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Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

Neutelings Riedijk

Today architecture is image. We may bemoan the fact that experience is less and less a part of how a landscape is perceived and understood, but it’s also true that most of what we know comes to us via images: from the television screen, advertising posters or glimpsed through the windows of a moving car. This was the premise for Willem Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk’s design for the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid) in Hilversum, Holland. The building houses the country’s entire national radio and television archive, offices, and an area called “Media Experience” where the public can get a hands-on understanding of how a TV studio works.The Institute has been designed as the monumental entrance to a quarter grouping Holland’s television studios. Called Media Park, it is the site of the splendid building of broadcaster VPRO - the first ever project by architect practice MVRDV (1993-1997). By applying images to the Institute’s glazed façade - some 748 photo frames - Riedijk has turned it into a huge kaleidoscope. Colours are filtered as if through the window of a giant Gothic cathedral. Special application technology makes each image resemble a sort of bas-relief, distinguishable, however, only under certain conditions of light or distance. This vibrant coat of many colours transforms the building into a brilliantly distinctive urban landmark. The outside is just the tip of the iceberg though. Inside, a densely organised series of diverse volumes contrasts markedly with the flat outer façades. Neutelings and Riedijk had the brilliant idea of splitting the overall volume into two equal parts: the underground levels to house the huge archive and, from the ground level up, areas open to the public - exhibition spaces, offices and service zones like the atrium, restaurant, auditorium, shop and restrooms. Although distinct, each area converges on the great central cavity. Hugging the sides of this gaping hole, the...

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