Bulthaup Studio, The Netherlands

A modern element in a historical context

17th century monument with 21st century extension

Respect for the old is a nice virtue. Europe’s historical cities consist of a mix of architecture from the Middle Ages to the present organised on a 15th, 16th or 17th century urban fabric.

The strength of the fabric and the mix of architecture from different centuries is an important characteristic of Dutch historical inner cities.

Studio SITEC is a strong advocate of the preservation of this fabric. But at the same time, we work with modern contextual architecture of this time to maintain the dynamics of these inner cities.

Where the original fabric is lost, a careful reconstruction is advised; and where there is no historical fabric, a careful contextual insert is supplied (See project, Hof van Thorbecke).

Returning to the project at hand, the monument building which would be part of the new Bulthaup kitchen studios was formerly a warehouse belonging to the rich merchant houses at the Thorbeckegracht.

Later, existing small houses, like those on the Assiesplein, were demolished. The back elevation of the monument became visible to the street.

The elevation was, wrongly (according to history) upgraded as if it was a historical front elevation.

A main feature of the new plan was the restoration of the historical fabric by adding new volume at the north side, at the Assiesplein. In this way, the historical profile together with the 18th century prison (now Librije’s hotel) has been restored.

FOTOwerk walter frisart-610_4277-01The architecture is a modern interpretation of a historical volume with a pitched roof. A copper slab has been folded in the shape of a house, but on the east side, it has been folded back into  a horizontal position to open volume onto the small green square. The front of the volume is a completely open elevation, but with double wooden window frames to put the architecture into context.

FOTOwerk walter frisart-610_4288-05

Between old and new, the two volumes have been cut loose and light enters the building. A vertical window and a lower architectural connector on the outside, and a glass bridge and void in the interior complete this subtle connection between old and new.

FOTOwerk walter frisart-610_4744-14

The project  was commissioned and built for  Bulthaup Keukenpresentatie Zwolle. The kitchen studio uses the lower two floors. Under the pitched roofs, there are three inner city apartments with a separate entrance.

FOTOwerk walter frisart-610_4738-12




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