Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape


Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape

Venice Architecture Biennale 2010: a blue-foam model city is suspended in the top half of the Dutch pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape

Entitled Vacant NL, the installation curated by Rietveld Landscape aims to highlight the potential of temporarily vacant government space for use by creative enterprises.

Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape

Visitors enter on the empty ground floor while the models are suspended on wires overhead.

Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape

Ascending to the mezzanine reveals the cityscape from above and a drawing created with threads and pins.

Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape

See all our stories about Venice Architecture Biennale 2010»

Top image is copyright Rob 't Hart.

Here's some more information from the Netherlands Architecture Institute:

Thousands of buildings in the Netherlands lie vacant. Some of them for a week or a few months, many even for years. During the twelfth Venice Architecture Biennale, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) and Rietveld Landscape will highlight the huge potential of all that temporarily unoccupied space in making the Netherlands one of the top-five knowledge economies in the world. The exhibition Vacant NL, where architecture meets ideas is a call for the intelligent reuse of temporarily vacant buildings around the world in promoting creative enterprise. The Venice Architecture Biennale takes place from 29 August 29 to 21 November 2010.

Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape

Built in 1954, the Dutch Pavilion on the biennale grounds in Venice has been empty for over 39 years. After all, it is in use for just three months each year. That makes it one of the thousands of unoccupied government buildings on Dutch soil. Rietveld Landscape, the office appointed by the NAI to curate the Dutch presentation in Venice, decided to emphasize the vacancy of the pavilion during the architecture biennale. The experience of the empty space will sink into visitors, and only then will they discover the hidden installation.

Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape

Vacant NL, where architecture meets ideas is not only an appeal to creative talents to exploit the value hidden in society but also unsolicited advice to countries who want to advance up the table of global knowledge economies but don’t know where they can find the hidden strengths. The transition to a creative knowledge economy demands specific spatial conditions. Offering young talents from the creative, technology and science sectors an affordable place where they can share their knowledge, creativity and networks is a way of promoting mutual influences, enterprise and innovation. Vacant NL, where architecture meets ideas shows how architecture can contribute to tackling major social problems. The exhibition is therefore fully in line with the NAI innovation agenda called Architecture of Consequence.

Vacant NL by Rietveld Landscape

Project team

Curator Rietveld Landscape worked with a multidisciplinary team on the exhibition design. The team consists of Jurgen Bey (designer), Joost Grootens (graphic designer), Ronald Rietveld (landscape architect), Erik Rietveld (philosopher/economist), Saskia van Stein (NAI curator), Barbara Visser (visual artist).

Twelfth edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale

This year the artistic direction of the Venice Architecture Biennale is in the hands of the Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima (SANAA). The overarching theme is People meet in architecture, in which Sejima raises the question of the quality of architecture in relation to society.

The Dutch entry will be presented by the Netherlands Architecture Institute on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

See also:


Canadian pavilion
by Philip Beesley
Villa Frankenstein by
muf architecture/art
Polish pavilion
at Venice 2010

Posted on Tuesday August 31st 2010 at 3:47 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • mmm

    nice! both in content and in exhibition technique

  • The city shouldn't have been green rather than blue? May be there's a green one in the underground floor.

  • Nico

    I saw the installation last saturday! ABSOLUTELY AMAZING :)))) I love NL

  • Kristen

    I love how they treat the ceiling. Buildings on top of us.

  • LOW

    That is a thing of beauty

  • I just came from seeing this yesterday…they really put on evidence the solution to a local problem, very simple and effective, with a real relevence of it´s present reallity…and most important, all this in accordance to the NL political aim. Congratulations again!

  • Frank

    Looks beautiful and a great concept, but as someone who has worked a lot with foam cutters I'm disappointed they would use this material at this scale. The amount of non-biodegradable foam used for this exhibit has to be phenomenal, probably as much as a large house if not more. (There is more thrown out than exhibited, trust me.) Architects need not abandon the use of foam cutters, but we need to face the hard truth that this stuff ends up as non-decomposing landfill. We need to find a green alternative.

  • Meanwhile, Squatting of vacant buildings in the Netherlands was illegalized on 1 October 2010 after 40 years of legal rights to housing in buildings empty for at least one year. Ironic, and sad, that conservatives have deemed the right to ownership is greater than the right to housing.

    • thank god they did re-illegalize squatting again – about time too imo!

  • Maria Lewis

    That’s really something extraordinary. It’s like thinking out of the box and producing this kind of excellent stuff in front of everybody. Really very impressive.