Ben Van Berkel
Ben Van Berkel (born 1957) is a Dutch architect. He studied architecture at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and at the Architectural Association in London, receiving the AA Diploma with Honours in 1987.
In 1998, Van Berkel and Bos re-launched their practice as UNStudio, the UN standing for ‘United Net’. UNStudio presents itself as a network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure. With UNStudio, Van Berkel has built several projects. He is an articulate, careful speaker and, in his practice, a rigorous, almost mathematical designer.
Since its formation in 1988, UNStudio has developed an international reputation built solely on its fearless explorations in technology and material innovation, all accredited to Ben Berkel.
Ben Van Berkel is the principal of the Amsterdam firm, and his working process is both simple and philosophically profound. His ideas stem from a daily habit of sketching and a curiosity that seems bottomless for applying cutting-edge technology to the built environment. He often toys with his inspirations and bounces them at his teammates, often from diverse genres. Using sketches is just one part of the process. He might find a building’s organisation from the sketches but not its shape, for instance. He sometimes invites fashion designers into the process and likes to see if he can get the best out of an idea by collaborating with different people.
He has no particular fixed trademark of his design and neither does he believe in having one. Instead, he advocates the potential of the transformative aspects of architecture, and hence his focus changes from the liveliness of materials to expansion of spatial qualities. Principally, he often tries to combine all ideas in the organisational aspect of architecture. This organisational aspect is one of the most important binding factors in his work. According to him, architecture needs to be setting up a dialogue with the public in such a way that architecture creates images or after-images as it is when one would like to come back to what you saw. He necessarily wants his work to communicate with people only then can it create Architecture! His philosophy states that architecture cannot give one-dimensional readings; instead, he likes architecture to be flirting with art, philosophy and maybe science. Then architecture could be much more complex. He also believes in the inclusive way of making intelligent sustainable and attainable architecture. The very concept of architecture actually goes very closely together with the quality of sustainability.
His Impact / His Projects:
1990 - Bathing Machine, Domburg (competition).
1992 - Karbouw Office and Workshop, Amersfoort.
1993 - ACOM, Amersfoort (renewal of facades)
1994 - Villa Wilbrink, Amersfoort, Holland (built)
1995 - Yokohama international Port Terminal (competition).
1996 - Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam
1997 - Tunnel Piet Hein, Amsterdam
1998 - UN Studio (United Net) founded in Amsterdam.
1998 -Théatre de Musique, Graz, Austria (competition - 1st prize)
1999 - Moebius House, Het Gooi, Holland
2000 - K1+K2 offices, Arnhem (prog)
2001 - Eurocommerce Nieuwegein, office building
2002 - La Tour Appeldoorm (built), World Trade Centre, NY (plan), "Latent Utopia", Graz (exhibition)