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What Motivates and Inspires UN Studio's Ben Van Berkel?

12:30 - 24 November, 2016

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."

Knowledge Matters

09:00 - 24 November, 2016
Knowledge Matters, Courtesy of Unknown
Courtesy of Unknown

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

UN Studio Announces 20th Anniversary Exhibition of Erasmus Bridge, New Book and App

14:00 - 26 August, 2016
UN Studio Announces 20th Anniversary Exhibition of Erasmus Bridge, New Book and App, © flickr user lukeprice88. Licensed under CC BY 2.0
© flickr user lukeprice88. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

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.”

SCI-Arc’s Close-up Exhibit Explores the Potential of Digital Technologies on Architectural Detail

12:00 - 14 May, 2016
SCI-Arc’s Close-up Exhibit Explores the Potential of Digital Technologies on Architectural Detail, SCI-Arc's "Close-up" Exhibtion Explores Architectural Detail in an age of digital manufacturing and design. Image © Joshua White
SCI-Arc's "Close-up" Exhibtion Explores Architectural Detail in an age of digital manufacturing and design. Image © Joshua White

SCI-Arc’s “Close-up” exhibition is currently on display at the SCI-Arc gallery, featuring architectural details designed with the use of digital technology by top architects in the field. The exhibit, curated by Hernan Diaz Alonso and David Ruy, seeks to explore the impact of new computational tools not only on large-scale building analysis, but also on the “traditions of tectonic expression” associated with architectural detail.

“Out of the many critical shifts that the discipline has gone through in the last 25 years with the explosion of new technologies and digital means of production, the notion of the construction detail has been largely overlooked,” Diaz Alonso said. “This show attempts to shed light on the subject of tectonic details by employing a fluid and dynamic movement of zooming in and zooming out in the totality of the design.”

The 16 exhibitors include architecture firms like Morphosis, Gehry Partners and UN Studio – see preview images of them all after the break.

By UN Studio. Image © Joshua White By Gehry Partners. Image © Joshua White By P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S. Image © Joshua White By Tom Wiscombe Architecture. Image © Joshua White +37

Mercedes Benz Museum / UN Studio, photos by Michael Schnell

16:28 - 11 August, 2010
© Michael  Schnell
© Michael Schnell

Ten kilometer south from the Porsche Museum we featured last week, we find the Mercedes Benz Museum, designed by dutch architects UN Studio and photographed by Michael Schnell.

The 35,000sqm project designed by UN Studio between 2001-2006, includes also a restaurants, stores, offices and an auditorium.

The design is based on the geometry of a clover, with the spaces connected between two helical ascending ramps, around a central atrium.

According to Ben van Berkel, joint founder and director of UNStudio “The Mercedes‑Benz Museum sets up an interface for a series of radical spatial principles in order to create a completely new typology”.

And by this, he refers to how visitors experience the museum: They do not begin their visit to the exhibition at a conventional entrance at the base of the building. They are transported by lift to the top floor. Here they have the choice of two tours, during which they descend through the building. The paths of each tour meet on each floor, enabling visitors to switch between tours – the Collections tour and Legend tour – should they wish to do so.

After this project was completed, several tried to imitate it and these kind of circulations became a cliché among architects (and students).

You can see more details of the lift system at NotCot.

More photos by Michael Schnell after the break: