The Rietveld Landscape: Like Bunkers Sinking in Verdant Quicksand

The Rietveld Landscape

The Rietveld Landscape

The Rietveld Landscape

Not all architecture is above ground. Architecture can happen under the dirt and pavement, or even throughout its pliable surface. This week, we’re looking at recent work by architects who use the ground to achieve different effects.

We start in the Netherlands with work from a firm we’ve talked about a few times before, Rietveld Landscape. These are the same folks who filled a pavilion with blue foam buildings for the Venice Biennale and the same firm who cut a concrete bunker in half with the help of Atelier de Lyon. The two firms have teamed up again to tackle another former military site.

This time, the concrete bunkers stay intact and it is the ground that is cut and shaped. While the ground is moulded into an amphitheater infront of a new “fort” (designed and built by these guys) some of the former concrete bunkers find themselves submerged in the lawn as if they were sinking in a kind of verdant quicksand. It’s probably more correct to think of these bunkers as being partially excavated instead of sinking. This is, after all, a Dutch historic site and there’s probably plenty of stuff hiding below the sculpted surface of the earth. Thanks to Rietveld and the Atelier, visitors to the site can interact with the former barracks in two ways distinct ways. For the tourists, the ground has become an expansive piece of grassy furniture, and for the history buffs the ground reveals and frames fragments of a fortified past.

Bobby Solomon

November 12, 2012 / By