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Saltwater Pavilion, Neeltje Jans Zeeland

©Philippe Magnon

Saltwater Pavilion, Neeltje Jans Zeeland, 1997

ONL [Oosterhuis_ Lénárd]
  • Architects

Collaboration, non-standard and “e-motive” design are the three essential conceptual pillars of the ONL Agency, which was among the first to consider the computer tool as essential in the renewal of architectural design and production. According to Oosterhuis, the difference experts taking part in the modelling of the project help to optimize the solutions envisaged, especially in terms of production technique, speed, and construction costs. The agency regards the building as a living body capable of changing form and content: fluid, active and reactive in real time, this latter results from an “e-motive” design, where the designer is the person who imbues the construction with speed and emotion. Be it the multimedia pavilion WEB of North-Holland, the Saltwater Pavilion (1997) or, more recently, the Thematic Pavilion Yeosu (2009), these projects express this desire to encourage the user to become involved in a dialogue which makes architecture a fully-fledged partner. In other respects, in ONL projects, the representation of the project and the organization of its production are intrinsically linked and do away with all water-tightness between design and execution, by way of the direct File to Factory process. This is illustrated by many constructions, one such being the twisted Al Nasser HQ tower in Abu Dhabi (2008-2011), another being the curved façade of the two buildings constructed for the Ekris Company in Utrecht (2007). Lastly, digital design authorizes an organization of forms which is open to the non-standard: based on a single detail, Oosterhuis creates an infinite number of different but genetically related forms (Variomatic houses, 2004; F-zuid, 2007).

A professor of architectural design since 2000 at the University of Technology in Delft, Kas Oosterhuis (1951) started teaching at the Architectural Association in London (1987-1988) before spending a year at the Atelier Theo van Doesburg in Meudon (1988-1989), with the artist and sculptress Ilona Lénárd. Together, in 1998 in Rotterdam, they founded Kas Oosterhuis Architekten, an agency which was renamed oosterhuis.nl in 1998, and has been known as ONL since 2004. With numerous completed and prize-winning projects to his credit, Oosterhuis is also involved in research. At Delft University, he runs Hyperbody, a centre devoted to interactive and non-standard architecture (the iweb is installed in the Web of North Holland structure); he also runs the Protospace Laboratory at the faculty of architecture in Delft; and he gives many lectures on the challenges of digital design and production in the field of architecture.

Nadine Labedad