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PROFILE


dutch master


Ben van Berkel S


ince 1988, Ben van Berkel and his business partner, urban planner Caroline Bos, have championed a collaborative approach to archi-


tecture, first through the Van Berkel & Bos Architectuurbureau, and then through UNStudio, which they set up in 1998. UNStudio is a network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure, with a focus on innovation, sustainability and effi ciency. Projects include the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany; the Ponte Parodi harbour project in Genoa, Italy; a new metro system for Qatar and the Theater de Stoep in Spijkenisse in the Netherlands Van Berkel’s position as a leading theorist, author and professor – he is Kenzo Tange Chair at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and professor of conceptual design at Städelschule, Frankfurt – shows itself in the layered intelligence of his high-tech buildings. Here the Dutch architect explains why we should aspire to fi nd fl exibility in function, and how design in the cultural arena infl u- ences his approach to other typologies.


You recently completed Theatre de Stoep in the Netherlands, and you’re working on the Lyric Theatre for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. Do you enjoy designing theatres? I’ve always found the theatre an exciting place. My mother was a singer so we often went to the theatre when I was young. Our visits were always followed by discussions about the music, the show, the acoustics and how the environment related to the performance.


38 CLADGLOBAL.COM CLADmag 2015 ISSUE 1


UNStudio co-founder Ben van Berkel talks about healthy buildings, theatre design and his fascination with art and commerce. Alice Davis reports


©INGA POWILLEIT


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