Genieloods Design Competition

Genieloods Design Competition, Kunstfort by Vijfhuizen Amsterdam, Architect, CO-OB Holland

Genieloods International Design Competition, Amsterdam

Building, Kunstfort by Vijfhuizen, The Netherlands – design by CO-OB

18 May 2010

Genieloods Design Competition

1st prize – CO-OB

Fortwachter 1, 2141 EE Vijfhuizen, Netherlands

+31 23 558 9013

Location: Kunstfort by Vijfhuizen, near Haarlem, west of Amsterdam

Centre for Contemporary Art

The Genieloods is a military barrack located close to Schiphol and Amsterdam. The barrack is going to be reused as a centre for contemporary art. The organisers received over one hundred international entries.

Genieloods Building Genieloods Building Genieloods Building

Genieloods International Design Competition

CO-OB, a collaboration between Amsterdam based practices Paulien Bremmer Architects and Office Jarrik Ouburg wins the Genieloods International Design Competition.

The subject of the design competition was the reuse of the historic military engineers barrack “Genieloods” into a centre for contemporary art. The barrack is located on the premises of the fortress and art centre Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen in The Netherlands. The fortress is part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam, a complex of fortresses, dikes, locks and other structures in a large circle around the capital and inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The Genieloods dates from 1896. The steel frame of the barrack is clad with one single layer of corrugated iron sheets. This results in an indoor climate that is unsuitable for expositions: in summer it is extremely hot and in winter very cold.

Due to the fact that any alteration to a building with monumental status has to be reversible, the architects propose to clad the interior of the barrack with curtains made of light weight space blankets. The reflecting qualities of this NASA-developed material will keep the heat out in summer and in winter keep the warmth produced by floor heating in. During in between seasons when the indoor climate is comfortable, the curtains will be mechanically rolled-up revealing the original interior of the barrack again.

The mirroring qualities of the material will transform the narrow barrack into an optically infinite space, making the art visible from the front, back and top. Natural light will be reflected in countless ways creating good lighting conditions to exhibit art.The new exhibition space will be in sharp contrast with the dark exhibition spaces in the bunkers of the fortress itself.

Genieloods Building Genieloods Building Genieloods Building

Comments by the jury:
Modest on the outside yet ingenious on the inside, the design intrigued the jury by reconciling the two extremes that are contained in “Genie”, the Dutch word for military engineer:Ge-nie (noun): 1.army unit responsible for all military engineering 2.extraordinary talent.
The design shows on one hand great care toward the military heritage of the barrack. The simplicity of the design exposes the original construction in a bold and aesthetic way, and enhances the functional characteristics of the building. On the other hand, the winning team of architects exceeds the competition brief by creating an interior decor that is hardly inferior to Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors and is an intelligent, advancing, environmentally friendly, sustainable and affordable design and climate management.

Genieloods Centre for Contemporary Art – Building Information

Client: Kunstfort by Vijfhuizen, The Netherlands
Architecture: CO-OB (Paulien Bemmer Architects, Office Jarrik Ouburg)
Structure, building physics: CC-Studio

Jarrik Ouburg and Paulien Bremmer

Genieloods Design Competition images / information from Jarrik Ouburg, architect


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Genieloods Design Competition – page