JAN

Illusionary past: Market square building, Schijndel, Netherlands by MVRDV.

Look closely, this is an all glass building!

In the home town of Winy Mass, a founder of MVRDV, the market square had suffered WWII damage which had destroyed some of the buildings. The resulting open space was too large and lacked the facilities that helps to keep such town squares activated.

MVRDV were invited to fill-in the gap with a new building, but the local people wanted vernacular architecture, something the practice is not known for doing! Seven proposals later, and a solution was found that borrowed a barn form from local historic farm buildings. The barn-like enclosure was then created with an all glass envelope which was then printed with images of the original town square architecture at 1.6 times real-life scale.

The collage printed on the glass is created using photographs taken of the buildings found opposite the market hall. The result is a ghostly and somewhat disconcerting reflection of the town, that over time will diverge from the actual reflection of the town architecture seen in the glass.

The printing, achieved using a fritting process, provides solar shade as well as the necessary transparency that the building requires to function in the public realm.

By coincidence, the maximum size of building that the planning regulations permitted resembled the form of the traditional farm building squaring the artistic concept with the regulatory framework. The building’s glass envelope encloses 1600 square metres of primarily public amenities such as shops restaurants and a wellness centre.

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