The building is located in the market square of small Dutch town Schijndel, where MVRDVpartner Winy Maas grew up. The town suffered damages during World War II, and Maas has been campaigning since the 1980s to replace a destroyed structure in the space between the church and the town hall.
Thirty years and six failed proposals later, the architects and the town council agreed to develop the site within the traditional building envelope specified by the town planners.
MVRDV reinterpreted this volume in glass, then compiled photographs of traditional http://www.zinensis.com farmhouses by artist Frank van der Salm and created a collage of images to apply to each surface of the facade. Using a fritting technique the architects were able to print the images straight onto the glass, creating the illusion of brick walls and a thatched roof.
The building is out of scale with the original farmhouses, so it appears to be two storeys high rather than three, while visible doors measure at a height of around four metres.
“When adults interact with the building, they can experience toddler size again, possibly adding an element of nostalgic remembrance to their reception of the building,” say the architects.
The actual windows and doors don’t line up with the printed images, so entrances look like they pass through brick walls and windows appear as semi-transparent blobs.
Above: photograph is by Jeroen Musch
The architects explain that the building is “more or less translucent” and at night it is illuminated from the inside to appear as a glowing presence in the square.
Named Glass House, the building contains shops, restaurants, offices and a health centre.