The Tradition of the New


They design it like a chinese puzzle of housing types, gave it the paradoxical title “Berlin Voids”, and won a first prize in Europan. In 1991, after this project, Winy Maas (1959), Jacob van Rijs (1964) and Nathalie de Vries (1965), all Delft graduates, created the firm MVRDV in Rotterdam. Before they had worked with Koolhaas (M and VR), Torres and M. Lapeña (VR and DV), Van Berkel (VR) and Mecanoo (DV). Then came the commission to build 100 dwellings for senior citizens in Amsterdam and the headquarters for the TV channel VPRO in Hilversum. The completion of both in 1997 (see Arquitectura Viva 54 and 57) saw the consolidation of the influence of the group. They have been widely acclaimed internationally and their projects extensively published; they have even written a large book which is the counterpoint of Koolhaas´s monumental SMLXL, titled FARMAX: Excursions on Density. The relation between the group and the founder of OMA goes beyond the warping of slabs and the recurrence of the collage as a form of expression. MVRDV, who were also part of ‘9 +1’, the NAI young Dutch architecture exhibition, are the proof that Koolhaas´s cynical yet optimistic message has made an impression on the latest generation of Dutch architects; if architecture has become a question of market forces and the architect little more than a mediator, it is necessary to make the best of the situation. The limitations become a challenge, and the projects are tackled with concepts like datascape, which interpret reality using material data. The contemporary city and its problems of density are at the centre of the preoccupations of this studio that embodies the tradition of innovation which characterises modern Dutch architecture...[+]

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