Compact Urban Ensemble
The commission for the Architecture Institute – after a competition that was limited to six firms – marked the start of Coenen's international recognition.
The institute is conceived as an ensemble of relatively autonomous architectural elements, which are above all important as a whole. They transform what used to be an amorphous gap in the city into a piece of compact, significant urban design.
The institute comprises four main components with different functions:
- the banana-shaped concrete archive building as a new wall for the south side of Rochussenstraat 2. a box-shaped, brick-covered exhibition hall as a pendant to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen opposite
- a transparent (glass and steel) block on a series of columns for the library and administration, overhung by an enormous steel canopy that turns it into a landmark
- a socle (concrete in combination with glass and glass bricks) that accommodates a café and lecture room as well as placing the NAi on a pedestal. The moat and bridge over it make an essential contribution to the monumental quality of this complex.