The Elastic Perspective, by Next Architects, Carnisselande, Netherlands. A project rich in meaning, form, and experience, the Elastic Perspective by Next Architects is rather a rare finding in the Carnisselande, Rotterdam suburbs of the Netherlands. The giant circular staircase marks the end of a tram stop and takes visitors up to a height that provides a continuous view of the surroundings, including the skyline of Rotterdam. Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands, and Carnisselande looks out to its mother town. It is this attraction/repulsion relationship between the two diverse places that stimulated Next Architects’ inspiration for the staircase design.
The Elastic Perspective
The Mobius ring inspires the form of the design. The Mobius ring — or the Mobius strip, as Next Architects describes it — is a surface with only one side, whereby a traveler on such a shape can climb endlessly and never end up wandering over the edge. The final design picks up on this alluring illusion of travelling above and below a single surface. There underlies a meaning of continuity. Although the tram stop represents an end of the journey back and forth the Carnisselande and Rotterdam, the three-dimensional staircase suggests an endless route.The Use of Corten Steel Appearing to float in mid-air around a grassy peak, the circular structure also picks up on the heavy infrastructural surroundings it sits above — a six-lane carriageway, a motorway merging point, and a district bypass. Created as part of a local art project, the architects’ use of Corten steel as the main material of the walkable staircase makes a clear statement of how Carnisselande may be just minutes away by tram, yet the busy traffic forms a superior barrier from Rotterdam. The one material also emphasizes its circular continuity without any distraction. This weathering steel forms a protective layer on its surface; therefore, no coatings were needed to provide protection from further corrosion. Try to experience this metaphorical journey… The ambiguous Ying-yang journey to go up the circular steps is an exhilarating experience, as one is rewarded with an incredible view of what lies a few kilometers ahead — the city of Rotterdam. However, the walkway is an illusional loop, and you are unable to complete the circle. The staircase path turns upside down, and a visitor such as yourself is forced to turn around and retrace your steps back into the Carnisselande suburb. This looping, oxidized steel structure is a great execution of the form, scale, and function. Draping on the grassy hill, the journey up and down the staircase is a journey of the mind as well as of the body. Every angle gives a new image of the structure, providing a very literal answer to the local art plan of an elastic perspective. An Art Sculpture and its Meaning On the surface, it looks like an intriguing interactive art sculpture where perhaps one might go for reflection or to escape reality. Yet the project connects this ambiguity of the form of the Mobius ring with the mentality of the suburb’s inhabitants, who feel a connection with the large city, but, in daily life, remain disconnected. As Next Architects explains, “With the Mobius strip stair, we offer them a glimpse towards the Rotterdam skyline, but to continue their trip, they have to turn backwards, facing the context of their everyday life, Carnisselande.” Related Articles:
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