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Temporary Museum (Lake) by Anne Holtrop, Heemskerk, The Netherlands

Inspired by Dada artist Jean Arp, Anne Holtrop began the design process for this temporary space with a series of spatial sketches through which he intended to ‘discover form’. Photography by Bas Princen

Temporary Museum (Lake) is a curvaceous form set at the end of a meandering path in a nature reserve north-west of Amsterdam. Like the ephemeral transitions of the autumnal season it inhabits, the gallery, which opened on 15 August, has a lifespan of only six weeks.

Having admired Dutch architect Anne Holtrop’s first completed project, Trail House (another temporary space), the exhibition’s curator Jaap Velserboer gave the architect creative freedom for his second built work. Inspired by the automatic drawings of Dada artist Jean Arp - in which the hand is allowed to move instinctively across the paper - Holtrop began the design process with spatial sketches through which he intended to ‘discover form’.

This led to a fluid organic outline that ‘hints at the idea of a landscape element - the lake - but is not taken literally’. The resulting shape generated a plan form, which was extruded upwards to create a single-storey enclosure, open to the elements in parts. With a budget of only 25,000 euros (£21,000), the structure uses a simple construction sheathed in laminated poplar.

The temporary museum houses single works from four artists - Renie Spoelstra, Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky, Driessens & Verstappen and Sjoerd Buisman - who variously interpreted the landscape theme. The charcoal drawing by Spoelstra, for example, is specifically connected to the structure and surroundings; the artwork’s size mirrors the opening opposite it, while its content is an image of the scene viewed through that aperture.

Three further openings establish a relationship between inside and outside, framing the artificial fabric-like folds of timber or the gentler rendering of nature itself. Described by Holtrop as an ‘abstract architecture’, the design is halfway between building and model. ‘There is never a point in which you can consider the form in its entirety, either inside or out,’ says Holtrop, ‘so the experience of the building is always relational, and not the experience of an absolute whole.’

Architect Studio Anne Holtrop, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Project team Anne Holtrop, Akira Negishi
Contractor Art Assistance Amsterdam

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