The key to a social, sustainable architecture
Fusion architecture is a mindset rather than a style, a strategy that stands for an inventive way of mixing and interconnecting present and past, East and West, tradition and innovation, abstract and figurative architecture and high and low culture. The increasing diversity of cultures in our society calls for a new approach in architecture. ‘For me it revolves around the production of an environment that people find pleasurable – call it an architecture of enjoyment,’ says Wilfried van Winden. With Fusion, Van Winden wants to shift the accent of the current architectural discourse and create leeway for an imaginative and innovative architecture.
Accommodating the diversity in our society and facilitating the expression of the diverse identities that are present within it makes it necessary to have a command of different architectural styles and to devise novel expressions where required. The foundations of this lie in a mindset that is heterogeneous, hybrid, a way of thinking that ‘encloses’ and ‘includes’. Two fine examples from Van Winden’s oeuvre are a perfect illustration of this mindset: the Hotel Inntel in Zaandam and De Orient residential complex in The Hague.
After the post-modern architecture of the 1990s, which is rooted in the history of Western European city, a question that became topical is how architecture can provide an answer to the wishes of the multicultural and open society, following from Karl Popper’s ‘ open society and its enemies’. Fusion Achitecture creates the opportunity for different communities to feel at home in an open society, namely by creating an environment that they personally wish for. By creating a building through which people can express and make manifest who they are or who they would like to be, structures where people feel at home, the likelihood of greater social cohesion and sustainability will increase.
Wilfried van Winden is a renowned Dutch architect who is particularly worldwide celebrated for his iconic design of the Hotel in Zaandam in the Netherlands. The striking building is exemplary for the Fusion Architecture that Wilfried van Winden champions.
Wilfried van Winden co-founded the Molenaar & Van Winden Architecten bureau in 1985. Van Winden left this practice in January 2009 to establish his new, independent practice: WAM architecten. Besides his design for the Hotel in Zaandam, Wilfried van Winden’s major projects include the biggest mosque in The Netherlands, the Essalam Mosque (Rotterdam), De Oriënt residential complex in The Hague and currently the Embassy and Consulate for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in The Hague. The hotel in Zaandam was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2011.
In 2010 Van Winden published a theoretical tract Fusion: Pleidooi voor een sierlijke architectuur in een open samenleving (Fusion: An appeal for a decorative architecture in an open society; Amsterdam: SUN Publishers), in which he advocates a decorative architecture as a fusion of different identities and phenomena. Fusion Architecture represents an inventive way of linking present and past, tradition and innovation, high and low culture. This generates a novel expressiveness that corresponds to specific local practices but is at the same time universal.