Dutch architecture and engineering: designed and created, or created by design?


Dutch design is so good because it uses the environment to its advantage, and it considers space and construction in a very different manner from a country like the United States, which does not have a shortage of land. In addition, Dutch design is intelligent, and seeks to augment, not create something new.

In relation to what I read, this building seemed relevant enough. The Amsterdam Architecture Centre is built along the water, doesn’t take up much space, and utilizes modern design. The undulations of the non-glass exterior are reminiscent of the ever-present water flowing through Amsterdam. In addition, the exposed glass is nature conscious, the utilization of natural light is architecturally progressive.

For me it was very interesting to read in the Betsky how the different systems of government yielded different results for dam development. As time went on, the creation and administration of the dams changed with the government. It shifted from regional to more centralized government, and technology and economic growth also aided in the shift to a more centralized planning system.

It was also very interesting to read about how cities built on estuaries had once thrived, and since the shifts related to canals, railroads, and highways had taken hold, how things changed. Reading about this fall from dominance reminded me of the echoes heard this past election cycle related to rust belt states seeking to reclaim jobs lost to an inevitable wave (no pun intended).




5 thoughts on “ Dutch architecture and engineering: designed and created, or created by design?

  1. You have many great points that could be expanded to make up a part or the whole of your weekly essay. In particular, the statement you make about the difference between the Dutch and American approach to land. You could use the architectural critiques read for Thursday as templates for how to approach two specific buildings in Amsterdam and the US, for use as evidence to support and fully flesh out your statement.


  2. I think that a common thread among the readings for this week so far has been about design and architecture executed with a specific and efficient purpose of mind. In addition, while the origin of Dutch design and urban planning was mentioned when discussing the polders, the readings for tonight also focused more on the melding of old and new in urban planning and city layouts. The introduction of newer technologies and design philosophies has had the opportunity to complicate this further, and is it is important to keep in mind the struggle between designing with purpose and designing with aesthetics and other things at mind.

    With regard to making a connection to the previous week, the architectural reviews struck me as quite relevant to the discussion I had with Jackie about using personal and impersonal narratives to convey information about topics such as art and design. While the Metz is a bit more technical, both articles utilize enough different techniques such as quotation that they do not strike the reader as impersonal or clunky, as some academic journals tend to be.


    1. Interesting to point to narrative again: What do you think about the narrative voice of the reviewers? It can be personal, right? Do you find this compelling or off-putting? How do you think it affects the analysis?


  3. I like the read on this structure, how it embodies several of these ideas in a compact space. What do you think is the relationship between what you see there and Betsky’s (and also Meyer’s) take on governmental planning? How does this single structure link out to the (planned) neighborhood or to other developments happening just across the water? This seems especially important given the designed purpose of this structure: to house ARCAM Architecture Center! What is their mission and how is that represented in the structure &/or its relation to the neighborhood (from what you can tell in online searching for images–or google maps)?


  4. I agree with your comments about how the shift from a more regional government to a more centralized government has yielded great results in terms of the art and archaeological standards. What I wonder is how does this set it apart from other forms of centralized government? From moving from a slow moving bureaucratic model into a streamlined cutting-the-red-tape architectural system Amsterdam has adopted, they’ve managed to turn their city into an architectural masterpiece, mixing old with the new. I believe that what truly sets them apart from other cities lusting for architectural wonders are that the Dutch simply pour their resources and money into making sure that things are built. Where other countries bicker over budgetary issues and making sure every dollar is allocated correctly (or not), the Dutch push politics aside in order to raise money so their cities remain “so good”


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