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Lisse, Keukenhof, Mecanoo

Rendezvous under the glass roof: Entrance building for the Keukenhof by Mecanoo

The Keukenhof is located in the town of Lisse, which is southwest of Amsterdam. It is mentioned in every travel book about the Netherlands. There is surely no other place that manifests the country’s long tradition of tulip cultivation as evidently as this 32-hectare park. The park is open only around eight weeks a year – during the blooming periods for tulips, jonquils and so on. However, it still attracts about 100,000 visitors every week.

In order to manage this storm of visitors, Mecanoo architecten of Delft have now designed a new entrance pavilion for the Keukenhof. The longitudinal building with its characteristic stairway-shaped roof forms a gateway between the parking lot and the city. It is supported by two structures, one on either side of a central passageway. The southwest, single-storey building is home to a restaurant, shops, lockers and toilets; the other, which has two storeys, accommodates the cashiers, the information desk, more sales areas and (upstairs) the offices of the foundation that operates the Keukenhof. Furthermore, the upper level has a VIP room with a view of the tulip garden.

The large roof that juts far around the two buildings forms the main eye-catcher of the new construction. The supporting structure of this roof consists of a triangular grate made of heavy glulam supports. The spaces in between have been glazed in order to shelter visitors from rain. The central stairway of the office wing also gets daylight through a similar glass roof. The edges of the roof, as well as the balustrades of the office level, are clad with copper standing seam roofing. For the closed-in façade surfaces of the single-storey edifice, the architects chose a light-coloured brick cladding. Inside the central passageway, a metal grid fence featuring a tulip motif delimits the park from the forecourt to the park.

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