06. May 2015

A building disguised as a farm

Photos: Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee

The “Glass Farm” – a building which is entirely covered by a glass facade – was designed by the architects from MVRDV in Schijndel/NL and houses restaurants, shops and a fitness centre. The town’s market square suffered considerable damage during the Second World War and has been subject to numerous enlargements and refurbishments since. Some of the building measures planned only reached conclusion recently. MVRDV submitted a number of proposals to fill the gap between the church, the town hall and the main road. The “Glass Farm” was the seventh proposal the architects’ firm submitted for the empty space. By coincidence, the maximum envelope defined by the town planners had the form of a traditional Schijndel farmhouse. The building facade is predominantly translucent, with daylight giving rise to a series of reflections across the facade. After dark the structure is illuminated from the inside, a monument to the traditional farmhouses in the region.

Before embarking on detailed planning, the architects needed to stipulate what the ideal size of the farmhouse should be. An analysis was made of farmhouses in the vicinity and, together with the designers, artist Frank van der Salm took photos of all the traditional farmhouses in the region. Using these photos as a basis, the architects were able to design a typical farmhouse facade. A collage of the images were printed onto the 1800 square metre glass facade using a fritting technique, resulting in an effect similar to stained glass windows in a church. The print varies in translucency depending on the requirements for light and views. Inside the building the room surfaces reflect the incident daylight, generating ever-changing lighting effects.

At a height of 14 metres, the glass farmhouse is 1.6 times larger than an authentic farmhouse, symbolizing the village’s growth into a town.

Project team:

Client: Rem Brand bv (Van Den Brand Real Estate
& Remmers Construction Group)
Architects: MVRDV – Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs
and Nathalie de Vries with Frans de Witte and Gijs Rikken
Facade: Brakel Atmos
Building services engineering: IOC Ridderkerk
Support structure planning: Hooijen Konstruktiebureau
Print technology: AGC Glass Europe

www.mvrdv.nl

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