Last week ArchDaily attended the 2016 World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Berlin. Following his opening keynote address, we talked to Ben van Berkel of UN Studio who spoke of his interest in using technology in architecture to improve not only user experience, but to affect qualitative aspects of design itself. Together with his partner Caroline Bos, Van Berkel recently published Knowledge Matters, a book positioned "to help architects to run a better studio and to share knowledge."
The profession "architect" has expanded in recent years, not just in terms of the cultural influences, but equally with respect to scientific advances. The inventive economy has also led to new lifestyle choices and a new role for the architect and architectural practice. We talk of an architecture that is either pre-crisis or post-crisis, the latter resulting in a call for responsible architecture (affordable, sustainable, attainable, and healthy).
This development led to changes in the UNStudio practice; with the introduction of Knowledge Platforms and the development from a network to a knowledge practice. Now compiled into an inspiring publication, Knowledge Matters
Ben van Berkel and UNStudio have collaborated with a multidisciplinary team including Goudappel Coffeng (mobility consultants), GeoPhy (data specialists) and 2getthere (automated transit systems) to produce a study examining the future of infrastructure and city development for the area around Amsterdam’s A10 ring road and the Leylaan district.
Proposals resulting from the study comprise a new multimodal transportation hub located at the intersection of Cornelis Lelyaan and the A10, and new urban districts flanking the highway that will link to adjacent neighborhoods while provided a much needed new address in Amsterdam.
Three new sessions have been announced for the 2016 World Architecture Festival (WAF), held from November 16-18 in Berlin, Germany. Adding to the impressive list of speakers at the event will be Ben van Berkel, founder of UNStudio, who will lecture on “Superliving - from exclusive to inclusive”; Carlos Zedillo of Infonavit discussing “Architect as instigator”; and Qutub Mandviwala, MQA, who will present on “Housing and cultural difference.”
Said Ben van Berkel about the event: “It is essential to understand that ‘housing for everyone’ is not simply a matter of providing homes for all, it is also a question of what the home of the future should be; how we can meet the demands of all future residents and provide housing that fulfils their varied and changing needs.”
There are at least as many definitions of architecture as there are architects or people who comment on the practice of it. While some embrace it as art, others defend architecture’s seminal social responsibility as its most definitive attribute. To begin a sentence with “Architecture is” is a bold step into treacherous territory. And yet, many of us have uttered — or at least thought— “Architecture is…” while we’ve toiled away on an important project, or reflected on why we’ve chosen this professional path.
Most days, architecture is a tough practice; on others, it is wonderfully satisfying. Perhaps, though, most importantly, architecture is accommodating and inherently open to possibility.
This collection of statements illustrates the changing breadth of architecture’s significance; we may define it differently when talking among peers, or adjust our statements for outsiders.
UNStudio has designed the final portion of a 225,000 square meter (2,420,000 square foot) urban plan for the district of Oosterdokseiland in the city center of Amsterdam. Located at the tip of the island, the last sub-plan will consist of a lively social hub and 72,500 square meters (780,000 square feet) of public facilities, apartments and office space for Amsterdam-based company Booking.com.
“The design for this fully integrated new urban campus is envisioned as a highly multifunctional living and working environment, enriched with special amenity and public programmes,” said UNStudio Founder Ben van Berkel. “The urban gesture of the building weaves together with the existing streets, while the east side of the building will become a recognisable emblem for Oosterdok.”
IAAC Lecture Series 2016/17
Wednesday 19th of October 2016
Lecture by Ben van Berkel - UNStudio
@ 19.00, IAAC Auditorium
Open to the Public
19.00 - Opening
19.20 - Welcome Areti Markopoulou
19.30 - Ben van Berkel Lecture
21:00 - Refreshments
Ben van Berkel, born in Utrecht, the Netherlands, is the Founder and Principal Architect of UNStudio in Amsterdam, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Ben van Berkel studied architecture at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and at the Architectural Association in London, receiving the AA Diploma with Honours in 1987. He was recently awarded the Kenzo Tange Visiting Professor's Chair at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. UNStudio is
Marking the 20th anniversary of the opening of their iconic Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, UN Studio, along with the Kunsthal and Heerema Group, have organized an exhibition demonstrating “the many and varied ways that the bridge has been embraced by the public and become a symbol of the city of Rotterdam.”
Following the selection of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' proposal for the Taiwan Taouyuan International Airport as the winning design, UNStudio has released their own proposal, which received 2nd place. Called the “most innovative design concept” and the design that the jury “wanted to experience the most” by Michael Sparks (jury member and Dean and Professor at Syracuse University), the proposal, with a design team headed by Ben Van Berkel, re-imagines the scale of the airport typology. Read more about their shortlisted entry after the break.
In collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Cal Poly LA Metro Program in Architecture and Urban Design, Caroline Bos, co-founder and Principal Urban Planner of UNStudio (www.unstudio.com), will speak about recent architectural, infrastructural and masterplan projects carried out by UNStudio. She will also introduce UNStudio’s Urban Unit and the approach to knowledge sharing recently adopted by the practice to enable the development, application and dissemination of practice related research.
There's something special about architecture in The Netherlands. From MVRDV's iconic Markthal in Rotterdam to WAM's whimsically stacked Inntel Hotel in Zaandam, for years Dutch design has questioned accepted architectural norms. The country has long been considered a leader in design, catalyzed in part by The Netherlands' famous architectural trailblazer Rem Koolhaas. Since 1975 Koolhaas' Rotterdam-based firm OMA has realized dozens of unorthodox designs and has been linked with the creation of more than forty major architecture practices worldwide.
In 2000 Bart Lootsma released Superdutch, a bestselling opus on the mythology of Dutch architecture and its thought leaders, which provided a glimpse into the enduring humanist approach to design that has earned global praise for the country's architects. In the book, Lootsma profiled a handful of Dutch firms including UNStudio, West 8 and MVRDV. Fifteen years later, students from Canada's Simon Fraser University formed a collective called Groep Drie to continue the conversation. From Herman Hertzberger to Ben van Berkel, Groep Drie sat down with The Netherlands' most innovative designers to talk urbanism, spiritualism, color, and more.
Read on to find out what The Netherlands' leading architects had to say.
In the latest episode of Monocle's Section D, Josh Fehnert talks to Ben van Berkel, co-founder and principal of Amsterdam-based UNStudio, about London's new Caneletto residential tower. The office, which was founded in 1988, has completed projects around the world ranging from Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge to the Mercedes-Benz Museumin Stuttgart. With over 81 built projects, and 54 currently in progress (including Raffles City in Hangzhou and Scotts Tower in Singapore), London’s Canaletto Tower (which is due to be completed in 2015) marks the practice’s first major project in the UK. The tower, located at the confluence of two London districts — Islington and Shoreditch — marks a significant moment for the Dutch practice's œuvre.
The evening of October 6th marks the grand opening of UNStudio's new exhibit, Motion Matters 4.0 at the Architektur Galerie in Munich. The opening ceremonies will coincide with the first day of the Expo Real International Trade Fair for Property and Investment and include a welcome speech by the Dutch Consul General Peter Vermeij, followed by an introductory talk about the exhibit from UNStudio co-founder and principal Ben van Berkel.
Aiming to encourage the use of public transportation as a valid alternative to private transportation, Qatar Rail has appointed UNStudio to design the stations for the first phase of the Greater Doha Metro Network, part of the Qatar Integrated Railway Project (QIRP). With the first phase consisting of 30 stations on 4 metro lines, UNStudio has created an "Architectural Branding Manual," a set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines which will be used by the design & build firms on each station to ensure the design quality and coherence of the network as a whole.
ArchDaily recently spoke to Ben van Berkel, co-founder and principal architect at UNStudio, an international network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure based in the Netherlands. The office, which was founded in 1988, has completed projects around the world ranging from Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. With over 81 built projects, and 54 currently in progress (including Raffles City in Hangzhou and Scotts Tower in Singapore), London’s Canaletto Tower (which is due to be completed in 2015) marks the practice’s first major project in the UK.
Consider a social-networking experience that combines real-time amusement with an awareness of your surroundings. Dutch architecture firm, UNStudio, together with Ferris Wheel Investment of Japan, have laid out a colossal vision that expects to attract millions of visitors to a mixed-use retail, food and beverage center anchored by an architecturally-iconic observation wheel, Nippon Moon. The concept utilizes a user's smart phone or tablet, extending the rider's experience far beyond the moment they physically enter one of the 32 single or double-decker capsules.
Our friends from UNStudio shared their latest completed residential project, a villa nestled on the outskirts of Stuttgart that offers amazing vistas over country vineyards which are juxtaposed with cityscape panoramas. The sinuous curves of Haus am Weinberg are governed by the idea of creating a “twist” which organizes the programmatic flow of the residence. Ben van Berkel explained, “The Haus am Weinberg adopts a stereovisual spatial effect, acting almost as an optical instrument, whereby not a parallax view, but a parallax experience is created. Moments of parity with the surrounding landscape from inside the house form a constant experiential connection and awareness of its immediate context.”
More after the break, including a great photography set by Iwan Baan.
We are continually impressed by the variety of projects from UNStudio’s office. The firm just unveiled a new vertical city highrise for Singapore previously featured on AD, and recently, the Dutch studio’s international air terminal and traffic control tower for Kutaisi was officially presented by Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia. The country is growing quickly and changing rapidly, with new tourist and economic activity, plus different political developments. As such, the design for the new airport seeks to showcase Georgia new identity by providing a contemporary gateway to the country.
More about the airport after the break.