Every time I start writing about our architecture projects, I get carried away. Mostly because I can’t stop talking about the hopeless way in which the process takes place from idea to realisation. As construction is relatively complicated, I have been a strict housekeeper in the last few decades, during which specialisation was highly celebrated. The construction process is now often broken down into lots of smaller sub-areas in which everyone does something, there is a lack of direction and an unbelievable number of things are done because it is always done that way.

The builder of old, who brought everything together from one perspective, no longer exists. This topic is a favourite of mine, because I am becoming increasingly aware of the unplanned successes we have created through not only designing, but also taking care of the production, sales and distribution ourselves.

When we started working this way twenty-five years ago, because we enjoyed not only designing but doing everything ourselves, and also because it otherwise didn’t work, I could not have imagined how things would develop. Just like then, we now find ourselves in a similar situation, only now I am aware of it. To be honest, one of the reasons I am so attracted to architecture is because the process can be so difficult and the results are defined more by the process than by the design.

Together with Iggie who, just like me, actually regards the whole process from idea to completion as her own, we realise projects our way. It is different every time, but we are always involved from the very first sketch until people are working or living there. And that’s great fun because we are currently building quite a lot: a fort keeper’s house in the Zaan, the RF Building which is within a stone’s throw of our own premises, the ‘smallest house’ in our building, Strandpaviljoen Noord (Beach Pavilion North) in Bergen aan Zee, the Groene Woningen (Green House) for the RAG Building that we completed over a year ago and soon we will start working on a holiday home in the woods near Epse.

Every project has its own story and that’s what makes it so much fun. So despite my tendency to grumble about construction and the world of architecture, I really get a huge amount of enjoyment out of it. Also, or perhaps because of, the complicated process. Perhaps it is also true in the world of construction that if you do what is very normal and obvious, you are actually very special.

Fort keeper’s house Uitgeest (Foto: Thomas Mayer)

RF-Building Strijp-R

Beach Pavilion Bergen aan Zee 

Green Houses Strijp-R

Forest House Epse 

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