• Quadraat Invest b.v.
  • Haarlem
  • NL
  • 2002

The project concerns a conceptual study for the redevelopment of an existing sixties office building on a prominent location at the entrance of the city of Haarlem.

The existing building is well known by many people, despite it’s rather poor and mediocre architectural quality. In fact, though it officially is called ‘Handelspoort’, the building by many is still referred to as the ‘Boschbuilding’, because of the large and beautiful neon-sign of a sparking plug with the same name it formerly carried on its roof and which exceeded the quality of its architectural image by far. By its prominent location, at the entrance of the city, siding the road and the railroad to Amsterdam at an important intersection of the municipal road system, and its neon sign it is memorized by many inhabitants and more or less regular visitors for it’s prominent role in the orientation within the urban structure of Haarlem.

For this reason the project suggests to conserve the existing building within a new architectural object. The spatial interference of the existing and the new, the interference of surfaces and heights, would create special spaces and places that spatially structure and specify the new architectural object and its indifferent floors and space. Like a spatial ghost, the former ‘Boschbuilding’ would haunt the new building, shining through its transparent facades and triggering the collective memory of passers-by.