Designing Upwards

Holland is characterized by modern architecture, innovative design and enterprising buildings. The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe, which means the Dutch have to be creative with their architecture and use of space; for homes, businesses and infrastructure. Situated on the western part of the Netherlands, Holland has a long tradition of modern, stimulating building style. Architecture in Holland has gained global recognition, mainly because it is innovative, resourceful and imaginative.

  1. First up is the renowned and state-of-the-art hospital in Groningen, Netherlands. The University Medical Centre Groningen, (UMCG), is the principal hospital in the city. Opened fifteen years ago, the building’s design focuses on light and air. The UMCG played a prominent role in the development of hospital architecture as it was one of the first hospitals to try something new, architecturally. The concept was that even if you were ill and confined to the hospital, you should be able to partake in society. While in hospital you can get your hair done, book your next holiday or do a spot of shopping. That will help you feel better in no time!
  2. Moving swiftly onto another innovative structure and we land in Almere, at the UN Studio’s La Defence, an office building for the IRS and the Centre for Work and Income. The external part of the building echoes the larger urban condition, presenting a grey façade, so it is not really noticeable in an overall setting of grey buildings. However, the interior courtyards have been built with the employees in mind. The light reflecting properties make it seem like the building changes colour depending on the time of day. This innovative building focuses on colour and allows colour to do the talking. What a beauty.
  3. Contemporary Papendorp in Utrecht is well worth a visit. Need a new office location in Utrecht? Look no further. Papendorp is a prime location for offices and companies in the Netherlands. Its location; close to several main roads, its exceptional appearance and architecture, and its lush landscaping, all add to its charm and attractiveness. Need somewhere to put your car? Parking in Garage ‘de Cope’ is everything you would not expect when imaging a dismal, dark parking lot. Its structure adds to the surrounding environment and is certainly pleasing to the eye. The parking spaces are proposed for use by the employees of offices nearby. The frontage was built in conjunction with the neighbouring offices to allow for a fluid design between the different functions. Who thought that parking your car could be such fun? Parking here is sure to put a spring in your step. (Or a pogo in your parking.)
  4. Finally, the architect Piet Bloom, designed Kubuswoningen or cube houses, based on the premise of ‘living as an urban roof’ in the late seventies, in areas of high population. Bloom experiments with the idea of slopes and slants for traditional dwellings. The concept was initially met with disbelief and doubt, as at first glance the structures look like they may topple over. From the outside, these houses appear confusing, but once inside, you will see that they are totally habitable, with plenty of light and every space utilised correctly. Ingenious.

There is a strong correlation between the quality of life of an area and its surroundings, including its architecture and style. Going on just four examples, Holland’s quality of life must be going through the roof, tilted or otherwise.