Holls mystical walls

The American architect Steven Holl is building the new main office for the building corporation ‘Het Oosten’ at the Sarphatistraat in Amsterdam. The new office will be located in the renovated former Rijksmagazijn van Geneesmiddelen (Governmental storage for Medicines), dating from 1889. At the backside of the building Holl also designed a pavilion next to the water.

The new pavilion is, as well the comparable pavilion by Koen van Velsens Rijksacademie, only visible over the water from the Mauritskade. The main function is a meeting and conference room for the offices in the renovated Rijksmagazijn. But it seems that a public function is also being considered. At his website Holl even promises to construct a public walkway along the water.

At first glance the pavilion looks like a hip box with casual holes, but it is more. Holl designed a double facade of which the outer one is made of perforated copper sheet. Rectangular spaces are made in both facades that don't necessarily coincide. The bright colored planes in the inner facade combined with the transparency of the outer facade makes for a very lively view of the facade when the building is passed at some speed.

There are high expectations for the inner side of the pavilion, considering the outside and the design concept of Holl: 'The concept of Patterns in a Chromatic Field establishes a series of perspectival overlapping interior spaces animated by patterns of 'phenomenal screens'. The screens establish a spatial and experiential frame in which ordinary services such as lighting, supply and return air grilles, speakers, etc. are inserted.'

A shifting light and color play an important, dynamic part in previous projects of Holl. Whether it will also work for this pavilion remains to be seen. The building is expected to be realized in March.