The rise and fall of architecture materialised : the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam, 1988-1992
Faculty of Design Sciences
Journal of architecture. - Abingdon
, p. 131-155
University of Antwerp
The Museum park area in Rotterdam comprises three large institutions: The Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, the Kunsthal and the Netherlands Architecture Institute. Situated along the extension of the Witte de Withstraat with its local galleries, it is by now a constructed historical document of architectural and urban ideas, particularly of the late twentieth century. The Boijmans van Beuningen Museum alone spans the entire twentieth century, from its original construction in 1935 by Van der Steur through its respective extensions and additions (Bodon, extension 1971; Henket, pavilion 1990; Robbrecht and Daem, extension 2003). The Kunsthal, completed in 1992, has become an icon in its own right and the Netherlands Architecture Institute (completed 1993) is the result of a competition that also shows the complexity of forces that architectural practice by necessity must navigate (such as juries, urban plans, and local preferences). The area thus forms a showcase of the ideas circulating in architecture in the 1980s, with the multiple perspectives on the past implied in the 1980 Venice Biennale. This article focuses specifically on the Netherlands Architecture Institute as the focal point of a number of prominent issues in architecture in the past two decades since its realisation, including diverse perspectives on materialisation (reclaiming material articulation from the white walls of modernism); urban contextualism in a city characterised by the modern urban planning executed after extensive wartime destruction; and the multiple pasts referenced within (from the classical to the modern).