2015-11-02Souper #69


Architect Rianne Makkink (partner Studio Makking & Bey) and landscape architect Patrick Mc Cabe (partner REDscape) (partner Redscape) have both a broad oeuvre in which own roots and context are prominent. In October, they sat at our table at restaurant Huson.

The interventions in the landscape of Rianne and her working farm in the Noordoostpolder show that on a relatively small scale, a special relationship can be established between man and environment. Patrick works in the Netherlands and his native Ireland to urban and rural retirements. He explains that the history of a place and the existing heritage can be a regular part even in relatively large and abstract plans.

Rianne and Patrick travel each a lot. They live and work both in several places. It is very amazing that they still managed to create strikingly intense involvement at each single assignment. This requires a lot of astonished knowledge, empathic and affection. All these qualities were evident during the pleasant supper.

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.

2015-05-26Yesterday's labour city is tomorrow's residential city


Transformation of the postwar office property in Eindhoven

In the plans to transform the former office building Groene Toren and former headquarters of Philips Lighting, we have sought and found clues in the existing city. With programmatic adjustments, architectural enhancements and urban good embeddings we propose a careful and sustainable improvement of the city for. Postwar offices can be part of the history and future of the city.

Read item in Architectenweb #8, april 2015. Text only in Dutch.

2015-03-10Souper #62


Froukje van de Klundert (architect ONE Architecture) and Aglaee Degros (partner at Artgineering) where our guests at Souper #62. Make knowledge, Share knowledge and Capitalize knowledge where the conversation topics.

The work field of Froukje and Aglaee is located between commercial sector, knowledge centre and public institutions. They combine research and design, science and practice in a special way with each other. Cultural, economic and social aspects are an integral part of their work as a researcher and designer. However, the operating frequency in these various disciplines is totally different. How to make research relevant to design and design relevant research?

During the evening at restaurant Huson is the ambivalence between the realization of a assignment and the study of a task explored and discussed.

2014-09-15Souper #57


On Friday, September 12th, there was a special Souper in Venice. At our table we had Ankie Schellekens (owner Venice Planner), architect/ photographer Giovanni Vio (phd IUAV) and architect Silvia Dainese (studio GRISDAINESE). Later architect Stefano Gris (studio GRISDAINESE) also joined us.

The exhibition Monditalia at the Architecture Biennale was a good input to talk to people who live in Venice. Monditalia shows that the country has a nice history, but also a very uncertain future in many ways. Living and working in Italy in general and in Venice in particular are obvious themes for this evening with people from the tourism industry and architecture business.

80,000 tourists visit Venice each day, while the population has now dropped to 60,000. No one has an idea how population decline and mass tourism can tolerate each other well. In Ankie these phenomena come together. She lived for many years in the city center and she conducts a visit to the city tailored for different types of businesses. Pleasant reside in Venice finally has everything to do with the precise organization of the stay of visitors to the city.

Giovanni and Silvia work in a country that has one architect per 450 inhabitants This density is outstanding. In the Netherlands, for example, there is only one architect per 1650 inhabitants. Both have broadened their design activities. Giovanni with research and the office of Silvia also designs many temporary structures for exhibitions and retail.

We have learned a lot about living in Venice and working in Italy from our pleasant and enterprising guests. The waterfront terrace of Trattoria Altanella in the district of La Giudecca was a perfect place for this special evening. The restaurant is runned over 100 years by the same family. The homemade gnocchi nero di sepia was delightful.

2013-10-06Pearls in the landscape


Architects have a problematic relationship with the landscape. In urban areas architects justify a building with the requisite programme and relate it to the developed context. Building in the landscape frequently raises the question of why a programme should be added at all: competing with a splendid or robust landscape is generally already a lost cause for the building. Three films show what it is about: romance.

Architects Gunnar Daan and Cor Kalfsbeek have made a prominent contribution to the architecture in the empty landscape of the northern Netherlands. In the documentary In Context they comment on each other’s work. The projects they review are meticulously embedded in the landscape. Daan, however, vividly explains what the relationships are: “if a new house has the semblance of enjoying the landscape, then the landscape will also enjoy the house”.

In the short film Sizígia the architect, Álvaro Siza, does not actually speak. This is not a shortcoming. Fortunately, the Leça da Palmeira swimming pool complex on the Portuguese coast requires no explanation. Siza tamed the seawater, transforming it into a calm, inviting expanse of water in an irresistible combination of an artificial concrete construction and a capital landscape. In anticipation of swimmers and, presumably, one or two architecture tourists, we follow the not-very communicative caretaker as he prepares the complex for the new season.

Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) was possibly the first architect who intentionally positioned his villas in the landscape. In the film version of Mozart’s Don Gioavanni, we are treated to three hours of Palladio’s work. Villa Rotonda in Vicenza forms one of the decors in this splendid production by Joseph Losey. The problematic relationship between the architect and the landscape also originates, strangely enough, from Palladio himself. His four books on architecture mainly explore the relationships and structure of a building, but he pays little attention to positioning the building in a landscape, whereas studies have revealed that he was extremely exacting in this respect. His preferred site for a building was on top of a hill or a spot by a river.

Without the rationality of the programme and without a developed context, architecture in the landscape can be judged by its relationship to the landscape and its affinity with the user. Listening to architects talking about this romantic concept is somewhat discomforting. Looking at architecture in the landscape, on the contrary, is very comforting.

Article published in the magazine AFFR 2013 and on the website of the AFFR .

Check the website of AFFR for screenings