Foto Vrijdag: Dutch Architecture

I love walking through the old city center, because you can always find an interesting building to admire, be it more modern or more traditional, or maybe something in between. As we were walking to the Streekmarkt Sunday, we took a slightly different route than normal and came across this lovely building from 1895. I love the warmth and crispness of the combination of the brick and white detailing, and the whimsical bits of detail add to the charm of the building. The modified stairstep facade is typical of this part of the world. Add in a beautiful blue sky and it’s hard not to stop and admire such a building.

Inside the Inktpot

Grand Hallway
This post is heavy on pictures, light on history. Plus, I think I covered most of the pertinent information about the building last week when I posted about the special opening of the building to the public. On the outside, it looks like a massive, dark behemoth of a building, and inside, you still get that feeling with the dark hallways and ever-present brick.
Repeating Patterns
It’s a bit like a cross between a castle dungeon and some of the oppressive-yet-fanciful buildings seen in films like Brazil or Metropolis. Of course, the comparison with Metropolis isn’t such a stretch, since both the film and the building are connected with German Expressionism. It was easy to imagine workers moving in ordered, quick procession through the hallways, perhaps with the sound of chugging trains overlaid. After all, this building has been used for ProRail offices. Still, if you make a wrong turn or misbehave, you may find yourself disappearing down a darkened staircase, twisting and turning.
Curves and Corners
You may even end up wrapped in heavy chains!
Still, there always seemed to be some light at the end of the tunnel.
There was even light at the top of the tallest tower.
Top of the Tower
And throughout the building, there were beautiful windows set back in their brick niches.


Decorative Details

Stained Glass
And the brick, itself, was often quite beautiful with different colors of glazes that helped to create subtle but attractive patterns.
Brick Detail
From the looks of things, it also seems to be only the hallways and staircases that are so dark and heavy. The offices all looked quite spacious and bright.
Light Offices
It’s a stylish building, with attractive furnishings throughout, as well as the cheerful orange carpet that suits the walls so well.
It’s an imposing building and certainly isn’t bound to be everyone’s taste, but I couldn’t help falling in love with it a bit. It’s a monstrous beauty.
Dizzying Heights
The full set of photos can be seen in my Inktpot Flickr set.

Inktpot Teaser

The Day the Earth Stood Still
We went to the Inktpot today, as part of the national lead-up to the official Open Monument Day in September. Between now and then, a different monument will be open each month (week?) throughout the country as a bit of a teaser to the main event. Utrecht kicked things off with the opening of the ProRail head offices, which are housed in the building known as the Inktpot because of the shape of it (notice the main tower in the center). The UFO was a leftover from an art installation back in 2000 and has become just as recognizable a landmark.
Office Number
The building is a mass of bricks and quite heavy in appearance, but it’s full of little decorative details that make it surprisingly interesting and attractive. I really enjoyed visiting the building and seeing things like these office numbers, done in a stylish font and placed on the ground.
There were a couple of towers that were pretty impressive, as they rose, brick after brick, sometimes as high as 25 meters. I’ve got more photos to upload to Flickr. Until I do, these will give you a taste of things to come. I’ll end on a high note, with a view looking up the main tower to the skylight at the top.
25 Meters Up