Paulien Bremmer wraps "social hub" for Gerrit Rietveld Academie in woven-steel screens

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

Folding screens of woven steel surround the upper level of the latest building at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, which provides three storeys of exhibition, workshop and teaching spaces.

The building, which will be used by the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Institute, was designed by  multidisciplinary design team Federation Levitation (FedLev) led by architect Paulien Bremmer, working in collaboration with local practice Hootsmans Architects.

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

The latest block is located opposite the independent university’s main building designed by Gerrit Rietveld himself and connected by a bridge to a tower block designed by Benthem & Crouwel in the early 2000s.

The design focused on ideas of community and interdisciplinarity that Bremmer felt were underserved by the existing building on campus.

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

“Experimentation is key at the academy. This essentially means looking across borders and disciplines,” said Bremmer.

“The autonomous departmental culture of the academy didn’t contribute enough to an interdisciplinary way of working.”

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

As a result, the ground floor of the building centres around a shared atrium-like space that weaves between classrooms that have been pushed to the edges of the plan.

With a simple concrete frame structure, corridors and isolated stairwells have been avoided entirely, with spaces arranged around concrete columns and separated by glazed partitions. A glazed facade wraps around the entire lower level, above which the first floor cantilevers out.

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

“A modest reshuffle of the existing building’s programme made room for a shared space around the base of the building,” explained the studio.

“The extension’s glass facade can be opened in many places, facilitating interaction in the space between the buildings.”

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

At first floor level, spaces have been provided for the Sandberg Institute, which runs several of the Rietveld Academy’s programmes.

On the roof, the ground space occupied by the building has been “given back” with the provision of a communal space that can be used for exhibitions, performances or large-scale constructions.

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

“The building is a social hub which quite naturally accommodates and spatially connects education, encounter, relaxation and collectivism and in which changing perspectives inform the educational environment,” said the practice.

The woven steel that covers the building’s upper level was chosen to minimise overheating from sunlight, and the cantilever of the first floor is intended to create covered areas below that can be “claimed” as work or social spaces.

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

Areas of this steel-clad facade can be folded back to allow more light into the workspaces, mirroring the folding doors at ground floor level.

Internally, finishes have been kept simple, with exposed concrete, block work and simple wooden panelling and light fittings.

Gerrit Rietveld Academy by Studio Paulien Bremmer and Hootsmans Architecten

Throughout the interiors, white spaces have been introduced, providing areas designed and executed by members of the community, such as one lined in textured tiles.

Paulien Bremmer founded her studio in 2001, and established FedLev in 2011. Hootmans Architects, who collaborated on the project, recently completed an extension to a 1970s courthouse in the Dutch city of Zwolle.

Photography is by Johannes Schwartz.


Project credits:

Client: Stichting Gerrit Rietveld Academie
Architect: Studio Paulien Bremmer | Fedlev in collaboration with Hootsmans architects
Lead architect: Paulien Bremmer
Team competition to structural design: Paulien Bremmer with Maze de Boer, Sandra Stanionyte, Luca Carboni and Marjan van Herpen, Joost Huyzer, Akira Negishi, Jan Willem Petersen, Luuc Sonke, Victor Verhage, Stephanie Willocx
Team preliminary design to inauguration (Fedlev): Paulien Bremmer, Marjan van Herpen, Joost Huyzer, Anne Dessing, Alexander Lefebvre, Anastasia Pandilovska, Milan Rikhof, Luuc Sonke, Vincka Struben, Claudia Temperilli.
(Hootsmans architects): Rob Hootsmans, Daan Petri, Carlota Alvarado, Remco Bruggink, René Bos, Elke Demyttenaere, Pier Helder, Viktor van Hooff, Jeroen Kreijne, Eric van Noord
Interior design: Studio Paulien Bremmer | Fedlev in collaboration with Hootsmans architects
Design street furniture: Chris Bakker, Anna Navndrup
Interior design Sandberg Instituut: Studio Anne Dessing
Garden design: Jan Konings
Interior design library: Nils Norman and Studio Paulien Bremmer | Fedlev in collaboration with Hootsmans architects
Design ceramic wall: Caro de Jonge
Furniture wood workshop: Workshop managers and Studio Paulien Bremmer | Fedlev in collaboration with Hootsmans architects
Design auditorium curtain: Anastasia Starostenko
Supervision partial designs: Studio Paulien Bremmer | Fedlev in collaboration with Hootsmans architects
Project management partial designs: Femke Bijlsma Contractor: Bouwbedrijf M.J. de Nijs en Zonen
Construction preparation: ABT Ingenieurs
Construction advice: BREED Integrated Design
Building physics and installations advice: moBius consult
Project management: Van Doorn Management for Architecture, ICS Adviseurs and ABT Ingenieurs

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