Challenged by the commission of the district Corpus den Hoorn in Groningen to design a public art work in the park I developed a permanent utility sculpture that serves as a chat house. The work is located against the dike along the Noord Willems Kanaal next to the very busy bicycle and walking path along this dike that is also a part of the National Pieterpad. The artwork challenges the passer-by and the local residents to come into contact with each other.
It consists of three parts. A concrete base with benches mounted on it, a concrete column with a ramp at the rear and a corten steel house with a bench in it. The visual language is derived from the maritime elements of the historic boats and bridges nearby, present in the area and the canal. As with the earlier work of the landscape observatory KAPKAR / TO-RXD from 2009 I also used tree bark in the skin of the concrete but now in a permanent version.
Due to the use of Corten steel and this tree bark, the work still has a natural appearance despite its sturdy character.
location: Groningen, Netherlands
dimension: 610 x 620 x 1960 cm
material: concrete, tree bark, Corten steel
clients: District Corpus den Hoorn, CBK Groningen
curator: Nicoline Wijnja
manufacture: Brands Bouw, Groningen
corten steel house: Ibis Staalconstructies, Sumar
bark concrete sheeting: Studio Frank Havermans
technical drawings: ABT, Frans van Herwijnen, Velp
photography: René de Wit, Breda, Jenne Hoekstra, Groningen
video: CBK Groningen
special thanks to: all the participating inhabitants of the district Corpus den Hoorn
nomination: Straatprijs 2021, Groningen
A chat house is a historical fact of a house on a dike where people came together to talk to each other. It has no amenities, just a bench. The house serves against rain, wind and sun.
With KAPKAR / CDH-P2P I have revived this historical fact in a contemporary design. There is room to sit in de park and room to sit in the cockpit. One can meet, talk, discuss or be alone to look towards the movements on the water or on the path in front of the chat house.