KAAN Architecten was commissioned by the Netherlands War Graves Foundation to design a multifunctional building commemorating the Dutch victims during the World War II and more recent international conflicts, in Loenen, Netherlands.
Harmoniously blending with the surrounding forest, the building is a layered and connecting element between the existing Loenen National War Cemetery and the new National Veterans Cemetery. The rich woods, existing routes and the scenic qualities of this exceptional site have been used to underline the unifying role of the building. The landscape, originally designed in 1949 by garden and landscape architect D. Haspels and extended by karres+brands, is characterised by the contrast between open spaces and the dense forest.
Strategically placed stone-clad walls and roof perforations exposing treetops and open skies accentuate the alternation between open and closed. Sightlines are directed inward, outward, and through to maintain the fragile aura of light and tranquillity, while the functions flow logically into one another. The main space is an auditorium dedicated to assemblies and funeral services for the nearby National Veterans Cemetery, opening up to a multi-purpose room serving both as exhibition and information space and finally a condolences area.
Gently detached of any religious connotations, the pavilion conveys a calming natural atmosphere to its interiors, thanks to the unconventional open spatial configuration, the abundant natural light, and the elegant choice of materials.