2.7.2020

The amazing whale jaw: Bus Station in Hoofddorp

At the beginning of the year 2003 a bus station was built on the forecourt of Hoofddorp’s Spaarne Hospital.

This facilities block is located in the middle of a square and is a public area in the form of an island that serves as a junction for the local bus service. The design of this kind of building is generally neutral, but here the aim was to create a strong, individual image that was less austere and generic. Hence, the building was designed in the tradition of Oscar Niemeyer as a cross between white modernism and black Baroque.

The building is completely made of polystyrene foam and polyester and is, as such, the world’s largest structure in synthetic materials (50m x 10m x 5m). The available budget meant that it could never have been created using conventional construction methods.

People often wonder about the building’s shape and what it represents, and there are a number of possible answers. A correct answer in architectural terms is that it can be viewed as a large boulder that has been worn away by footsteps and sight lines. A correct answer in philosophical terms is that it can be regarded as a form that has not been pored over but which simply allowed itself to be discovered. A correct answer in terms of the designing process is that it can also be explained as a product of this process, which in this case was somewhat intuitive because of the unfamiliar technical terrain in which everyone had to operate. All these answers are simultaneously correct and irrelevant. Like the white face of a geisha, every opinion and image can be projected onto the building and it has no answers of its own.

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