John Körmeling (Netherlands)

Amsterdam, 1951

Artiesteningang

John Körmeling occupies the no man’s land between architecture and art.

Körmeling worked with Moker contractors to construct a pavilion that serves as a public entrance at the tip of the recent east extension by Middelheimlaan and Lindendreef. Tongue firmly in cheek, he gave it the name Artiesteningang (Artists’ Entrance).

Körmeling approaches architecture and art in an unorthodox way. Like his Belgian counterpart Luc Deleu, the Dutchman practises a kind of ‘conceptual’ architecture that consistently probes the limits of thinking in spatial planning, urbanism and architecture.

The way he develops, formulates and documents his proposals testifies to a consistent and healthy dose of humour and irony. The white, multi-purpose structure looks simultaneously futuristic and retro. The three slender pillars rise up into a three-fold, mushroom-shaped canopy, inspired by Fifties petrol stations. They also evoke associations with natural sources of inspiration. Körmeling calls it ‘a type of flower’ that reflects the odd forms of the Middelheim park, laid out in the English landscape style.

The undulating ensemble consists of a steel skeleton clad in poured concrete. It stands on a contrasting red plinth, which bathes the overall structure in a red glow. The small glass structure at the centre can be used as a bar, but also for exhibiting smaller works of art.

The names of artists whose work is represented in the museum are incorporated in the canopy. Körmeling often inscribes his buildings in this way, including the T-huis (2002) in Breda. Artists’ Entrance functions on a variety of levels. It is an eye-catching structure that highlights the museum’s new entrance, it provides visitors with shelter and can even accommodate art works. Above all, though, it is a flamboyant sculpture in its own right, nestled comfortably between nature and architecture.

Location

Number 54 on the map

Specifications

  • Artiesteningang
  • 2004-2012
  • h 485 cm x ø 2300 cm
  • Concrete, metal, glass
  • MIDW542