MVRDV, The Netherlands
published: April 22, 2011, recorded: April 2011, views: 4312
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Together with Nathalie de Vries and Winy Maas Jacob van Rijs is one of the founding partners of MVRDV, an office which hardly needs an introduction. Founded in 1993 in Rotterdam, they became quickly of the most influential contemporary architectural offices of the 1990s. Signature projects such as the Headquarter of the VPRO Broadcasting Company in Hilversum, the WoZoCo Housing for the Elderly in Amsterdam, or the Dutch Pavilion at the Hanover 2000 World Expo MVRDV instantly made them a hallmark of the SUPERDUTCH phenomenon. But maybe Extradutch would be a more fitting adjective, given that a substantial share of MVRDV’s projects is actually realized outside of the Netherlands. In particular after the conservative swing in the Dutch political landscape that followed the demise of the purple coalition in 2002, MVRDV started to increase their activities in Europe and internationally. Today the office is busy with large-scale projects for housing and urban design in China and South-Korea. In the past, MVRDV was often said to produce one-liner buidlings. But if you look closely, they are more like haiku’s – that’s a three-liner poem. They have a unique capability to generate the design thesis of a project out of a series of a few strong ideas only. And often one of this ideas will be turned into the lead expression of the project. This has not only made their work so pervasive to perception, it has also enabled them to carry out their projects under often peculiar conditions, working hard to conserve the important assets of a project while being able to make compromises that do not hollow out its essence.
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