Dutch firm Shift A+U is the winner of a first prize, two second prizes and a third prize in the competition for an eco retail development, the Groene Kamer, in Tilburg, the Netherlands.
The aim of the development is to create a new type of country estate where eco-retail, nature and recreation are brought together in an innovative way. A place where city and countryside meet, both physically and programmatically.
The competition's goal was to select the designers of four different building typologies which will populate the masterplan designed by .Fabric and Lola landscape architects.
Shift’s design, Topos, makes use of a topographic approach that allows for a profound integration of architecture and landscape.
SQUARE The entrance square is formed by a bowl-shaped earthwork. The circular shape embraces the visitors and welcomes them into a different world that invites for exploration. Each building typology has its own specific connection with the earthwork and the surrounding landscape.
BLOCK (second prize) The block houses a so-called landwinkel, a large shop where local food products are being sold and grown. It functions as one of the anchor programs of the whole Groene Kamer development and is therefore prominently placed on top of the earthwork. The omnidirectional block manifests itself as a transparent greenhouse with a "wooden sculpture" inside. This sculpture is designed as a cross shaped volume which allows for open corners in the building. The corners function as indoor gardens that literally bring the outside inside and vice versa. The cross volume is carved open on the ground floor, introducing a continuous and flexible floor plan that connects the corner gardens.
CAMPUS (first prize) The campus is designed as a distinct and recognizable cluster of three retail buildings, literally embedded in the landscape. The entrances of the buildings are oriented towards the inside of the campus, to create a shared court that seduces the visitors inside. All buildings have a maximum transparency towards the shared interior. The other, more closed, facades are provided with a continuous horizontal strip window that follows the topography of the earthwork. This strip window introduces a new "constructed" horizon which dramatizes the three dimensional character of the earthworks both from the inside and from the outside.
RESTAURANT (second prize) The restaurant manifests itself as a triangular carve through the body of earth. The carve accommodates an open entrance towards the square, a covered middle part with the seating area and a large terrace towards the south. The other functions of the restaurant are situated in the body of earth adjacent to the carve. Foldable window panels allow the complete south façade to open up, erasing the border between inside and outside.
SOLITAIRE (third prize) The solitaire is designed as a "programmed vase” that provides a distinct landmark for the square. The vase consists of a closed core that evolves into a circular dish with a large mix of vegetation on top. The closed core houses secondary functions, while the space under the dish functions as a ring shaped pavilion enclosed by glass panels. The system of sliding panels allows for different open-closed-configurations of the pavilion.
Three Dutch architecture offices, Next architects, Atelier Kempe Thill and Shift architecture urbanism, will be asked to work out their winning proposals in the next phase of the project.