Westbury’s Pick: Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

This month's inspirational Westbury's Pick is the impressive Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

Wrapped in a bright skin of colorful glass panels, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid) is a unique building that certainly catches the wandering eye.

The architecture of this museum is the brainchild of Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk – a creative team that has often been vocal about their struggles to come to terms with a modern society that is being consumed by false images portrayed in advertising and marketing. More often than not, they incorporate this messaging into their architecture. This has enabled the pair to earn themselves a reputation for their stand-out pop-art style matched by their seemingly comical approach to design.  

Standing proud as a colourful cube, half buried underground, the Institute of Sound and Vision is no exception to this. In particular, it is the glazing that gives it an edgy appearance – Neutelings and Riedijk Architects collaborated with artist, Jaap Drupsteen, who used computer technology to create images from Dutch television which were then baked into the glass. The institute creates a cultural focal point for the city against the leafy suburb backdrop and concrete architecture surrounding it.

The blur of images have been designed as an interpretation of the daily bombardment we face from the media – tv, the internet, magazines – and yet this is only vaguely detectable from certain angles, to give a feeling of being temporarily frozen in time.

Visitors enter the building via a bridge that crosses over an underground atrium into a vast piazza. From the inside, the colourful cast skin offers a spectral glow that seems to resemble the stained-glass windows of a cathedral, while simultaneously conveying a comic book theme.

The Institute seeks to preserve Dutch audio-visual culture and heritage, housing one of the largest audio-visual collections in Europe, with the total archive featuring more than 700,000 hours of television, radio, music, and film. As well as offering a unique media experience to its visitors, the eight-storey building comprises office space, a theatre, shops, bars, and a terrace garden.


Through an artistic juxtaposition of distinct forces, the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision is a building that subtly provides a powerful commentary on where its architects believe modern culture is heading.

Although rather extreme, this is an outstanding example of the great potentials for self-expression through bespoke building design, and the reason we have picked the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision as this month’s Westbury’s Pick.

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