A commission by the municipality of Heerhugowaard
From classical antiquity until the introduction of the meter, the kilometre and the hectare in 1816, the human body was the ‘measure of things’. Distances and surfaces were expressed in ‘feet’, ‘ellen’, ‘thumbs’ and ‘rods’. One ‘foot’ measured about 30 cm and one ‘rod’ was 12 feet. A ‘morning’ was a piece of land that the farmer could plough in one morning, a distance was expressed in ‘so many hours of going’. Purely physical experiences of space and time in the landscape.
Around 1630 the polder Heer-Huygen-Waert was reclaimed and from the outset the Middenweg formed the central axis of Heerhugowaard. This dead straight line in the polder formed the ruler and yardstick along which the 17th century surveyor could measure plots, ditches and possessions, always in ‘rods’, ‘feet’ and ‘mornings’.
We still use the ‘foot’ as a unit of measurement when we ‘fit’ something. We hardly know the ‘rod’ as unit of measure anymore, but the beautiful coincidence wants a cyclist to travel about 12 feet, so one rod, or 3,70 meter, during one round trip of the bike pedal.
As Middenweg has become a bicycle street it is very fitting to rename the ‘rod’ as an obsolete unit to the 21st century ‘pedal’, a new standard especially for cyclists on Middenweg-Zuid.
This work of art was made possible with financial support from the Mondriaan Fund.
For more information; HUMAN DIMENSIONS.pdf
Here’s a film of ‘the making of’…
4 BRIDGES FOR HOUTHAVEN / ERIDANOS
In collaboration with Verburg Hoogendijk Architekten and Parklaan Landscape Architects commissioned by the City of Amsterdam
Bridge no.276, built in 1930 by architect Piet Kramer, spanned the Oostertoegang near Amsterdam Central Station, but had to make way for the construction of the IJtram at the beginning of this century.
Despite the robust functionality of the four lifting towers, the expressionistic imagery of the Amsterdam School can be heard in a subtle way. The reconstruction of this bridge as Gevlebrug in Houthaven connects the architecture of the Spaarndammerbuurt with the functionality of post-industrial Houthaven.
This sets the tone for us; the 14 newly built bridges for Houthaven should combine sober functionality with a stylish design with an eye for detail, materiality, intimacy and atmosphere.
Inspired by the typology of the classic Kramer bridges, we are making ornaments on the heads of the pillars. Inspired by the decorations of sculptor Hildo Krop, with whom Kramer often collaborated, these are like the logical continuation of the formal language of the pillars faceted objects.
ERIDANOS (Amber River) is the mythological name of a river that used to be in the area of today’s Baltic Sea. Amber is fossilized resin that was ‘bled’ from the trunks of conifers millions of years ago. The conifers grew mainly in the area of the Baltic Sea and the Baltic Sea. It is quite conceivable that during the Saaliën (the penultimate ice age) amber with the advancing land ice moved from the Baltic Sea region to the southwest. At that time, the boundary of the land ice ran, translated to the current topography, up to the line Haarlem-Nijmegen. This means that the land ice near Amsterdam also deposited pieces of amber in the soil.
Solid glass objects on the heads of the pillars, produced by glass studio Tetterode in Amsterdam, evoke the association with ice, permafrost. The quality of the glass is crystalline, literally ‘crystal clear’ and has no colour of its own. In the objects are amber-coloured objects, encased in the solid glass, as a reference to the fossilised resin that once bled from the prehistoric conifers.