Flatiron, by AAArchitecten

In the city of The Hague is currently a Dutch version is constructed of the Flatiron Building in New York City. The architects, AAArchitecten, explicitly refer to the original in New York. The developer Vestia took even the same name for its building, only translated it into Dutch; ‘Het Strijkijzer’.

AAArchitecten - Het Strijkijzer, The Hague 

Daniel Burnham - Flatiron Building, New York (Photograph: Gordon Smith) 

The Flatiron Building in New York is designed by Daniel Burnham and was originally named ‘Fuller Building’ after its promoter George Fuller. It got its nickname from the public because of its resemblance to the flatirons of the time. In 1902 it was one of the highest buildings in New York with 89 meters, and one of the first buildings to use a steel – or should we say iron? - frame. The building in The Hague is constructed in concrete and will be much taller with its 130 meters.

Thinking about the architecture of this Dutch Flatiron it is fascinating that a seemingly unsexy metaphor as a flatiron does sell. The metaphor is only remotely meaningful since it is an apartment building, and there is a common laundry-service in the base of the building with… an ironing service.

Compared to the original Flatiron this new incarnation more than a century later looks cheap. The ‘crown’ of the building is reduced to small glazed element, and nowadays we can only dream about terracotta facades…

Flat Irons (Photograph: Wikipedia) 

In the US some other Flatiron-Buildings-look-alikes have been constructed, and the one in Asheville even has a 15” sculpture of a flatiron in front of it. Every iconic building has its echo in a miniature model, but in this case the metaphor of the iconographic building is constructed at 20 times its original scale.

Flatiron (Photograph: Khalloran)


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