Vitra in the picture

Last year, some of my pictures of the Vitra campus were featured in the vitra special of Magazine B, a brand documentary magazine from Korea.

B Magazine - Vitra Campus

The featured picture is of VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron. One of my pictures of Zaha Hadid’s Fire Station was also published:

Fire Station | Vitra Campus - Weil am Rhein | Zaha Hadid

The last picture that was presented was Frank Gehry’s Vitra’s Design Museum:

Vitra Design Museum | Campus Vitra - Weil am Rhein | Frank Gehry

This video gives a short presentation of B magazine and the Vitra campus:


More pictures on the Vitra Campus on my Flickr page.

Calatrava in the Canary Islands

When I visited the Canary Islands last week, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a lovely example of Santiago Calatrava’s architecture: the Auditorio de Tenerife “Adan Martin” in Santa Cruz.

The Auditorio is a concert hall and home to the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife. The monumental construction is beautifully set against the Atlantic Ocean and really shines under the spring sun of the Canaries. At first sight it reminded me of an Elven helmet. Looking more closely at the sketched by Calatrava, the inside of the building is a study for the human eye.

Scetch Auditorio de Tenerife by Calatrava

Birds eye view Auditorio de Tenerife

The building was constructed between 1991 and 2003. It has become an architectural symbol of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and is considerd one of Calatrava’s signature buildings in Spain. In 2008 Spain included the Auditorio in a series of architectural stamps and issued a €5 coin.

Stamp Auditorio de Tenerife

Coin Auditorio de Tenerife

When approaching the building I was stunned by the reflection of the sun on it’s base. The base is covered with white Trencadís, broken white ceramics, that were used by modernist Spanish architects. The roof is made of concrete which is is perfectly suited for the climate of the Canary Islands. Better than the station of Liège-Guillemins (Belgium), that suffers from the industrial pollution in the air and less attractive climate.

Originally the building was named “Auditorio de Tenerife”. In 2011 “Adán Martin” was added to it’s name in memory of the driving force behind it’s construction, president Adán Martin Menis.

Inside you can find a museum café and the ticketing office in the main hall.


The mechanism for opening the entrance to the main hall is very clever, the windows/doors are turned up and thus enable the light to flow into the main hall with abundance


But enough context for now, here are a few more pictures:


Street Address
Av. de la Constitución 1, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

A new tower for Books

In 1935 Henry van de Velde finished his designs for the Boekentoren (Book Tower) of Ghent, beacon in the skyline of Ghent. If all goes well, this tower should be restored in it’s original state by 2019.

Henry van de Velde designed the tower, which was completed in 1939, with the supporting knowhow of Gustave Magnel and Jean-Norbert Cloquet, both professors at the University of Ghent. It was declared a protected monument in 1992. Situated on the highest ground in the city, the tower would act as a beacon, a symbol of the university, of science, wisdom and knowledge. It was Ghent’s fourth tower.

Boekentoren Gent | Original plan

I was lucky to visit the tower in 2009, just before renovations would start. This elaborate renovation was set in motion by Andre Singer, after he acquired Henry van de Velde’s plans for the tower in 2002.Renovations are lead by Robbrecht and Daem, supported by Barbara Van der wee, Sum Projects, Diadalos Peutz, Bureau d’Etudes Greisch and VK Engineering.

The building in reinforced concrete is 64 metres high, has four storeys in the basement, twenty above ground level. The belvedère on top is breathtaking. The setting was perfectly used in this presentation from A.F. Vandevorst, featuring Lisbeth Gruwez:

The restoration started on March 2012 and has 5 phases:

  • Phase 1 (2011-2013): Construction of the underground repository beneath the courtyard. Re-modelling of the present computer workplaces and a furnishing of a fully-fledged basement and mezzanine, where an environment for study will be developed providing working space for groups and multimedia.
  • Phase 2 (2013-2016): Restoration of the tower (above and below ground level), façade included. Furnishing of the Belvedère.
  • Phase 3 (2013-2016): Restoration of the reading rooms (main reading room, periodicals reading room, map room and manuscript reading room). Repair of all exteriors and re-laying-out of the courtyard.
  • Phase 4 (2016-2019): Furnishing of a reader’s café and the HIKO wing with auditoria.
  • Phase 5 (2016-2019): Furnishing of library personnel offices and construction of a bicycle shelter.

Like a true modernist architect, Henry van de Velde designed every possible detail for the interior: furniture, window frames, floor patterns. My impressions of the building:

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This renovation is truely a renovation 2.0 project, you can find small features on vimeo. Be sure to watch the first episode:

And mark 2020 in your calendar for a visit to the newly restored tower!

Street address
Rozier 9, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Want to read more?
Visit the official site of the university of Ghent.
You can follow the restoration on Facebook.