Rotterdam, Best Architecture Guide. 20 works (or more) to understand why Rotterdam is the largest design laboratory in Europe

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Johannes Andreas Brinkman. Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt. Brinkman and Van der Vlugt

The Brinkman and Van der Vlugt architectural office, one of the most important and successful in the Netherlands between the wars, was the primary exponent of Nieuwe Bouwen. Johannes Brinkman handled the technical aspects and left the design largely to Leendert van der Vlugt. In the early days, the firm’s main client was the coffee, tea and tobacco company Van Nelle. Brinkman and Van der Vlugt designed its iconic factory building in Rotterdam as well as sites in Leiden and Utrecht. They also designed homes for the company’s directors, including the Van der Leeuw and Sonneveld houses.

Johannes Andreas Brinkman (Rotterdam, 1902)

Son of architect Michiel Brinkman, he began working in his office while studying at the Technical University of Delft. After his death in 1925 he continued his study, incorporating Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt. With him he formed an active studio between 1925 and 1936 - the date of Van der Vlugt's death -, which on occasions also collaborated with Willem van Tijen. Subsequently, Brinkman partnered with Johannes Hendrik van der Broek.

Brinkman and Van der Vlugt's main work was the Van Nelle tobacco, tea and coffee factory in Rotterdam (1926-1929), to which were added the headquarters of the Theosophical Union in Amsterdam (1925-1926) and the headquarters of Van Nelle in Leiden (1925-1927), as well as several residential buildings: the Van der Leeuw villa (1927-1928), the Sonneveld house (1932-1933) and the Boevé house (1934), all in Rotterdam. Another emblematic work of his was the Feyenoord stadium in Rotterdam-South (1935-1936). They also designed a telephone booth (1931) which over time has become an iconic element of the Dutch urban landscape.

With Van Tijen they built the Bergpolder building in Rotterdam in 1934, a ten-story housing complex with a steel structure and wooden walls and floors.

Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt (Rotterdam, 1894)

Van der Vlugt was a Dutch architect who studied between 1910 and 1915 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam. After several years of work in different architectural firms, in 1919 he settled on his own account.

He designed houses in Beukelsdijk, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (1921), the Higher Technical School and the Industrial School (1922), both in Groningen.

From 1925 he worked with Johannes Andreas Brinkman (1902-1949), son of the architect Michiel Brinkman, who had studied at the Higher Technical School in Delft. In the shared office Brinkman was in charge of organizational and technical matters and Van der Vlugt of architectural matters.

In the first stage of their collaboration they built the Theosophical Temple in Amsterdam (1927) and the Van der Leeuw House in Rotterdam (1928-1929). A wide window strip crosses the smooth front of the building and the garden facade, with a two-storey greenhouse, is fully glazed.

Later they built several houses, such as the De Bruyn house in Schiedam (1930-1931) and the Sonneveld house in Rotterdam (1929-1933). Despite its dimensions, the Van Nelle tobacco factory in Rotterdam (1926-1930), also built under the International Style sign, is light and not heavy due to its transparent mirror-glass curtain wall facade suspended in front of the metallic structure. A circular glass roof houses a cafeteria. The facade of the office building, accessed by a glass corridor, is arched.

The houses of the Bergpolder discoidal blue-collar skyscraper in Rotterdam (1933-1934, in collaboration with Willem van Tijen) open onto galleries. The stairs and the elevator are located behind the side façade, fully glazed, existing in the entrance part. On the death of Van der Vlugt, Brinkman worked in collaboration with Johannes Hendrik van der Broek.

Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud

Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud (Wassenaar 1890 - Wassenaar 1963), was a Dutch architect who after studying at the Amsterdam School of Arts and Crafts worked with the architects Petrus J.H. Cuypers and Jan Stuyt. He would continue his training at the Amsterdam State School of Drawing and at the Delf Technical University, where he would study architecture. Encouraged by Cuypers he would go to work in Munich with Theodor Fischer until 1912, when he started working as an independent architect in the city of Purmerend, and then moved to Leiden.

His career was greatly influenced by neoplasticism after joining the De Stijl group when he met Theo van Doesburg in 1915, but he would not sign the De Stijl manifesto of 1917. At this time Pieter Oud made works such as the Purmerend factory (1917) and the De Unie café in Rotterdam (1924-1925, destroyed in 1940 and rebuilt in 1986 at another location), where the group's influence is evident.

Pieter Oud began to approach the approaches of the New German Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit), and in 1918 he became a municipal architect of Rotterdam, where he condensed the influences of his beginnings in Neoplasticism with rationalist ideas in the construction of various groups of houses such as the Kiefhoek houses (1922-1924) in Rotterdam, or those of Hoek van Holland (1924-1927).

In 1954 the Technical University of Delf awarded him an honorary doctorate, and in 1963 Pieter Oud died in his hometown of Wassenaar.

Willem Marinus Dudok

Willem Dudok was a Dutch architect, born in Amsterdam and established in Hilversum, active between 1910 and 1966.

Willen Dudok's long career, exercised without interruption in one and the same place, is generally illustrated in the history of the modern Movement. With heroic character at times, but more frequently and in the long run very prosaic and modest, his work nevertheless offers us an exemplary summary of the architectural and urban problems of the first half of the century.

Coming from a family passionate about musical culture and a great music fan himself, Dudok studied at the Breda Military Academy from 1902 to 1905. After completing his duties in the army, where he served in the engineering corps , is hired in 1913 in the architectural service of the city of Leiden. His first productions in the same place, a high school in Hoge Rijndijk, the headquarters of the Leidse Dagblad newspaper and a group of houses (in collaboration with J. J. P. Oud), reveal the strong influence of Hendrik Berlage.

In 1915, he was appointed Director of Public Works in Hilversum, then a small town.

Closer to the thinking of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School than to his contemporaries in the De Stijl group, he invariably uses materials such as brick, wood and tile or straw for the roofs, which, moving his achievements away from abstraction, they insert them much more naturally into their environment.

Similar to musical compositions, with a certain virtuosity in the rhythmic openings and in the towers articulated in crescendos, Dudok produced three outstanding works in his career: the Hilversum Town Hall (1924), the Dutch pavilion in the university city of Paris (1927) and the De Bijenkorf department store building in Rotterdam. The latter, destroyed in 1940, bursts into the old city center in an unusual way, occupying almost the entire block. It proclaims its modernity with its large glazed surfaces and long horizontal slabs in contrast to a massive angled pylon and a tall tower positioned as a landmark. A similar typology is found in his Parisian project as well as in the Hilversum town hall, where four wings with variable volumes are assembled around a central courtyard.

More compact and concentrated, the Dutch pavilion in Paris lines one of its facades on the boulevard, while in Hilversum the masses dynamically unfold outwards, generously integrating the landscaped space, with a pond, in a calm Olympic atmosphere.

Dudok also built the Utrecht Theater (1939-1941) and the office building of the De Nederlanden van 1845 company, in Rotterdam (1942-1952), the upper floors of which are occupied by houses. He especially runs one hundred and twelve service stations throughout the country and offices for the company.

Huig Aart Maaskant

Huig Maaskant was one of the most important reconstruction architects in the Netherlands, and in Rotterdam in particular, after the Second World War. Furthermore, he was one of the first architects to deal with the aesthetic side of industrial buildings. His buildings are characterized by their large scale, monumentality, and substantial details.

Maaskant built the most important buildings for him in Rotterdam. With the Groothandelsgebouw, the Lijnbaanflats, the Hilton hotel and the Euromast, he contributed greatly to the image of the new Rotterdam. Other well-known buildings in Rotterdam are the Adriaan Volkerhuis in Oostmaaslaan, the South Collective Building in Zuidplein, and the Technikon school complex. Outside of Rotterdam, Maaskant designs, among other things, the Scheveningen pier (1961), the KNVB sports hall in Zeist (1965) and the provincial house in Den Bosch (1971).

Maaskant was born on August 17, 1907 in Rotterdam. In his own city, he studies architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Technical Sciences. After his studies, he began his career as an architect with Jos de Jonge (1887-1965), whose office he soon had to leave due to the economic crisis. In 1935, Maaskant began working for Willem van Tijen (1894-1974), with whom he partnered in 1937, building mainly industrial and commercial buildings. The most famous is the Groothandelsgebouw in Weena in Rotterdam.

With Van Tijen, Maaskant comes into contact with Nieuwe Bouwen. Van Tijen belongs to the Rotterdam group of architects de Opbouw, a Dutch CIAM movement. He is part of the mainstream ideological movement of the Nieuwe Bouwen movement, which puts social housing first. Maaskant's preference for business architecture over more social housing is one of the reasons that led to the split with Van Tijen after eighteen years of collaboration.

After his departure from Van Tijen in 1955, Maaskant ran an architectural office for just five years. In 1960 he teamed up with his most important collaborators PW van Dommelen, J. Kroos and Ir. H. Senf. This office, Maaskant Van Dommelen Kroos and Senf Architecten, became one of the largest in the Netherlands.

Willem Van Tijen

Willem van Tijen was born on February 1, 1894 in Wormerveer. From 1907 to 1914, he attended HBS and the Hilversum gymnasium. After graduating from high school, he moved to Amsterdam, where he would study law. After some travels in Russia, Sumatra, and the United States, he and his wife went to Bandoeng in 1920, where he studied irrigation engineering at the Special Technical School until 1924.

Due to illness, Van Tijen and his wife returned to the Netherlands in 1926. Together with A. Plate he founded NV. Volkswoningbouw Rotterdam, a public housing company for which he designed several projects together with L.C. van der Vlugt. In 1929, Van Tijen partnered with Rotterdam structural engineer J.H. van den Broek and subsequently opened his own office.

From 1937 to 1954, Van Tijen was associated with HA Maaskant. Several "well-known" architects worked in the office, such as L.A. Hoogstraaten (until 1946), E.F. Groosman (until 1948), W. Buma (around 1950) and W. Wissing (1947-1955). In 1955, Van Tijen, together with M. Boom and J. Posno, formed the Van Tijen, Boom & Posno working group, which grew to become the Van Tijen, Boom, Posno & Van Randen architecture studio at the end of the 1960s.

Over the years, in addition to the people mentioned above, Van Tijen frequently collaborated with other architects, such as J.A. Brinkman, S.J. van Embden, C.J.F. Karsten, F. Klein, D. Melchior, B. Merkelbach, G.T. Rietveld, R. Romke de Vries, M.A. Stam, C.I.A. Stam-Beese and M.B. van Wensveen.


Piet Blom (1934) was born in Amsterdam and grew up in the “Jordaan”, a working class quarter where life takes place on the street. In this district Blom’s vision on living and working was formed. After an education as a carpenter and architectural designer he enrolls in an architectural study at the Academy of Architecture, where one of his tutors is Aldo van Eyck.

While still studying Blom is doing an internship at the Herman Knijtijzer Bureau of Architecture, where he is involved in several projects. But is it difficult for Blom to express himself in the apartment-architecture this bureau is engaged in. In 1962, the last year of his study at the academy, Blom designs an urban plan for an urbanization between Amsterdan and Haarlem called: ‘Noah’s Ark’. The same year he wins the Prix de Rome with his design for the Pestalozzi-children’s village. He uses the grant that he wins to eleborate a vision against the monotonous housing projects consisting of flats and terraced houses. This study is published in 1965 by the association of roof tiles-manufacturers Nedaco with the title ”Living as a general urban roof’. In this vision he designs a city made of two levels: a public space on the ground with of houses above that like the roof of the city. In fact this is the birth of his first idea of what he later elaborates as cubicles.

Especially in the 70’s a lot of structuralist blocks have been built. Structuralism has had a lot of influence on social housing, in the Netherlands, but e.g. in Germany as well. Blom’s architectural motto was: “Living under an urban roof”. With the Amsterdam Jordaan area as an example he wanted to design village-like buildings in which all aspects of life could take place, in which every space and every individual is a part of the whole and is able to develop according to the possibilities.

In the 80’s especially large-scale structuralist buildings have been built. Criticism was raising: too much uniformity, lack of surveyability, suffocation, tedious. More surveyability, transparency, variation and aesthetics was demanded (e.g. by Rem Koolhaas).

In the 90’s the designs of Hertzberger and even Van Eyck express that they went along with the spirit of the time. Blom’s designs for Heemskerk and Amersfoort were executed, but he sticks to his original principles and ideas. Between the projects in Rotterdam (1984) and Heemskerk (1994) is a period of 10 years. For Blom this period was mentally heavy, because none of his designs at that time has been executed: Rotterdam (Pompenburg), Amsterdam, Kampen, Zwolle, Monnickendam, Valkenburg. A dwelling for a befriended contractor (Russian Palace) in Amersfoort revives him.

Piet Blom passed away at June 8th 1999 at the age of 65 years during a holiday in Denmark and has been buried in Monnickendam, his hometown for many years. The NAI (Netherlands Architectural Institute = The New Institute nowadays) in Rotterdam administer his professional estate (drawings, documentation, overview-exhibition).


Rem Koolhaas was born in Rotterdam in 1944. He began his career as a journalist, working for the Haagse Post, and as a set-designer in the Netherlands and Hollywood. He beganHe frequented the Architectural Association School in London and studied with Oswald Mathias Ungers at Cornell University. In 1978, he wrote Delirious New York: a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan, which has become a classic of contemporary architectural theory. In 1975 – together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp – he founded OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture).

The most important works by Koolhaas and OMA, from its foundation until the mid-1990s, include the Netherlands Dance Theatre at The Hague, the Nexus Housing at Fukuoka in Japan, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Grand Palais of Euralille and Lille, the Villa dall’Ava, the Très Grande Bibliothèque, the Jussieu library in Paris, the ZKM in Karlsruhe and the Seattle Public Library.

Together with Koolhaas’s reflections on contemporary society, these buildings appear in his second book, S,M,L,XL (1995), a volume of 1376 pages written as though it were a “novel about architecture”. Published in collaboration with the Canadian graphic designer, Bruce Mau, the book contains essays, manifestos, cartoons and travel diaries.

In 2005, with Mark Wigley and Ole Bouman, he was the founder to the prestigious Volume magazine, the result of a collaboration with Archis (Amsterdam), AMO and C-lab (Columbia University NY).

His built work includes the Qatar National Library and the Qatar Foundation Headquarters (2018), Fondation Galeries Lafayette in Paris (2018), Fondazione Prada in Milan (2015/2018), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2015), the headquarters for China Central Television (CCTV) in Beijing (2012), Casa da Musica in Porto (2005), Seattle Central Library (2004), and the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin (2003). Current projects include the Taipei Performing Arts Centre, a new building for Axel Springer in Berlin, and the Factory in Manchester.

Koolhaas directed the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale and is a professor at Harvard University, where he directs The Project on the City, a research programme on changes in urban conditions around the world. This programme has conducted research on the delta of the Pearl River in China (entitled Great Leap Forward) and on consumer society (The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping). Taschen Verlag has published the results. Now is preparing a major exhibition for the Guggenheim museum to open in 2019 entitled Countryside: Future of the World.

Among the awards he has won in recent years, we mention here the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize (2000), the Praemium Imperiale (2003), the Royal Gold Medal (2004) and the Mies Van Der Rohe prize (2005). In 2008, Time mentioned him among the 100 most influential people of the planet.

Jo Coenen

Jo Coenen (Heerlen 1949) graduated in architecture & urban planning from the department of architecture of Eindhoven University of Technology in 1975. Following his studies, he worked until 1979 as a research assistant at the same university and established important professional relationships Europe-wide with Prof O.M. Ungers in Cologne, Prof Rob Krier in Vienna, Prof Luigi Snozzi who was then a professor at the EPFL Lausanne, and Prof James Stirling at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, among others. In 1979, before starting his own practice in Eindhoven in 1980, he worked on the new building of the Faculty of Letters in Amsterdam under Prof Aldo van Eyck and the architect Theo Bosch. After 10 years, he moved his operation to Maastricht to work on the Céramique master plan. After another 10 years, he opened a branch in Berlin to design the residence of the Dutch ambassador and to work on the Gendarmenmarkt project. This was followed other studios in Luxembourg (2002), Amsterdam (2002), Milan (2007) and finally Bern (2012).

Since the start of his academic career, Coenen has taught at various national and international colleges and universities (Aken, Karlsruhe, Lausanne, Milan and Delft ) In 1987, he was appointed Ordentlicher Professor Gebaüdelehre und Entwerfen at Karlsruhe University of Technology, of which he has been an honorary professor since 1995. In 2001, in the Netherlands, he was appointed professor of Public Building in the department of architecture at Delft University of Technology. As part of his job, and based on his experience as Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands, in 2006 he established the MIT ® Research Center for Modification, Intervention and Transformation at the same university, in which Coenen assigned great significance to 'the art of interweaving' past and present and also put the emphasis on design. Since 2009, he has held the professorship of Architecture & Transformation at Maastricht University.

Coenen has been frequently invited to exhibit his work at various Biennials and Triennials such as the Venice Biennial (1980), the Milan Triennial (1995) and the São Paulo Biennial (1997). In addition, he has taken part in many international workshops, symposia and congresses. For example, he was invited to lecture at the RIBA in London (The concepts for the living city), at the Getty Center Santa Monica (Building in old context) and to the Collegio Official de Arquitectos de la Comunidad in Valencia (Experiencias en edificios publicos). Coenen has sat on various national and international juries, including that of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in Sydney. He was recently on the jury of the Neubau der Zentral und Landesbibliothek Berlin (2014).

He has won various awards and prestigious prizes for architecture, including the Dutch BNA-Kubus for his entire oeuvre (1995) , the Dutch Building Award for the 'Glaspaleis' (Glass Palace) in Heerlen (2005 in collaboration with W. Arets), the BNA 'Best Building of the Year Award' for his Vesteda Tower in Eindhoven (2007), the 'International Architecture Award' for the Public Library in Amsterdam (2008), the 'WAN Civic Building of the Year' prize for the Public Library in Amsterdam (2009), the 'International Architecture Award' for the Mosae Forum project in Maastricht (2010) and an award for participation and planning for the IBA Hamburg (2013).

Influenced and inspired by his contacts in Central and Southern Europe, he has designed many architectural and urban development projects, of which the NAi in Rotterdam, the master plan and library for the Céramique Centre in Maastricht and the KNSM island in Amsterdam are the best known.

Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries. MVRDV

MVRDV was founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The practice engages globally in providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues. A highly collaborative, research-based design method involves clients, stakeholders and experts from a wide range of fields from early on in the creative process. The results are exemplary, outspoken projects, which enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.

The products of MVRDV’s unique approach to design vary, ranging from buildings of all types and sizes, to urban plans and visions, numerous publications, installations and exhibitions. Built projects include the Netherlands Pavilion for the World EXPO 2000 in Hannover; the Market Hall, a combination of housing and retail in Rotterdam; the Pushed Slab, a sustainable office building in Paris’ first eco-district; Flight Forum, an innovative business park in Eindhoven; the Silodam Housing complex in Amsterdam; the Matsudai Cultural Centre in Japan; the Unterföhring office campus near Munich; the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam; the Ypenburg housing and urban plan in The Hague; the Didden Village rooftop housing extension in Rotterdam; the music centre De Effenaar in Eindhoven; the Gyre boutique shopping center in Tokyo; a public library in Spijkenisse; an international bank headquarters in Oslo, Norway; and the iconic Mirador and Celosia housing in Madrid.

Current projects include a variety of housing projects in the Netherlands, France, China, India, and other countries; a community centre in Copenhagen and a cultural complex in Roskilde, Denmark, a public art depot in Rotterdam, the transformation of a mixed use building in central Paris, an office complex in Shanghai, and a commercial centre in Beijing, and the renovation of an office building in Hong Kong. MVRDV is also working on large scale urban masterplans in Bordeaux and Caen, France and the masterplan for an eco-city in Logroño, Spain. Larger scale visions for the future of greater Paris, greater Oslo, and the doubling in size of the Dutch new town Almere are also in development.

MVRDV first published a manifesto of its work and ideas in FARMAX (1998), followed by MetaCity/Datatown (1999), Costa Iberica (2000), Regionmaker (2002), 5 Minutes City (2003), KM3 (2005), Spacefighter (2007) and Skycar City (2007), and more recently The Vertical Village (with The Why Factory, 2012) and the firm’s first monograph of built works MVRDV Buildings (2013). MVRDV deals with issues ranging from global sustainability in large scale studies such as Pig City, to small, pragmatic architectural solutions for devastated areas such as New Orleans.

The work of MVRDV is exhibited and published worldwide and has received numerous international awards. One hundred architects, designers and urbanists develop projects in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative design process which involves rigorous technical and creative investigation. MVRDV works with BIM and has official in-house BREEAM and LEED assessors.

Together with Delft University of Technology, MVRDV runs The Why Factory, an independent think tank and research institute providing an agenda for architecture and urbanism by envisioning the city of the future.


Wiel Arets was born in 1955. In 1984 he established Wiel Arets Architect & Associates in his hometown of Heerlen, the Netherlands, after graduating from the Technical University of Eindhoven. From 1984-1989 he extensively travelled throughout North America, Russia and Japan. 1986 he co-founded the architectural journal Wiederhall. In 1988 he began teaching at the AA in London, paving the way for a future in worldwide academic and research-based teaching. In 1993 construction commenced on his design for the Academy of Art & Architecture, in Maastricht, the Netherlands, propelling him into the world of internationally recognized architectural prestige.

Wiel Arets' teaching curriculum vitae includes the world's most important and influential architecture schools and universities, including: the Architectural Academies of Amsterdam and Rotterdam from 1986-1989; the AA of London from 1988-1992; from 1991-1994 he was a visiting professor at The Copper Union and Columbia University in New York, USA, the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen; from 1995-1998 he was Dean of the Berlage Institute, Postgraduate Laboratory of Architecture in Amsterdam, and held the Berlage Institute Professorship at the Technical University Delft until 2009; in 2004 he accepted tenure professorship at the UdK in Berlin; in 2010 he was the Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Since 2003 he has served on the advisory board of Princeton University.

Wiel Arets' projects have been bestowed and honored with some of the highest achievements in architecture and product design: the 2010 "Amsterdam Architecture Prize", the 2010 "Good Design Award" for the Alessi products,, and Il Bagno dOt, the "BNA Kubus Award" for the entire oeuvre in 2005, the "UIA Nomination" as one of "the world’s one thousandth best buildings of the 20th century" for the Academy of Art & Architecture, Maastricht, the "Rietveld Prize" in 2005 for the University Library Utrecht, the "Mies van der Rohe Pavilion Award for European Architecture" with special mention "Emerging Architect" in 1994 for the Academy of Art & Architecture in Maastricht, the "Rotterdam Maaskant Award" in 1989 for the oeuvre, the "Charlotte Köhler Award" in 1988.


Simone Drost Simone Drost Architecture

Simone Drost. Born in 1960 in the Netherlands, and graduate of the Architectural Association in London. Simone quickly started her career as an independent architect after a short training at Mecanoo architects in 1992.

In 1992 creates her office in Rotterdam, Drost + van Veen architecten bv. Based mainly in the Netherlands, eclectic production involves both homes as educational, cultural or medical projects. Between her recent projects, a health center for adolescents, the museum of culture and history of Ter Aar, 250 homes in Rotterdam and a Montessori school in Groningen.

After a successful collaboration of 21 years, in which beautiful projects have been realized within Drost + van Veen architecten bv, both have decided from mid-2014 to split the company and each go their own way.

From Groningen to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, New York, Chicago, Sydney, Vienna and Paris. Rotterdam is currently her location with a studio in the campaign of France.

Elma van Boxel + Kristian Koreman ZUS

ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] was founded in Rotterdam by Elma van Boxel (1975) and Kristian Koreman (1978) in 2001. Van Boxel and Koreman head an international and multi-disciplinary team consisting of architects, urban planners, landscape architects, a graphic designer. In 2007 they received the prestigious Rotterdam Maaskant Prize for Young Architects and published their first book. Despite their young age they have already had the honor to be selected as curators for the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and the first BMW Guggenheim Lab team in New York. In 2012 ZUS was selected as ‘Architect of the Year’ in the category small offices.Their work has been widely exhibited in a.o. the Venice Biennale, the Design Biennale Istanbul, the Architecture Biennale in Sao Paolo and the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. They hold teaching positions at various design schools including the CAFA school of architecture in Beijing and INSIDE at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague.

Mei architects and planners

Mei architects and planners is an internationally operating architectural firm with extensive expertise in the area of redevelopment, transformation, urban planning and inner-city development projects. The work of Mei architects and planners has been widely published and awarded.

Mei architects and planners is an enterprising, knowledge-intensive office that focuses on development and innovation in architecture. The office was set up in 2003 by architect Robert Winkel and is based in Rotterdam. Mei is particularly noted for transforming existing buildings such as the Jobsveem warehouse, Delfshaven factory and Fenix warehouses in Rotterdam. And it has completed striking new-build projects such as Schiecentrale 4B in Rotterdam, De Verkenner in Utrecht and McDonald’s Coolsingel 44 in Rotterdam. In addition, the office has drawn up urban designs that include dynamic master plans for Moss Verket in Norway, London in England, Nantes in France and the OPG-location in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The work of Mei has been widely published and received numerous awards.

OMA. Office for Metropolitan Architecture

Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is an international practice operating within the traditional boundaries of architecture and urbanism. AMO, a research and design studio, applies architectural thinking to domains beyond. OMA is led by eight partners – Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf, Ellen van Loon, Shohei Shigematsu, Iyad Alsaka, Chris van Duijn, Jason Long, and Managing Partner-Architect David Gianotten – and maintains offices in Rotterdam, New York, Hong Kong, Doha, and Australia. OMA-designed buildings currently under construction are the renovation of Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Berlin, The Factory in Manchester, Hangzhou Prism, the CMG Times Center in Shenzhen and the Simone Veil Bridge in Bordeaux.

OMA’s completed projects include Taipei Performing Arts Centre (2022), Audrey Irmas Pavilion in Los Angeles (2020), Norra Tornen in Stockholm (2020), Axel Springer Campus in Berlin (2020), MEETT Toulouse Exhibition and Convention Centre (2020), Galleria in Gwanggyo (2020), WA Museum Boola Bardip (2020), nhow RAI Hotel in Amsterdam (2020), a new building for Brighton College (2020), and Potato Head Studios in Bali (2020). Earlier buildings include Fondazione Prada in Milan (2018), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2015), De Rotterdam (2013), CCTV Headquarters in Beijing (2012), Casa da Música in Porto (2005), and the Seattle Central Library (2004).

AMO often works in parallel with OMA's clients to fertilize architecture with intelligence from this array of disciplines. This is the case with Prada: AMO's research into identity, in-store technology, and new possibilities of content-production in fashion helped generate OMA's architectural designs for new Prada epicenter stores in New York and Los Angeles. In 2004, AMO was commissioned by the European Union to study its visual communication, and designed a colored "barcode" flag, combining the flags of all member states, which was used during the Austrian presidency of the EU. AMO has worked with Universal Studios, Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, Heineken, Ikea, Condé Nast, Harvard University and the Hermitage. It has produced Countryside: The Future, a research exhibited at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; exhibitions at the Venice Architecture Biennale, including Public Works (2012), Cronocaos (2010), and The Gulf (2006); and for Fondazione Prada, including When Attitudes Become Form (2012) and Serial and Portable Classics (2015). AMO, with Harvard University, was responsible for the research and curation of the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale and its publication Elements. Other notable projects are Roadmap 2050, a plan for a Europe-wide renewable energy grid; Project Japan, a 720-page book on the Metabolism architecture movement (Taschen, 2010); and the educational program of Strelka Institute in Moscow.




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