As part of Pan-European retail real estate investment manager Redevco’s redevelopment of the 9,000 m2, four storey 18 Septemberplein C&A building (a significant piece of protected post-war architecture), UNStudio was invited to restore and connect this historical building to its existing urban context.
这座C&A大楼曾经备受关注。它由建筑师Jan van der Laan设计，于1952年正式对外营业。然而，在经过了无数次改造之后，该大楼已经不再是这个城市片区内的重点建筑了。地下自行车存放处的大型现代化入口过于引人注目，阻挡了人们看向C&A大楼的视线，以致于不仅掩盖了该大楼自身的特点，更降低了其在街道上的存在感。
参考上述现状，UNStudio提出了一个设计概念：即对该建筑进行品牌重塑和现代化改造。他们对C&A大楼的文化历史进行了深入的分析，并根据建筑的历史价值和最初的设计概念制定出建筑干预的措施。设计团队希望通过减少材料的使用来创造一种轻质的结构，由此催生了使用玻璃结构来进行改造的设计出发点。UNStudio的干预措施有：改变现有一层空间的层高，以便达到更加舒适宜人的效果；并在现有建筑中置入由该大楼最初的设计者Van der Laan所构想的玻璃柱脚结构。另外，考虑到此前人们对大楼的屋顶进行了扩建，UNStudio决定将屋顶恢复为其最初的形式，从而展现出一种强烈的现代主义美学。同时在立面上安装大型的玻璃结构，一方面强调了埃因霍温传统的城市设计，另一方面也作为技术革新的核心突出了C&A大楼的现代属性。
Designed by Jan van der Laan and opened to the public with great fanfare in 1952, the C&A building was long held in high regard. However numerous alterations were made during its lifespan and the building is no longer considered dominant today. The modern addition of large, eye-catching entrances to underground bicycle parking facilities have also obstructed views to the building, with the result that it can no longer adequately express its identity, nor display a clear and recognisable storefront.
For this central refurbishment project, UNStudio therefore imagined a rebranding and a modernisation of the precinct. A cultural historical analysis of the building was carried out and design interventions were proposed based on the building’s historic values and the rhythm and ideas of the original architect. The philosophy of reducing material use to create lightweight structures formed the starting point for investigating the use of structural glass in the refurbishment. UNStudio’s interventions include the repositioning of an entire floor in order to create better floor to ceiling heights and the return to a transparent glass plinth, as originally designed by Van der Laan. During the building’s lifetime, an extension was added to the roof. In UNStudio’s refurbishment, the roof is returned to the strong modernist aesthetic of the original design, while large illuminating glass motifs are installed on the facade, to celebrate Eindhoven’s design heritage, alongside its contemporary reputation as a centre of tech innovation.
Ben van Berkel这样说道：“作为一座‘光之城市’， 埃因霍温可谓是创新的理想之地。在C&A大楼中使用玻璃结构不仅可以赋予这座历史建筑一种轻盈感，还可以增加建筑外墙的纵深感。白天里，这些玻璃盒子充当着公共广场的‘眼睛’，让建筑与行人保持联系；夜间，室内的人工照明透过玻璃漫射出来，既照亮了广场，又营造出一种极具呼吸感和生命力的建筑氛围。”这些附加的大型玻璃盒子结构如同照明装置一般，既将大量的自然光线引入了室内空间，又将人造光线漫射到周围环境中。从形式上看，它们不仅以凸窗的形式丰富了大楼的北立面，更吸引了来往行人的目光。
Ben van Berkel: “As ‘the City of Light’, Eindhoven is the perfect place for innovation. The use of glass in the C&A building not only creates a light construction, but it adds variation of depth to the otherwise flush plane of this historic facade. During daytime, the glass boxes act as ‘eyes’ to the public square, allowing the building to interact and communicate with the public, while at night the animated light installations suggest that the building is breathing as it illuminates the square.” These large glass additions take the form of a series of light-filled installations, which celebrate and complement the existing extruding windows on the north facade, whilst also serving to draw the gaze of passers-by towards the building.