Book XL 


This concept is a condensed version of the original plan that was submitted for the 'Open Call On Campus Minerva Academy' organized by the Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam. The assignment was to devise a sustainable green design for the rooftop terrace of The Minerva building, which occupies a central location and links the different sections of Minerva. Unfortunately, the 'Open Call On Campus Academie Minerva' was cancelled on March 20, 2020 due to the outbreak of Covid-19. To date, the Open Call has not been restarted and the necessity to greenify Minerva seems to have disappeared.

Book XL presents a sustainable and meaningful design for the courtyard of the Hanze Minerva Art Academy, University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, the Netherlands. The book provides a conceptual starting point that allows various parties, both within and outside the Hanze University Groningen, to participate in the design process towards a permanent green courtyard.

The design focus of Book XL is on creating biodiversity, not only in the courtyard but also on the roofs and outer walls of the academy building. The entire exterior of the building is conceived as a garden that serves as a 'green hub' for insects, birds, and bats. To achieve this, a rich variety of herbs, grasses, and sedum plants have been planted on all the flat roofs of the academy building. The facades around the courtyard are vertical gardens with a mix of climbing plants. The vegetation of both the roofs and the facades merge into the courtyard, creating a cohesive green space.

The concept of Book XL gives special meaning to the idea of community, which applies not only to the people who work and study in the academy building but also to the birds, bats, insects, and plants that find a new habitat there. Book XL represents a reversal of the human perspective on our living environment and interaction with nature, where nature is now primarily at the service of humanity.

The users of Minerva can view a live feed from the roof garden 24/7 at a central location within the academy building. Moreover, the building incorporates live sounds such as birds singing, leaves rustling, or rain falling, which can be heard in public areas throughout the building. This feature enhances the immersive experience and blurs the boundaries between nature and architecture, bringing the outside world closer to the indoor environment.

This concept is in line with the original ideas of Piet Blom (1934-1999), the architect of The Minerva Art Academy building. Blom was associated with the structuralist movement, which emphasized the human scale, collectivity, and smooth transitions between public and private spaces. Blom intentionally designed the building to challenge visitors by creating a sense of order and logic that constantly confounds expectations.

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