Head of Architecture Department
When examining the harvest of 2016, the quality and diversity is immediately apparent. Themes like reuse, dealing with death and the role of nature in architecture are represented in numerous projects. From breathing new life into an unfinished stadium in Vilnius by means of a metropolitan approach to tackling run-down housing estates in New York through strategic interventions and additions.
Or closer to home, transforming the former town hall on Dam Square into a ‘House of the City’ through a minimum amount of crucial interventions and the transformation of the former studio of Hildo Krop into a place where senior citizens can live out their old age in a humane way. Whereas bio-based materials were used in the latter project in order to achieve the architectural interventions, the maximum stimulation of biodiversity was the starting point for another design that radically converted the former Tropen Hotel into a building where humans, flora and fauna cohabit on equal terms.
The social role of architecture was also explicitly examined in a number of projects, such as a prominent courthouse situated on the IJ river, which visibly places the judicial system in the heart of the city once again through a new typology and a proposal to restore the (social) significance that the Roman Catholic church in Schagen originally had by means of a system of squares.
The positive effect of the interdisciplinary structure of the study programme is clearly evident in a number of plans in which the combination of architecture and landscape ensure the proposal’s success. Whereas a building has been conceived on the island of Terschelling where nature is used to create a comforting environment, the fundamental rift between mankind and nature has been restored closer to home at the Nieuwe Diep lake.
It would appear that this generation of graduates are once again occupied with real architecture. They have abandoned the desire to design buildings that derive their raison d’être from absurd shapes and misplaced use of colour. Given that it will be approximately 10 years before any building will actually take place in the spirit of the current student work, we can already now look forward to beautiful times.