A fortress along Holland’s coast was transformed by Emma Architecten in a new spiraled pavilion and a coffee shop. It can also host educational and social events such as weddings or corporate events.
Classified as a World Heritage Site, Fort Diemerdam is one of the few coastal fortifications along the Stelling of Amsterdam, constructed in the late nineteenth century. The pavilion was built over the plot of the old soldier’s shelter and its design inspired from the surrounding landscape. The undulating curves suggest a timeless style and the visitor cannot identify any elements that would help him position this design in the future or in the past:
“To do this, the building had to have little or no reference to architectural elements. A window or a door usually depicts a specific age of architectural thinking, which would make it easy to pinpoint the year of its creation. Instead, the building comes forth from the landscape.”
The miniature fort was designed so that it wouldn’t only revitalize the site but also attract more tourists. It was adapted to the present while, at the same time, echoing the military history of the country. There are three levels, two of them being located above ground. The safety of the barracks that once existed is suggested by the level difference at the entry point, the floor being sunken 60 centimeters.
The structure that supports the exterior timber craft is light, made out of steel. The floors suggest the precarious conditions in which the soldiers lived, given that the concrete is left unfinished, only polished. The openings that seem to cut through the timber shell offer glimpses of the historical monuments nearby. The glass walls expose the interior and make it look like the building is lifted off the ground and makes you wonder how exactly is it standing and not rolling over.
„Fort Diemerdam is part of the “Stelling of Amsterdam’. This historical defence line was recently put on the UNESCO world heritage list. This ignited a re-development plan for Fort Diemerdam to make it accessible to visitors, tourists and those interested. The existing bunkers and fortress guardian house have been restored. The original plan of slopes and strongholds is restored and a nature conservation program has started. Emma architects has designed a new pavilion in which and from which puur produkties revives the fortress again with events, tours and catering. Paviljoen Puur can be exclusively reserved for corporate and private events such as product presentations, meetings, corporate events and weddings. On Sunday and in the summer Paviljoen Puur is a place where everyone feels at home: young and old can enjoy indoor and outdoor atmospheric seasonal meals, tastings and a cultural program with theater and music. Paviljoen Puur is located on the exact site of a former soldiers shelter. The footprint of this shelter was taken as the basis for the pavilion. Around its base a wooden wall curves up to protect the site and encompass the program. The design is inspired by the undulating forms of the slopes and the surrounding landscape. Openings in the sloping wall give views of the gun bays, a terrace and the direction of the island Pampus, the next fortress of defense line”.
A very honest structure that symbolizes and expresses the past in a very stylish and modern way, allowing us to get a sense of how things used to be.
All images courtesy of Emma Architecten and John Van Helvert