Dutch firm 70F architecture has designed a beautiful, barn-inspired visitor center in the Netherlands that “breathes” thanks to nine movable sections that open up the facade in the morning and close it at night. The Hof van Duivenvoorde Center welcomes visitors to the Duivenvoorde Castle and Estate, offering a light-filled restaurant and information center with an innovative, changeable window system engineered by the architects themselves.
The Duivenvoorde Foundation requested a simple building that would blend into the surroundings – the castle grounds have an expansive lawn and plenty of green areas – as well as provide a comfortable place where visitors can relax. Keeping the natural landscape in mind, the architects created an understated building with an elongated form and vertical slats that evoke a typical, rustic barn design. The movable panels signal that the building is open for visitors during park hours, but at closing time, they lower back down and the center virtually disappears into the surrounding environment.
The movable panels cover glass windows and slide upwards with the help of an innovative engineering system created by Bas ten Brinke, founder of 70F architecture. Once the panels have lifted, natural light floods the center’s interior, which, at 6 by 30 meters, is relatively small. The large windows both enhance this space and provide a natural ventilation system throughout.
The visitor center houses a restaurant and museum shop, as well as space for the volunteers who give guided tours of the estate. The architects decided to forgo any type of separation between the different areas in order to give the interior an open, airy feel. Out back, a large garden wall provides shade during the warm summer months. And, finally, an open-air patio provides the perfect opportunity to sit back and enjoy the surrounding nature.
Images by Luuk Kramer