There’s a new player in town. On July 1, the Netherlands Architecture Institute reopened after a refurbish and rebuild. I only saw the old building from the outside and it was basically a box. Now it’s a collection of boxes of different shapes, a few unfinished water features, a very pleasant café, 3 levels of exhibition space, book shop, library, archives. There’s much to explore.
Free entry on the weekend meant the space was a little crowded, but we managed to take in Daringdesign featuring the work of eight “Chinese and Dutch designers with guts,” to quote the website. There are recorded interviews with all eight designers, but I only managed to listen to an interview with two graphic designers from China. Mostly, I was struck by the energy and enthusiasm they brought to their work.
Dutchville was a fairly entertaining tour of the architecture of buildings of note in Holland. The tone of the audio guide was conversational and presented perspectives on well-known buildings, both for and against. The exhibit featured the area where we stayed the first five months after arriving in the Netherlands two years ago. Bijlmer, or as the website of the Amsterdam Tourist Office puts it “about as far away as you can get from your typical cheese and clogs image of Amsterdam.” This video by Bijlmer Breakz portrays one facet of Bijlmer.
Not all of Bijlmer is that edgy. As a matter of fact, it was an oasis for us. Every time we returned home from crowded Amsterdam to Bijlmer, we could breathe out and enjoy the green and spacious environment. Nevertheless, Bijlmer is controversial with a colorful past and a somewhat troubled present. As for the future… well, we exited Dutchville through the Tunnel to the Future and here I am in the Tunnel.
The future proved a bit more elusive. I plan to go back with my Nikon D60 to see if I can do it justice. Watch this space!