Dezeen Magazine

Monadnock's Abstract Tower features patterned walls of red and green brickwork

Rotterdam studio Monadnock used a variety of brickwork techniques to create the patterned facade of this viewing tower, designed to offer a new landmark for the small Dutch town of Nieuw-Bergen.

Abstract Tower by Monadnock

Named Landmark Nieuw Bergen, but also known as the Abstract Tower, the building's brick walls feature contrasting tones of red and green, as well as extruded elements, arches and perforations.

Monadnock's aim was to create an eye-catching centrepiece for the village's market square, visible from a distance and offering enough space inside to house a bar or cafe.

Abstract Tower by Monadnock

"The intention of the design is to be optimistic and approachable; it aims to be accessible and touchable," said the design team.

"To achieve this, the building is conceived as a small object, abstract from a distance and intimate upon closer inspection."

To create the two-tone effect, the majority of the red clay bricks are coated with a cement wash that gives them a pale mint-green colour. The bricks left uncoloured highlight the Brazilian-style brick bond chosen, creating a pattern of small crosses in select areas.

Abstract Tower by Monadnock

Protruding bricks divide the front and rear facades up into grids of eight bays. Each bay contains either a window or a door, or otherwise the shape of one created in patterned brickwork.

To contrast the brick tones, the doors and windows were built using golden aluminium.

The perforated brickwork features on the tower element, adding another layer of pattern. At night, light shines though the holes to transform the structure into a glowing beacon.

Abstract Tower by Monadnock

"Patterns emerge that scale down the building and simultaneously enliven it," said the architects.

Entrances are located on both sides of the building. Inside, a spiral staircase leads up to the viewing platform at the top of the tower.

Abstract Tower by Monadnock

Landmark Nieuw Bergen was constructed as part of a wider masterplan, aimed at attracting more tourists to the small market town, located near the German border in the province of Limburg.

The architects claim that historic Dutch trade buildings influenced their design.

"These buildings are characterised by their specific proportions and are usually found on market squares in Dutch medieval cities," added the team.

Abstract Tower by Monadnock

"This was instrumental in formulating the ambivalent status of this building: after all, the building is not a church, nor a town hall, but is intended as a representation of the collective."

Monadnock is one of a growing number of emerging design studios based in Rotterdam. According to leading architects, the city is outstripping other European centres as a world-class destination for architectural innovation.

Photography is by Stijn Bollaert.

Project credits:

Architects: Monadnock
Project team: Sandor Naus, Job Floris, Rebecca Aguilera
Client: Concept-NL Project Development
Structural engineer: Bolwerk Wekers
Project manager: Monton
Urbanism: LOS/Stad om Land
Main contractor: Burgtbouw

Abstract Tower by Monadnock
Site plan – click for larger image
Abstract Tower by Monadnock
Plans – click for larger image
Abstract Tower by Monadnock
Section one – click for larger image
Abstract Tower by Monadnock
Section two – click for larger image