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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Modern Architecture: Ages of Architecture

Ages of Architecture
Originally uploaded by Haags Uitburo
Standing at the Hofvijver, an artificial lake in the city centre of The Hague first dug out by the counts of Holland in the late 13th century, one has a splendid view at numerous buildings from different centuries. At the bottom of this photo you see a part of the Binnenhof (Inner Court), the location of the Dutch parliament. This section, in Neo-Renaissance style, dates from 1913 but at the far left you can see an older part that leads to a charming little mid-15th century tower in which the prime minister of the day has its office.
Behind the Binnenhof you can see a newer part of the city centre, the Resident, an area planned by the Luxembourgian architect Rob Krier in the 1990s. The circular building with the green roof was designed by Cesar Pelli (1999). Officially called Z├╝richtoren (Zurich Tower), it soon was dubbed 'de citroenpers' (lemon squeezer).
To the right of this 88m tall tower is the building that houses the Ministery of Health and Sport. Architect Michael Graves used the old structure of the former building that stood here, but gave it a totally new look that combines the architectural languages of the sky scraper and the canal house. Due to its two peaks, it is nicknamed 'de Haagse tieten' (the boobs of The Hague).
The highest tower (142m), from Kohn Pedersen Fox, houses the Ministery of Eucation, Culture and Science. It was built between 2000 and 2003. The design, chosen through an international competition, features a single tower and low bar building clad in vertical slabs of light sand coloured stone. Due to the open shape of the top it is commonly called 'de vulpen' (the fountain pen). The tower has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2005 Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence and a 2005 Merit Award for Architecture by the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

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