During spring break this semester we had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium with our studio. Our professors, Robert McCarter + Wiel Arets, proposed an extensive list of buildings for us to visit over the course of our 9 day trip, which included time in Amsterdam, Delft, Den Haag, Rotterdam, Hilversum, Utrecht, Boxtel, Heerlen, Vaals (no, not Vals), Maastricht, Wachendorf, Köln and Brussels.
Amongst the buildings we visited, one highlight was the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam--a former tobacco, coffee and tea factory renovated into an office complex for media and design firms. The factory was designed by Johannes Brinkman and Leendert van der Vlugt and built between 1927 and 1929. As it was originally used, raw products were taken to the top floor and as they were processed the product would move down towards the lowest level often crossing the elevated glazed transport bridges. The factory floors are double height and fully glazed. The site is now UNESCO protected.
After walking around and through much of the complex, we managed to climb up into the bridges that span across the road that separates the two main buildings. They are quite steep and I can hardly imagine someone pushing goods across them...but they were really fun to walk through. Since the renovation, you can't actually access the other building from the bridge--it's now an architecture firm. Broek Bakema and several other architecture offices are scattered throughout the various buildings of the complex.
Aaron managed to climb out onto the roof to snag a photo next to the Van Nelle sign...as you can see, he was quite excited.
Very long communal table in the employee cafe. Me on the left wishing it was open so I could have my third or fourth cappuccino of the day...