The Glass Farm - Biography of a Building

The Glass Farm - Biography of a Building

“Why did they do this?” is a question often heard after the completion of a building. MVRDV has completed over the last years buildings that are the result of years of work, negotiations and development process. The Glass Farm, is the second book in a series about MVRDV buildings which tries to make the complex production of architecture accessible to a larger audience. It took MVRDV 33 years to realise. 

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Author Gerard Buenen, editor-in-chief of Schijndels Weekblad, has written a gripping, fact-filled biography of the building. The story is accompanied by the photography of Niels Stomps and informative illustrations by MVRDV.        

The Glass Farm makes for an arresting sight on the market square in the Dutch town of Schijndel. This book tells the story of how the building came into being. This book tells the story of Winy Maas, who at age 18 asked the mayor to do something with the empty space that had been left in Schijndel’s market square since Operation Market Garden bombing in 1944. It took 33 years and 7 plans by MVRDV for the building to be erected. The chronicle of the Glass Farm is a history that reads like a novel.      

Through the tale of an architect, a talented town councillor, a courageous local propert developer, a patron, a macho glass setter and over-active local news outlets, The Glass Farm traces the life of a southern Dutch village over 33 years. 

“The result was general commotion, especially after the regional daily newspaper carried a headline that a UFO had landed on Schijndel’s market square. This brought the inevitable consequences. At the December council meeting, the design failed to attain a majority, even after a fiery plea from the retail sector – Maas’ design was clearly unacceptable.” Quote from the book.     

The book is also a photo-novel about Schijndel, the silent impressions of Schijndel by Niels Stomps add an emotional layer to the written story. The landscape, the human being and how humans respond to their changing environments are central in the photo series. Graphic designers CoppensAlberts have designed the lay-out for this contemporary architecture rural novel.

The Glass Farm is the second book in the series by MVRDV, the first book ‘Book Mountain Spijkenisse – Biography of a Building’ was released last year.  

The book was sponsored by Remmers Bouwgroep, AGC Glass, Brakel Atmos, Van Den Brand, MVRDV and the City of Schijndel. 

The Glass Farm – Biography of a Building, 

Gerard Buenen, MVRDV, nai010 Publishers, 25 €, 

English (also available in Dutch) 

design CoppensAlberts, softcover, 392 pages, colour, 

ISBN 978-94-6208-088-1