Discover Benelux | Issue 11 | November 2014

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Discover Benelux |  Special Theme |  Dutch Architecture & Interiors

TOP: Rotterdam’s iconic Erasmusbrug. Photo: Christian Richters. LEFT: The façade of Galleria Centercity department store, Korea. Photo: Kim Yong-Kwan. MIDDLE: Theatre de Stoep, Spijkenisse. Photo: Peter Guenzel. RIGHT: Galleria Centercity. Photo: Christian Richters. BELOW RIGHT: Haus am Weinberg, Stuttgart Germany. Photo: Iwan Baan.

Innovation through organisation TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: UNSTUDIO

Optimal organisation – that is key for every UNStudio project. This starts with the client, what kind of company or person they are and how they are organised. Next, it focuses on the project itself, how the space and functions can be organised as efficiently as possible. “If the programmatic organisation of a project is done well, then you create much more spatial efficiency and achieve a higher quality of design. We do in-depth research into how a building should be organised and use state-of-the-art technologies like digital 3D visualisation to optimise it even more,” explains Ben van Berkel, co-founder and principal architect of UNStudio. Optimal organisation is also a phrase that applies to UNStudio itself. “The more organised I am myself the more efficiently I can work and the more time I have to focus on the design,” continues Van Berkel. Together with Caroline Bos he set up the architecture stu-

dio in 1988. The name, UNStudio, stands for United Network Studio, referring to its collaborative nature of working. The studio specialises in architecture, urban development and infrastructure across the world. From a project creating metro stations in Qatar to museums to hotels and housing combinations to interior design, needless to say UNStudio is talented in many areas. To date it has completed projects in over 35 countries and currently has a team of 150 people. Apart from Amsterdam, it also has two offices in Asia, one in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong. First established in 2009, the Shanghai office has now grown to a full-service design office with a multinational team of all-round and specialist architects. “We are one of the few Western architecture companies that are actually registered in China, which has helped us to attract major projects,” Van Berkel says proudly.

aims to resolve contemporary societal questions through architecture. “A building has to be more than a structure; it has to have several layers so it enriches the location and its users,” Van Berkel says. One example is the Theatre de Stoep in Spijkenisse, designed by the studio. In addition to the traditional main hall, it is designed to accommodate all types of events throughout the building, “from conferences to experimental performances, it is a centre for entertainment in the very broadest sense of the word,” Van Berkel adds.

With the help of innovative techniques and incorporating cultural qualities, UNStudio

Issue 11 |  November 2014 |  37

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