The Landmark Nieuw Bergen project in the Dutch province of Limburg provides the centre of the small town in which it has been built a new focal point without laying it on too thick in urban development terms. The building's thoughtfully designed facade and the viewing platform at its top anchor the structure within the town while pointing far beyond its limits.
Client: Concept-NL Project development
Playing a game of illusion and reality, Monadnock of Rotterdam has provided the little town of Nieuw Bergen a new focal point at its centre, and in the process underscores the importance of the settlement beyond its boundaries. Positioned on a podium-like volume, the Landmark's tower makes the building one that attracts attention while acting as a vantage point at the same time. By going for a deliberately sited and conspicuous piece of architecture, Monadnock has capitalised on the natural topography of the mostly flat Limburg countryside. Two basic geometric shapes – a cube and a rectangular prism – have been used in the free-standing building, whose two volumes in these shapes are positioned on a further cube. The Rotterdam architects offset the minimalism of the volumes by encasing the architecture in a multifaceted brick skin. This lends the building a textural quality, plus use of the local building material integrates the Landmark into its context. The small-scale detailing of the outer skin makes the building both approachable and tangible despite all massivity of its appearance. At the same time, the varied facade design with its perforated walls and different colours and brickwork bonds stands in contrast to the building's plain volumes. To crown it all, Monadnock has provided the outer skin with moulded elements that reinforce the building's architectonic structure as well as the geometric articulation of the façade. The accomplished surface treatment not only explains the architecture but makes its radicality comprehensible to the observer. Inside the base cube, the complexity of the building's outer shell is contrasted by radically reduced floor plans that enable flexible uses according to choice. Once the visitor steps through the arched entrances, two storeys with the same floor plan constellations await him, each aligned to a central column that means that the spaces can be divided up starting out from this point. Monadnock has allotted a quarter of each storey's floorspace to building services, but the rest of the interiors can be organised according to the respective uses. A spiral staircase provides circulation in the base and ends on the roof of the same, after which a counterpart leads up inside the belvedere tower to the building's highest point, namely the viewing platform at the top. The tall volume of the tower stands at a 45° angle to the edges of the podium-like base, and merely serves to provide access to its top. Perforations in its brickwork provide repeated glimpses of the surroundings in an effect that makes the inside of the tower a staged intermediate zone on the way to the viewing platform, the centrepiece of Landmark Nieuw Bergen. Monadnock has provided the little town a focal point that is visible from afar and that also affords broad overall views. See and be seen.