Wiel Arets Architects

Academy of Art & Architecture . Maastricht

Wiel Arets Architects . photos: Jan Bitter . more: archdaily

Conceived as an extension to the existing Rijkshogeschool, The Maastricht Academy of Art & Architecture provides new spaces for the school of visual arts and architectural design. The building is an incision into the body of the city, an entirely new and foreign organism invading its urban context; a process akin to the operation of a virus. Yet it is set in a discreet, almost camouflaged relation to the city, providing an enclosed public space that achieves an intimate and secluded condition from the main areas of urban activity.

The project includes the renewal of the existing Academy for the Arts, together with the extension affected by two buildings. Adjacent to the old building is the new structure that contains the auditorium, the library, an exhibition room, a bar and a roof garden. The connecting footbridge with translucent glass brick floor and ceiling leads one through the treetops into the workshop building that accommodates wood and steel workshops.

To follow Kenneth Frampton’s interpretation, this element recalls the design of the Dessau Bauhaus, spanning between the two volumes of the workshop and the four-storey public core.

To encourage a continuous dialogue, the design dwelt more on creating an environment that would be conducive to social interaction among the users of the building. This is affected through the circulation system, which dominates the plan. There is only one entrance to the entire complex, and only one ramp leading into the newly constructed auditorium, library, and bar. The aerial bridge through the treetops is also the only linkage to the other part of the extension.  The adjoining patio is designed as a sculpture garden. Both students and professors are made to walk along the same route through the different faculties: Architecture, Fashion, Painting and Sculpture. The entire complex becomes an environment for continuous communication between students and professors.

Architects: Wiel Arets Architects
Location: Maastricht, The Netherlands
Project Year: 1993
Photographs: Jan Bitter

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