High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

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High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Unmodern Architecture in the Netherlands
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Unmodern Architecture in the Netherlands

(Hans Ibelings) The Low Countries - 2005, № 13, pp. 246-250

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Almost unnoticed among the controversial projects and ideas from firms such as Rem Koolhaas's Office for Metropolitan Architecture, MVRDV and UN Studio, a completely new style of architecture has evolved in the Netherlands in recent years: a contemporary traditionalism that can best be described as ‘unmodern'. Characteristic of most of Dutch ‘unmodern' architects is that they regard adherence to a particular style as a constraint rather than a positive quality. Contemporary traditionalism in the Netherlands also cannot be considered in isolation from changes in the Dutch housebuilding sector, which has become increasingly oriented towards the demands of the market. But while traditionalism undeniably answers the wishes of a mass market, its practitioners are regarded by their peers as rather non-conformist. In the past it was considered radical to break with tradition. In the course of the twentieth century, however, innovation became the norm to such an extent that it became a new tradition.

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