KAAN architecten designs its multi-functional, stone-clad ‘loenen pavilion’ to commemorate the dutch victims of the second world war and more recent international conflicts. commissioned by the netherlands war graves foundation ‘oorlogsgravenstichting’ and captured by simone bossi, the project is sited in the dutch village of loenen and harmoniously integrates with its forested surroundings. the building introduces a layered and connective element between the existing loenen national war cemetery and the new national veterans cemetery, within an area characterized by a landscape of clustered, wispy trees. KAAN architecten opts to allow the trees to dictate the structure’s form, achieving a fusion of architecture and landscaped nature.
images © simone bossi | @simonebossiphotographer
KAAN architecten‘s loenen pavilion stretches along one of the five axes that are the foundation of the site, like a horizontal white line settled amidst slender birch and pine trees. seen from above, it is situated between two stretches of woods, flanked by two forest rooms envisioned by landscape architects karres en brands. the pavilion was kept as narrow as possible to preserve a maximum number of trees between the two open spaces, its horizontality gently adopts haspels’ philosophy by avoiding vertical elements, which could disrupt the calming natural atmosphere. for this reason, the war cemetery’s gravestones are lying flat on the grass.
with the loenen pavilion, KAAN architecten achieves a serene atmosphere and lack of intrusiveness through sensitive architectural gestures, proposing an intimate yet open and inviting building. the project is obscured by tree trunks, and stays in clear view. strategically placed, natural stone-clad walls stretching from floor to ceiling accentuate the alternation between open and closed. some walls have benches protruding in the same natural stone as the wall and facing the forest to offer visitors places to rest and contemplate. atop the walls lies the roof – not merely as a cover for a box, but a horizontal wall with perforations that expose the treetops and open skies. by masterfully directing the sightlines inward, outward, and through, kaan architecten maintained the fragile aura of light and tranquillity already imbued in the national war cemetery.
the various spaces each have their own identity and lookouts. the condolences area offers views of two opposite sides, each oriented towards a forest room: one for veteran burials and one for the war cemetery. meanwhile, the auditorium looks out over the sightline ending at the cross in the middle of the war cemetery. the eye is guided through a big window that feels like a large opening in the pavilion rather than a standard window. high ceilings and large roof spans ensure flexibility and contribute to an open sense of space.
ground floor plan
upper floor plan
full article here
project title: loenen pavilion
architecture: KAAN architecten
landscape: karres en brands
location: loenen, netherlands
client: oorlogsgravenstichting (the netherlands war graves foundation), nationale veteranen begraafplaats loenen
project team: alice colombo, sebastian van damme, paolo faleschini, raluca firicel, michael geensen, nicki van loon
main contractor: rots bouw
construction manager: antea group
completion: november 2020
photography: © simone bossi | @simonebossiphotographer