Architects MVRDV have constructed a building made of glass but resembling a traditional Dutch farmhouse – Glass Farm. The building houses mixed-use retail establishments and offices right in the middle of Schijndel, a town in The Netherlands.
Glass Farm was built to help in the redevelopment of the market square of Schijndel which sustained heavy damage during WWII. The proposed site was the space between the town hall, the church and the main street.
MWRDV founder Winy Maas, who spent his growing years in Schijndel, had been trying to win the contract for this redevelopment since 1980. After proposing 6 designs including a theatre, his seventh – Glass Farm – was accepted, and even that did not come without opposition. Probably the most compelling reason why the seventh design was accepted is that it is inspired by the architecture of the town.
The building is made of glass and has traditional farmhouse images imprinted on the glass using fritting technology. The images were captured from farms in the area in conjunction with artist Frank van der Salm. The images were then averaged together, creating a stereotypical farmhouse. Glass Farm covers an area similar to that of a conventional Schijndel farm, meaning that it is about 1.6 times bigger than the average farmhouse.
Glass Farm is almost translucent, with the fritted glass allowing plenty of daylight in but also reducing heat gain. The printed farmhouse look comes alive at night when light is shining through from the interior.
The design arouses a feeling of nostalgia, perhaps reminding older ones of how things looked bigger when they were children, thus, reflecting how the town has developed in past years.