Fresh air and dunes in the heart of Amsterdam? An idea as impossible as it is crazy, you might think. Not so the designers of Buro Harro. On the roof of a nature-inclusive new-build block on the Groenmarkt, they created a true dune landscape with great amounts of sand and countless indigenous dune plants. Black pines move
with the predominantly south-westerly wind, winding shell paths tempt one for a stroll and then to enjoy a drink on the beach pavilion with its lovely sheltered terrace. The screeching of
seagulls flying overhead and the hubbub of the city in the background. And as icing on the cake, the residents can also swim lengths in the sleekly designed swimming pool.
To create such a roof landscape, other techniques are needed than when building at ground level. This is where De Dakdokters stepped in. The water-buffering roof acts as a sponge. On top of this are one and a half metre high
dunes. For the planting of these dunes, Harro has used indigenous and sometimes rare plant species of calcareous dunes, just like in his red list garden. A feast for small insects such as bees. The
space taken up by the building at ground level has been returned to the roof. The facades of the apartment building are also inhabited by plants, birds, bats and insects. A place buzzing with
life and with an amazing view over the city. What possibilities facades and roofs can offer...
Imagine a grand mountain landscape just above the Arctic Circle in West-Greenland with rich coloured houses on the rocks rising from the fjords.
Sarfannguit is home to just over 100 inhabitants and has been part of the
Unesco World Heritage site Aasivissuit - Nipisat since 2018. Unesco and commissioned
Swedish architect Konstantin Ikonomidis considered this to be the right place to celebrate and
promote the intangible Inuit cultural heritage and their connection with that landscape. On top of these hills, Ikonomidis designed and built a glass pavilion, called Qaammat, inspired by the
moon and the arctic light in combination with the snow’s reflection. His interest in integrating landscape, culture and human stories into his designs led to encounters, conversations and
interviews with the locals. These experiences, stories and myths are reflected poetically in the design of the pavilion.
The pavilion is anchored in the rocky terrain. Just like the local coloured houses, rock anchors are drilled into the ground. The metal bar, on
which the curving walls of glass blocks lean, is fully horizontal and the poles vary in length according to the terrain. These curving walls form a linear pathway, open at both ends. The two
narrow openings invite the visitor to experience the pavilion’s intimate atmosphere and open up to the wider landscape. Glass was chosen as a building material because of its palpability, its
ability to highlight transparency. The glass will absorb and diverge light, and seen from a distance, it will reflect the colours of the surroundings, the seasons, the passing of time. Qaammat,
set on the planned trail between Sarfannguit and Nipisat, will serve as a landmark and gathering point that can be experienced by locals and visitors of this amazing landscape.
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