Daring choices were made in Groningen, such as the construction of a special museum or the choice to erect the Forum on the Grote Markt. Groningen is a stylish city with nerve, which can be seen in its modern architecture.
The ‘monkey cliff’
The Gasunie building is a good example of organic architecture. Architects Ton Alberts and Max van Huut believe that human beings have three layers of protection: skin, clothing and building. According to them, a building has to be just as comfortable as a skin and users have to be in harmony with their direct surroundings.
The most striking building in Groningen is the Groningen Museum with its cacophony of colours and shapes. Surrounded by water, it looks like a sea-going vessel which accidentally ended up in the city canal. This building is never boring, as you discover new things every time you see it. Main architect Alessandro Mendini designed the museum in collaboration with Lucchi, Starck, and Coop Himmelblau.
Probably the most interesting house in Groningen is the Wall House designed by the American architect John Hejduk. Fans from countries such as the United States and Japan visit Groningen for this building in particular. It is regularly open to the public, and there are exhibitions and performances. Six months a year, it is the location of artist or architectural residency.
The Waagstraatcomplex is located behind the town hall in Groningen’s city centre. Designed by the Italian architect Natalini, the complex consists of three mutually joined buildings into which the Goudkantoortje from 1635 has been integrated. The various works of art were commissioned by the architect, and placed as an integral part of the complex.
The stadium of the local professional football club, designed by architect Wiel Arets, is accommodated in the new Hunzepark district and has 22,579 seats (700 of which are in sky boxes). The stands are divided in two rings that entirely enclose the field. In addition to football, the complex has facilities such as a cinema, restaurants, a school, casino, a supermarket, a school for martial arts and offices in and around the complex.
Groningen has suffered quite some damage in the Second World War, especially the Grote Markt. With the reconstruction of the square, its original and intimate character was lost. The plans for the Forum were developed because the east side is to be provided with a new impulse. The objective is to restore the prewar proportions and intimate ambiance. The special Forum building will emerge on a new city square.