Palace Ruin - recreation of the dutch Crystal Palace


‘Palace Ruin’ is a reconstruction of a fragment of the former Paleis voor Volksvlijt, Amsterdam’s own Crystal Palace. Having gone up in flames in 1929, an archival photo shows a flank of the building amid a haze of smoke and debris, just after attempts to douse the fire. Beckett recreates this moment in the form of a large sculpture—part horror house, part memorial—which later functions as a stage for thematic concerts and an architectural lecture series.

The piece was orginally placed in the centre of Amsterdam’s financial district “Zuidas” home to the countries largest banks and law firms, as well as the likes of Google and the World Trade Centre. As the cities first industrial trade and exhibition hall, the Paleis voor Volksvlijt’s function of the time is arguably similar to the megastructures of today. Its composition of iron and glass also make it a predecessor of our current corporate architecture, and in its prefab and modular nature, a grandmother of modernism. As a three-dimensional political caricature, it stands as a proposal for a future ruin, a natural projection of the transience of architecture and finance alike.

Since showing in Amsterdam, NL, Palace Ruin has been shown in Riga, Latvia and Wuzhen China.

Beckett organizes together with TAAK a series of public discussions on architecture and decay with, among others, Jes Fernie, Tony Chakar, Michiel van Iersel and Douglas Murphy. Together with Seamus Cater and Natalia Domínguez Rangel, James Beckett also programs a series of experimental music concerts of, among others, Microtub and N.M.O.


Producer and curator Petra Heck @ http://taak.me
Structural/Static engineer Gilbert van der Lee @ http://breedid.nl
Music and sound program, Seamus Cater and Natalia Dominguez Rangel