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CHEPOS built environment magazine

54 June 2016

Holzer Kobler Architekturen. Rendering by LMcad Studio.

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In 1935 the London Zoo, the world’s eldest

diums and infrastructural projects all around the

scientific zoo, became home to an interesting

world. Though it all started from structural engi-

penguin enclosure that was not only interesting

neering, Arup now almost offers every advisory

for children, but also for structural engineers.

service in the built environment and does a lot

This was due to the retreat being a complex

of research on for instance 3D printed structural

constructed from reinforced concrete and

steel nodes. As impressive as all that is, structural

consisting of elegant curving ramps, for the

engineers are not always placed in the spotlight

birds to swoosh over, boxes for their nests and

and they often act as a silent force. For this issue

an elliptical perimeter wall at chest height,

we wanted to see who those people are that

preventing the visitors from falling and taking a

have helped realize the architectural marvels that

dive themselves.

we know today.

What makes this retreat so interesting are the

Staying within the realm of structure and con-

Penguins, the well-known and interesting

paper-thin interlocking spiraling ramps that al-

struction, this issue also features a number of

creatures that live in the Antarctic, exist in many

most seem to float. These ramps were conceived

remarkable ongoing projects around the corner.

different shapes and sizes. They are not found

after extensive studies of natural penguin be-

Furthermore, we headed out to the west side of

everywhere in the world, just like many other

havior and were shaped to emulate their natural

the country to see why it is time for renovating

animals and thus we as humans have come up

habitat. Though seemingly small as project, it

the Binnenhof and have an interview with David

with zoos. Penguins often do quite well in zoos,

was huge for the reputation of its structural en-

Gianotten, managing partner at OMA. For those

drawing huge crowds that come to see them

gineer, Ove Arup. From that now iconic project,

of you wanting to travel south this summer, then

walk, dive and swim. I myself have vivid mem-

Arup his reputation, expertise and philosophical

check out our new section “3x1� that this time

ories of visiting the penguin retreat in the Artis

thinking grew, which eventually lead up to him

features three student cities in Belgium.

Zoo in Amsterdam when I was younger, it being

to set up his own firm. That firm has from then

one of the highlights of a joyful day at the zoo.

on been growing into a company that almost

Just like there are many different species, there

encompasses all aspects of the built environment

are many different zoos each with a different

and has been involved in the conception of the

Justin Agyin

penguin retreat.

biggest and most famous towers, museums, sta-


CHEPOS built environment magazine


Have a great read,


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chePOST Name: Geordy van Bussel Study year: 6 Bachelor/master: Master Field of Study: Architecture Subject: Embracing Flux

“never judge a building on your first visit”

Something on your mind you need to share? Send us an email on and your article might get published!

This story originates from a day when Eurest

properly tour the building, by taking the elevator

Initially I felt the building had a lack of personal-

failed the most loyal coffee customers once

up to the 10th floor and walking down.

ity and it had a cold appearance. While I still feel

more. Together with a friend, an architecture

While still being in the central atrium, although

the same way about the cold appearance of the

student as well, we went to get coffee at the

now at the 10th floor, the space did not seem to

building, everything is rather clean, the materials

Spar in Flux instead. While drinking the cof-

be exceptionally big or high. It felt like the space

used are mostly white and real colors are only

fee we sat down in the small ‘lounge’ located

was around three floors high, there was a spatial

used in furniture or to highlight certain areas, the

opposite of the reception. It was then when I

relationship between every corner in the room.

spatial unpredictability of the building compen-

noticed I disliked something about the interior of

Walking down the stairs this constantly seemed

sates for this coldness. It lets the spatial relation-

the building.

to be the case, while the feeling of space con-

ships and thus the people in the building create

Together we came up with multiple possible causes of this negative feeling. The materials and color of the floor and walls, the inconsistency in types of ceiling and size of the central atrium compared to the interior elements. The biggest problem however, seemed to be the feeling the building emitted. There was this feeling that the building lacked personality and had a cold appearance. I decided to write and investigate what problem I had with the building. Two months later I did a proper revisit, taking a good look at what was exactly happening and see if I could spot where the ‘mistakes’ had been made. Aspiring architects as we are, I would surely be able to find out where the studio of Herman Hertzberger failed. tinuously changed. The space and building never

its warmth. I think this is a strong combination

The start of my second visit was, again, sitting

felt huge, always quite enclosed and there were

in a building meant for ultra-technical faculties.

down in the ‘lounge’ of the central atrium, go-

people in sight everywhere. Wherever you look

They prefer the clean surroundings needed for

ing back to the moment from which the whole

you see people, on your floor or the one above

technical research, but need the warmth of hu-

story originates. My goal was to find the initial

or below you. The irregular sizes and constant

man relationships around them in order to feel

‘mistakes’ I had noted the first time and look for

differences in space keep the interior interesting.

alive. Personally this was a lesson for me, never

some more, trying to grasp what should have

This gives the building a certain unpredictability,

judge a building on your first visit.

been done differently. Afterwards I decided to

a feeling I did like.




IMPROVING STADIONPLEIN AMSTERDAM There have been plans since the 1980s to improve the so-called ‘Stadionplein’ in Amsterdam. Coming July, the European Championships in Gymnastics will be held in the Olympic Stadium. This event gave the municipal government the incentive to improve the quality of this urban area. The plan contains four core design goals, which are a design for the Noordblok, a design for the Zuidblok, a garage for the inhabitants of the area and a design for the public space. Van Dam & Partners Architecten designed the Noordblok, a seven stories tall building block, containing 100 apartments. Thirty of those are intended for social housing. The combination of Vink Bouw and IQNN Vastgoed are realizing the Zuidblok in a concept called ‘Culina


Experience’. The architect is Kollhoff Architekten. The block will be four stories tall, with a

The monumental flour factory in Leiden, De Sleutels,

hotel on the two highest floors. The lower half will house the museum ‘Culina Experience’.

is being transformed due to its unoccupied state since

The third core design goal, a garage for the inhabitants of the area will be realized under the

1988. The master plan in this transformation is created


by Peter Zumthor. The project covers a total area of 46.000 m2.

At the end of 2012, West 8 Urban Design was selected to draft the goals for the public space. Those goals were to create a qualitative meeting place and a reservation of space for

The former Molengebouw and Riffellokaal will house

events and a weekly market. Besides that, the public space should bind the Stadium and the

27 lofts. Besides creating lots of new lofts for rent and

Van Tuyll van Serooskerkenplein. Solutions to improve the quality of this public space are a

for sale, the master plan also houses so-called creative

fountain and the implementation of a playground for children, an artwork designed by Mat-

companies. These creative initiatives are being placed

thew Darbyshire.

in the old management office where there are no classic offices, but places where people can meet. This part

Because of the European Championships in Gymnastics, the public space is targeted for a

of the project should be completed by 2017.

completion before July 2016.

source: | photo source:

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RECYCLED PARK ROTTERDAM The project Recycled Park is an answer to recycle the plastic waste in the Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam. The captured plastic will be used to give a new value to the river. It will be used as building blocks in a floating green park. This plan is an initiative of WHIM Architecture and the Recycled Island Foundation. Besides the benefits of waste reduction and more green, this Recycled Park will be designed as being an addition to the ecosystem. Especially the bottom side is designed as an addition to the housing of new life. The first exposition is set to be opened at the Wereldhavendagen 2016, this September.

source: | photo source:



NOW MINI VILLA DELFT In cooperation with students of the TU Delft, Nilofar Architecture & Design created temporary houses for starters and students. The Mini Villa is an answer to the housing shortage in Delft and it is designed as an off-grid, collapsible and affordable house. This house is a do-it-yourself kit and can be built in one day by two people. The Mini Villa is a design product that is meant to be used in a so-called off-grid situation, almost self-sufficient. A solar energy system and a solar water heater will provide in those energy-sufficient demands. The first Mini Villa is already placed in the Harnaschpolder in Delft. The grand opening was on the 20th of May. Those interested are welcome to take a look at this project.

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COMPLETION CONCOURSE EINDHOVEN Because of the expected 115.000 travellers per day in 2020, the train station of Eindhoven needs to be expanded. The capacity of this national monument is 60.000 per day at the moment, so it needs to be doubled. The most important factor in increasing the capacity of the station, the concourse, will be completed in July of this year. The new passage will be 13 meters wide and connected to the old passage. This old passage will no longer be a passage, it will operate as a waiting and meeting space. For Heijmans Civiel BV, the contractor, and Heezen BV, the subcontractor, the biggest challenge was the logistical aspect. The project started in 2013 and will be finished altogether in 2017. It goes without saying that such an important station cannot be closed for such a long time. Solutions for this problem were a phased implementation of the project and temporary platforms.

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FENIXLOODSEN KATENDRECHT In December 2015, Heijmans started with the redevelopment of Fenixloods 1 at Katendrecht in Rotterdam. At a top location in Rotterdam with a view on the Rijnhaven and the Wilhelminapier, the project is an aspect in the redevelopment of several unattractive districts in Rotterdam. The building has a characteristic concrete character, which Mei Architecten likes to maintain. So on top of the already existing warehouse, a new concrete portal construction is being realized. This new section will house 212 lofts.

URBAN AGRICULTURE THE HAGUE The building once belonged to Philips, nowa-

At the moment most of the south-east side of the warehouse is being demolished in order to make

days it houses a modern experiment: Europe’s

space for an internal parking garage and cultural or creative innovations. This part of the building

largest urban farm. It is an answer to the in-

will later be fully restored in the same style as before. Besides the demolition activities, the concrete

creasing food shortage problem. Mark Durno,

portal construction is almost fully realized. The project is set to be completed in 2018, and the real-

the person in charge of the operation, states

ized lofts will be sold for a minimum of €319.500 and a maximum of €749.500.

about the project: “In The Hague, 15% of all buildings is empty. Let’s fill them with pro-

source: | photo source:

duce.” There is a big interest in rooftop farms as the future of commercial urban agriculture. Joris Wijsmuller, head of sustainability of The Hague city council, hopes the urban farm will be a place for education and innovation.

source: photo source:


Dear Zaha, You will be missed. When I first heard the news of your untimely death, I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. But I have come to accept it. It feels like such a long time, since I was first captivated by your work. That incredible shard of a building -The Peakhanging high above Hong Kong, where mountain and construction intersected one another creating an entirely artificial topography. How its rebellious subversion of structure and space not merely inspired me but also opened my eyes to how aesthetics and experience could indelibly challenge any stable conception of architecture. How its cantilevered beams, overlapping layers, and shard-like forms appeared like shattered remains of what once had been a structure, a building, a mountain. I kept imagining what it would feel like to be lost in its artificial geology, the primal emotions that your Peak would elicit in each and every person that experienced its spaces. But the feeling of transgression was not limited to the ideas in this project, but also to its drawings. They presented the project with a raw energy that could hardly be matched. But what impressed me the most, however, was how without ever shying away from your Soviet inspirations, you were able to relieve their forms from the weight of political ideology. No longer were those dramatic voids and narrow-angled corners pointing towards a societal revolution, but rather pushing the conventions of spatial experience. What I didn’t realize at the time was that you were establishing an aesthetic autonomy for your architecture. While the Peak was never built, the MAXXI was. The years between the two may have made your forms and spaces a bit more polished, but no less exciting. Even as the aggressive angles of the Peak were mellowed out to the MAXXI’s computerdesigned curves, its overlapping layers, its flow of spaces, its orchestration of light, even its sense of disjunction and disorientation, were finally built. Although beneath a thin veneer of politeness, transgression was also at the heart of your museum, as it descended onto Rome unapologetic to context or tradition. The autonomy of your architecture was yet again reaffirmed. Sure, sometimes the aesthetic autonomy of your architecture reached undesirable, yet entirely consistent, extremes. How else could we appreciate the swooping curves and supple whirls of the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center Baku in Azerbaijan without chalking it to aesthetic autonomy and thus simply ignoring the ruthless authoritarian regime for which it was built? How else could we gasp over Qatar’s Al Wakrah Stadium’s structural feats without overlooking the appalling slave-like conditions of the workers building it? But as criticism mounted, you responded, as you did so often, by defiantly sticking to your convictions. That was also how you went through life; never shying from controversy. A personality bigger than life that both filled and energized architecture culture, something that was recognized by numerous prizes and acclaim, from the Pritzker to RIBA’s Gold Medal. I understand that your firm has decided to carry on without you, but I am not quite sure how I feel about that. While it certainly displays a perseverance for which you were always admired and dispels the myth of the lonely architect, something will be missing. You, your energy and, dare I say, your genius will be missing, and we are all worse off for that.

Rest in Peace,

Sergio M. Figueiredo



REDEVELOPING THE RABOBANK Most of you must have noticed already. The 55 meter tall Rabobank tower was demolished last year and construction of a new building has progressed quickly.

NOW Client Address Size

went behind the scenes and found out just for you. TEXT: LENNART ARPOTS

Fellenoord, Eindhoven 25.000 m2 LFA



Completion target


Architect Interior architect Project team

The construction site has been walled off from the streets by a richly decorated, three meters tall, solid wooden fence. So what exactly is happening here? We

Rabobank Nederland

Project developer Project management Advisors OVG

Advisors Rabobank


UNStudio OTH Architecten Ferdinand van Dam Christiaan Huizinga Jasmijn Buijvoets OVG Real Estate KVM (OVG) & CBRE (Rabobank) Pieters Bouwtechniek Deerns DGMR Peutz EFPC CBRE WPC INNAX VolkerWessels BVO West (Boele & van Eesteren and Stam + de Koning)

“Demolition of the Rabobank building seems irrevocable. The procedure is alarming. This way, all WWII reconstruction heritage that is not registered on some list is outlawed.” Van Abbe Foundation | July 17th, 2013




buildings were both deemed too problematic

one to improved mobility and communication

The original structure was designed in the early

and costly to renovate and they were all slated

between floors and departments, but also to the

1960s by one of Eindhoven’s great architects,

for demolition. The decision to demolish the old

fact that the entire building is composed of just

Leo de Bever. De Bever also designed the origi-

building was discussed with a consultation group

one fire compartment.

nal layout of Eindhoven Airport (the transforma-

consisting of parties that did not want to see De

tion of which was featured in Chepos 53), the

Bever’s building go.

A close collaboration between architect and in-

Catharina Hospital in Woensel and of course

terior architect was at the base of this integrated

the famous Evoluon. The site of the Rabobank

Because it was easier to transfer the property

design, wherein the border between architecture

cluster used to be part of the historic town of

to a developer without any existing structures,

and interior design fades. OTH notes that the

Woensel, a borough that was mostly flattened

Rabobank Nederland took responsibility for find-

rotating character of the façade was passed on

by a post-war demolition rage that left its mark

ing a party that was willing to gut the building.

to the interior design. The first three floors are

throughout the city. In its place came the so-

Jansen Infra eventually demolished the tower,

directed towards the central atrium, while the

called traffic machine of Fellenoord, named after

using the elevator shafts as refuse chutes and

fifth through eighth floors are oriented towards

one of the devastated neighborhoods. Alongside

recycling all of the natural

the new Fellenoord lied major stretches of empty

stone. The demolition pro-

land, meant for construction of large offices to

duced over 15.000 tons of

put Eindhoven’s new Central Business District on

concrete rubble.

the national map. Leo de Bever designed two the Rabobank tower that was finished in 1966,


as well as the ABN-AMRO complex next door.

OTH Architects and

A second office block was added in 1982 to the

UNStudio worked closely

east of the original tower block, after the merger

together to create the best

of the Boerenleenbank with the Raffeisenbank,

design solution for Rabobank

of the major construction projects in the area;

“The building that will be replacing the old structure should at least hold the same iconic value. There are plans for a consultation group. Several representatives of the Foundation for protection of WWII Reconstruction Heritage and the Henri van Abbe Foundation will join this committee.” Van Abbe Foundation | October 7th, 2013

“Our participation in the redevelopment of the Rabobank lot is not taken seriously. We decided to withdraw from the group.” Van Abbe Foundation | January 29th, 2014

“The demolition of the Rabobank tower along the Fellenoord is comparable to that of the monumental and iconic city hall in the Rechtestraat in 1967, which is the symbol of the demolition rage in Eindhoven.” Corrie de Leeuw, Eindhovens Dagblad | February 13th, 2014

together forming the current Rabobank. The

Nederland. UN Studio’s responsibility lies with

the surroundings. The fourth floor in between is

west tower formed an iconic element of the

the design of the building’s structure, while OTH

held back a bit from the rest of the building. It

development of the area and was an important

took on the challenge of creating the best fitting

forms the link between all the different parts of

part of De Bever’s oeuvre.

interior design. The building is shaped like a

the office and this is where all of the connecting

After 47 years of service, several problems arose

rectangle, with offices surrounding a large void.

stairs meet. This floor holds a different atmo-

that could not be ignored any longer. Firstly, the

This atrium of almost 700 square meters links

sphere and houses diverse facilities for meeting,

building did not comply with today’s technical

the floors together visually and caters for a spec-

working and collaborating.

standards. Secondly, the building was stuffed

tacular view across the office. On ground level,

with asbestos, which made renovation an expen-

the atrium offers room for gatherings, meetings,


sive operation. Finally, the tower had a problem-

eating and working. According to OTH, this

OTH designed the interior following ‘Rabo

atic floor plan that consisted of a long-stretched

multifunctional plaza forms the logical interme-

Unplugged’, which is a concept of working

rectangle, which proved too difficult to redesign.

diate stepping stone between the busy down-

independent of time and place, specifically de-

Rabobank Nederland decided a change needed

town area adjacent the Fellenoord and the green

veloped for the Rabobank. This concept provides

to be made and commissioned OVG Real Estate

artery surrounding the Dommel river. The offices

room for collaboration, personal responsibility

to develop a renovation or reconstruction of

surrounding the atrium are situated on large

and entrepreneurship. The human scale was an

the office. OVG Real Estate then established

open floor areas. More private meetings can be

important concept for designing the internal

three variants, each with a differing extent of

held in smaller glass meeting rooms, much like

organization. The floors are relatively big (over

demolition, renovation and new construction.

the meeting rooms on the second, third and

2.500 square meters) and are therefore sub-

In all three variants the 50 year old tower would

fourth floors of our faculty building. Apart from

divided into four quadrants, both functionally

be taken down. The differences between them

the main elevation points, the office floors are

and visually. Every pair of quadrants has a living

mostly lie in the approach to the 34 year old

linked through large staircases that run through

room at their disposal for informal meeting.

building next door. Eventually, the old office

the entire height of the building. This leads for

Creating a comfortable working environment



NOW was an important theme for OTH during the

the most well-known and most renowned

designing of the interior. To achieve appropriate

energy label. There are many aspects that

acoustics, soft materials were chosen throughout

require an increase in investment of time or

the building for the floors, walls and ceilings.

money to comply with the conditions, such as design, consultancy, building materials, building methods, installations and so on. Regarding prefabricating the concrete and wooden elements, this contributes to the rating of BREEAM-NL, because a higher quality can be guaranteed.” To what extent is the new structure coherent with yet to be realized plans on the location of the neighboring office? Can the design be fully appreciated if these plans are not carried through? “An urban vision and design were conceived for the entire plot, of which the new construction on the western end is the first concrete step. The new building has the size and proportions of the original plinth on which the old tower was positioned. The constructible area in the zoning followed these contours

“The structure of the new building fits the existing structure and is an advance to the future. The new design was established in close collaboration with the Van Abbe Stichting.” Piet Snijders, Eindhovens Dagblad | March 6th, 2014


quirements wherein conditions of financial or

and therefore it was possible to acquire a regular

technical nature between Rabobank and OVG

permit for the new construction. There is not yet

What was the response to the resistance against

were recorded. But furthermore, I would not

a complete interpretation for the eastern part,

demolition of the original structure by the Van

call them so much demands, but preferably joint

but when designing this the other structure will

Abbe Foundation and the local government?

ambitions. Both parties wanted a durable and

be taken in to account. This way, both designs

Did you take account of the heritage left by Leo

sustainable office that fitted in the urban con-

can be fully appreciated.”

the Bever? “Early in the initiation phase there

text, with a design that firstly fitted the location,

was a consultation with the Van Abbe Founda-

secondly justified the demolition of the existing

tion, the Foundation for protection of WWII Re-

structure, and thirdly offered room for the un-

construction Heritage and the municipal govern-

plugged concept of the Rabobank. UN Studio, in

ment about the conceived plans. Representatives

consultation with many stakeholders, completed

of the foundations and the municipality formed

the project in a satisfactory way.”

a consultative group and with them, phases of




1. Rabobank tower by Leo the Bever during demolition (photo: Roderik van der Kamp) 2. Clockwise, from top right: view of the atrium, the new construction from the neighboring office, building materials on the fourth floor, old and new facades side by side, safety measures on the edge of the top floor, facade of the new construction, construction elements on the top floor. (photos: Chastity Verhoofstad)

the design were discussed. Additionally, during

Why did you decide to try to achieve a

the initiation phase, during the demolition and

BREEAM-NL ‘Excellent’ label? Why this specific

during the design and realization of the new

certificate? Which investments were needed,


structure, several meetings have been held for

and does prefabricating elements contribute


to sustainability? “First of all OVG finds it

1. Correspondence with Christian Huizinga, OTH Architecten. March 17th, 2016 2. Correspondence with Mark Hopperman, UN Studio. March 26th, 2016 3. Correspondence with Wouter Blom, OVG Real Estate. April 18th, 2016 4. Corporate visit, Fellenoord Development, Business Core Eindhoven. March 30th, 2016 5. Project: Rabobank Fellenoord, Van Abbestichting. April 26th, 2016.

important to develop sustainably and energyWhat were the specific demands Rabobank

efficiently. BREEAM-NL is a good way to make

Nederland and the city officials set for the

this sustainability measurably and concretely

design? “Of course there were program re-

implementable. Additionally, BREEAM-NL is


POTENTIAAL POTENTIAL Fifty-two meters high. Twenty meters wide. Seventy meters long. Sixteen floors. That together leads to more than 26,000m2 of floor area. E-hoog, nowadays better known as Potentiaal and in the future as Luna, was one of the first buildings on the campus of the former Technische Hogeschool Eindhoven. The building is currently being transformed by construction group Dura Vermeer into a residential tower with more than 400 units, designed by Diederendirrix architects. The aim of the university to make the campus into a lively area will hereby come closer. The work of Dura Vermeer will be described and illustrated in a unique look behind the scenes, from the perspective of the builders, a guided tour by construction site manager Virgil Tas. TEXT: RICK ABELEN In September 2014 Potentiaal was transferred

complex and construction times shorter, commu-

important value for the builder and construction

by the Technical University to Dura Vermeer.

nication between parties is of great importance.

company. The guarantee for provided work is

The complete building will be stripped, remedi-

By consulting at an early stage, it is possible to

in the hands of the builder. In many cases, they

ated, renovated and then operated for a period

anticipate emerging problems. This seems obvi-

have the responsibility for the quality of the

of fifty years through a third party. The unique

ous. The complexity of such projects, however,

delivered work. The aspect of manufacturability

situation arises in this project that various stages

does not guarantee this consulting. Between

is thus important, in other words: how do you

in the process take place at the same time. A

principle detail and implementation there is a

make something?

major reason is the remediation of asbestos. The

significant development, where manufactur-

intensive remediation process forms a com-

ability, functionality and esthetic qualities have

mon thread during the transformation. Because

a major impact. This process is characterized by

asbestos was found unexpectedly at a variety of

consultations between parties and preservation

places, anticipation was necessary. An example is

of core values. Because of changes in details

asbestos that was found between the screed and

after specifications and conditions, dialogue and

structural floor. This creates a situation where

consulting about the aforementioned qualities

structural work and outfitting form a synergy, a

arise. Due to the fact of an already calculated

Per day about 125 to 150 builders are working

complex task to manage and keep track on the

price and costs, such constellations are inevitable

at the construction site of Potentiaal. Where

process. “A transformation in optima forma”

and complex.

an average workweek contains forty hours,

according to Tas. At the moment of writing there arises the oppurtunity to observe all facets of the transformation process. From remediation and demolition on the lower levels, to outfitting and mounting of the siding on the upper floors. During the tour this observation was strengthened from the inside: where on the 8th floor prepara-


here there are sixty hours on average. These


extra hours on Saturdays and in the evening are reserved for logistical operations. Six days a week Potentiaal is stripped, remediated and renovated. The complex planning leaves few opportunities to deviate from the schedule. Tas shows a schedule with the exact planning of the

tions were made for pouring the floor screed, on

deliveries of materials and appliances. When a

the 9th floor the cast floor was already drying.

party is not registered it is not possible to deliver An important aim of the dialogue between

materials. The limited space at the construction

During the transformation of Potentiaal, there

parties is managing expectations. Expectations

site leads to a division of delivery and distribu-

are a number of processes which have a con-

related to budgets, drawings and the design.

tion times and days. An interesting delivery is

tinuous time cycle. For example, the asbestos

Where parties often have contradictory interests

that of the sanitary units. The bathroom units

remediation, demolition work and outfitting of

and core values Tas emphasizes that ‘beautiful’

are fully completed and sealed when delivered

metal stud walls. When designs become more

is not always functional. And functionality is an

to the site. The units are hoisted and slid in after



NOW which they are connected to the duct system. For these connections, it is necessary to drill new drain holes in the existing concrete structure. Using special prefabricated steel moulds, it is possible to make holes on each floor at the same location. Hereby one should take into account existing deviations between floors. Therefor the entire building is scanned. Another consideration relates to the number of construction elevators. The discussion on the use of one relatively larger of two smaller hoists is important. Eventually it was determined to install one large construction elevator, which would be attached to the façade. It has been decided to deviate from this initial decision, and attach it to the staircase of Potentiaal. The main reason to make no attachment to the façade relates with the possibility of closing the façade. To conclude, the logistical interaction between involved parties and builders is crucial. Especially in the applied method of transformation at Potentiaal. Everything stands or falls with the responsibility of builders, suppliers, managers and other parties. The completion of Potentiaal is planned at the beginning of the academic year of 2016-2017. Potentiaal will then be renamed, and proceed under the name Luna. The aim of Eindhoven University of Technology to make the campus into a lively area after five will hereby come closer. Construction group Dura Vermeer performs an important role in reflecting Potentiaal’s potential and the realization of related ambitions. Special thanks go to Virgil Tas (construction site manager Potentiaal), by whom this article was made possible.

IMAGES 1. Façade Potentiaal in optima forma (photo: Rick Abelen) 1

SOURCES 1. Prof. dr. Colenbrander, Bernard; Veldpaus MSc, Loes. ‘‘Cultuurhistorische verkenning elektrotechniek ensemble Potentiaal - Impuls - Corona Technische Universiteit Eindhoven’’. December 2011. 2. “Hoogste gebouw TU/e wordt omgebouwd tot woontoren”. 25 September 2014. 3. “Potentiaal - Transformatie Faculteit Elektrotechniek TU/e”. September 2014. 4. “Camelot nu eigenaar 430 studentenstudio’s TU/e”. 28 October 2015.



The Binnenhof, known for the Tweede Kamer, endless debates, Het Torentje, and so on and so forth. Did you however know that the Binnenhof has a vastly rich history? Over time it has been more than just the seat of government in the Netherlands. After cycles of dilapidation and renovation, it is now again time for the old timey building to be renovated. One could however wonder if the costs for this renovation are worth it weighed against building a new building. Does renovating the real estate yield more than a new building would? TEXT CHASTITY VERHOOFSTAD


course on every third Tuesday of September

From the thirteenth century onward the Bin-

the King takes place on the throne to read the

nenhof and its surroundings have been state

troonrede on Prinsjesdag.

property. Since the beginning of it being state property, the building has been the residence of

The Binnenhof, itself a square, is the center of

numerous proconsuls and counts. In the years

a larger arrangement of buildings. Three ports

spanning the independence of the Netherlands

provide access to the square which in turn

in 1813 and the founding of our kingdom in

provides access to the different buildings, such

1815, the Binnenhof has become what it is

as the Tweede Kamer, which is the name of the

today; the focal point of Dutch politics and a

building where the Tweede Kamer is housed,

hugely popular public attraction amongst tourist,

the Eerste Kamer, where surprisingly the Eerste

drawing around 158.000 of them on a yearly

Kamer is housed. The building of the ministry


of General Affaires houses the TrevĂŞzaal and Statenzaal. These are considered to be the most

The current Binnenhof finds its origins in the

beautiful spaces of the entire complex and are

Middle ages. Since 1588 it is used for amongst

therefore used for official welcoming of guests.

others meetings of the Staten-Generaal, which takes place in the Tweede Kamer. It has however

Finally Het Torentje. This used to be the office

grown to a building that houses many functions

for the minister of Internal Affairs, however since

related to our political system. It for instance also

1849 it has been on and off the workplace for

houses the Ridderzaal, which is used for official

the prime-minister. From 1982 it has been the

national and international conferences and of

office of the prime-minister.


tion work to a renovation of thirteen years.

Now the building has to be renovated. It does

Presumably, a renovation plan will be chosen

no longer meet current demands for fire and

that will take five and a half years. Between

safety requirements. The buildings have both

decision and execution there will also be an ad-

technical and engineering defects and have

ditional five years, as there are no plans yet on

obsolete technical installations with an age of

how to execute them. To be able to, finally, start

over twenty five years. The malfunctioning of

in 2020, there are a number of things that need

these installations even tend to cause disrup-

to be completed.

tions in the work environment. Furthermore, the building has to deal with a number of leakages

First of all the project brief should be made, de-

and related moisture problems. Additionally,

scribng what is to be expected of the renovated

mold and asbestos have been found in the build-

building and what it takes for the building to

ing. In short, there are quite some defects and

meet all laws and regulations. There will have

that is without taking the building’s structure in

to be a guideline for the architects and other

account, which is also not in the best shape and

advisors. When these have been selected, a

features carbonation and rust. Ultimately, there

preliminary design can be drawn up and the

have been threats of closing the building, lead-

required permits can be requested. When those

ing to a number of Kamerdebatten.

are in order, procurements with construction companies and installation companies can be

In the 2011 the need for renovation was already

made, after which those housed in the Binnen-

evident, but it is not that easy to renovate such a

hof buildings can prepare for the big move, not

big building complex. Beside the fact that it is a

forgetting to take along the fine art collection

monumental building, the temporary relocation

in the buildings. They will be relocated to other

of the Eerste and Tweede Kamer come into play

governmental buildings.

as well. Multiple plans have been made for the renovation of the building. In one of the Kamer-

The entire renovation is quite a big project,

brieven of minister Blok, nine different variants

which is of course also met with quite some

are mentioned, from a renovation plan of two

costs. For the total renovation a sum of 475

and a half years with round the clock construc-

million has been reserved, which includes BTW/ CHEPOS | 15

VAT and the temporary housing. These costs can


be subdivided into three groups; the renovation

However, if this renovation is so big and costly,

itself, the temporary relocation and non-housing

one can ask why it won’t be more thorough.

costs. 59% of the budget will be used for the

Spaces could for instance be restored to their

engineering aspects, 37% will be for the techni-

original state, putting the different oppositions

cal installations and 3% will be used for the

more directly across from each other. This can

security of the buildings.

stimulate more intense debates and confrontations, not leading to pointless discussions, but


confrontations that help.

The Binnenhof of course has a high historical value, and has long been the center of Dutch

And so there are multiple questions that remain

politics. Besides that it draws a lot of tourists

unanswered. Perhaps in a future issue we can

which is of course profitable for the economy,

see what it all has led to.

but then still is it worth the investment and where does this money come from? In one of


the Kamerbrieven can be read that only the necessary interventions will be done to meet the


laws and regulations as long as they are sober and expedient. But the renovation does not focus on the restoration of historical symbolic and monumental values, why is that? In the Lentenota of 2016 can be read that the Hoge Colleges van Staat in part finance the


1. Cleaning samples on a façade of the Binnenhof (photo: Lennart Arpots) 2. Binnenhof, as seen from the Hofvijver (photo: Lennart Arpots)


1. “Groot onderhoud en renovatie gebouwen Binnenhof”, April 26th, 2016. www. 2. “Renovatie Binnenhof: varianten onderzocht”, April 26th, 2016. www.rijksoverheid. nl 3. “Monitor Toerisme 2010-2014”, November 2015. Gemeente Den Haag, DSO / Programmamanagement, Strategie en Onderzoek



COLUMN: Adriaan Jurriëns Adriaan Jurriëns is alumnus and former writer of Chepos Magazine. In every edition he writes a column about his daily findings as self-employed architect.

Collaboration some this may sound outdated but I don’t see that, due to the development of knowledge and

how the input of experts is overlooked and they

A lot has been written about collaboration.

tighter regulations, it was too complex for one

can still create a coherent design. This is why

There is simply no human activity which doesn’t

discipline to oversee a whole project. The answer

many projects simply lack quality and attention

relate on some level to collaboration. Especially

seemed to be in the idea of radical collaboration

to detail.

in this economy in which we see an ongoing

between supposed equals.

division of labor, we are dependent on an

What does this look like in my daily work as

increasing number of people. In our specific

Sadly the discussion almost never addresses the

an architect? Take, for example, a detail like a

case of design and construction we rely on an

question of who has the supervision of a project.

post cabinet (for multiple apartments). A lot

increasing number of experts. This can be seen

Probably the idea of leading sounds a little less

of architects decide not to fully design it and

in the rise of relatively new fields of expertise,

sympathetic then the idea of collaboration.

leave the details for the contractor, with all

for example building physics or specialized

But to me it seems evident that supervision is

the consequences that this entails. With my

construction which are solely focused on drilling

essential when multiple parties work together on

role as supervisor, I tend to work out all the

and cutting holes into concrete. Collaboration is

one project. Furthermore it is a misconception

relevant details, as well as the details that aren’t

simply inevitable, but letting a group of people

that stands in the way of collaboration. Leading

necessary for the design. This also allows me to

work together is not as easy as it sounds.

is not synonymous of a top-down structure

establish a collaboration with the manufacturers

of management. Don’t great leaders usually

and by doing so I get an insight into detailing,

When I read about collaboration in our field

distinguish themselves by listening carefully to

(unexpected) costs and utilities that I might have

I always wonder what exactly is meant by it.

their advisors? I would argue that the discussion

otherwise missed. In one of my projects this

Often, it is used as some kind of incantation

on collaboration would be more meaningful if

lead me to pay more attention to the abilities of

which magically leads to the solving of some

we also talk about supervision and how this role

the intercom in which we could save money for

problems. As is the case with more of these

can best be fulfilled.

elsewhere in the design.

more than some kind of platitude in a sales

I think the architect is the best discipline to

Without collaboration with the manufacturers

pitch. What exactly is meant by collaboration is

fulfill the role of supervisor. Not only does the

of post cabinets and intercom systems it might

not explained at all.

architect take the first steps into a building

have lead to unnecessary cuts in the budget

magical words, I get the impression it is nothing

design but, as a designer, an architect can also

or insufficient systems because nobody did

A lot of forms of collaboration were discussed

oversee the whole project more easily than

research on these things. What is important is

back in my time as a student. Definitions such as

other disciplines who are mostly occupied by

that we realize these things might be ignored if

“integral design” and “design- and-build teams”

one aspect rather than the project as a whole.

nobody has supervision over the design. More

(in Dutch: bouwteams) came around often

Also things like (technical) quality and durability

essential, is that a good collaboration starts with

when collaboration was discussed. The very old

cannot be seen as separate parts from the design

the observation that collaboration is needed

concept of one architect who was in charge of

as a whole. That is why, in my view, the architect

in the first place. And in order to do so needs

the design was dismissed for the idea of a team

should not only be the designer but also the

somebody to take the lead.

of experts in which the discipline of architecture

chief engineer who leads the design towards a

was only one of many. The assumption was

detailed plan and into the process of building. To



DRIVE FOR INNOVATION What do the Sydney Opera House, Arnhem Central station and The Gherkin have in common? They were all engineered by Arup, the global player in the world of structural design. Ever wondered who structurally waged itself to the deconstructive shapes of Zaha Hadid or OMA’s large colossal volumes? Which company has a large share in the Olympic stadiums of both Beijing and London? The answer to both questions is: Arup. The company is represented all over the world and has become the go-to for structural design for nearly all the major architecture offices. From 1946 on, founder, philosopher and engineer Ove Arup has been innovating the market of structural design and beyond. The company today focusses on a wide range of markets including cities, transport, energy and water. Combining the drive for innovation under employees with the goal to shape a better world in these sectors makes Arup what it is today: A worldwide innovator. TEXT & IMAGE: JIMMY HENDRICKX




FILE: ARUP Ove Nyquist Arup, though not extremely

This was an odd perception for a rather conser-


well-known outside the world of building,

vative world and often frowned upon.

As previously seen, it was essential for Ove

he was one of the most influential engi-

Arup realized there were many conflicting

Arup that all of the personnel, from architects

neers of his time. His strive for excellence

architectural theories. He started questioning the

to secretaries, carries out the same philosophy,

in making (iconic) buildings makes him

meaning of architecture. From his point of view,

especially after expanding their services to ad-

legendary, and resulted in a firm with a

the aim for a building or structure should always

joining fields like architecture, planning and envi-

household name and strong background.

serve its purpose. Other aims besides this, were

ronmental engineering. Ove Arup was asked to

Who is the man behind the firm Arup, and

that the building must not be too expensive and

share his vision, which was then documented in

how did he come to founding Arup?

it must be structurally sound. For Arup it was

a paper called ‘The Key Speech’. This document

clear that the main problem in equally serving

is still required reading for everyone who joins

these aims, was the amount of people involved

Arup. The Key Speech focuses on aims, results

in the design of the same building. In his opin-

and tools to achieve this. For Arup, ‘Total Archi-

Ove Arup was a British engineer with Danish

ion, ‘Total Architecture’ was the answer to this

tecture’ was his vision for the company. As said

roots, who is considered to be among the fore-


by Arup in The Key Speech: “The term ‘Total


most architectural and structural engineers of his

Architecture’ implies that all relevant design

time. In 1913 he first began studying philosophy


decisions have been considered together and

at Copenhagen University, and in 1917 went

Here lies the foundation of his own company

have been integrated into a whole by a well-

to the Technical University of Denmark to study

Arup, which he founded in 1946. Ove Arup had

organized team empowered to fix priorities. This

civil engineering. For him, studying philosophy

several ideas about the ideal type of construc-

is an ideal which can never – or only very rarely

did not give answers to the questions he had

tions, and he was ready to execute those ideas

– be fully realized in practice, but which is well

set out to solve. In fact, philosophy only gave

in his own name. For example, he tried to design

worth striving for, for artistic wholeness or excel-

him more unanswerable questions. On the other

multi-story buildings with reinforced concrete.

lence depends on it, and for our own sake we

hand, civil engineering gave him the feeling

This was unconventional at that time, as steel

need the stimulation produced by excellence.”

that designing was something which was good

multi-story buildings were the standard. His

Arup felt excellence is an ideal worth striving for,

in itself, no matter if the mysteries of the world

strive for using this material was one of the

and this is his main reason for founding his own

were solved or not.

reasons to start his own firm.



Another major reason for the foundation of

His first job immediately created the foundation

Arup was his strive for ‘Total Architecture’.

of his own philosophy. While working at the

Architecture means teamwork; there are differ-

firm Christiani and Nielsen, Arup noticed that in

ent people in the design process of one building.

the organization of the building industry all at-

This teamwork is based on mutual understand-

tention went out to the lowest price in a design,

ing and identity of aims. It works best if every

but hardly any care went into getting the best

team member has the same philosophy in his

design. Where designing for civil objects was

work as the architect or civil engineer. Although

mainly the department of a consulting engineer,

there were likeminded firms, the quest for qual-

the contractors of the firm Christiani and Nielsen

ity made Arup realize it would be best to expand

did feel the need to intervene in the design

services beyond structural engineering. This way

progress by suggesting they could save a lot of

they could perform under their own moral code

money in the long term by altering the design.

and philosophy, and strive for the desired result.

IMAGES 1. Collage of pictures from doodles and doggerel Ove Arup (images: Ove Arup) 2. Ove Arup (image:

1 2

SOURCES 1. Arup. “Ove Arup: The philosopher engineer”. February 28, 2014. 2. Ove Arup. “The Key Speech”. (London: Ove Arup Partnership, 1970) 3. Ove Arup Partnership. “Doodles and Doggerel”. (London: Ove Arup Partnership, 1989) 4. Doggerel. “An artist in small matters”. May 19, 2015.

Besides being an architect, a civil engineer and the founder of a multinational firm, Arup was a philosopher. He first and foremost thought about the meaning and purpose of life. The purpose of life was not entirely unraveled by Arup. As written up by himself: “We know so much, it’s unbelievable, and everything now seems achievable; but what we haven’t yet found out, is what the whole thing is about.” This continuous flow of thoughts resulted in iconic doggerel, not only about the meaning of life, but also about the concept of ‘Total Architecture’, his own work and his morals, and the struggles that come with them. His doggerel was collected, and accompanied by his own doodles, in the book ‘Doodles and Doggerel’, a limited edition published by Ove Arup Partnership in his memory. CHEPOS | 21

OLYMPIC ARUP Introducing Arup’s engineering through olympic projects

Arup has offices all around the globe, as it engages in building almost everywhere. This means people from many nationalities are working together within the company as well as between the company and external parties, with many projects as its result. Probably most resembling for this international cooperation are the projects designed for the Olympic Games. These projects, designed for athletes coming together from all around the world, often ask for very specific design solutions because of the very specific design demands. First of all, such stadiums need to be designed for both the Olympic Games and what happens afterwards. Furthermore these buildings, as all stadiums, have very variable live loads, because of all the people who could be seated in the building. Moreover, these people also have to move into and out of the stadium, and so on. The following Olympic Stadiums range from the Olympic Winter Games in Turin to the coming Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. They were all (partially) designed by Arup, yet are quite different from one another because of the environment they stand in, the sports that are performed in them and what has happened or will happen after the Olympic Games. TEXT: JEROEN POSPIECH


the seats right into the construction. However

ceremony was held here, after which it was the

The Turino Palasport Olimpico was the ice hock-

the Palasport Olimpico’s entire bleachers have

main stadium for the athletic events, specifically

ey stadium during the Olympic Winter Games

a separate structure, which can be taken out

track & field, and the Olympic football final. For

of 2006 in Turin. The building was able to hold

leaving a very large uninterrupted open space

the track events the center of attention is usually

12.500 spectators during ice hockey games,

in the building, making the Palasport Olimpico

the finish line, this differs from the field events

however it was made to hold up to 18.500 in

well fit for a much larger variety of uses than

where such centers are spread around the field

its post-Olympic use. With this capacity, it is

if the bleachers had been a permanent part of

and the football events where the center line

the largest indoor arena in Italy, made possible

the structure. Through a massive truss structure,

forms the center of focus. Yet regardless of so

by the large roof span of the building. When

the roof is held up over a span from behind the

many different sports none of the seats is re-

the building was built, acoustic systems were

bleachers on one side all the way to the end of

moved further from the field than 140m, which

already installed for the post-Olympic use of the

the bleachers on the other side. The bleach-

is impressive for a stadium this large.

stadium. Today, it is a multipurpose hall which

ers themselves have been made out of a steel

Few structures are so visible yet so mysterious

holds events such as sports games and concerts.

cantilever construction.

NATIONAL STADIUM BEIJING The National Stadium in Beijing, also known as the “Bird’s Nest” because of its dynamic structural design, has been built for the Olympic Summer Games of 2008 in Beijing. The original capacity of the stadium was 91.000, which included 11.000 temporary seats which were taken away after the Games. The building’s interior was designed for all spectators to have an unobstructed view of the sports competitions Unlike many other stadiums, the Palasport Olim-

held in the stadium. This brought quite a design

pico does not have its bleachers incorporated

challenge, since various sports competitions were

in the structure of the building. Many stadiums

held at the stadium with different centers of at-

are built that way since it saves space building

tention. During the Olympic Games the opening




as the National Stadium’s. First of all, the Bird’s

referring to both the several nearby rivers on

2 and 3 will be able to hold 10.000 spectators

Nest lays in one of the most seismic active re-

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the sports

watching various martial arts and fighting sports.

gions of the world, meaning earthquakes occur

performed within the stadium. Therefore the

Each of the arenas will be used in the 2016 Para-

frequently. Because of its sheer size, the building

structure holds up a curvature roof, the design

lympics as well. After the 2016 Olympic Games

could not be constructed as one. Therefore the

of which Arup has been involved with.

in Rio de Janeiro it is to be transformed to the Brazilian Olympic Training Centre. As part of this

stadium consists out of 6 concrete bows which can move separately instead of breaking where

Generally when making a large span, an up-

transformation, 11.000 seats will be removed

they would have been connected. The steel

wardly arched construction is chosen to form a

from the Carioca Arena 1 and make place for

structure around it not only functions as an

catenary based upon minimizing the bending

various facilities including a velodrome.

aesthetic wrapper, but also holds up the roof.

moments within the structure. However Zaha

It has been designed separately so that if the

Hadid’s design based on waveforms meant the

Though each of the Carioca Arenas is structur-

concrete construction would fail, it would not

roof structure had to be arched both upwards

ally independent, they share a single façade. This

bring the roof down with it. The steel beams rise

as well as downwards. Arup designed a large

façade is made up out of laminated rectangular

up from outside of the stadium, then hang over

truss system in the roof’s longitudinal direction

pine columns which hold stainless steel plates

the bleachers and come back down again behind

supported at three points as well as in the cross

between them. The façade can support itself,

them. Such a portal structure repeated in circular

direction. However because the roof becomes

but there are also concrete columns independent

fashion gives the stadium its iconic exoskeleton.

thinner towards the side of the building, there

from the façade which hold up the roof struc-

From above the building appears to make a lot

was no more space for a truss system. Therefore

ture. The roof itself covers a larger area than

more sense than when looking at eye level.

the outer parts of the shape of the roof at these

its façade, so it will drop shadow on the walls

points are designed to support themselves. This

rather than have sunlight shine directly upon


is achieved through the tension in the curved

them, causing the temperature to rise drastically

The Aquatics Centre in London was designed for

shape of the roof which connects to trusses,

inside. Since the roofs are separate from each

the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Its pools

which function as a cantilever construction

other, even though they share a single façade,

were used in all the swimming and water polo

directing the forces towards the contact points.

each of the arenas is still recognizable.

usually hold 15.000 spectators, however during



the 2012 Olympics the capacity was increased

The Arenas Cariocas is a complex incorporat-

by 2.500 to 17.500 spectators. Like the Torino

ing three arenas within one stadium, making it


Palasport Olimpico, the Aquatics Centre too

a very multifunctional building hosting a large


had to have a very large roof span, as sup-

variety of sports including basketball, judo and

porting structures around the two competition

fencing. During the coming summer the Carioca

pools were not an option. Zaha Hadid’s design

Arena 1 will be able to hold 16.000 spectators

was based on the geometry of flowing water,

watching the basketball tournament, both arena

matches during the Olympics. The stadium can




1. Palasport Olimpico (source: 2. National Stadium Beijing (source: www. 3. Aquatic Centre London (source: www. 4. The Arenas Cariocas (source: www.riomais. net) 5. Bleachers Palasport Olimpico (source: 6. Structral Design National Stadium (source: 7. The Arenas Cariocas under construction (source: 8. Section Aquatic Centre London (source:

SOURCES 1. Passion for sports and design. 2015. 2. Arata Isozaki: Palasport Olimpico di Torino. 2016. 3. Beijing’s Bird’s Nest National Olympics Stadium. 2014. 4. London Aquatics Centre. 2011. 5. Especial Rio 2016: Fachadas contínuas unem as três arenas. 2016.


ARUP AMSTERDAM Arup is a company which originates in

utes to a rather different culture. Arup has even

shapes the (in)formality of the work environ-

London, England, and was founded in

been recognized as a top employer for women

ment. In Amsterdam, employer-employee

1946. In the years to follow, Arup offices

in the UK, and is in the Top 50 Employers for

contact is more informal than in Poland.

started to rise everywhere around the

Women, according to newspaper The Times.

world, and as we speak add up to nearly

Alan Belfield, Chairman of the UKMEA Region


40 offices in total. The office in Amster-

commented the following:

To complete the renovation of the Rijksmuseum

dam has been one of them since the year

in Amsterdam, Arup delivered the lighting

“Being shortlisted for the fifth time highlights our continued efforts to encourage and empower all employees, irrespective of gender, race or sexuality, to perform to their fullest potential and contribute to the greater goals of the firm. We still have a way to go, as a firm and as an industry, but awards like these inspire us to keep the momentum going.”

design, building services and building physics

Over the years, this of course was an inefficient

Arup companies distinguish themselves from


way of working. This is why in 2000 an Arup

other companies in many ways. When one starts

In 1959 the NAM, the Dutch Oil Community,

office was founded in Amsterdam. Contrary to

working for Arup, one receives a share of the

discovered a gas bubble: the Groningen gas

what you would expect, Arup does not have its

company. Compared to for example BAM, which

field. Originally this bubble was expected to

own building here, but shares one with other

is listed on the stock markets, this contributes to

contain 60 billion cubic meters of gas. Accord-

companies. Due to rapid growth over the past

the intrinsic motivation employees are sharing

ing to the last estimate, this was 2800 billion, of

3 years, Arup expanded from owning one

and creates a very united group of employers

which 727 billion is said to be remaining. Since

floor to two office floors. Amsterdam employs

and employees. Another example in which Arup

then, there have been drillings to extract the

approximately 250 people who make up 2%

sets itself apart from other companies, is the

gas. Due to the high oil prices of the last years

of the total number of employees worldwide.

horizontal organizational orientation, lead in a

it was very interesting to keep exploiting this

Within the company there is a high diversity, and

transformational manner. Because of this one

fossil fuel. Unfortunately, due to the drillings

compared to other companies Arup has a high

can for example easily enter the CEO’s office.

earthquakes started occurring in Groningen,

number of female employees. This is not very

Although this characteristic is recognized by

and buildings started to become damaged. To

common within the building sector and contrib-

employees worldwide, a country’s culture also

prevent future damage, Arup started research-


AMSTERDAM OFFICE Before Arup set foot in Amsterdam with an actual office, the company already was working on several projects on Dutch soil. The extensive portfolio includes the Public Library in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum and Arnhem Central

advise. All the building services had to become invisible, which was quite a challenge since the original 19th century monument did not have the space for the distribution of modern installations. This challenge was solved by a multidisciplinary approach: by finding new innovative ways to integrate their solutions. The main goal of the lighting design was to bring back the dominance of the natural daylight.

Station. To do so, experts had to be flown in.




ing preventive measures for structural upgrading

moral compass. Every employee is required to

of buildings in the area. With plenty of seismic

do an ethics training, something which is found

expertise available through Arup’s global teams,

highly important by the management. Lastly, the


Arup has been working as consultants for the

perfect employee will obviously have read and

The enthusiasm of the employees and the

design of buildings which can withstand seismic

will try to work by the morals of the Key Speech.

encouragement of personal development pres-

activity. The work in Groningen is one of the

In conclusion: in a perfect world the Arup em-

ent themselves in one example in particular: the

main reasons for Arup Amsterdam’s increased

ployee is a talented, passionate individual who is

Leslie pavilion. This project was done by Arup

numbers of employees in the past 3 years.

willing to do more than what is expected.

employees and arose from their passion for



by the Leslie speakers in Hammond organs. The

In a perfect world, there is a perfect Arup em-

Where the employees are expected to give it all,

famous sound effect of rotating sounds can

ployee. What does such a person look like? For

the company gives back. As mentioned before,

also be achieved by an installation of hypars

starters, it can be a man or woman, as diversity

every permanent employee is a stakeholder in

(hyperbolic paraboloids). The structure, built by

is a hot topic and important goal for Arup. This

the company and will share in the profits. Ac-

employees of Arup Amsterdam in collaboration

partly means they would like to include more

cording to employees the work environment in

with a joiner was showcased at the International

women in their company. This does not mean

Amsterdam is pleasant: the company does not

Association for Shell and Spatial Structures

that men are excluded, but for this story let us

have many rules or guidelines and people know

(IASS) Symposium in 2015. The Leslie Pavilion

say the employee is a woman. This woman is

each other on a personal level. The latter has

was designed and built outside office hours by

without a doubt a talented enthusiast, who loves

decreased somewhat recently, as the company

enthusiastic engineers, emerging entirely out of

a challenge. Complex problems do not scare, but

grew and was compelled to spread their office

their own passion for innovation.

encourage her. She loves to learn and to develop

space over two floors instead of one. In return

further within her discipline. Not only does she

for the willingness of employees to develop

keep expanding her knowledge in her area, she

themselves further, the company will try to offer

also keeps developing herself as a person. The

them this opportunity within the firm. It is with

perfect employee works well in a group and will

good reason that our people is the very first of

try to think laterally (“out-of-the-box”, broadly).

five main focus points of Arup Amsterdam, fol-

She is willing to go the extra mile, sometimes lit-

lowed by our client, our quality, our total design

erally, as doing a long or short-term assignment

and our market and business. This is in line with


in other countries is highly encouraged. She is a

the Key Speech, where profit and finance are

realist, who will not only help the client by doing

not left out, but listed last, as a less important

the assigned work, but will look further than

goal compared to the others. Additionally, Arup

1. Alan Belfield et al “A2 Magazine” (The Future is here), issue 17, 2008 2. “Rijksmuseum”, 2015. 3. “Kunnen we wel zonder het gas uit Groningen?”2014. www. 4. Interview with Renske van der Straat, Arup, 2016

that. She will always try to find ways to help the

Group Ltd. has several policies that benefit the

client beyond what was asked of her. She is not

work environment as well as the quality of the

only an employee with passion, but also has a

work: health and safety, quality, sustainability,

diversity and inclusion, ethics and privacy.

sound and acoustics. The pavilion was inspired


1. The Atrium of the Rijksmuseum (source: 2. Leslie Pavillion (photo: Arup)



PETER RICE humanist - analyst - engineer Many engineers are seen as straight-forward people, who analyze and calculate. But sometimes there are exceptions. One was Ove Arup, but Peter Rice is an exceptional runner-up on that list. His approach to engineering had a great similarity to Arup’s as seen in his goal for everything being in the benefit for human kind. Peter Rice was a senior partner of Arup, Piano & Rice Associates and Rice Francis Ritchie (RFR). But under his coworkers and collaborating architects namely remember him for his humanistic approach to engineering.

TEXT: ILKE BROERS Peter Rice (1935) was born in Dundalk, Ireland

competition with a design the French initially

Arup declined the assignment for La Villette,

and spent his entire childhood there. After he

did not want. The three did have the support of

after which RFR picked it up. For the project,

began studying aeronautical engineering, which

president, Georges Pompidou, to build their idea

the engineers and designers were faced with

he found uninteresting, he switched to civil en-

of a ‘human machine’. The engineering solutions

the problem of the support system for the glass

gineering at Queen’s University in Belfast. After

for the architectural issues were also not the

façade. Francis, with his design background,

he received his engineering degree, he spent

most common, but they fitted the concept. For

mentioned that engineers do not understand

another year at the Imperial College in London

instance the articulated joints; the span of the

that glass is a flexible material. This gave Rice

before joining Arup in 1956.

beams was 50 meters, but this would cause a

a eureka moment; if that was the case, they

momentum that was too big. Rice did not talk

did not need a supporting structure, they could

His first project was immediately a big one:

the architects out of the idea of this huge span.

use cables. These days, this cable glass support

The Sydney Opera House. At Arup he worked

He went along and designed the articulated

system is a standard in the engineering world.

for three years with a small team on the Utzon

joints. Although being of great significance, it

shells, before moving to Sydney with his family.

was not until much later that this was recog-

Multiple architects and engineers who worked

He was supposed to work as assistant engi-

nized. Martin Francis, Rice’s partner in his later

with Rice, described him as a rare creature. He

neer to Ian MacKenzie, until after one month

firm RFR, mentioned that Rice once said: “No-

had a drive for exploration and doing new or

MacKenzie fell ill and was hospitalized. This left

body will realize what you have done until many

different things, and had a degree of the philo-

Peter Rice in charge as on-site engineer, at the

years afterwards.” Francis felt this was also the

sophical side Ove Arup also had, which showed

age of 28.

case with Rice himself.

in his goal for everything being in the benefit of mankind. He wanted to know how people re-

The next big project, for which he is most

The Museum of Science & Industry at Parc de la

spond to his structural buildings when they were

widely known, was the Centre Pompidou. In

Villette was one of the initial reasons for Rice to

completed. Next to that, he always took time

1971, the French Government announced a

start his firm RFR in 1977, with Martin Francis

to talk about art, life and feelings, before going

competition for an art complex in the center of

and Ian Ritchie. Rice was also partner at Arup,

into the nitty-gritty of the structural design.

Paris. In this highly conservative France, Richard

but was given the freedom to start his own

Rogers, Renzo Piano and Peter Rice won the

company, which put him in this unusual position.

In 1991, Rice found out he had an aggressive brain tumor and not much longer to live. In his last year, next to writing his book ‘Peter Rice: An Engineer Imagines’, he was also awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. He was the second engineer ever to receive this award, the first being Ove Arup. The architects who loved to work with him, put his name forward for the award, which they did to recognize his contribution to the advancement of architecture. Rice found this to be a great honor. He eventually past away at the young age of 57 in 1992.




CECIL BALMOND designing between art and science In the traditional conception of science it is believed that things are what they are. World renown creator Cecil Balmond has spent a lifetime investigating the inner forces that shape structure itself, changing the very idea and conceived traditional limits of space and structure. He has been of great importance for architectural masterpieces and art around the world, for which he received the title OBE for services to architecture in 2015 and has been heralded a multidisciplinary genius. Balmond was Deputy Chairman of Arup, Chairman of Arup’s European Building Division and founded the famous AGU. TEXT: JUSTIN AGYIN Cecil Balmond (Sri Lanka, 1943) was born to

have to see him every few months, and he’d ar-

had to write new software to predict how the

parents with of both Sinhalese and European

gue for the poetic qualities inherent in concrete

fabric skin would behave when it was stretched.

descent. His father taught European-history as a

over steel, for example. I was really refining my

There was a lot of speculation about what was

professor at the University of Ceylon. When Bal-

game.” After that project, he worked on projects

holding it up, Zaha Hadid for instance specu-

mond was a teenager, growing ethnic tensions

of increasing complexity and advanced his

lated that the red skin was made of steel. He

forced his father to flee the country. He and

thinking on structure and design. In the 1980s

took Hadid aside and told her to punch it. Both

his wife moved to Ibadan, Nigeria in 1960 and

he teamed up with Rem Koolhaas. Their first col-

projects demonstrate how ambiguity is central

were joined by Cecil Balmond in 1962. There he

laboration was for the competition entry for the

in a lot of his designs and the Bordeaux house

enrolled in the university and learned a lot about

The Hague City Hall in 1986. Though they did

is an archetypical example of him escaping “the

three-dimensional thinking from a Senegalese

not win, it was the start of a fruitful and dynamic

Cartesian cage”; the formal grid-like arrange-

math professor, which triggered a new spatial

collaboration between Koolhaas and Balmond,

ment of columns and beams on which almost all

awareness in him. To complete his education,

and their respective firms OMA and Arup.

construction relies.

Southampton where he earned a degree in civil

For Balmond a significant OMA-Arup project

The Serpentine Pavilions have also been a

engineering in 1965. Afterwards, he returned

was a private house in Bordeaux, completed in

productive laboratory for Balmond. For the 2002

to Nigeria and got a job at the Arup office in

1998. For this project he came up with a daring

pavilion, Toyo Ito proposed to build a box that

Ibadan. The Biafran War however forced him to

structural approach, which he called “a levita-

is not a box. Balmond was intrigued by the idea,

leave Nigeria, upon which he joined the Arup

tion”. For Balmond this building demonstrates

but disapproved of the conservative “Cartesian”

office in London.

what it means to be a structural engineer, to

structure of Ito’s proposal. Balmond’s answer

he went to England to attend the University of

“route gravity through structure”. This routing

came from a simple sketch that is based on a

Balmond’s first big project was a brewery in

is often anything but obvious in his projects, as

simple algorithm. He took a square and con-

Northampton, built in 1970, which was super-

also was the case for Marsyas; an art installation

nected the midpoint of each rib to a point a

vised by Ove Arup himself. He took Balmond

he did together with Anish Kapoor in the Tur-

third of the way up on each adjacent rib, which

under his wing, an experience which Balmond

bine Hall of the Tate Modern in 2002. For five

together form another square. By repeating this

describes as follows: “Mr. Arup was my critic. I’d

months, they spent half a week sketching at an

process, the design of the pavilion unfolded,

Arup office in London

its form generated from a single starting point,

while the Advanced

releasing its inner energy.

Geometry Unit, an en-


gineering, architecture

The in 2006 completed Pedro e Ines bridge in

and research practice

Coimbra, Portugal, was the first project to fea-

Balmond had set up

ture his name as architect. He however has ad-

within Arup, explored

mitted that there are advantages to working in

the structural possibili-

the shadows as “the more anonymous you can

ties of their ideas. The

be, the more freedom you have”. His insatiable

shape of the installa-

curiosity of structural form and logic eventually

tion turned out to be

drew him away from Arup to set up his own

so complex that Arup

design studio in 2011; Balmond Studios. CHEPOS | 27



The Sydney Opera House was Rice’s first project

and went with it (2). In retrospect, the engineers

and it piqued his love for architecture. He was

should then already have warned Utzon. The

said to be influenced by Jørn Utzon quite much.

parabola would cause a big bending moment at

The design of the Opera House, and especially

the footing.

the engineering part of it, is immensely complex. Therefore only the development of the shells will

The parabolic scheme was found to be a prob-

be highlighted in this article.

lem. Multiple ideas were proposed, but most of them were rejected by Utzon, as they did not



Jørn Utzon won the design competition for the

fit his idea of a smooth eggshell, which he had

Sydney Opera House in 1957. This was the be-

since the beginning. In 1961 they had a break

ginning of several long years of designing. The

through; two elliptical schemes were proposed

design was chosen because it was simple and

where one had a smooth shell (3) and the

clear, and it departed from the conventional cus-

other was made up out of ribbed profiles with

toms of theatre design. Although the beauty of

pre-stressed concrete (4). Although wanting

the roof was already present in this early design

the smooth shell for four years, Utzon preferred

(1), Utzon did not have enough of a technical

the ribbed scheme. This was also after he had

background in acoustics and theatre technique

seen the beauty of the Concourse Beams Arup

to design with the right proportions for the

designed for the area under the grand staircase.

height of the shells. He initially chose heights

These beams had a cross-section which ran from

which he hoped were sufficient. They were not.

a U to a V to a T shape and made it possible to span many meters without needing columns.

When chosen as the winner, two assessors of the

Like the Concourse Beams, the ribbed scheme

competition recommended Utzon to nominate

expressed the structure according to its function,

Ove Arup as the structural engineer. Arup was

and was therefore chosen to continue with.

already an established engineer at this time, and


delivered several shell roofs. Next to that, they

Although figuring out the ribbed scheme, in the

were both of Danish descent, which meant that

summer of ’61 Utzon was afraid they would

there would be no language barrier. This took

not find a solution for it to be constructed in a

away most of the anxiety the people of Sydney

rational way. Then he was struck by an idea;

had, when the unexperienced Utzon was put

what if the ribs could be cut out from a common

onto the project.

surface? For instance a sphere? He discussed this with Arup, who was extremely impressed by the


As the shells designed for the competition were

architect for proposing such a simple but clever

not suitable, the engineers at Arup asked Utzon

idea. The most important matter was that the

how he would define the curves. Utzon, the

ribs, with a constant angle of 3.65 degrees, were

pragmatist, responded by bending a Perspex

now suitable for mass production. The design (5)

bar, tracing the curve and sending it to London.

was indeed a breakthrough and the light at the

The engineers found it to look like a parabola

end of a long and dark tunnel.


1 2

3 4

1. Joints Centre Pompidou (source: collège Joseph Suacot) 2. Glass and cable structure La Villette (photo: Greg Kerr) 3. Design developments Sydney Opera House (drawings: Yuzo Mikami) 4. Concourse Beams (photo: Naomi Huveneers) Page 26 background: Centre Pompidou (photo: Rudy Pické)

SOURCES 1. Arup. “Traces of Peter Rice”. December 13, 2012. video. 2. Archiseek. “Peter Rice (1935-1992)”. 2009. 3. Engineering timelines. Several articles. engineering-timelines. com 4. Yuzo Mikami. “Utzon’s Sphere”. (Tokyo: SHIKOKUSHA Publishing Co., Ltd., 2001)



FILE: ARUP CECIL BALMOND: KUNSTHAL One of the earlier, though canonical Koolhaas-

loads preventing them from buckling. This arch

Balmond/OMA-Arup projects is the Kunsthal in

is again an interesting way to think about the

Rotterdam. When visiting the Kunsthal, there are

design of structure, as at first sight it is not

some interesting aspects you can observe and

necessarily clear what that thin red line is. It can

experience. It is not exactly clear what is part of

be structure, pattern, architectural devise or all

the spatial architectural experience and what is

three. It is again ambiguity that lies present in

merely part of the structure. The building chang-

the reading of the building. Structurally it acts as

es when you move through it, as its structure

the bracing of the building against vertical loads

of the spaces frames the relevant program. For

and is a three-dimensional horizontal network of

Balmond, the Kunsthal project was another op-

brace rather than one central vertical core.


portunity to break out of “the Cartesian cage.” This breaking out Balmond calls the informal. In


his 1995 manifesto he defines the informal as:

In Hall 1, the columns slip past

“opportunistic and an approach to design that

each other. Instead of a grid-like

seizes a local moment and makes something of

layout of the columns, in this hall two parallel

it. It ignores preconception or formal layering

lines of columns have moved past each other. It

and repetitive rhythm. It keeps one guessing

opened up a space that initially was subdivided

and its ideas are not based on principles of rigid

by four central columns. Now each column has

hierarchy, but on an intense exploration of the

a certain degree of independence. In that way,

immediate. The informal has three principal

and by Koolhaas his idea to encase the steel

characteristics: local, hybrid and juxtaposition,

columns with wood and the space with glass,

active ingredients of an animate geometry that

the columns started to become part of the trees

embraces the linear as well as the non-linear. It

of the adjoining Museumpark.


gives rise to ambiguity; the interpretation and experiment as a natural course of events.”

FRAME In the Auditorium, columns lean

In the design of the Kunsthal these aspects can

over at a sharp angle. A column

be traced. Balmond for instance did not make

leaned over of course causes horizontal forces

use of a repetitive post and beam structure, but

that have to be harnessed, and the column

he inclined the vertical, sloped the horizontal

has to be kept from falling. The initial idea of

and allowed parallel lines of columns to slip past

Balmond was to stabilize these raked columns by

each other. There was made use of intricate con-

making use of the dike adjacent to the Kunsthal.

figurations of framing and stabilization, as was

This however proved to put too much down-

the case for other Arup projects where Balmond

ward pressure on the piled foundation. Instead,

was involved. For the Kunsthal, Balmond took

Balmond came up with a frame by making use

structure as a generator rather than overlaying a

of the slanted floor of the Lecture Theatre in

space and subdividing it by columns and beams.

combination with the concrete roof slab.



To do so, he made use of four structural ideas: brace, slip, frame and juxtaposition and so tried


to start a dialogue between structure and archi-

Upon approaching the entrance of

tecture. He and Koolhaas made structure part of

the Kunsthal from the adjacent dike,

the space and help shape it.

one can observe three columns close together


2 3

in front of the façade. The three columns each


differ in size and shape, marking the entrance.

In Hall 2 of the Kunsthal a thin red

Though the profiles are heavily used in the built

line can be observed in the roof

environment, it is their proximity that makes

space, a small structural tube that, in plan, fol-

them distinct. Their placement arose from sepa-

lows the path of an arch. This arch is intersected

rate roof loads that were directly supported.

by the roof beams and picks up their lateral


4 5 6 7

1. Cecil Balmond (source: Balmond Studios) 2. Maison à Bordeaux (source: Balmond Studios) 3. Marsyas (source: Balmond Studios) 4. Kunsthal Hall 2 (source: Balmond Studios) 5. Kunsthal Hall 1 (source: Balmond Studios) 6. Kunsthal Auditorium (source: Balmond Studios) 7. Kunsthal dike façade (source: Balmond Studios) Sketches: Cecil Balmond Page 27 background: Gallery pavilion 2002 (photo: Sylvain Deleu edited by Justin Agyin)

SOURCES 1. Cecil Balmond. Informal. (Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2003) 2. David Owen. The Anti-Gravity Men. (The New Yorker, June 25, 2007, 72-81) 3. Balmond Studios. “Cecil Balmond on the Serpentine Pavilion”. July 29, 2015.


An insight into

In the spirit of Ove Arup’s ambition for Total Architecture, which

Foresight is an independent division in the Arup organisation, giving

is a far-reaching integration of disciplines, Arup investigates

insights into the future of the built environment, both for internal use and

future developments in the built environment. At Arup Foresight,

for external clients. This visionary department is exceptional within the

part of the Arup University, a team of researchers works full time

company, and indeed within the entire structural engineering branch, in

at identifying opportunities for innovation.

that it is not so much about finding answers as it is about finding questions. Corresponding to Ove Arup’s philosophy it was established in 2002


to stimulate the awareness, reflection and the exploration of new ideas, all essential to maintain a front position in good design. So as of today this still is the lion’s share of their activities.

Supposedly their work is not just crystal ball gazing These predicting expeditions are predominantly conducted by bright Ph.D.s with impressive curriculis vitarum, like Dr. Chris Luebkeman (a protégé of Santiago Calatrava) and Dr Gereon Uerz (sociologist, Volkswagen Group Research). So supposedly their work is not just crystal ball gazing.

EXPLORING Foresight has a strongly explorative character; they are focussing on identifying so-called and capturing the state of the art. This is done through constructing a database of new (technological) insights, projects and casestudies, making use of a world wide network of prominent reasearchers and engineers. In the resulting library of ideas, called Inspire, different pieces of knowledge and experience can be connected to form new insights. Furthermore, collected data can be analyzed for trend research. Combining




Foresight has a strongly explorative character; they are focussing on identifying so-called drivers of change and capturing the state of the art. information about developments in technology, society, economics, politics

published in 2011 that shows the opportunities of using Built Environment

and environment, Foresight can describe trends in particular contexts and

Modelling in the design process.

markets for all kinds of organisations.

FORESIGHT’S MERIT In 2014, Foresight published It’s alive!, sketching the urban building of the

What most noticeably appears when studying the work Arup does, is their

future in the form of a collage skyscraper. It shows a selection of state-

technical approach to problems like urbanization and climate change and

of-the-art building systems like algae facades and robotic maintenance

their nearly unlimited optimism about high tech solutions. Most clearly this

as a response to problems caused by population growth, climate change

is expressed by Foresight in the It’s alive publication, with the high tech

etcetera. These kinds of publications serve as a source of inspiration for

skyscraper. High tech is appealing, it reminds one of progress and iPhones

corporate strategy and innovation processes, constituting a good founda-

and whatnot. On the other hand, it is argued and demonstrated, for

tion for discourse and debate.

instance by Chilean Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena, that a social approach to design, and low tech architecture can respond just as well to


the issue of sustainability. Foresight’s merit is probably that it has embedded

Once evidence is collected and maps are sketched out, different scenarios

a wider, more social, economical and political approach in Arup’s strategic

can be constructed. Scenario planning is about extrapolating parts of the

planning and process thinking. Still, Arup’s striving for technical excellence

world as known of today. A whole range of possible futures are drawn and

will remain their default mode when it comes to design. And in their way

written out, which can function as guidelines for strategic consultancy, but

they will undoubtedly keep amazing us.

also for concept design. Foresight has a wide spectrum of publications that sketch scenarios for, among others, the future of rail ways, factories, museums and retail.


MAKING TOOLS Research at Foresight is not seldomly open-ended, but can also lead to con-


crete results, directly useful for Arup Engineers. Foresight unravels the chaos


1. Urban building of the future (Hargrave, J., Mistry, R., Wilson, R. (2014) It’s Alive! URL:, edited 2. Urban airports - The future of aviation (illustration for Arup by 3. Private and corporate airports - The future of aviation (illustration for Arup by

of all available modelling, calculating and communication software of today,


and assembles design and communication methods and tools for all users in

1. Arup Foresight (2016) Services. URL: 2. Arup, O. (1970) The key speech. URL: 3. Palumbo et al. (2016) Jury citation Alejandro Aravena. URL:

the design chain. This work is reflected, for instance, in an elaborate manual


COLUMN: Jacob Voorthuis Jacob Voorthuis is a publicist, speaker and lecturer at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He professes enthusiastically about philosophy, art history and architecture.

The subject I was supposed to respond to in my

within the discipline of architecture, which, in

are not approaching their task in the spirit of

column was the ‘the occasionally conflicting

his time, would have included the disciplines

their university-level professionalism. What we

relationship between what an architect wants,

of mechanical engineering, civil engineering,

do not want is compromise. Compromise is a

and what the structural engineer can achieve’.

military engineering, structural engineering,

situation in which no one is completely happy

That is an important subject and one that

building technology, industrial design,

and the intellectual challenge has not been met.

we should be able to be brief about. If such

architecture and urban planning. The structural

So rather than settling for compromise which is

a relationship does indeed end in conflict,

engineer, the systems engineer and the designer

often mistaken for wisdom, but is in fact a form

both parties should feel properly ashamed

of cities are, in his world, as much ‘architects’ as

of intellectual cowardice, let’s give real wisdom

of themselves. And with that we have said

the designer of houses and temples. I for one

a chance to have a go at this knotty issue. And

everything that should need to be said about

heartily agree with that notion and if we all did,

that wisdom should be given a chance to solve

it. The reason for both parties to feel ashamed

it would mean that anything we design needs to

our dilemma is in itself a wise decision as both

should after all be perfectly clear and obvious to

be sturdy enough for forthright and robust use,

‘wanting something’ and ‘being able to do

anyone with a modicum of wisdom.

useful enough for the purposes it is intended

something’ are the prime concerns for wisdom

and attractive both to use and to behold. Surely

to grapple with.

However, just in case there are a few doling

I am not saying anything new here. So when

creatures among the Chepos readership for

a structural engineer and an architect together

Wisdom is the knowledge of good means to

whom this isn’t the case, I shall rehearse the

face a challenge they should both be familiar

good ends and the ability to value both ends

argument in concise terms. Vitruvius imposed

with the criteria upon which their own work will

and means appropriately. The wise person

three criteria for good architecture: any instance

be judged by society.

knows to apply the right means to achieve

of architecture, he wrote, should be durable,

worthwhile ends and to value both the ends he

in other words it should be able to withstand

So what happens when a conflict arises such as

pursues and the means he employs to pursue

the use made of it under normal to reasonably

was described by my dear editor? The architect

them in relation to the greater issues of life

extreme conditions; it should be useful, at least

wants something and the structural engineer

and society. Now you might say, Jacob, that is

for the uses it is intended for, and it should

can’t deliver. We appear to have two options:

wonderful news, but not all of us are wise. Well,

be attractive both to use and to behold. After

either the architect should want something

that is precisely the reason for those who are not

all there is no need to spit people in the face

else or the structural design should do a bit

wise to feel shame and to begin to do something

with your public creations. Even for the most

more research. However, this should be the

about it. Wisdom is after all there to be had

radical, innovative and ambitious architecture

kind of situation any self-respecting architect

by anyone who wants it. That does need to be

we do not need to give an inch with regard

and structural engineer should relish. Problems

qualified. It is true that being a wise man is in

to these criteria. Furthermore they will do

like that are what innovation is all about! The

principle accessible to anyone capable of being

for anything that Vitruvius saw as included

arising of a conflict surely means that they

a man, and being a wise mother is accessible to




SHAME AND TECHNOLOGY anyone capable of being a mother. Being a wise

about the kind of dilemmas I have been asked to

and society. You have spent years at university

friend is possible for anyone capable of being

write about. There are no two ways about it, a

to become wise, both as people and as critical,

a friend and being a wise architect or structural

proper professional worth his education, knows

innovative and creative professionals.

engineer is accessible to those capable of being

good ends and good means to achieve them,

an architect, or structural engineer.

moreover he knows how to value them in the

The very idea that you should allow a conflict

context of his own personal ambitions and in

like that to appear says really only one thing:

However, in today’s complex world of

the wider context of society. So, if an architect

better yourself! If you were tempted at this point

professionals such specialised wisdom needs

wants something the structural engineer can’t

to bring in the argument that wisdom is not

considerable training. So the wisdom of being

deliver and if this leads to a conflict rather than

conducive to innovation, I would dismiss you

a professional is open to anyone willing to

‘an interesting challenge’ they are both keen

with itchy impatience. The wisest men of history

undergo the training and put in the hours.

to solve, we have a classic case of a shameful

have also been the greatest innovators in our

What is it, do you think, that a university is for?

situation in which pig-headedness, vanity and

thinking: Socrates, Jesus, Confucius, Buddha,

A faculty of the built environment is, or should

indolence are clearly the cause. The architect

Kant, you name it. It is the job of the wise

be, almost completely devoted to bringing forth

by designing the impossible, confesses to know

architect to create wonderful architecture, sturdy,

wise practitioners in those disciplines that it

nothing about construction, the principles of

eminently useful and moving. It is the job of the

counts as its special responsibility. And education

which he should have used to guide his design.

structural engineer to create the most brilliant

is about much more than learning the technical

And rather than being married to a specific

structures man is capable of, that do their job

means to any end. It is about learning good

solution demanding an absurd construction,

well and are a wonder to behold. And remember

means to good ends and learning how to value

he should think in terms of the qualities he is

that a well-made brick wall should be counted

them. In fact society, in the form of paying

trying to achieve in his design. The structural

among them. Furthermore both professionals

parents, subsidising governments, taxpaying

engineer should do the same with regard to

have a duty to remain within budget and work

citizens and hard-working teachers, to say

understanding architecture and be au fait with

together. Anything less from people who burden

nothing of those devoted researchers and clever

the very latest possibilities in structural design.

public space with their creations is shameful.

clods who have developed the innovations

Instead of whingeing about conflict, go and do

we so gratefully make use of, have invested

The idea that society, which has invested so

justice to the immensely privileged professions

heavily in trying to generate wise professionals

much in the wisdom of both these creatures,

you have the ambition to become a member of.

to be of benefit to themselves and to society.

should be held ransom to gorilla antics of the

And because building projects are becoming

aggressively proud and the peacock strut of

heinously complex, we are even investing

the ridiculously vain, or the helpless dull-witted

considerable means in getting the various

gestures of the uninformed is, to put it mildly,

specialisations to talk to each other sensibly

shameful. You are here to serve yourself, yours


Looking into:

Shopping centers and the disappearance of intermediate retail Famous retail concepts are collapsing like rotten trees, city and

And the problem is not only limited to city centers, illustrated by

shopping centers are fighting emptiness, and there is a clear shift

WoensXL, the big shopping area in Woensel, Eindhoven. I am dis-

taking place in the shop types most cities have to offer. Eindhoven

cussing these topics with Stijn Wenders, fellow student at the fac-

is not an exception. With the V&D declared bankrupt, one of the

ulty of the Built Environment, Chairman of the regional committee

biggest retail buildings of the city center is vacant in the epicenter

of the Jonge Democraten (or Young Democrats) of Eindhoven, and

of the shopping area. On the other side of the street ‘Demer’, the

passionate criticaster on his own twitter profile.

increasingly empty Piazza by Massimiliano Fuksas has not yet become the extension of the Demer as was originally intended.




THAT’S WHY “It is all about marketing and branding these days” is what comes up first

social cohesion it may be worse.” The gap can reflect on society and that

when we start our conversation. That is mainly where intermediate retail is

is not desirable. But intermediate shops missed the train. Shopping is not

losing ground. Look at the shops in the center and you will agree. Tommy

the core activity anymore. Combining a bookstore with a café (Van Piere),

Hilfiger or Scotch & Soda shops are shoulder to shoulder with discount con-

a clothing shop with disco lights (The Sting); “The total experience is what

cepts like Primark and SoLow. The famous brands have the money to make

counts.” What is that ‘total experience’? It is not about going to the city

fancy television campaigns, the discounters advertise with the low price.

center purely for the sake of buying. Shopping is more and more starting

The intermediate retail, shops for the middle class, are missing both. We

to become a social activity. That brings us to the second biggest shopping

think the big gap between these concepts is only getting bigger because

center of Eindhoven: WoensXL. Where the city center of Eindhoven does

our society is based on two neoliberal pillars: individual freedom and the

have that pastime quality, WoensXL has a whole lot of steps to take. It is

concept of a free market economy. “Doing it ourselves” is the underly-

eighth on the list of cleanest shopping areas of the Netherlands, however

ing thought. When you want to study, you can, but you have to pay for

that is one of the few awards this shopping center will get nominated for.

it yourself, regardless in what class of society you are or the level of your

WoensXL was infested by empty shops just after the great renewal in 2007.

study. For the rich that is not a problem, they will not get poor. The poor

“WoensXL is just a bunch of grey boxes of one or two levels, and a bakery

will only grow poorer and as George Monbiot argues, the middlclass will

does not differ from a clothing shop. A perfect example of modernistic

get less wealthy. Hence the gap between rich and poor will grow and the

segregation of duties, shopping in one place and living in the other”, it does

middle class will slowly disappear. This trend can also be seen in shopping

not have any pastime quality. The new public transport with a big stop just

areas. But is it a bad thing? Why should the intermediate shops not disap-

in front of the third center of Eindhoven, after the city center and Strijp-S,

pear? Stijn: “For the city itself it is not a bad development I guess, for the

could play a big role in the further development of WoensXL.

‘WoensXL does not have any pastime quality’ Stijn: “Eindhoven is famous because of the Triple Helix developments. Triple Helix is a concept where companies, the government, and universities and other schools work together and they can push WoensXL to its full potential. At the TU/e there is loads of information on quality in urban planning. Why can they not work together with WoensXL and the city of Eindhoven, to make sure that they take full profit of the new transport hub across the street.” Stijn even goes further: “I think that the success of that new bus stop even depends on how WoensXL anticipates.” The social atmosphere in this part of Woensel is not too good at the moment. Big glass doors prevent anyone from entering the center at night. Combine WoensXL with housing above the shops and not only the public transport will be stimulated, but also the social security will rise, and so would the quality of life as a whole. Of course the pastime quality has to rise, and only future residents can make that happen. When those houses will get build with CPO (Collective Private Commissioning) the people will become attached to the place and the glass doors may disappear. Important for this type of development is that the government should facilitate, the companies should want to cooperate, and people should want to live there. With this concept the 20th century segregation of duties would slowly disappear. Eindhoven could prove once again that the Triple Helix is what the city excels in. “If Eindhoven wants to be distinctive from Rotterdam or Amsterdam, it really needs to look at what it wants to be now.” IMAGES 1. Stijn Wenders and I, standing in front of the vacant V&D building. (photo: Daniël Kersbergen) 1

SOURCES 1. George Monbiot. “Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems”. April 15th 2016.


On a sunny yet chilly morning we head out to the city of Rotterdam. After exiting the grand central station, we have arrived in the hustle and bustle of the big city and find ourselves amid the dwarfing towers in the center of Rotterdam. Within that center, a pixelated cloud has landed with a radiance of serenity. After a brief visit to this cloud, better known as the Timmerhuis, we visit a rather mundane office building. This building however houses the biggest architectural office of the Netherlands: OMA. After an impressive tour through the design quarters we sit down with the front man of this architecture powerhouse and get to know who he is as a professional and as a father of two. TEXT: JUSTIN AGYIN & LENNART ARPOTS




DAVID GIANOTTEN THE PROFESSIONAL FATHER OF TWO About a year and a half ago you were appointed managing partner at OMA. How did that come to be? “Victor van der Chijs stopped about three years ago as managing partner and then a question arose. Do we find a

As a managing partner what are the first three things you do when you wake up? “Probably first kiss my wife, then I see if one of the children is already awake and make breakfast. I make sure everything is up and run-

manager from outside who is not an architect? Or do we transform the role

ning, then I bring one of the children to school and then go to work. It is

to having one partner that is an architect and also has a larger management

a very un-work related start of the day. I never want to start the day with

responsibility, but shares that responsibility amongst the others? The second option felt better within the partnership. My natural relationship with ar-

thinking about work.”

Even in deadline periods? “In deadline periods you think about work 24/7

chitecture, urban design and my management and international experience

and don’t sleep at all, so then I also do not wake up either. It’s one continu-

in Asia over the last six years, made me the best positioned to take on that

ous stream of the post wake-up.”

role. I however am not doing all the management on my own. Ellen and I

Does your wife do anything related to design? “No, I am also not married

look at the finances for instance and together with Ellen and Chris I look at

to an architect on purpose, so I can leave my work outside of the house.

the HR. There is a larger end responsibility of the office in my hands, but I

She is trained as a construction manager, but she is in a completely differ-

still do projects which is the biggest part of my job.”

ent field at the moment. She works on consultancy for small and medium

Do you have a lot of differences of opinions between the nine partners?

enterprises regarding their corporate social responsibility. When there are

“Yes constantly, but because of that we come to conclusions and form

projects that big companies execute, in the areas where they produce, she

strategies. If we had all been like ‘oh yeah fine’, then the criticality just dis-

is involved in the aspect of social well-being of these projects. Now she is

appears. If you want to stay at the forefront of things, you have to debate

also interested in the use and social heritage of cities and is developing nice

about everything which is tiring, but that is how it works. It’s in our DNA.

strategies to maintain the uniqueness of developing cities.”

Everything is discussed to the maximum and we are never satisfied, which is

You do not use her engineering background to test some of your ideas?

also a quality I think.”

“No never. Of course we talk about my work and ideas and she is always

How are the work relations? Do you spend time together outside of work? “No, our relations are very professional. Of course we are friends in a professional sense, but no, our families do not spend a lot of time together. I sometimes spend some time privately with Rem but that is also quite limited.” It’s not like you see each other 24 hours a day? “No, luckily not.” (laughs)

Before becoming managing partner you ran the Hong Kong office of OMA where you worked amongst others on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange for which you had five days before the competition deadline. How did

interested, but it’s not like a bouncing ball. We can stimulate each other by traveling together, by seeing cities. For example, we just returned from New York this morning. It is an extraordinary city, but it’s not about having to talk professionally together. It is merely inspirational.”

So you returned from New York this morning. There is this saying “vakidioot op vakantie”, which means that on trips you look up things that you heard about in the field you work in. Is this the case for you as well? “No, this weekend we did not go to see a lot of buildings. You see them of course and take pictures of them, but we did not go for an architectural

you manage to come up with a proposal that also worked for building it

tour. We wanted to go for an exhibition, we went to restaurants and my

after winning? “The building is right in the new central business district of

wife Lisette and I are both jazz lovers, so we went to jazz cafes and small

Shenzhen and this building could be its heart. However, in the project brief

jazz bars. It was really a personal trip. Of course I am in a profession where

it was described rather differently. The building had to have a huge podium

you build buildings and buildings together form a city, thus you see a lot of

with a tower in the middle and because of that podium it would push all

buildings, but that was definitely not the goal and I can let go of that pretty

the people to the sidewalks, there was no collective space. We went for a simple gesture of lifting that podium to create huge squares underneath and in turn providing direct access to the tower for people to reach the roof of that podium, which we designed as a public park.”

Why did you opt for the translucent glass in the façade? “For one we wanted to show the structure of the building. A lot of people see it as a

easily. There is a time for other things. Many of my holidays are not in cities, although I am totally a city person. We love to explore nature and love to dive, we are always outside. Furthermore, my wife would kill me in an instance if she had to go from building to building.”

Do your children go along on trips? “Yes, they do, but not this time. This was really just about the two of us, finally after two years. But yes, we

complex building, because of the cantilevers. We found out that it is actu-

have done a lot of traveling with them, and they are very small; five and

ally quite simple to make, as it is just a superstructure of that podium hung

three at the moment. Tycho, my son, already had to have a new passport

back onto the tower. The tower is the most generic thing you could think of; it’s just a column grid going down. Secondly, it makes the building more interesting to look at, as sometimes it absorbs the light and sometimes reflects it depending on the angle you look at it. The third element is that I absolutely, seriously hate external lighting and in China people really love

when he was five. Not because it was expired, but because it was full. I think even when he was still in my wife’s belly he had already visited five or six countries. Last year before we came back to the Netherlands we made a huge trip and took them to Nepal, Myanmar and… I forgot the name. That’s strange, my God. Now I have to know (grabs phone). This is CHEPOS | 37

it. The only way to avoid it is to put it behind a translucent façade so that

tiredness from the long flight. I am now googling the world, conquering

the building starts glowing at night. It then becomes more like a diamond

the world through my smartphone. Ah! Bhutan. So we took them to Nepal,

rather than something like “Beam me up, Scotty”, because that podium

Bhutan and Myanmar. And then we went back to the house in Hong Kong

with downlights under it would look like some kind of spaceship leaving

to pack our stuff. After that we went to New Zealand. This was all in three

earth. That would have been a disaster!”

months and from day to day we visited someplace else. We hiked through

So you talk of this tower being generic, but in a lecture you have men-

the Himalayas, my daughter was still carried, but my son walked most of it.

tioned that OMA tries to avoid genericity. How do you deal with this

They have explored a lot of countries and you can see it. My son can speak

paradox? “Here we talk about generic in a different way. We mean the

Dutch, English and a little bit of Chinese. He cannot understand that I had

ideal floor plate, the ideal structure, the right bay-width in the façade for sustainability, light and air. So, generic in a way that we believe the building should provide to the optimum. We do not mean doing something every-

never been in a plane before I turned eleven, he was in a plane when he was three months old. They are also easy travelers, because what do they need? A bed, clothes and food, that’s it. They will adapt and make con-

where the same, which is often considered as generic. To us every project is

nections with anybody. And they are not scared. If you go to Bhutan you

unique and needs its own solution, but that does not mean that we cannot

should not expect any luxury or whatsoever. They do not need it, and that

achieve high efficiencies and be responsible in many ways.”

The time in between building the Kunsthal and De Rotterdam was about twenty years. How did that come to be? Did Rotterdam not want more OMA? “We did do more proposals for buildings

is interesting.”

Do you learn a lot from them? “I wish that I would have had some of these opportunities at a younger age, as I can see that you gain a lot from it. They are already getting wise at this young age. Some of the big differences in society are here today, because people are not exposed to the different

here in Rotterdam, but it was the phase

side of things and with my children that is not an issue. Different color,

the office was in, the phase the city was

language, habits or food, these things are natural to them, so why would

in, and the phase architecture was in I

we not welcome anybody that is different? I think I learned that even when

think. Now we are building a lot of build-

everything can be researched and found on the internet, the world is still

ings in the Netherlands, while it was un-

so narrow minded which is totally unnecessary. People are nomads that

thinkable OMA would do these projects

can go everywhere, so please GO everywhere instead of judging people

in the Netherlands five or six years ago.

coming from other places. I can see it in my children, they will ask the right

We were seen as the international office

questions instead of judge on the wrong premises and I’m pretty proud of

in the Netherlands that was not capable

seeing that in these small human beings. I hope they will maintain that,

to serve the Dutch market, which was

because it is a great gift. Of course we are in the luxury position that we

totally not true of course, but that was

can travel, while there are also a lot of people who cannot. But then still, a

the stamp we had. Also this Rem Kool-

lot of people could do more I think.”

haas mark that we had is gone now. Of

Is there something in this office you could point out that is very dear

course people ask for him, as he is very famous, but it is the collective that clients

to you? “Firstly my pen, I drew my graduation project with this one and it never leaves my side, I got it from my dad. It has brown ink so that

ask for. Everybody knows that building

everybody knows who made the drawing. Secondly, my closet is very dear

De Rotterdam was not only Rem. He was

to me. I took it with me from Hong Kong. When we were moving into our

involved in the design of course, but it

new office there they forgot to give me any storage space, so I went to an

was built by others of OMA. The same

antique store and bought this 400 year old antique closet. The models on top are also dear to me, you can see the model of the Taipei Performing Arts Centre. I like to travel and build small models. Then there is some stuff from my children which is obviously very dear to me. The big book standing up is the Perth museum that we won recently, which is a huge project INTERVIEW: DAVID GIANOTTEN


goes for G-Star, the Timmerhuis and the Feyenoord stadium. Rem and soc-

for me in Australia of which I’m really proud and it is one of our biggest

cer?! (makes a perplexed face) That is unthinkable! There are other people

preservation projects. Then there is the silver key of CCTV, which I got dur-

doing that and for clients that is completely evident. It’s not about iconic

ing the final stages. We did the handover after it was finished, which was

architects anymore; it is about offices that know what they are doing. We

of course very special and then I received a silver key. There are only two;

are capable of doing any typology anywhere in the world at the moment

Rem has one and I have one, so that is also dear to me. There are so many

and that is a unique feature. People now understand that we are not just an office that is critical about everything, but that we are an office that knows very well how to build buildings with a reasonable budget that make a huge impact.”

things! My little books that are everywhere, those are dear to me. I have a closet full of little books. My office is an extension of my home in a way. I do not spend much time here, but when I do I need to feel at home. In my other closet I keep all my books, project books. Of all the projects that

During our office tour we walked by a model of a proposal for the rede-

I have done in OMA I keep one copy of the project book. One stack is of

velopment of the National Dance Theater in The Hague. At the moment

successful projects and one stack is of unsuccessful ones.” They are about

the building is being demolished, but it is going rather unnoticed. Why do you think that is? Or is it not that strange as the building was only

the same height. “Yeah, I’m doing pretty well.” (laughs) And have you done very personal projects for family for instance?

supposed to be there for fifteen years? “It is not going so unnoticed I

“Yes one. I said I will never ever build for friends or family, except for my

think, but I think the Dance Theater was also a part of that moment, of

mother and then she was accidently also the one that asked! My mother

that time. Now the demands have changed, and with the proposal we

and her new partner bought a small house in France. The house became

tried to incorporate the new demands within the old building. We tried

the complete opposite of traditional French houses, something white, and

to keep a part of it, but unfortunately that is not going to happen. As an

concrete. My mom is probably even more modern than I am. I have failed

architect you also need to have peace with that, because the profession of

three times for the French beauty committee, but then the mayor thought

an architect has changed so much. There is a kind of new speed to it. Some

it was so beautiful that he approved it. This took my mom a few bottles of

of the buildings I will outlive, that is the reality of today. You do not build

wine I guess.” (laughs)

for hundreds of years anymore. There will be buildings that will represent a

How is to have your personal assistant, Winnie, at your side?

certain era or a certain period of time and others will be torn down. Is that

“She is a God blessing. Last week, she was already exactly six years with

bad? Not as long as they fulfilled what they had to fulfill and I think that

me. I was traveling so I congratulated her, and I gave her a present the

the Dance Theater definitely did that. It was considered a very good theater

moment I saw her again. She started more in a general role and after a year

that regenerated that part of The Hague and actually made it vibe so much

already became my personal assistant. She knows my schedule inside out,

that it overtook the original proposal. That is a compliment to the proposal

sometimes even better than I do. She makes sure that people can get close

obviously. Not to say that Rem does not find it a pity that the Dance The-

enough, but not too close to keep my job manageable. She is also an unbe-

ater is not there anymore, but you don’t need to stop that, you can see it as a compliment.”

What would you advise students aspiring to become architects not to

lievably kind and friendly person. She needs to know my wife and children very well, still in a professional way, but there is a responsibility back and forth; for her to my family and for my family to her.”

do? “Not to do? They should not be easily satisfied. They should not be lazy and they should explore to the maximum in a way that feels best for


them, as long as you explore. Take my graduation studio at the TU now


for instance. I set the agenda, I set the tasks, but I do not set any of the answers. As long as you have explored and are able to explain what you have explored, because in the end you need to convince a client of your



solution. If you cannot do that because you haven’t explored enough, and you say, ‘because it looks beautiful’, then forget about it! It is not going to work. You cannot do that and get away with it.”


1. David Gianotten and his dearest belongings; a little book, the famous brown pen and his phone with which he conquers the world, (photo: Lennart Arpots) 2. International projects on a shelf in his office (photo: Lennart Arpots) 3. Shenzhen Stock Exchange (source: www. 4. Tiny models, the projectbook of the Western Australian Museum in Perth, and his children’s drawing. (photo: Lennart Arpots)

SOURCES 1. Interview with David Gianotten on April 12, 2016


RAIL VERSUS RETAIL Delft, Utrecht, Arnhem, Den Haag, Breda, Tilburg, Eindhoven and Rotterdam are all examples of cities which recently underwent major redevelopments of their central stations. But what is the vision of the NS (Dutch Railways) on how to exploit these exemplary pieces of architecture, now that all these projects are finished? TEXT: PIM LABEE


Limburg in 2015. Additionaly, the Fyra fiasco has

continue their journey in a fluent and uninter-

Over the past twenty years there has been a

brought a lot of discredit to the Dutch railway

rupted way. There is a strong synergy provided

total estimate of one billion euros to realize the

company. Train stations like Breda were being

by these three combined activities. The NS

tremendous projects mentioned above. As can

redeveloped partly to anticipate on the high

however cannot fulfill this job on its own. To

be deduced from the infographic, none of the

speed train and to facilitate for it. Besides this

increase reliability of the transport, the NS will

projects were realized within their estimated

travelers are not elate with the service the NS

work together with ProRail. Main goals with

budget. On the contrary, most of the projects

offers, mainly because of overcrowded trains.

regards to reliability are to reduce disruptions in

cost double the estimated budget. Mansveld,

Main shareholder Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem

the field of infrastructure by 20%, the field of

our Secretary of State for Infrastructure and

of Finances partly enforced the new strategy:

materials by 15% and a speed increase of 50%

Environment at the time when the new strategy was developed, divides these financial setbacks in two categories: problems with for example groundwater that led to unexpected expenditures of 306 million euros and another 581 million euros was spent on price adjustments

restarts after disruptions.


by the building parties and tax increases. Delft

New materials are a way to realize this. At this very moment there is a shortage on trains, even though there are 170 carriages in use from strategic backup. Renovated material and newly acquired material should be on the rails at the

is even at the edge of bankruptcy due to the

NS is going to try to realize this by focusing on 3

end of 2016. There will be an investment of 2,5

project ‘Spoorzone Delft’ (referred to in Chepos

core activities: the main rail network, the stations

billion euros. These are concrete examples of

53). This resulted in unproportioned degradation

and the door-to-door journey.

what will result in a more comfortable journey.

on the project its facilities , which the inhabitants

Other examples of which you can think to

of Delft now need to turn up for. According to


improve the journey, are investments in better

the magazine Binnenlands Bestuur, the living ex-

The NS is realizing more and more that they are

Wi-Fi facilities in the trains and in the stations.

penses in Delft are 13% higher than elsewhere,

a corporation with a social as well as a corporate

and 9% higher compared to the 35 biggest

goal. The corporate goal is to realize a healthy



environment for employees and shareholders.

NS Retail is the most profitable branch the NS

The social aspect will get the main attention

owns. Although one of the top executives,

But luckily everyone can agree that the new

now, and from this social perspective the NS is

Roger van Boxtel did not want to give away

Delft Centraal is very appealing to the eye.

going to put the travelers at the first and most

the exact number, the retail is said to annually

Since all the new magnificent stations grew im-

important place. Affordable transport in clean

yield 400 million euros, which is 8% of the total

mensely and developed themselves into fancy

trains which depart and arrive on time is what

turnover of almost 5 billion euros. There can

malls you would expect the NS to exploit these

the NS wants to offer travelers with the main rail

be made a distinction between the own retail

opportunities. With the new strategy ‘Spoorslags

net. Among this main rail net, and at the begin-

formula from the NS and NS-franchise-stores.

beter’ which was published on the first of March

ning and end of ones journey there must be a

2016, the NS nevertheless wants to chase a dif-

welcoming place, which is clean and provides

The NS will stop with almost any retail exploita-

ferent trail, which is actually at odds with the de-

fluent logistics. The stations determine approxi-

tion, the franchises, but even their own formu-

velopment of the past decades. The NS for one,

mately 25% of the satisfaction of the travelers.

las. From a total of 236 stores, only 35% will

is repelling their direct retail exploitation, and will

When a traveler arrives at their destination, the

remain open: the Kiosk. This means that 65%

try to focus on their core business. One reason

final core activity of the NS, or at least how they

of the employees of those stores will get a new

for the change of plans is the fraud concerning

see it, has just begun. Services like the public

employer, which might put their jobs at risk.

the tender offer regarding public transport in

transport bike, are offered by the NS to let one




estimates costs

the figures

600 €mln

estimates costs


The NS in €

own ns formulas

2015 6 5 4 3 2 1

total turnover

retail turnover

€bln €bln €bln €bln €bln €bln





starbucks rituals i am hema ah to go




NS Franchises

kiosk smullers de broodzaak julia’s






4 13 2014 Completion 675€mln

360€mln 2005 start building 60€mln 2003 Start design


The NS has the busiest real estate positions

Although the retail will almost completely be dis-

within most cities. Because of the auspicious lo-

IMAGES 1. Infographic (Pim Labee, 2016) 1

posed of, most the real estate will remain in the

cations of the stations within cities, the costs for

possession of the NS. The real estate left behind

this real estate are relatively high in comparison

by the disposal of the NS formulas and the NS

with other locations throughout the city. Due to

franchises will be leased to other corporations

the new developments in and surrounding the


like the Albert Heijn. It is likely that a com-

stations, these prices increased even more. It is

pany such as Ahold wants to exploit the stores

questionable if the renting costs yielded by the

themselves. The market leader of the Dutch su-

new strategy weigh up against the prosperous

1. “Zo’n mooi station daar betaal je als delftenaar toch graag extra belasting voor”. 2015. 2. “Vijf nieuwe stations en dat mag wat kosten”. 2016. 3. “NS verkoopt zijn winkels om mensen tevreden te stellen”. 2016. 4. “Stations een miljard te duur”. 2015.

permarket sector has many AH To Go establish-

possibilities this real estate could offer.

ments inside the stations, but also exploits their formula in other locations, such as busy streets. CHEPOS | 41

Berry den Brinker (Rotterdam, 1946) still draws, paints and makes photo art, despite his visual impairment. If his sight had not deteriorated as much as it has, he would have loved to have been an architect or a painter. Even though his sight might have partly disappeared, his interest in the built environment never did. After his psychology studies and after having worked as a researcher in human movement sciences, he now actively promotes the interests of the visually impaired. His book ‘Zicht op Ruimte’ shows the daily struggle of visually impaired people in the built environment, and how their problems can be improved in a way for everyone to enjoy space.

SPACE WITH(OUT) SIGHT As students aspiring to become engineers of the built environment, we seek to create buildings, and their environment, that can be enjoyed by everybody, the able-bodied as well as those with an impairment of some sort. For people to do so, they should - first of all be able to enter and make use of a building. Good accessibility and usability of buildings and public space are key notions for us. Every student has probably dealt, at some point, with the wheelchair accessibility of his or her design, as wheelchair access is mandatory by law, but have you ever thought about visually impaired people visiting your building? Though progress has been made, there are hardly any rules or regulations in The Netherlands for designing accessible and usable buildings and public spaces for the visually impaired. This allows designers the opportunity to let esthetics overrule ‘accessibility for all people’. We spoke with Berry den Brinker, an expert in low vision and almost blind himself, to learn more about designing a visually accessible built environment, and the importance of this for others without a visual impairment. experiences we could understand why Berry is


involved in multiple interest groups to improve

In 2013 the renovated Rijksmuseum opened

During the Experiarch workshop, one of AnAr-

such building sites. Moreover, while these

to the public. With over two million visitors a

chi’s activities, multiple students experienced

adjustments are essential for visually impaired

year from all over the world, proper accessibility

Metaforum with little or no sight. Supervised

people, they are often useful for everybody. Ac-

should be of the utmost importance. Unfortu-

by their fellow students and Berry den Brinker,

cidents can happen to anyone, especially if you

nately, the stairs of the building proved to be

they learned more about experiencing archi-

are distracted. Twenty degrees outside of your

rather unsafe for people with impaired vision

tecture and its accessibility for visually impaired

fovea, the focus area on the retina of your eyes,

and anyone not paying attention to foot place-

people. We discovered that many locations in

you can only see up to 5%. Proper edge mark-

ment. In merely two weeks after re-opening

and around the faculty building did not facilitate

ings can make a lot of difference here. To get a

numerous accidents occurred and thus it was

independent walking for these people. A lack

better understanding of the daily struggles Berry

important to find a quick and easy solution.

of contrast, no edge markings on stairs, and

den Brinker and others deal with, we visited

The problems mainly happened due to a lack of

railings or banisters in the wrong place make it

him in Amsterdam and talked about solutions,

railings and edge markings on the steps. Berry

hard not to fall or bump into things. After these

legislation and education.

talked with one of the architects about the origin




THAT’S WHY of this problem. Initially, the markings were

In the two examples above in The Netherlands,

not imply having no sight at all. According to

planned to be executed in copper, too luxuri-

the impact of the interventions was relative

the definition of the World Health Organization,

ous a material for the client and consequently

small in contrast to the necessary intervention

blind means that your visual acuity is less than

omitted. The stairs in the Rijksmuseum are now

in Switzerland. “The Dutch building regulations

5% of normal sight. Instead of thinking about

provided with black 3M strips.

mainly focus on wheelchair accessibility and

tactile aids only, visual aids are valuable as well.

sometimes on access for tall people. For visually


impaired people there are a few guidelines, but

Another useful method that can help us gain

as the word indicates they are not mandatory.”

a better understanding of accessible design

In 2010 the Rolex Learning Center opened in

Although strict regulations make sure everybody

for vision is the IDED method. ”I invented this

Lausanne, Switzerland. Even though it had been

can enjoy space, they may conflict with the ideas

method to check whether the applied contrasts

designed by the Pritzker Prize winning duo of

the architect has in mind. In order to prevent

in an area are sufficiently high. Everyone can use

SANAA, major adaptations had to be made to

this, esthetics and accessibility have to be

the method by editing photos in Corel PHOTO-

the central hall after completion. The build-

integrated at the beginning of the design phase.

PAINT.” The next page shows an example of this

ing was designed to reflect the beautiful Swiss

Regulations and recommendations should be

method including an instruction of how to make

landscape and the hall therefore contains differ-

well thought through and should be subtle and

use of this method yourself.

ences in height to resemble the sloping nature

balanced. Also, it should not just be about tick-

of the surrounding hills. You can hike through

ing all the boxes, but about understanding what

In our education not much awareness is raised

the building, with a view over the wonderful

is actually needed. In this way a space can be

for the needs of people with a visual impair-

landscape. Not a problem at all you might think,

made accessible for everybody without harming

ment or other disabilities. Recently, the Dutch

but in order to make the building meet the strict

its esthetic quality.

Senate adopted the United Nations Convention

Swiss building regulations, the architects had to make sure every space was accessible for everyone. This led to paths for the blind and wheelchair users with stair lifts and railings all over this artificial landscape, a space that feels less fluent and graceful than the architects had in mind.

on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The


accessibility of the built environment is part of this convention. Therefore, a new focus on this topic in our education is needed to make future engineers aware of its impact on our designs. As designers we need to think about the users of

To help us, future architects and urban design-

our spaces to make sure no disturbing alterations


ers, have to ensure that our designs are acces-

are needed later on, because even simple things

In public space one also has to deal with acces-

sible for everyone; Den Brinker gave us some

such as railings now often go wrong. Consider-

sibility issues. Recently the empty space between

recommendations. ”To start with, the NEN-ISO

ing accessibility should start at the first step,

the new residential buildings and shops on the

21542 standard is a good set of guidelines for

no sooner, no later. Subtle changes need not

ground level of Nijmegen’s Plein 1944, has been

designing accessible and usable buildings. Zicht

change your design dramatically, but your design

transformed into an attractive public space. The

op Ruimte is based on this standard with exam-

will become more accessible without changing

transformation is successful, but the natural

ples and proposals for designing. For example,

its esthetic quality. Don’t introduce differences in

stone pavement created problems for people

it can tell you more about the use of contrast as

height when there is no need for it since it may

with limited mobility or impaired sight. The

a visual aid.” This might sound strange as we

require markings and other ugly adaptations you

stones were too bumpy and had to be replaced.

are talking about blind people and low vision

don’t like.

This pavement not only caused discomfort for

people. Therefore it is important to mention

the visitors, it also led to huge avoidable ad-

that although Berry is called ‘blind’, he still has

At the moment Den Brinker is working hard to

ditional costs.

functional vision. Being blind by definition does

set up a module about accessibility to be implemented in the education of future architects and urban designers. For this initiative he has already been awarded with €10,000.- by Bartiméus, an association which supports visually impaired people. “The goal is to set up this module together with experts of the built environment. Hopefully influential architects and urban designers, like the ‘Rijksbouwmeester’, will join his initiative.” We wish Berry den Brinker all the best with the next steps in this major project and want to thank him for his inspiring story and his hospitality. CHEPOS | 43

DO IT YOURSELF THE IDED-METHOD To see if there is enough contrast in a room or

Step 3: Upgrade the image by upsizing to the

Do you wish to know more about this topic?

original number of pixels. The result is a blurred

Den Brinker published several articles in Ver-

version of the original image reflecting the

keerskunde and De Architect. Furthermore,

visual acuity that you want to simulate (Image >

Zicht op Ruimte is still available on www.

Resample(Anti-alias=on)), It is a perfect guide for architects to

open space the IDED method can be used. The

create a more safe and a more comfortable

results of this method can be observed on the

Step 4: Now it is time to find the edges (Effects

right-hand side. Here is a step-by-step Corel

> Contour > Find Edges). Use the same value for

PHOTOPAINT instruction to learn how to apply

‘level’ as needed for the calibration object.

this method yourself.



The image now shows exactly where sufficient Step 1: If you use a color image, put the image

contrasts can be found for people with the

in gray scale. Also do this for the same picture

preselected level of visual acuity. As seen in the

that contains a calibration object with the de-

pictures below, the stairs in front of Metaforum

sired level of contrast. (Image > Mode > Convert

have clear edge markings.




1. Photo-art by Berry den Brinker 2. Trappen Rijksmuseum (source: www. 3. Interior Rolex learning center (source: 4. Pavement Plein 1944 (source: www. 5. Stairs Metaforum TU/e regular, and IDED


to Gray scale). In ISO 21542 and Zicht op Ruimte you can find Step 2: Degrade the quality of the image by

more information about contrast scales and the

downsizing the number of pixels of your image

needed contrast values for different situations.

to the lowered level of visual acuity that you

The IDED method can be applied to interiors

want to simulate with your picture (Image >

as well as the design of exteriors, for example


bicycle lanes or other public spaces.


SOURCES 1. Berry Den Brinker, Atja Apituley, Jeroen Smeets. “Zicht op Ruimte” (Silvur, 2014) 2. ICON (2010) “SANAA’s Rolex Learning Centre”, 20-04-2016. 3. NOS (2016) “Eerste Kamer stemt in met gehandicaptenverdrag Verenigde Naties”, 20-04-2016.


THAT’S WHY Like the Netherlands, Belgium has several typical student cities. These cities are defined by the combination of their history, ethos, (student) activities and the ratio between students and non-students. The three cities


featured in this article are all student cities that are worth a visit, or even an option to continue your study; all three have a university where you can get your Bachelor and Master in both Engineering and Architecture. So, do you want a taste of the real Burgundian life? These cities are all within two driving hours from Eindhoven. TEXT: ILKE BROERS

LEUVEN As the oldest university of the Low Lands, and one of the oldest in Europe, the KU Leuven has a rich history. Ever since the foundation in 1425, it has left its mark on the city; from the medieval University Hall to the neo-Renaissance library and the many 18th century colleges and residence halls. It can also be seen in the numbers; half of the population of Leuven consists of students. They give the small city a dynamic feel, with plenty happening all around. Another plus; because of the students, the prices are kept low in the bars. Sources: |


ANTWERPEN Antwerpen is a popular city with the Dutch, mostly because of its reputation as an excellent shopping city. Next to that, it offers a range of historical sites, like the Grote Markt with the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe cathedral, and several museums. With not even 10% of the population being students, and only having an official university since 1971, Antwerpen is not the first city to think of as a student city. But the many campuses provide a wide range of students spread out over the entire city, which leads to student bars and events all over town. Sources: |

Photo: Ilke Broers

GENT With its tangible history, Gent is arguably one of the most beautiful cities of Belgium. Hotspots as the Belfort, Sint-Baafs-Cathedral, the castle Gravensteen and the famous Graslei and Korenlei are all in the city centre, within less than five minutes from each other. The biggest event is the Gentse Feesten in July. This ten-day event is all over the city and brings students and others together. People even prefer Gent over Brugge, because of its dynamic ambience, which is mainly due to the large amount of students (70.000). Sources: |


Photo: Maarten Baijens




In every Chepos an article is published from the Pantheon// and vice versa. Pantheon// is the magazine of Stylos, Study Association of the Built Environment, Delft. This article is a review about the developing skyline of London.

BEROEPSERVARINGPERIODE Since January 1st 2015, all graduates in architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and interior architecture have to complete a professional traineeship before they are permitted to enter the Dutch Register of Architects. On this page, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions. If your question is not answered, make sure to visit TEXT: VITA TEUNISSEN





The requirements and content of the indepen-


dent and integrated route are the same, the only difference is the organization. Graduates that


choose to do the independent route have to


put the program together themselves, while the integrated option is all-inclusive. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEP AND



PEP? BEP is the Dutch abbreviation of Beroep-


SELF? It depends on the firm you are working

servaringperiode (Professional Traineeship). Pro-

No, it’s not possible to apply for exemption

for. It is possible that the costs for the Profes-

fessional trainees choose between an integrated

based on an internship. You might, however, be

sional Traineeship are paid by the firm, in which

and an independent program. PEP (Professional

eligible for exemption if you have already gained

case the firm is allowed to pay you minimum

Experience Program) is one (and currently the

practical experience during a paid job.

wage (instead of the wages determined by the

only) provider of the integrated route.

CAO for architects).

Integrated route

Independent route

intake meeting



interim meeting



with a straightforward number, because there

final meeting



are many different options. On the left are some



€0 - €360

indicative prices (21% VAT excluded, meetings

company visit



full route



HOW MUCH DOES A PROFESSIONAL TRAINEESHIP COST? It is hard to answer this question

with Bureau Architectenregister are tax-free). * For the integrated route, you have to take a set program of 20 modules. For the independent route, there’s not a set list of modules. You will have to put together your own selection. For a complete overview, visit







architect, urban designer, landscape architect

No. All students (regardless of their national-

If you find a job for 32 hours a week or more, the

and interior architect are protected in the Neth-

ity) who have finished their master’s degree in

Professional Traineeship will take twee years. The

erlands. That means you can only use these titles

architecture, urbanism, landscape architecture

independent route is organized as shown below.

if you have fulfilled your Professional Trainee-

or interior design at a Dutch university have to

ship. You do not need one of these titles to work

successfully complete a Professional Traineeship

at an existing firm. In fact, you can even start

to enter the Dutch Register of Architects. This

your own firm without using one of the titles

issue can be quite complicated. When in doubt

mentioned above.

about a particular situation, we advise you to get in touch with Bureau Architectenregister.

PREPARATION Find mentor to supervise Find job for at least 32 h/week Write PPP (Personal Progress Plan)



PROFESSIONAL TRAINEESHIP Apply for Professional Traineeship Plan intake meeting with Professional Traineeship Committee

Plan interim meeting with Professional Traineeship Committee

Plan final meeting with Professional Traineeship Committee Enter your name in the Register



FOCUS! After a day at the university, it is time to go home again. What have you done today? Did you get some work done or were you distracted all the time by Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, …? Ever wanted to change the habit of checking Facebook every 5 minutes but did not succeed? Here are three simple tools to start working without distractions and stay focused. TEXT: JIMMY HENDRICKX

FOREST (IOS, ANDROID, WINDOWS PHONE, CHROME, FIREFOX) The reason your attempt did not succeed the first time, was because you were still able to access the apps that were distracting you. Of course you could block the websites, but it is very tempting to unblock them the minute you feel distracted. The app Forest will help you. You start off by planting a tree. As simple as that. You can set the timer of the tree to your desired focusing time. The longer you focus, the bigger your tree will be. After planting it, you cannot access your phone or browser. If you do, you kill your tree. At the end of the day, it is up to you whether you have planted the new Amazon rainforest or just destroyed the original one.

NOISLI (IOS, ANDROID, CHROME, OTHER) After isolating yourself from the world of social media and entertainment, you might find it disturbing to work in complete silence. On the other hand, opening YouTube will make you start procrastinating again. For these people, there is Noisli. It is an application / website that creates a background sound for you. You can either choose a random mode or create one yourself by combining the calming sound of rain, the wind whispering through the trees and the background of a busy café or many other sounds. The website even has its own built-in text editor if you register for a free account.

RESCUETIME (MAC, WINDOWS, ANDROID, CHROME, FIREFOX) When successfully shutting down your environment and finally being able to work focused, you might want to know what you have done in a day’s work. Have you succeeded in working without procrastinating or did you secretly visit Facebook for half an hour every time your tree has grown? RescueTime tracks the activities on your computer and categorizes them by type of activity. It already categorized several programs as distracting in order to get you going. You can always adapt the settings to your own preferences, for example if you deem checking your e-mail productive. After a day, week or month, RescueTime will show you your productivity score and the total amount of hours you worked on your computer. The challenge now is to see how many hours you can make in a deadline week!





MIES & the inheritance of Modernism

APR 01 - AUG 7

Bauhaus, the Barcelona Chair, Less is more. Mies

Day of Architecture

JUN 18 - 19

The Day of Architecture will take place on the 18th and 19th of June. All of

van der Rohe designed among the most famous buildings in cities like

the big cities in the Netherlands will make the most interesting buildings

Barcelona, Berlin, Chicago and New York. Van der Rohe is the founder of

accessible. Every city has its own theme, depending on the biggest social

the so-called term “Neues Bauen” together with Le Corbusier and Walter

and special problems on local level. This year the overarching theme in

Gropius. This exposition is dominated by the future of Modern architecture.

Eindhoven will be landscape architecture. The kick-off is a lecture given by

Glaspaleis, Heerlen

Gerrie Andela, author of Licht op groen, on Saturday June 18. Her lecture will focus on the impact and importance of the so-called “Philips-groen”.


The Netherlands

APR 23 - JUL 10

The International Architecture Bienale Rotterdam

2016 focusses on the question: What is next? It takes our biggest current

Introduction week Eindhoven will be flooded with

challenges as a starting point and focusses on the development of the city

AUG 15 - 19

within this frame. Besides being an exposition, IABR is also a working place

you are not a first years, your agenda could be filled with activities. Keep an

with debates, conferences, lectures and workshops. This year’s IABR is an

eye on the CHEOPS Facebook and the CHEOPS website to stay up to date

invitation for people to actually participate in designing the ideal city.

with the latest news!

De Fenixloods II, Rotterdam


Plugged festival

Inauguration 31th board of CHEOPS


On Thursday the 2nd of June, the fourth edition of the Plugged Festival will take place. This winning


new students this week. Even if

After the successful sixth lustrum year, the 31th board of CHEOPS will take over.Their inauguration is set

combination of good and mostly local music, the sun, tasty food and cheap

to be on the 8th of September and consists of the change of board, the

drinks, will result in a great ambiance. The festival grew from 400 to an

General Members Meeting, and the inauguration drink.

estimated 2000 visitors last year. The festival is accessible for free.


KOE-veld, TU/e

PROVADA - Real Estate meeting point Open Monuments day

JUN 7 - 9

Several aspects of the built environment are constantly changing at an increasing

SEP 10 - 11

The theme of the European Heritage Days in the Netherland 2016 is Icons

rate. Therefore, every real estate company constantly needs to act within

and Symbols. The 30th edition of this event will refer to objects that have a

this dynamic field. The advice: think ahead. PROVADA has composed a

special meaning, objects that actually transcend themselves. Approximately

program around this theme. There will be a program focusing on smart cit-

threehundred municipalities will participate and all they have their own

ies, a program will focus on game changers and on the last day there will be


a program about business innovations.

The Netherlands

RAI, Amsterdam

Agenda CHEOPS & Built Environment 48 | CHEPOS


COLOPHON CHEOPS, Study Association of the Built Environment Eindhoven University of Technology Groene loper 6, Vertigo 1.15 Mailbox 513 5600 MB Eindhoven T 040-2473140 Chepos, built environment magazine ISSN: 1873-183X Chepos editorial board Rick Abelen, Justin Agyin (editor in chief), Lennart Arpots (chairman), Rik de Bondt, Ilke Broers, Jimmy Hendrickx, Lars Hogenboom, Sven van der Hulst, Pim Labee, Eva Pabon, Jeroen Pospiech, Renée Thierij, Chastity Verhoofstad Chepos is a publication of CHEOPS, Study Association of the Built Environment. Content may be used for research and study purposes, if credited properly. Exeptions include copyrighted imagery; these may not be reproduced or published without specific consent by the original author. Collaborations Geordy van Bussel, Sergio Figueiredo, Aldo Hein, Adriaan Jurriëns, Daniël Kersbergen, Renske van de Straat, Jacob Voorthuis, Stijn Wenders, David fotografie, Study association Stylos Acknowledgements Wouter Blom, Berry den Brinker, David Gianotten, Sarah Gormley, Mark Hopperman, Christian Huizinga, Jasmine Labeau, Rikke de Jonge Mulock Houwer, Wouter Loomans, Virgil Tas, Frank Wassenaar, Winnie Wong Images Cover: photo by David fotografie Editorial page 1, source: Arup Index page 2-3: Ove Arup (photo: Godfrey Argent, National Portrait Gallery London), Zaha Hadid (photo: Brigitte Lacombe), Binnenhof (photo: Chastity Verhoofstad), David Gianotten (photo: Lennart Arpots), looking into shopping centers (photo: Daniël Kersbergen), Sydney Opera House (photo: Naomi Huveneers), potentiaal (photo: Rick Abelen), space with(out) sight (artwork by Berry den Brinker) Chepost page 5: photo by Lennart Arpots Spread image page 18-19: artwork by Jimmy Hendrickx Column Adriaan Jurriëns page 17, source: Column Jacob Voorthuis page 32-33: CHEOPS & Built Environment: Mies van der Rohe (source:, Plugged Festival (photo by Hans Jellema) Colophon: photo by Naomi Huveneers Offset Drukkerij Snep BV, Eindhoven Circulation: 1200 Advertisements & exploitation Pim Labee: Co-Main Sponsor Saint-Gobain Want to be an editor? Want to share your opinion? Contact the editorial board via

Chepos 54  

On Tuesday May 31 the 54th issue of the Chepos magazine was released. The international and globally operating firm Arup was the focus of th...

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