Amsterdam Worldwide First: A Cycling Mayor

Amsterdam Worldwide First: A Cycling Mayor

For Harvard Graduate School of Design I wrote a blog about the cycling mayor in Amsterdam. 

Urban cycling is all the rage in cities nowadays. For tourists it’s a fun way of seeing the city, for locals in cities that are not used to bikes it is a form of transport activism. In Amsterdam, it’s utilitarian; biking is simply the cheapest and quickest way to get around. Not in lycra, but in high heels or a business suit, or with groceries in front and a child in back.

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Souvenirs by design

Souvenirs by design

New trend: souvenirs are the new outlet for designers. It dawned on me when I attended a talk by Scottish curator Stacey Hunter at the exhibition design Language during the Milan Designweek about her project Local Heroes in Edinburgh last year. She invited nine designers to create souvenirs that went beyond the heritage clichés. It reminded me of a Dutch project by designer Elmo Vermijs, 100% Terschelling, which is in the running for one of this year’s Dutch Design Awards.

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Interview with Pritzker Prize winners RCR Arquitectes

Interview with Pritzker Prize winners RCR Arquitectes

Winners of the 2017 Pritzker Prize are RCR Arquitectes, a Spanish studio located by deliberate choice in the volcanic hinterland of the province of Catalunya. I interviewed them for NRC Handelsblad and made a video interview as well.

The reaction is most of the architecture world was: ‘Who?’ By chance I knew their work: I had stayed in an extraordinary hotel they designed with rooms  made entirely of glass, I had visited a school + library in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Sant Antoni, and I had seen an exhibition on their work in Barcelona. I returned to their town of Olot, to the 16th-century foundry where their studio is located, to speak with them, and visited their striking underground bodega in Palamós, on the coast north of Barcelona.

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Dutch Treat

Dutch Treat

For the June edition of Architectural Record I went to the new Generator Amsterdam. This mix of a hotel and a hostel is  located on the edge of a park in the up-and-coming eastern part of town, this reflects the spread of tourism beyond the historic center – a trend that has been encouraged by the city, which has been greatly restricting hotel permits since the fall of 2013.

With its surprising combination of old and new architecture, bursts of local art and design, and a clever hotel formula that attracts a wide-ranging crowd. Generator has brought a new kind of flair to Amsterdam’s flourishing tourism scene. 

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Tackle floods? Singapore update on water

Tackle floods? Singapore update on water

The Straits Times of Singapore wrote an article about my lecture with the title ‘Tackle floods? Create more space for water’. I gave this lecture, called ‘Water – Holland’s ‘Frenemy’, on February 18th for the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore. 

The Netherlands is known for its control over water. But now that the climate is changing, the Dutch are also changing their approach towards water management. In cities more space is being created for water, the landscape is being redesigned to let water in and sometimes the dikes are even being lowered. Water is becoming a friend instead of an enemy – or better said, frenemy.
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