuated by cutouts and reliefs, shielding the interior from this ‘rough’ exterior condition. The silhouettes of this ornamentation playfully recalls those of poppy flowers. The ground floor façade has been kept free on three sides, which maximizes street-facing frontage, and ensures the ground and first floors remain flexible–anticipating accommodation needs of future offices and retail. The building is thus approached from numerous angles: throug...

The Allianz Headquarters in Zürich, activates its plaza and urban context

Completed in spring 2014, the Allianz Headquarters in Zürich has been in use for nearly two years. During that time the district in which the building is located has matured, as construction subsided. Since the building's opening, all remaining components of the master planned area were completed, including the pedestrian only Richtiplatz–the heart of this new urban area. The Allianz Headquarters is bound by arcades along its many street facing façades–all of which are outfit with custom designed WAA light fixtures–which provide shelter to the area's residents and visitors, for instance, from any unexpected rain. A small fountain is located in the center of Richtiplatz to remind its occupants that, while their immediate context was recently created, the center of the urbanity–Zürich's city center–in which the district sits, is a swift tram ride away. New imagery of Allianz Headquarters

WAA to design the Bahrain Bay Tower in Manama, Bahrain

Sited in the currently emerging Bahrain Bay, just north of Manama, the tower encompasses housing, offices, retail, and public spaces–all of which seek to remain flexible and adaptable to future change. In this way, as Bahrain Bay further develops, the tower strengthens local character and supports community needs, while simultaneously creating an iconic destination. Standing at a height of 49 stories–or 170 m–it is composed of two housing components atop of plinth of retail, offices, and a parking garage, the last of which occupies seven stories and includes 700 spaces. The creation of these two housing components within one site, maximizes the amount of glazing within each housing unit, and engages the tower with its adjacent buildings, which also stand at 170 m.  The plinth’s ground floor is publicly accessible and is mostly composed of retail and public lobby space. Due to a division of these Continue reading "WAA to design the Bahrain Bay Tower in Manama, Bahrain"

WAA progress construction on the Double in Amsterdam

On the eastern edge of Amsterdam's city center lies the Valkenburgerstraat; a major thoroughfare that was created in the 1960s, the eastern half of which saw the buildings that align it completely demolished and rebuilt during the 1990s. The street's western edge has retained its historic buildings, all of which are from different decades of the last century–the Double is the newest addition to it. The building is composed of two volumes, which together contain 45 units separated by an exterior communal courtyard garden on the roof of the ground floor. Most units have direct access to this communal area, and the units that abut it carve their terraces from it. The front volume–which is six stories high–faces the street, while that of the rear–which is five stories high–overlooks a little trafficked canal. Nearly all units are outfit with polyurethane floors. Access to the core of both volumes, as Continue reading "WAA progress construction on the Double in Amsterdam"

WAA win competition to design ‘Am Hirschgarten’ in Munich, Germany

Located on the western edge of Munich, near the Friedenheimer bridge, and adjacent to the light-rail lines that string throughout the city’s center, ‘Am Hirschgarten’ is a campus-like cluster of four buildings, each of which entails a tower, which rises from the base of every building’s plinth. The project’s urban planning requirements mandated economical, sustainable, and flexible buildings, whose programming could also accommodate a future conversion–for instance–into residential spaces. ‘Am Hirschgarten’ therefore constitutes four horseshoe-shaped buildings, each with a plinth of six to seven stories. A tower rises from each plinth–the pinnacle of which is 17-stories; it prominently cantilevers from its plinth, which creates a landmark within the project. Only steps away from the ‘Hirschgarten’ station along the city’s light-rail lines, and just a few hundred meters from multiple stops along the city’s tram lines, this campus-like cluster of four buildings is able to be swiftly a...

WAA progress construction on the IJhal in Amsterdam

The IJhal is situated within Amsterdam's Centraal Station, parallel to the IJ–the city's connection to the North Sea–and below the station's new bus terminal, all of which is capped by a new roof that proudly proclaims the city's name. The IJhal is one component of a larger initiative to transform Amsterdam's currently entangled transportation systems. When the station opened in 1889, the city lost both its view onto the IJ and its connection to Amsterdam North. With the opening of city's new North-South subway line in 2017, which tunnels the IJ, Amsterdam's two halves will be connected for the first time, via public transportation, without the use of boats. Foreseen as reactivating the entire city, the renovation of the station–which began in the early 2000s–is set to conclude in 2019. The IJhal is integral to the functioning of the new station: it is the area in which travelers will congregate, before they disperse toward their next destination in the Netherlands, or abroad. A sys...

Regiocentrale Zuid by Wiel Arets Architects

Situated in Maasbracht–near the Dutch-Belgian border–this sinuous 1.850 m2 office is a headquarters for the water traffic control of surrounding sluices, canals, and locks–all of which are adjacent to the river Meuse. This plethora of entangled waterways is heavily utilized for shipping throughout this area, at the confluence of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Numerous previously disparate waterway control centers were combined to create this new office, and this regrouping determined its primary, curvilinear volume. This elevated polygonal shape strengthens visibility from the interior toward the immediate landscape, by allowing for elongated views in all 360-degrees. Composed of two volumes; the office’s upper story cantilevers up to 10 m beyond its plinth, above an intimate reflecting pool below. Two paths slice through this shallow body of water–which encircles the plinth–and lead to the ground level entries, while a ramp provides access to the lower le...

WAA complete Regiocentrale Zuid in Maasbracht

Situated in Maasbracht–near the Dutch-Belgian border–this sinuous 1.850 m2 office is a headquarters for the water traffic control of surrounding sluices, canals, and locks–all of which are adjacent to the river Meuse. This plethora of entangled waterways is heavily utilized for shipping throughout this area, at the confluence of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Numerous previously disparate waterway control centers were combined to create this new office, and this regrouping determined its primary, curvilinear volume. This elevated polygonal shape strengthens visibility from the interior toward the immediate landscape, by allowing for elongated views in all 360-degrees. Composed of two volumes; the office’s upper story cantilevers up to 10 m beyond its plinth, above an intimate reflecting pool below. Two paths slice through this shallow body of water–which encircles the plinth–and lead to the ground level entries, while a ramp provides access to the lower le...

V’ House nominated for the 2014 Maastricht ‘Victor de Steurs Award’

Located in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Maastricht–in the south the Netherlands–V' House is the private residence of a couple that collects vintage cars. Its foreside is composed of structural glazing, onto which a rastorized image of curtains fluttering in the wind has been fritted, for privacy, in tandem with interior curtains. Automobile entry to the house occurs via two doors within the structural glazing that simultaneously retract, while only one door retracts for entry to the house by foot. These doors are the only entry to the house; they are remotely opened via the owners' programmed smartphones. The ground floor is open the exterior elements, which introduces a void to the site; the first floor living room hangs over half of this outdoor space, which roofs the collection of vintage cars below. This living room is contiguous to the house's kitchen to create one fluid space on the first floor, while above is the master bedroom, which opens onto the roof of the livin...

Allianz Headquarters by Wiel Arets Architects

The Allianz Headquarters is a hybrid-office and the pinnacle of a master planned mixed-use district on the edge of Zürich’s city center. Comprised of a 20-story tower and a 5-story annex, these two components are externally linked by a series of four bridges, and vertically linked by numerous interior voids and staircases; as such, the Allianz Headquarters can be experienced as horizontal and vertical landscape of neighborhoods. Fluidly connected to the city center by a multitude of public transportation options, the building encourages the blossoming of twenty-first century office culture, which demands flexibility in space and its use, via its hyper-hybrid programming that amplifies ‘interiority’. The entire lobby and ground floor are publicly accessible, ensuring a continuous animation throughout both, which compliments the adjacent public square. A central staircase rises from the lobby up and into the 20-story tower, allowing employees to, if desired, meander throughout all leve...

WAA complete the Allianz Headquarters in Zürich, Switzerland

The Allianz Headquarters is a hybrid-office and the pinnacle of a master planned mixed-use district on the edge of Zürich’s city center. Comprised of a 20-story tower and a 5-story annex, these two components are externally linked by a series of four bridges, and vertically linked by numerous interior voids and staircases; as such, the Allianz Headquarters can be experienced as horizontal and vertical landscape of neighborhoods. Fluidly connected to the city center by a multitude of public transportation options, the building encourages the blossoming of twenty-first century office culture, which demands flexibility in space and its use, via its hyper-hybrid programming that amplifies ‘interiority’. The entire lobby and ground floor are publicly accessible, ensuring a continuous animation throughout both, which compliments the adjacent public square. A central staircase rises from the lobby up and into the 20-story tower, allowing employees to, if desired, meander throughout all leve...

WAA and Alessi launch the ‘Eat.it’ cutlery set

Alessi, the esteemed Italian manufacturer of kitchen products and accessories, recently launched the 'Eat.it' cutlery designed by Wiel Arets. Crafted over a period of six years, in order to ensure proper ergonomics at such a refined scale, the set originated from a symmetrical design in which the shape of the handle and the upper portions are both equivalent and opposite. Each piece is constructed from 18/10 stainless steel, and in additional to spoons, forks, and knives in various sizes, the set also includes a risotto serving spoon, a cake server, and a spaghetti fork. Eat.it embodies a practical approach to the art of cooking and enjoying food and drink alongside family and friends. It is absent of any ornamentation, and instead intends to embody and impart a modern mode of living, the definition of which has been left open to its users. Reductive and not minimal; elegant though far from fragile; and terse while simultaneously inviting; it is meant for both everyday use and the f...

WAA begin construction on the IJhal within Amsterdam Centraal

Construction commenced today on the IJhalthe main pedestrian passageway within Amsterdam's Centraal Station–which parallels the river IJ and is the convergence point for the city's multitude of transportation types. The station and its immediate surroundings are metamorphosizing to become the centerpiece of a larger master plan to create a more welcoming 'gateway' to the city for passengers arriving via train, tram, metro, or bus, by simplifying the connections between each. A series of secondary passageways perpendicular to the IJhal will impart direct visual connections to the waterfront throughout the station. This will reestablish Amsterdam's connection to both the IJ and Amsterdam North–a neighborhood separated from the city center by the IJ–which was severed upon the station's completion at the close of the nineteenth century. A system of round mirrored elements will be mounted on the ceiling to reflect and radiate the undulating properties of the IJ's surface throughout the ...

The College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology announces the ‘Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize’ (MCHAP) and the ‘MCHAP for Emerging Architecture’

The College of Architecture (CoA) at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) announced this week the creation of the 'Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize' (MCHAP) and the 'MCHAP for Emerging Architecture'; both will recognize works of architectural eminence constructed throughout North and South America. Awarded biennially, the 'MCHAP' and the 'MCHAP for Emerging Architecture' are extensions of the larger curricular and research initiatives of the CoA at IIT, as established by its Dean, Wiel Arets. The award's inaugural jury includes Wiel Arets, Kenneth Frampton, Jorger Francisco Liernur, Dominique Perrault, and Sarah Whiting. Both components of the award will begin in 2014, with the initial cycle considering built works of architecture completed between January 2000 and December 2013.

Explains Wiel Arets: 'This new prize will not be bestowed to an individual or organization based solely off inventive form, however clever its design, or based solely off a submitted image, no matter how...

Campus Hoogvliet by Wiel Arets Architects

Campus Hoogvliet is a cluster of six buildings that together compose one academic and socially focused campus, located just outside of Rotterdam. These six new buildings–a sports center, an art studio, a safety academy, 100 residential units within one building, and two schools–have been plugged into a programmed tarmac that communicates the campus' boundary, and includes custom designed seating, a running track, and other place-making denotations. The campus’ immediate surroundings are characterized by mid-twentieth century housing developments–which were prolifically constructed during its booming period of post-WWII growth–and the campus aims to rectify the social and cultural deterioration that coupled the demolition of this once historic village.

A glass ‘fence’–equal in height to each ground floor façade–surrounds every building. Every fence is fritted with an abstracted, pixilated image of ivy, so as to create an exterior terrace that is both private and transparent. The groun...

WAA complete Campus Hoogvliet in Rotterdam

Campus Hoogvliet is a cluster of six buildings that together compose one academic and socially focused campus, located just outside of Rotterdam. These six new buildings–a sports center, an art studio, a safety academy, 100 residential units within one building, and two schools–have been plugged into a programmed tarmac that communicates the campus' boundary, and includes custom designed seating, a running track, and other place-making denotations. The campus’ immediate surroundings are characterized by mid-twentieth century housing developments–which were prolifically constructed during its booming period of post-WWII growth–and the campus aims to rectify the social and cultural deterioration that coupled the demolition of this once historic village.

Read more about Campus Hoogvliet

Jellyfish House by Wiel Arets Architects

Located in Marbella, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, the Jellyfish House’s neighboring buildings block its view onto the nearby sea. Appropriately, it was chosen to cantilever the house’s pool from its roof, so that the beach and sea can always be seen while sunbathing or swimming. The house is organized around two paths of circulation: a ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ set of stairs, which intertwine and traverse the house’s four levels of living. The ‘fast’ stair leads from the exterior directly to the roof; it is enclosed in glass, which physically separates it from the house’s interior, yet it is simultaneously open to the exterior elements, so that sand is not brought into the house when returning from the beach. The ‘slow’ stair–whose long treads and short risers lend it its name–spans the entire length of the house, from ground floor main-entry to roof; it is indoors yet also open to the exterior elements, further amplifying the house’s capacity for ‘interiority’.

The house’s roof...