Built in 1917 by the chief government architect Daniel E.C. Knuttel for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Trade in The Hague, the brick and stone building at Bezuidenhoutseweg 30 has been transformed by the Rotterdam-based Kaan Architecten into a home for five government-related planning and advisory agencies. I wrote an article for Architectural Record about how the once dark and heavy interiors of this national landmark are now light and transparent, and, in keeping with the changing times, B30, named after its address, is ready to facilitate an exchange of knowledge rather than the exercise of power.
We all know Captain Robert Falcon Scott as one of the tragic heroes of the heroic age of polar exploration: in 1912 he reached the South Pole, only to discover that the Norwegian Amundsen had beaten him to it. Scott and his companions did not survive the return trip. Scott’s polar career had already started in 1901, when he set off on a scientific expedition in the legendary ship the Discovery.
Parties, exhibitions and sneak peeks this week. Sunday, I went to a beautiful exhibition of Sarah van Sonsbeeck about refugees in the old church of Amsterdam. I had a surprise party of my friend Leon Ramakers with a speech of comedian Freek de Jonge. On Tuesday, Mohsin Hamid gave a lecture at the John Adams Institute. Journalist Mirjam de Rijk gave us a preview of what she will discuss during the Stadsleven live talkshow ‘Wij Willen Wonen’ about the housing market. Later this week, Art Chapel curator Maarten Bertheux gave me a tour of this great exhibition space. I celebrated with Wouter Veldhuis that his firm MUST, an urbanism studio, exists already 20 years. And I finally got to see the exhibition of designer Maarten Baas in the Groninger Museum.
On November 4th, 2016, I was awarded the Maaskantprijs 2016 by Mayor of Rotterdam Aboutaleb. This is a bi-annual prize for a person that stimulates the debate on architecture, landscape and urban design by publications, teaching or commissioning. That day I also launched the multimedia project ‘Tracy in Nederland‘ (Tracy in the Netherlands) that I developed with multimediaproducer Submarine, artist Jan Rothuizen and podcastmakers De Kostgangers. Part of the project is the essay The Dark Side of Urban Success designed by Hamid Sallali.