Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Netherlands Institute for Visions + Sound

The Netherlands Institute for Visions + Sound, designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects, is located in Hilversum, on the outer banks of Rotterdam. As you approach the building in the vast neighborhood of primarily commercial buildings you are immediately drawn towards the bright, bold colors of the buildings façade. The buildings skin is the most dramatic aspect of the building as is comprised of hundreds of glass panels which are colored to mimic the visual experiences of waves, rays, and frequencies and embossed with images of significant scenes or people in the fields of vision and sound. Both obviously are closely bound to the overall theme of the building. On the north and east sides of the building the skin begins on the second storey allowing for a distinct entrance on the north façade; on the south and west faces of the building the skin covers the entire span of the building with various breaks in the paneling to allow for windows. I particularly appreciate this break of the skin because its sets up a clear visual entrance separate form the homogeneity of the façade skin to the north. This contributes to the overall success of the building because it allows the pedestrian to understand a clear layout of the building before entering. Upon entry, you notice the impressive atrium that links all parts of the building: archives, storerooms, media experience, customer service and office. Walkways cross the atrium at different heights and the walls above and below the walkways are finished with natural stone strips. I really appreciate how the intense colors of the transparent skin on the exterior of the building reflect on all the materials on the interior. Because of this transparent materiality, it really makes its seem like the exterior skin is directly incorporated into the interior of the building. The stepped wall that blends the side walls with the ceiling are cladding with a very interesting material. This cladding consists of repetitive perforated metal plate connected with spring coils. The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is one of the largest audiovisual archives in Europe, with a collection of over 700,000 hours of material, 10,000 hours of which are already available in digital formats. Sound and Vision also houses 2,000,000 still images making it the largest music library of the Netherlands. Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to enter the exhibits in the building but we where told they were very contemporary and many of the the Dutch have complained about these exhibits this particular building in general. That aside I personally believe the buildings is successful because of its unique circulation system, powerful skinned facade, and its dramatic atrium.

Mark Gettys

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