The Noorderparkbar by Bureau SLA and Overtreders W is the first 100% ‘market place’ construction in The Netherlands. All the materials used to build this tiny coffee bar were bought second-hand at marktplaats.nl, a Dutch eBay type site, from around a hundred individuals and small traders. Yet, the pavilion looks brand new.
The architects and designers of Bureau SLA and Overtreders W not only designed the bar: they also acted as initiators, fund-raisers, traders and builders on the project. It was only because of this bottom-up approach that the project was finally carried out, in spite of the financial crisis that has put a brake on the Dutch construction industry.
The process of creating the bar was in itself somewhat unusual. Finding money for the project through a website for crowd-funding, buying the second-hand materials, meant that designing and building took place simultaneously. It was impossible to make a final design beforehand, since what’s on offer at marktplaats.nl changes continuously. Only after having bought a certain item, can one be sure that it’s usable, and then it has to be used.
The construction of the bar consists of 3 stripped-down units originally intended for a temporary hospital. One unit was given new facades made of windows, and a roof made of skylights. This unit contains the bar and two toilets. The other units, stacked on top of one another, frame the terrace. The whole pavilion can be closed at night with large wooden shutters to prevent it from being vandalized. The wooden shutters were charred, an ancient Japanese technique called shou sugi ban, which makes wood more durable.
The first ‘marktplaats’ purchase was a second hand lorry, to enable all the materials to be collected from all over Holland. After that, the hospital units, 42 windows, a few thousand meters of wood, 55 liters of paint, 2 toilets, lots of ceramic tiles in white and green and many more objects followed, most of it leftovers from do-it-yourself renovations. For example, the interior walls of the bar are made of wood that had been used to construct a huge transportation box for shipping a milk carton filling machine from China to The Netherlands, and the wood for the shutters was bought from a bankrupt formwork factory.
Now that the bar is finished, it’s a meeting space for neighbourhood residents. However, during the building process there were earlier meetings, with the suppliers of the materials. The stories they told about the origins of the building materials they sold , are displayedon the website www.hetkomtaltijdgoed.nl (Dutch only).