A trip down memory lane is the intention behind inventive practice MVRDV’s latest creation: Glass Farm in Schijndel. Now complete, this design was the firm’s 7th proposal for a large market square in the town of Schijndel, and creates a public building situated between the church, town hall and the main street.
Drawing on traditional Schijndel farmhouse design, MVRDV worked with Frank van der Salm to print photographs taken by the artist of historic farm buildings onto a glass façade which forms the exterior of the 1,600 sq m volume.
The images were printed onto the façade using a fritted procedure and the result is a hybrid of cutting edge product technology and a conventional architectural style, offering a contemporary alternative to the traditional farmhouse aesthetic.
Of the local reactions to their Glass Farm scheme MVRDV explained: “The villagers engaged vividly with the process, resulting in heated debates, polls and polemics in the local press - both by supporters and adversaries of the plan.”
The scale of the Glass Farm is 1.6 times larger than the traditional Schijndel farmhouse but intentionally so, as MVRDV are hoping to inspire nostalgia in the adult visitors to the building. Plans for an equally-scaled table and swing in the external vicinity are also on the cards so that each visiting adult is ‘once again the size of a small child’. This expanded form is also said to symbolise ‘the village’s growth into a town’.
Encompassing restaurants, shops and a wellness centre, the building may take the appearance of a historic farm building but it is actually a commercial and cultural centre for the town. At night the complex is lit from within and becomes a shining beacon for the community with its intriguing façade giving the appearance of the stained glass more regularly found in spiritual architecture.
MVRDV designed the building for RemBrand developers, a combination of Van Den Brand Real Estate and Remmers Construction Group, together with Hooijen Engineers, IOC Ridderkerk for installations, Brakel Atmos for the facade and AGC for the printed glass.