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Government Architect Veenstra: ‘Don't build for mediocrity’

The future of the Netherlands? “We cannot afford to build for mediocrity.” That is what government architect Francesco Veenstra said in an interview with Jort Kelder during a meeting about circular and remountable construction, last Tuesday.

demountable construction has a future
The location of the discussion was the Temporary Court of Amsterdam, which will be dismantled as of Wednesday for its move to Kennispark Twente in Enschede. Jort Kelder associated a temporary building with his memory of his old primary school, which was a kind of shack. “A container as temporary housing is a desolate mediocrity that I don't wish on anyone. This, the Temporary Court of Amsterdam, is just the opposite," said Veenstra. The Government Architect is convinced that this way of building, with a fully demountable but high-quality design, is the future. “But the burden of proof now lies with the move,” he comments.

move everything, except cell complexes
“We can finally prove in practice that this concept works”, says Menno Rubbens on behalf of dpcp, a development combination of cepezedprojects and du Prie construction & development. After having served as temporary accommodation for the Amsterdam District Court for five and a half years, due to renovation and new construction work, the building is now being carefully dismantled. Next year it will be reassembled at Kennispark Twente to serve as an educational and business complex at the beginning of 2023. “This is actually not a temporary building, it is a permanent building with a temporary function and a changeable location,” says Rubbens. Almost all parts will be moved, except for the cells or holding areas, as the court calls them. There is no need for this in the new situation. “So if someone is looking for a sturdy garden shed, they can contact us,” Rubbens joked at BNR Ochtendspits on the radio.

lucas van der wee | cepezed
lucas van de wee | cepezed

temporary court in amsterdam
The ‘Tijdelijke Rechtbank Amsterdam’, as the building is called, is the first permanently furnished building in the Netherlands to be completely dismantled, transported, reassembled and given a different function. Lagemaat BV, a specialist in circular dismantling, will carry out all this in collaboration with Groothuis Bouwgroep.
On the occasion of this special moment, an online debate on 'circular and remountable construction in practice' was organized on November 9th, live from this prize-winning building. Inspirator and entrepreneur Jan Willem van de Groep and Arend van de Beek (Lagemaat BV) debated the detachability of buildings. Driving the circular construction economy Jim Teunizen (Alba Concepts) and Menno Rubbens (cepezedprojects and dpcp) debated the social impact of circular real estate.

unscrew first nut
With the start of the dismantling Tuesday afternoon, not only was a milestone reached, the 'loosening of the first nut' was also a first. Louise Attema of the Central Government Real Estate Agency (client of the Temporary Court), Gerd-Jan Jongerman (Lagemaat BV) and Martijn du Prie (du Prie construction & development and dpcp) performed this unique act together.

want to know how this building works?
Architect Ronald Schleurholts and main contractor Menno Rubbens of dpcp explain it in this video.

(text continues below this video)

Leon van Woerkom

Participating in the debates (from left to right):
Arend van de Beek (Lagemaat), Jim Teunizen (Alba Concepts), Menno Rubbens (dpcp) and Jan Willem van de Groep (inspirator). This unique milestone - the inauguration of the dismantling - was celebrated with champagne afterwards.

lucas van der wee | cepezed
lucas van de wee | cepezed