We all know the value of an efficient workplace environment. We also know that nothing screams collaboration like an old fashioned romp down the runway of a former military airbase.
This one goes down in our ongoing log of good intentions and questionable solutions: A Dutch architecture firm has revamped a Cold War-era U.S. airbase in Soesterberg by creating a pointy, ominous bit of mobile sculpture that also serves as a conference or meeting space for rent. Fitting, if you and your coworkers are considering airstrikes against your competition, and/or are alternately hunting down communists.
Take it from brothers Ronald and Erik Rietveld, whose company designed Shelter 610:
When aircraft Shelter 610 opens its ruthless doors, a monstrous black behemoth slowly comes driving out. The object revives the mysterious atmosphere of the Cold War and its accompanying terrifying weaponry. At an almost excruciatingly slow pace, the artwork uses its caterpillar tracks to cross the seemingly infinite runway. Due to this brutal object’s constantly changing position in the serene landscape, it allows the visitor to experience the area and the history of the military airbase in new ways.
There’s certainly a school of thought that might argue a higher vantage point and lethal-looking exoskeleton might confer a sense of power, or perhaps a “you can do it!” attitude. Shelter 610 also seems like a great way to intimidate clients and turn off peacenik employees.
That said, cruising around an airbase that used to house U.S. fighter pilots in the height of the Cold War and deployed aircraft during operation Desert Storm on company time is pretty neat. The United States returned our part of the airbase to the Dutch government in 1994, at which point it became home to Royal Netherlands Air Force helicopters. The Netherlands eventually shut down the operation in 2008, leaving the space open to a new aviation museum and imagination.
Soon, Shelter 610 will also serve as a research space for Technical University Delft students designing “the ultra-eco-friendly plane.” The four-year project, according to the TU Delft site, aims to develop a “revolutionary conceptual aircraft” that lowers CO2 emissions and noise by 50% and nitrous oxide emissions by 80%. That much, at least, is a step up from Cold War thinking.