2017-07-01Souper #86

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Jan Dekkers (entrepreneur in building construction) and Fenna Haakma Wagenaar (Municipality of Rotterdam) were our guests at the end of June in restaurant Huson.

Jan graduated as a construction designer with specialization: prefab concrete. He started his career as a manager of a concrete factory, followed by several director positions at various construction companies (IBC, Heijmans, Hurks, Bruil). At the moment he is working on different innovations in the prefab industry.

Fenna, after her turnarounds at OMA, Herzog de Meuron, SANAA and the municipality of London, is now working as an urbanist for the centre area at the municipality of Rotterdam.

Our guests had little in common in terms of work and personality. Jan is a modest and technical man in charge of building construction. Fenna is undecided and works as an idea woman at a very early stage of the design process.

2017-06-01Souper #85

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The last Monday of May, Francien van Westrenen (Stroom) and Otto Trienekens (Veldacademie) joined us at restaurant Huson.

Francien van Westrenen is art and culture scientist and work as a curator architecture program the art center Stroom in The Hague. Stroom converts the imagination to enrich and clarify thinking about social issues and developments. For eleven years Stroom was also the local Architecture Centre. Although this role has now been taken over by Platform Stad, it does not prevent them from continuing with interesting activities.

Otto Trienekens is an architect of Vertex and has established the Veldacademie in collaboration with the municipality of Rotterdam. The Veldacademie has years of experience in designing research into Rotterdam urban issues, in cooperation with education institutes. In the meantime, AIR Foundattion, the local Architecture Centre has also been withdrawn from them and closely cooperated with the public debate.

In a fascinating evening we learned how urban development through design research, art and public activities sometimes goes well with the municipality and sometimes not.

2017-05-01Souper #84

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For interesting guests we like to travel to another city. For Roel Vos (former municipal official and politician) and philosopher/ journalist Annemarie Kok we moved our souper from Rotterdam to Groningen. Inspiring city. Nice people.

The way in which Groningen worked for the last fifty years seems to be exceptional and consistent. That did not happen without a fight. In the late sixties and the early seventies there was a big and radical change of perspective. The city and city renewal was looked at in a different way. Urban development was then used in a new way. Roel worked with the municipality and together with Max van de Berg he shaped this dynamic development of Groningen. Later he was a deputy at the province and director of the Blauwe Stad.

Annemarie has recently written an interesting essay about the role of politics and politicians in the city. Shortly, without relying on her nuanced essay, she advocates a proactive attitude of politicians. This means absolutely not a municipality that facilitate. This fashionable jargon means in practice a government that does not want to take responsibility, is not caring about their inhabitants and has no vision at all. A politic movement that puts politicians out of the way and connects citizens against their sense does not strengthen civilisation. It just affects society.

With Roel as a practitioner and Annemarie as a scientist we spoke about the past and discussed about the city of Groningen today. In restaurant De Pijp it became evident that the specific lessons from Groningen are particularly valuable for thinking about and making the future city in general.

2017-03-29Souper #83

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Last Monday of March, a supper with the architects Jannie Vinke (ANA architecten) en Jan-Richard Kikkert (Architectenbureau K2). Housing, education, research and Amsterdam were the topics of the evening.

Our guests are very adventurous. Jan-Richard went to the west coast of America to visit all the villas of John Lautner. He was acting in a film about these photogenic houses and there will soon be published a book of his hand with all realized works Lautner together. I'm looking forward to it.

ANA goes Europe is an ongoing research project that future housing challenge is explored in the Netherlands by racing around with Hymer in other countries. Topics such as aging population, changing the commissioning and the latest innovations in construction, they have studied in several European countries. There is not much known about this nice study. Jannie tells us many interesting similarities and differences with the Dutch practice.

Housing construction is booming in the Netherlands. Particularly in Amsterdam. We talked this evening about the developments in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The role of designers in this process. The significance of Amsterdam to Rotterdam in living environments and vice versa. The night was too short for all the great stories of our guests.

2017-03-01Souper #82

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Journalist Kirsten Hannema (Volkskrant) and architect Marius Grootveld (Veldwerk Architects) were our guest during the Souper in February. They are extremely well versed in the differences, similarities and hopefully synergy between the architectural climate in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. A nice topic to talk about.

Kirsten is the architecture critic of a Dutch newspaper, is the editor of the yearbook of architecture, writes and researches more. She caused a stir with her article about an exhibition in Frankfurt which was made by our second gues Marius. The article gave a sharp analysis of the current state of the Dutch (dying) and Flemish (very exciting) architectural discourse.

Marius is a Dutch architect with an office in Belgium. He documents buildings, publishes stories and curator of exhibitions. His last exhibition - Tailor-made, an overview of Dutch and Flemish architecture - in the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt caused considerable commotion.

The general architecture enormous historical and theoretical knowledge of Kirsten and Marius and specific ideas of what our profession should be about makes this evening very interesting.