Category: Design

Design is shaping, inventing, creating. Concocting something that didn’t exist before. Make something come alive. A piece of furniture, a building, a city, a landscape, a world.

Troughout my career I have visualized  many designs by others. Or given a boost to the design process through a glimpse in a 3D model. With equal pleasure I produce own designs. At every imaginable scale: a cassette tape box lamp, a street planetarium, and a modern turf hut or a calendar for Mars.

Block's little Block, a tiny houseboat in a green environment with forest, water, shrubs, reeds, grass and geese

A Tiny Houseboat: Blok’s Blokje

About a year ago I designed Blok’s Block, a kind of tiny house XL. A compact home for adventurous urbanites, to be placed on roofs of tall buildings. That Blok was recently joined by a Blokje, a little Blok, a design for a tiny houseboat. One of the reactions I received on the Block: it is not really a tiny house. There seems to be an unofficial upper limit of 50 square meters for this. Although the Block is relatively compact, it still has a floor space of 65 square meters. Would a smaller variant be possible that does fit… Read More

Future vision for the Rotterdam metro network, with two new lines, visualized as an old school London Underground map

The Rotterdam Metro in Past, Present and Future

The Rotterdam metro network is the oldest in the Netherlands. With more than one hundred kilometers, five lines and seventy stations, it is also the most extensive metro network in our country. How did that happen? What are the expectations for the future? And couldn’t that map of the line network be a little prettier? I’ll answer those questions in this blog post. The beginning The Rotterdam metro was officially opened on February 9, 1968. On that day trains started running on the first section: six kilometers, seven stations, from Central Station to Zuidplein. I was there, together with my… Read More

A compact cube-shaped house with a glass and wood facade, located on a high rooftop with a fictional Rotterdam skyline in the background

A Tiny Cube House With a View: Blok’s Block

Looking at the city from a higher point of view can generate some great design ideas. For a cube-shaped tiny house, for example. During the Rotterdam Rooftop Days, in the beginning of June, the Codrico grain silo at Katendrecht once against caught my eye. This national heritage may be the mo st beautiful industrial building in Rotterdam. At its rooftop there is a large cube made of concrete and glass. If the silo complex ever loses its current function, I’d love to make plans for its redevelopment. In the cube one could make a beautiful top end apartment . A… Read More

Artist impression of a project for the roof of Maassilo in Rotterdam, with cornfields, a glass and steel windmill, a crop circle and a pancake restaurant

The Cornfields of the Wheat District, an idea for the Maassilo Roof

The Maassilo on the Brielselaan is one of the coolest buildings in Rotterdam. As a child I was already fascinated by the huge concrete block that you could almost touch when traveling to the city center with the metro. So when this summer a competition was organized to design a skybox on the tenth floor and to come up with an idea for the roof of the Maassilo, I didn’t need to hesitate to join. The same was true for about sixty other designers and design teams from Rotterdam and wide surroundings. History A nice side effect of the competition… Read More

Light trails from cars in the tunnel under Koninginneplein in Venlo at night with slow traffic next to the tunnel.

Venlo revisited: the Koninginneplein Tunnel

The tunnel under Koninginneplein (or should I say Queen’s Square?) in Venlo was completed in 2011. It ensured a smoother and prettier transition between the railway station and the city center. Through traffic went underground; from now on pedestrians could easily and safely walk into the city. Glass panels My Royal HaskoningDHV colleague Mari Baauw was the architect of the project. I had the honor to design the glass panels in the railing between the underpass and the ground level. Six years later It was not the only reason, but the Koninginneplein tunnel was my main goal when I traveled… Read More

View from outside to a condo, a compact urban luxury appartment for two people and a cat

Rumah Kecil: a Tiny House Extra Large

Some time ago I took part in a design competition organized by the Sint Trudo housing corporation in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The assignment was to design a condo, a compact apartment in an urban context. To be precise: in Strijp-S, the former Philips area, which is being developed into a vibrant city district. My submission did not win a prize, but I nevertheless want to show it on my blog. The name of my design: Ruma Kecil, which is Indonesian for Tiny House. Luxury The word condo, I suppose, is derived from condominium. It’s frequently used in the United States… Read More

The Barge at Night, artist impression of the new Feyenoord stadium on the banks of the river Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam

The Barge: a New Stadium for Feyenoord

There has been talk for years about a new stadium for Feyenoord, to replace the legendary football temple, also municipal monument, De Kuip (The Tub). Allthough I am not as frequent a visitor of the stadium as some of my fellow townspeople, I also have my memories of De Kuip. For example, of a competition match of Feyenoord against Vitesse: 2-1. Pierre van Hooijdonk was still playing then, so it must have been a while ago. Much longer ago I was at the best concert of the (twentieth) century by Eric Clapton. With Elton John as a disastrous support act… Read More

Interior picture of the basement of the Orange Bridge after adaptation to a hotel suite, with double bed and ship stairs.

Sleeping in a Bridge Keeper’s Cabin in Schiedam

In Schiedam, at a stone’s throw from my place of birth, is the Orange Bridge. This structure from the thirties spans the New Harbour. Since early this year, the bridge keeper’s cabin is managed by fellow photographer, local resident, architecture lover and Schiedam promoter Jan Sluijter, who uses it to organize exhibitions and other events. Here’s a pre-announcement: on 2 and 3 June there’s an exhibition about the architecture of Dudok, including my Bijenkorf triptych. A suite in the basement Under the bridge keeper’s room is a basement, which is accessible via a ladder in one of the towers of… Read More

Een virtueel relief waarin de vlaggen van de 28 EU-lidstaten zijn verwerkt

The Colors of the Union: 304888344611713860501504000000 Ways to Make a Flag

In 2002, my former employer Rem Koolhaas designed a European flag. His idea: a kind of bar code with the colors of the flags of the member states of the European Union, arranged from east to west. One of the places where the design was used is the Museumpark in Rotterdam. A brilliant idea, in my opinion: it symbolizes variety and unity and it is immediately recognizable. The flag may only be a bit hard to draw without errors, but that’s true for many flags. (How are the American stars arranged? And did we start with a red or a… Read More

Artist impression of St.Mary's church in Watford, looking from the west entrance towards the main church hall and the chancel area

The Refurbishment of St. Mary’s Church in Watford

St Mary’s Church is a beautiful eight hundred year old Anglican church building in Watford, England. The church is built with the characteristic flintstone that you see so often in this region. In early 2015, I spent two weeks in Watford to provide my services in the design of the remodeling of the church hall. Welcome The church is also very beautiful on the inside, but at the same time a bit impractical and not very flexible in use. For years there have been plans to make the church more open, more accessible, more “welcoming”. At the same time, there… Read More