Vloervlakken / Floor slabs

A huge row blew up over the choice of an architect to renovate the Transitorium on the LaVi Site in The Hague, later known as La Resident, when the BNA (the Association of Dutch Architects) joined ranks in opposition to foreign intervention in domestic affairs. The federation even directly requested Graves to relinquish the commission. But the matter lapsed and the unionist uproar fell silent.

An intriguing but less widely publicized detail was the plan to accommodate the Ministry of Culture, famed for its architectural policies, in the building – towering ambitions, behind a facade by the American champion of postmodernism. The remarkable ensuing situation would be that the civil servants inside would toil away at implementing a policy that was itself visually undermined by the building. Skin deep architecture…

Eventually the move failed to take place due to a redrawing of ministerial demarcation lines. The level of discussion about ‘faáade tourism’ has also meanwhile passed its peak.
What was completely missing at the time was any debate about the cultural implications of the floors of the Transitorium that were about to be draped in the proverbial ‘five centimetres of Graves’. Not a word was heard about it. But those floors have a meaning too. They are the platform for the programme.

A Department of Culture: surely a programme that offers material for discussion. This was where the conditions for architectural quality in the Netherlands were to be nurtured. Wouldn’t it have been nice to take a closer look at that aspect for once?

Now it’s possible. The building has been stripped and is ready for its new costume. Before it’s too late, we offer you a final glimpse behind the simulacrum. As though anything were behind it.

Appel blazen. Over engagement in de kunst / Call to order. On engagement in art