Netherlands Architecture institute reopens with new attitude
Rotterdam is considered the most important city regarding architecture in the Netherlands. That's why the government decided to establish the Netherlands Architecture institute (NAi) in Rotterdam. This month the institute reopened with a new atitude.
The institute originally opened its doors in 1993 in an new many-sided building designed by reknown architect Jo Coenen. But NAi encoutered a lack of interest by visitors. They blamed the somewhat secretive style of the building. It has a few windows and it was only accesible by a gangway. People thought NAi was solely for students. So last year the doors closed for a renovation.
The gangway was replaced by a wooden deck, creating a warmer welcome. It leads to a bookstore, bigger restaurant with terrace and a free of charge area called Hands-on Deck where children can practice being an architect. Besides a new inviting entrance the instute also got a new subtitle. The new official name now is NAi, Museum for Architecture.
The institute always offered exhibitions but from now on it will present itself more exuberant with it's collections as the already mentioned Hands-on Deck and Dutchville. The permanent collection Dutchville shows visitors how the urban environment affect the way you feel.
From coming september there will also be a new area designed by Rem Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). It will be some sort of treasure room with a ever changing collection of appealing and special objects from the vault of NAI.
The work of Rem Koolhaas (the architect resides in Rotterdam and is commonly considered as one of the most important architects nowadays) is also present in the temporary exhibition Daringdesign. NAi presents eight of the most prominent current designers from China and Holland. Rem Koolhaas, fashion designer Alexander van Slobbe, graphic designer Irma Boon and product designer Hella Jongerius represent the Netherlands.
Ai Weiwei is the most famous artist and architect from China. He helped design the Olympic stadium in Bejing and was recently arrested because of critism of the Chinese government. He's released now but couldn't be present at the opening of the exhibition because he is prohibited to leave Bejing without permission.
Fortunately his work is showed during Daringdesign together with Chinese designs from Urbanus, To Meet You and Ma Ke.
Photo: Marc Heeman
Photo 1: Jongeriuslab
Photo 2: Ai Weiwei