2016-03-14Souper #72

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The last Monday in February, we have delicious dinner at restaurant Huson with Nathalie de Vries (architect / partner MVRDV) and Rients Dijkstra (urban designer/ partner MAXWAN).

The discussion focused on the 'Public architect’. Nathalie as former Government Advisor on Rail Infrastructure and now as president of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA), Rients as Government Advisor on Infrastructure and Urbanism and Professor of Urban Design at the Delft University of Technology have extensive experience performing functions in the social field. They told us build bridges between market players, research institutions and public organizations is no easy task. Confidence in architects and urban designers is shockingly low.

Clear this evening that confidence can not be restored to the way we are now working within the disciplines. The 'Public architect' has the difficult task to connect with all other parties in the chain. An even tougher task is to open her own profession to the outside world.

2016-01-29Souper #71

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We kick off in 2016 with Marieke Berkers (architectural historian) and Gerjan Streng (architect/ partner The Cloud Collective). The setting is the same as the last Souper last year: restaurant Huson.

Marieke is a researcher, she writers articles, makes books, is a frequent juror, teaches at various educational institutions and is editor of the Blue Room. Landscaping is her specialty. Gerjan works with The Cloud Collective on architectural assignments and investigating with big data contemporary spatial issues. The Cloud Collective has been organized as an union, this makes working on various assignments in difference countries simple. The width range of assignments of this young agency, or better young organization is therefore impressive.

An interesting similarity between Marieke and Gerjan is that they managed to combine perfectly both content and entrepreneurship. They can also both talk about in a very pleasant way too.

Daan Bakker (Daf-architecten), Jeroen de Willigen (DeZwarteHond), Jasper de Haan (architect) and I invite each month a number of colleagues to eat, drink and discuss about our profession, the city of Rotterdam and related matters.

2015-12-10Souper #70

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The last Souper in 2015 was with the designers Christoph Seyferth and www.vincentderijk.nl Vincent de Rijk.] In restaurant Huson we mainly talked about the difference between design and architecture.

Christoph and Vincent design and produces products, furniture and spatial objects. They experiment with different materials in construction techniques, shapes and ways of finishing materials. Both gentlemen tell with lots of fun about their craftsmanship. The products are sold worldwide and users all seem happy after buying a bowl, a chair or a closet. They have a desirable autonomy.

We are, as architects and urban designers are dependent on one or more clients. Users require a prominent role in the design process. The line-up of consultants, suppliers and (sub) contractors with whom we must work together is impressive.

The distance between a designer and architect is great. A craftsman versus a process manager. A teddy bear versus a cold one. We have needed a whole night to indicate the differences well. In a one of the next Soupers we have to look at the possible similarities.

Daan Bakker (Daf-architecten), Jeroen de Willigen (DeZwarteHond), Jasper de Haan (architect) and I invite each month a number of colleagues to eat, drink and discuss about our profession, the city of Rotterdam and related matters.

2015-10-02Souper #68

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We had a very enjoyable supper in September with Meta Knol (director Museum De Lakenhal) and Ninke Happel (architect-partner Happel Cornelissen Verhoeven Architects). Meta is principal of Ninke for the conversion and extension of her museum in Leiden. The client and architect together at table provide a fascinating conversation at restaurant Huson.

Meta as director intensively interferes with the task formulation. To obtain original solutions for the particular museum she wanted to give architects without much experience with museums an opportunity. Ninke recognise after reading the tender immediately possibilities. She immediately put together a team. After some urging and decisive acting she managed to persuade the British architect Julian Harrap to participate. She was put on the shortlist. She eventually won the tender with a special design. She beat SeARCH.nl, Hoogevest Architects / UN Studio, Architect K. van Velsen and the Belgian office 51N4E. Ninke happy. Meta happy.

Meta has as principal engrossed in the process of procurement. By taking responsibility she knows she's going to get a better building. Ninke is not discouraged from European tenders. By being keen and by careful reading them she sees opportunities instead of frustration. Upon completion of the new Lakenhal in 2018, there is a nice book written by these girls I expect.

2015-07-02Souper #66

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Lilith van Assem, Elsbeth Ronner and Lieke van Hooijdonk (the whole management of Lilith Ronner van Hooijdonk architects) was our guest on the last Monday in July. Approximately 24 hours before the deadline Europan13 they have the patience to talk about their practice and the discipline architecture.

With great enthusiasm and intelligence they develop intimate private spaces and public collective places. Research, teaching and writing belong also to their expertise. In everything they do, the story of the central task is their focus. Their attention to the subject is intensely. Their inspiration is large. An almost old-fashioned way of working for an office that exists only five years. But after tonight we know that this is not the case.

The three architects trying to find new resources to join previous value of the architectural profession. At the same time they separate with thorough knowledge and expertise currently fashionable trends of real valuable developments in the profession. Recent discussions about the city, the program and the process seems particularly to exist to provide talking about architecture. According Lilith, Elsbeth and Lieke, the debate among architects again just go about architecture.

The food and the entourage at the restaurant De Engel did not match with our guests. Attention to the interior has been there for years anymore. Dedication to the dishes was very disappointing.