Friday, November 25, 2011

Bunker Architecture

Architecture is turning inwards with closed facades, no more looking inside. This new kind of architecture certainly is in contrast with the traditional Dutch houses in Utrecht. These houses with closed facades seem to protect their inhabitants from the outside world, locking it out. Maybe the information overload and stress is just too much and then the home, the safe haven is where we choose to isolate ourselves to retreat to refuge. It makes the house a place for introspection and reflection.

The first house here is designed and build by Urbanizer. The facade certainly stands out amongst the very traditional houses in the street. They say themselves that it's an abstraction of the garage that used to be here. I think it has strong resemblense with a Swiss shed with the wood cladding all around and the tapered wood that allows for a bit of light to enter through the front of the house. The wood gives it a warm radiation, so the closed volume doesn't feel hostile.

The next house here is a utility building on the Kanaalweg. This is a completely closed box volume, windows are behind perforations. Whatever is going on inside is completely closed off from the outside. And with the warning sign on the front door, you could think it was dangerous. The windows are distributed in a random kind of pattern and are hidden behind perforations. It's beautiful in it's daring and striking simplicity, particularly if build by the government you will respect such a daring choice.

This is again a residence and clearly one where the facade has gone through a significant metamorphose. You can still sense the old structure of the house behind the cortens-steel cladding. Still it's beautiful and daring. The steel is cut in thin stripes, quietly resembling brick layers.

These interventions are small gestures that refreshes and updates the look of our city-scape. the revolutionary architecture by Herzog & de Meuron have had a lot of influence.

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