KAAN architecten adds floating visitor center to netherlands american cemetery

KAAN architecten adds floating visitor center to netherlands american cemetery

honoring history and landscape in the netherlands

 

Commissioned by the American Battle Monuments Commission, KAAN Architecten has unveiled the newly completed Visitor Center at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten. Sited in Limburg’s Heuvelland, the work pays homage to the monumental atmosphere of the site while fostering awareness of the enduring impact of World War II. The Netherlands American Cemetery, initiated in 2018, provided the backdrop for the new visitor center. Respectful of the 2018-initiated cemetery‘s original plan, the architects strategically isolated the building to preserve the site’s peaceful atmosphere. The integration was further enriched by the landscape architecture of Karres en Brands, ensuring an harmonious integration blend with the surrounding environment.

kaan architecten american cemeteryimages © Simon Menges

 

 

integration into the tranquil american cemetery

 

KAAN Architecten’s Visitor Center not only serves its functional purpose but also becomes an integral part of the entire American Cemetery. To achieve this, the architects created an entry plaza with stone seating, claiming its space within the landscaped Burial Field and Court of Honor. The design achieves an harmonious balance between the new structure and the greater ensemble. Recessed into the landscape by Karres en Brands, the plaza and pathway gently slope downward, leading visitors to the protective canopy of the Visitor Center. The concrete fascia, floating above the ground, defies scale perception, while interior design elements such as light slits and rounded corners enhance spaciousness. Glass walls provide a panoramic view, allowing contemplation of the surrounding topography and trees from a lower vantage point.

kaan architecten american cemetery
KAAN Architecten’s Visitor Center in Margraten pays respectful tribute to the only American Cemetery on Dutch soil

 

 

the floating fascia by kaan architecten

 

Sunken into the sloping landscape of the American Cemetery, KAAN Architecten nestles the floor of its Visitor Center below ground level to offer a unique perspective through glass walls. The juxtaposition of the concrete fascia and the landscape creates a visually captivating experience, highlighting the careful consideration given to the integration of architecture and nature. At the center of the structure lies a 12×12 meter square supporting the weight of the fascia. Clad in warm American walnut, this square houses an auditorium, service areas, and restrooms. The exterior walls provide exhibition space featuring original artifacts and personal stories, inviting visitors to reflect on the reality and sacrifice of war and contemplate the lessons of the past.

kaan architecten american cemetery
the strategically positioned building camouflages into the landscape, preserving the cemetery’s serene ambiance kaan architecten american cemetery
the Visitor Center becomes an integral part of the larger monuments on the site KAAN architecten adds floating visitor center to netherlands american cemetery
a descending path leads visitors to the protective canopy, where a floating concrete fascia defies scale perception

KAAN-architecten-netherlands-american-cemetery-visitor-center-designboom-06a

sunken into the landscape, the building’s glass walls offer a unique perspective

KAAN architecten adds floating visitor center to netherlands american cemetery
auditorium, service areas, and restrooms are surrounded by exhibition space with war artifacts and personal stories

KAAN-architecten-netherlands-american-cemetery-visitor-center-designboom-08a

the design fosters learning and reflection, providing a special place for visitors amid surrounding landscape

 

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project info:

 

project title: American Cemetery Visitor Center

architecture: KAAN Architecten | @kaanarchitecten

location: Amerikaanse Begraafplaats 1, 6269, Netherlands, Margraten

lead architects: Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio

project team: Rita Alessio, Alessandro Arcangeli, Bas Barendse, Alice Colombo, Thomas Hagemeijer, Kees Kaan, Adam Kelly, Nicki van Loon, Edoardo Mancini, Alexis Oh, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio, Frane Stancic

client: American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)

ground floor area: 600 square meters

completion: 2023

photography: © Simon Menges

 

landscape designer: Karres en Brands landschapsarchitecten B.V., Hilversum

structural designer and supervisor: Pieters Bouwtechniek, Delft

civil designer, supervisor: Smits Rinsma, Zutphen

mechanical, electrical designer and supervisor: HP Engineers, Gent

building physics supervisor: DGMR, The Hague

fire safety engineer: DGMR, The Hague

acoustics advisor: DGMR, The Hague

building costs advisor: B3 Bouwadviseurs, Wassenaar

site coordination supervisor: INEX Architecten, Maastricht

main contractor: Groep Van Roey, Rijkevorsel

structural engineer: DeClerk & Partners, Waregem
structural engineer contractor: C.T. de Boer, Nieuwegein

mechanical engineer: Deltha, Diepenbeek

electrical engineer: Maris, Heusden-Zolder

civil engineer: Dirix, Elsloo

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