by Zohra KhanOct 07, 2020
In preparation for the World Horticultural Expo 2022, Almere, a city in the Netherlands, recently welcomed MVRDV’s new design in the façade of the Flores Tower. Taking inspiration from the arboretum, also designed by MVRDV for Floriade Expo 2022, the eye-catching artwork took 1800 images from several different databases and university libraries to create a layered composition, which lays on the tower’s façade.
Designed by Klunder Architecten on behalf of Dura Vermeer and Amvest, the 43.5-metre-tall tower is set to display the complete collection of trees, plants and flowers from the World Horticultural Exposition. The tower is located at the centre of the Floriade site and the artwork on the building vertically summarises the arboretum's planting catalogue: the smaller the plant’s image, the further away it is. The legend is integrated into the plinth of the tower, with the text size and line thickness also pointing to how much further away each plant or tree species is from the tower. In this way, the legend works as a map and as reference work at the same time.
MVRDV co-founder Winy Mass, who is also a member of the Floriade quality team, mentions, “In a competition between artists for the representation of the arboretum, Alex Verhaest came up with the idea of the summary panorama. We then systematically linked that to the arboretum. Like librarians in the mould of a contemporary Alexander von Humboldt, we have converted 1,800 species into images, a truly painstaking job. Alex's artistic signature then yields this picturesque total work of art”.
The artwork has been given the name Sympoiesis, which is in reference to the stellar work done by American Sociologist Donna Haraway, where she advocates a symbiosis between man and nature.
The Flores Tower is not only an aesthetically pleasing structure, but has a dual purpose to serve the city in the long run. The tower will be primarily used as a hub during the Floriade Expo, with catering establishments, shops and a first aid point on the ground floor, while a restaurant and viewing point on the top floor.
Post the Floriade Expo, it will function as an apartment building with 80 rental homes, and will also have the captivating panoramic work preserved. After the Expo in 2022, the surrounding site will be further developed into a green and sustainable residential area known as Hortus, following Dura Vermeer and Amvest’s vision for a new municipal area.
Name: Flores Tower Façade
Location: Almere, The Netherlands
Client: Gemeente Almere
Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas
Director: Gideon Maasland
Design Team: Sanne van der Burgh, Leo Stuckardt, Boudewijn Thomas, Yayun Liu, Cas Esbach
Building Architect: Klunder Architecten
Contractor: Dura Vermeer
Landscape Architect: ZUS
(Text by Shreeparna Chatterjee, editorial trainee at stirworld.com)