Early 2003 a busstation was completed on the forecourt of the Spaarne Ziekenhuis in Hoofddorp. This facilities building stands in the middle of a public square, a common space shaped like an island, serving as an intersection for the local public transit.
address: Voorplein Spaarne Ziekenhuis, Hoofddorp, HOLLAND
design: NIO architecten
client: Schiphol Project Consult
contractor: Ooms Bouwmaatschappij
structural engineer: Ingenieursbureau Zonneveld & Engiplast
design team: Henk Bultstra, Mirjam Galjé, Hans Larsen, Maurice Nio, Jaakko van ‘t Spijker
start design: 1999
costs: € 1.000.000
area: 330 m2
Customarily, these types of buildings have a neutral design. In order to give the bus transit’s image it’s own, singular presence – less protestant and generic than usual – a building was designed in the tradition of Oscar Niemeyer: crossing luminous modernism with dark baroque.
The building is fashioned completely out of styrofoam and polyester, making it the largest building in the world constructed solely from synthetic materials (50m x 10m x 5m). Using conventional methods this building would have been impossible to realize within the project’s budget.
It is often asked what the building’s shape is supposed to represent. There are various valid responses to this question. One could interpret it as a large boulder, eroded through walking movements and sight lines – this is an architecturally correct response. One could interpret it as a shape not sought with difficulty but found willingly – this is a philosophically correct response. Lastly, one could explain it as a product of the design process, which in this case was found by touch, considering the unfamiliar technical terrain everyone was moving through – this is a correct response in terms of the work process. All these answers are correct and at the same time irrelevant. On this building, like on the white face of a geisha, all interpretations and images can be projected. It will not respond for itself.