After a very successful show at ARCAM this summer, the exhibition Glimpses (on the sustainable future of Amsterdam and New York) will move to the 'PICNIC Festival', an annual three-day event that blurs the lines between creativity, science, technology and business to explore new solutions in the spirit of co-creation.

This year’s theme is Urban Futures, with a focus on sustainability, infrastructure, society, design and media. The PICNIC Festival 2011 takes place from 14 to 16 September at NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam North. ARCAM is proud to present the 10 visualisations of the future in the Grand Theater at Picnic and hopes to stimulate the debate and creativity amongst the visitors. See PICNIC for more information on the programme.

Luc Vrolijks
Being so proud with the successes of Glimpses, it was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Luc Vrolijks, the initiator of the project ‘Glimpses’. Luc played a vital role in the project: he not only brought the Center for Architecture in New York and ARCAM together, as co-curator he also made a huge contribution to the exhibitions in both Amsterdam and New York and peripheral programming in both cities. We remember Luc as an extremely warm-hearted person, a skilled and intelligent urban and regional planner whose heart was in the right place. Luc was a master at bringing people together and creating an atmosphere in which great things could flourish.

The countless discussions with Luc at ARCAM and the CfA NY, regarding life in the future and making our cities and our society sustainable, are a valuable memory and a source of inspiration for our work in the future. Please check ARCAM for more information on Luc and his work.

Marlies Buurman



Against the background of the exhibition 'Glimpses', the New York based architect Florian Idenburg lectured at at ARCAM, the Centre for Architecture Amsterdam on July 22.

SO-IL is an idea-based design office. With a global reach, it brings together extensive experience from the fields of architecture, academia and the arts. Founders Florian Idenburg and his partner Jing Liu envisioned their New York-based studio in 2008 'as a creative catalyst involved in projects around the world'. During his lecture Idenburg showed successful projects like the installation 'Pole Dance' in MoMA/PS1 in New York, the 'Get It Louder’s' main pavilion in Beijing/Shanghai and the vitrines for a recent exhibition in Amersfoort (NL) on the Meissen-porcelain.

Idenburg started his lecture with mentioning the title of an exhibition in Beijing of recent work by SO-IL: 'To be determined', explaining his work as an open system: the outcome is not predetermined, but develops during the process. But the title could also make you wonder how determined one must be...
During the lecture Idenburg elaborated on this flexible approach which is also a result of the crisis and the changing practice as a result of the global economic downturn and changing society. In fact SO-IL was founded in July 2008, just before the outbreak of the credit crisis. The first assignment, a second home for designer Ivan Chermayeff, failed miserably because of the crisis; Chermayeff lost much of his capital on the stock. Idenburg decided to interview the old man and save it on film. 'The film is almost more important than the project itself,' says Idenburg. 'The story is in fact the project... For us the adventure is important, and we enjoy our work.'

The structure of the 'Get It Louder’s' main pavilion is made out of 56 thin, flexible steel rods that connect at the bottom and the top into two large steel rings. The larger bottom ring frames the interior perimeter of the structure while the smaller top ring creates a skylight; the relationship between the two results in the pavilion’s curvilinear womb-like shape. The structure was assembled within six days on location in Beijing and demounted and reinstalled within a week’s time for its use in Shanghai, showing how absurd practice can get these days.

A typical example of his approach is the Pole Dance system in the courtyard of MoMA/PS1, a flexible structure of surf poles and nets. The visitors were able to hang on and play with the yoga balls above. With the Pole Dance system SO-IL designed a participatory environment that reframes the conceptual relation between humankind and structure. The equilibrium of the interconnected system of poles and nets is constantly affected by human action and environmental factors, such as rain and wind. Upon discovery of its elasticity, visitors engage with the structure to invent games, test its limits or just watch it gently dance. The project shows well how SO-Il tries to reengage the public with the physical environment.

Exhibition on the Meissen-porcelain at Kade, Amersfoort

For Kukje Gallery in Seoul, SO—IL has developed a master plan of the gallery’s 'art campus' in the historic lowrise area in the northern part of Seoul. To soften the rigid diagrammatic geometry of the white cube of the building, a curtain of stainless steel rings has been created. It is meant to form a transition from the actual wall to the surroundings. The pliable veil also produces a layer of diffusion in front of the actual building mass, through a combination of reflection, openness, and the moiré pattern generated through interplay of its shadows.
The building will be completed at the end of the year.

The lecture at ARCAM proved that the office is not only interested in an architecture that reflects and finds new beauty in the uncertainties of this time, but that has in fact found a way to respond to that with an open and flexible architecture. With curiosity we look forward to more work. See for more work the website of SO-IL and check out ARCAM for more information on lectures and debates to come.
Marlies Buurman (ARCAM)



Last Thursday July 14, Alex van Beld (Onix) lectured in a very intimate setting at ARCAM. Van de Beld talked about his ideas on 'Social Sustainability' on the basis of such projects as the housing complex at Staalmanplein in Amsterdam and an impressive wooden bridge over the motorway A7 in Sneek.

Alex van de Beld is founder of Onix, an architecture firm that he and his partner Haiko Meijer run together. The office consists of offices in Groningen and Helsingborg (Sweden). Onix is famous for its investigative and innovative way of working, its craftsmanship and the use of sustainable materials under the heading "Low Tech". Over the years the office has developed extensive knowledge of wood and wood-built systems.

Housing complex Staalmanplein, Amsterdam

Private House Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

For Alex van de Beld sustainability has a lot to do with simply respecting the environment and nature, integrating the new build in the context and respecting what is already there. He talks about a humble architecture almost effacing itself. An architecture that opens up to nature. Doing “More with less”.
Sustainability, according to Van de Beld, is also specifically designing for the user, dealing in a clever and efficient way with the floor plan. The private house in Leeuwarden shows how nature and home merge almost seamlessly into one another and together provide a platform for children playing in the neighborhood: providing a meeting place for the collective.
Making architecture, according to Van de Beld is always about the experiment, pushing your own limits.

Bridge Sneek, The Netherlands

Housing Stavanger, Sweden

During the lecture Van de Beld increasingly showed work that is about actively promoting encounters, an architecture that provides a platform for the collective revealing in a wonderful way what his work is really about.
After the lecture there was lots of time to meet the architect and talk in an informal way on his work. We hope to have more lectures like this at ARCAM in the future.

This week, Friday July 22, Florian Idenburg (SO-IL) will lecture at ARCAM. Please subscribe via our website.

Marlies Buurman



Last Tuesday (July 5th) the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' took place at ARCAM. Thanks to the great contributions by David Bragdon (director, NYC's Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability) and Zef Hemel (deputy director at the Spatial Planning Department of Amsterdam) we learned that the Amsterdam approach has some great advantages concerning the 'openness' of the plan, and that the New York approach is more than a 'to do list'

Zef Hemel and David Bragdon

Tracy Metz successfully moderated the discussion

David Bragdon presented what in New York is known as ‘PlaNYC 2030 - A Greener, Greater New York’. The plan was launched in 2007 by Mayor Bloomberg and has been recently updated. Bragdon presented the plan as a ‘to do list’ of the municipal government. The updated plan has 132 initiatives and 400 milestones. The initiatives are extremely practical in nature and focused on the things the government can directly affect. For example the city started a bike-sharing program based on the French model, she builds up public parks to playgrounds, and destines areas near public transportation for high density housing. One of the new measures is that the dirtiest types of fuel oil will be phased out in a number of steps.

The presentation of Zef Hemel, had a different tone. He talked about an 'open process': all citizens of Amsterdam took part in a decentralized way in the dialogue on the future of the city. Hemel introduced the term ‘Wikicity’ for the manner in which the collective intelligence of the people of Amsterdam helped shape the framework for the future expansion. The government is not the one who knows best what is good, but she listens to the residents and composed on the basis of the story of the city.

The discussion centered around the difference in character of both plans and their presentation: a 'to-do' list versus 'wikicity'. And while the difference between both plans may be less big than their presentation suggested, the Amsterdam audience seemed very interested in a concrete implementation agenda for Amsterdam modeled after the New York approach.

During the break...

During the afternoon the Glimpses of the future - designed by architecture firms from both cities - were discussed. Five experts responded to the work on show in the exhibition. The ten architecture and landscape architecture firms, together with the audience took part in the discussion afterwards.

Henk Ovink responded to the Glimpse 'Making', designed by Barcode and So-Il.

Caro van der Venne (Barcode) stressed that in the future working and knowledge will be intertwined and that excellence is to be cultivated, for example in their vision for a 'tip of the iceberg' excellence center near Schiphol airport.

Ton Venhoeven responded to the Glimpse 'Moving' by .Fabric and DLANDSTUDIO.
Susannah Drake (dlandstudio) explains her ideas on a Hybrid Urban Base, a new intermodal civic and transportation center situated on e intertidal canal near Hunter's Point, Queens.

Dirk Sijmons responded to the 'Breathing' Glimpse, by Delva & Dingeman Deijs and W Architecture. Dirk commented on the end of the 'age of fossil fuel expressionism' and suggested that accommodating the production of energy is one of the 'up and coming' challenges of urban and landscape design.

Steven Delva explains how he re-imagines the IJ estuary as an energy producing archipelago and creating a place for living and recreation in the heart of Amsterdam.

Maike van Stiphout calculated the costs of private gardening and questions the possibilities of local food production on a large scale in the 'Breathing' Glimpse by Van Bergen Kolpa and WORKac.

Jago van Bergen (Van Bergen Kolpa) elaborates on his vision for a regional perspective and sketches opportunities for the production of a diversity of agricultural crops in the green wedges of Amsterdam.

Rudy Uytenhaak on the visions for Dwelling. He compares the dwelling to a bird's nest and suggests that the city is to provide the resource base for the city dweller.

Daniel d'Ocra (Interboro) and Tjeerd Haccou (Space&Matter) explain their visions for high-density housing in relation to of collective private commissioning and the improvement of dwelling opportunities for everyone in Newark.

The exchange of knowledge on the sustainable future of Amsterdam and New York will continue this summer. Please keep up to date via ARCAM for more programs to follow. Also check the website for more information on the Glimpses and the exhibitions at ARCAM and Center for Architecture New York: ARCAM

Luc Vrolijks & Marlies Buurman

Photo's: Maaike Behm (ARCAM)



The last Glimpse into the future of this week is 'Dwelling'. Below we show two visions by young architecture firms for locations in Amsterdam and New York. Tuesday July 5 we will discuss the theme of housing in the future during the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam and New York' at ARCAM, together with the other 'glimpse'-themes of our exhibition 'Glimpses': Eating, Breathing, Making and Moving.

Andreas Ensemble in Slotervaart, Amsterdam
The future of 'Dwelling' has led the Amsterdam team Space&Matter looking at new forms of high-density housing in the Slotervaart area in Amsterdam. The young firm sees a trend in which groups of prospective buyers work with developers and the city to realize their collective dreams, resulting in a repetition of large housing blocks, 'islands of similarity'. After a period of 'I' Space&Matter believes we are heading towards a time were the 'we' is very strong.
They have designed housing blocks around a collective interest or theme. The plinth houses functions and amenities in relation to this theme, initiated by the building group. Could this stimulate social cohesion on different levels?

Newark in New York
Interboro in New York analyzes the Broad Street corridor in Newark and concludes that many of the past glimpses of the future by great city thinkers miserably failed in Newark. They speculate how the enormous connectivity of that area should enable a whole range of attractive dwelling qualities. Their glimpse is about equal housing opportunities.


Detail with quotes by famous city planners and thinkers like Richard Florida and Ebenezer Howard

Both teams have made with their glimpse a statement on future living in the city, both visions are about social sustainability. They show us that still a lot of questions need to be answered; how can we make more connective cities, better mixtures, how can we design a fluent transition between the 'We' and the 'They' and how can we stimulate a community giving something back to the surroundings, and how can we create a real collective space?

More debate on housing in the future and the Glimpses during the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' at ARCAM on July 5th, 2011. See for more information and subscription: ARCAM.

Marlies Buurman


MOVING – by dlandstudio and .FABRIC

The way in which people are ‘Moving’ through the city will continue to evolve, according to both teams addressing this issue within the framework of “Glimpses of New York and Amsterdam in 2040”. The advantages will be technological, with new types of fuel, new engines and renewable sources. But their proposals look beyond technological innovation. For dlandstudio, the future is determined in part by the rise of sea levels, and the challenges that brings to the city of New York. And .Fabric’s key position is that the advantages of the transportation of the last half century have essentially turned the orientation of the city a 180 degrees. Its traditional orientation toward the IJ waterfront is replaced by a focus on the South Axis and its international connectivity.

The glimpse by dlandstudio turns out to be the most ‘urbanistic project’ of the ten glimpses. The team notes that the water edge at Hunters Point, Queens will be inundated in 40 years. This creates the opportunity to utilize an intertidal canal to create inland ferry access. That makes it possible to propose a new intermodal civic and transport center that synthetically integrates ferry, bus, train, automobile, bicycle and pedestrian circulation. The glimpse image shows the new transportation hub. All of the transportation ‘loose ends’ of Hunters point will be integrated into one transportation hub – the HUB, or Hybrid Urban Base.

Fabric’s glimpse shows how Amsterdam’s South Axis is set to become the place where the local and the global connect. The team’s glimpse turns the classical perspective on Amsterdam –from the IJ waterfront, from the North- to what it sees as the new ‘front door’ of the city, from the South, with the South Axis as its international entry point. Fabric introduces the term ‘transportation footprint’. In order to keep the transportation footprint of the Amsterdam residents at bay, Fabric suggests that the city will have to mix and intensify to make transportation footprints sustainable. The result is an intensification of the South Axis, with more scope for residents, and a more intense mix of working, living and playing. Fabric suggest that the transportation of the future will be more intelligent, with collision-self-avoiding capacity, non-polluting engines, and more individual in character, allowing for seamless shift between modes. This allows the team to imagine the public space of the South Axis as an open, park-like space with free moving individual vehicles in a lush, green setting.

Both glimpses combined raise key questions on the future of transportation. Will individual or collective modes transport become dominant? And how will the transition between modes of transport be facilitated. Will technology drive the innovation, or are we simply making biking easier. And what level of development intensity and urban mix the Hybrid Urban Bases of the future can support.

These are questions that have intrigued Ton Venhoeven for a long time. In his current role as government advisor on infrastructure, Ton is advising the government on how to develop intense urban nodes. For that perspective he will reflect on the two “Moving” glimpses. Suzannah Drake of dlandstudio and Eric Frijters of Fabric will join Ton Venhoeven for a discussion.

This will take place as part of the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' at ARCAM on July 5th, 2011.

See for more information and subscription: ARCAM

Luc Vrolijks


Next week, Tuesday July 5th, the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' will be organized at ARCAM. Five basic life-themes will be discussed: Breathing, Eating, Making, Moving and Dwelling. This week we will address all themes in this blog. Today we will focus on what both 'Breathing' teams in Amsterdam and New York have designed for the exhibition 'Glimpses' now at show at the Center for Architecture NY and ARCAM.

Delva Landscape Architects was asked to make a vision for the IJ estuary in the heart of Amsterdam, while W Architecture in New York was challenged to design the future of leisure on the Hudson.

New Amsterdam in Amsterdam
The vision of Delva with Dingeman Deijs re-imagines the IJ estuary in the heart of Amsterdam as an archipelago. The historic borders of the historic Northern IJ dikes are re-created to allow an innovative water-energy-production-landscape to emerge. Shipping is re-routed to create a central place for the city - a place for living, recreation and energy generation at the center of Amsterdam. The team has been advised by Deltares, a leading innovator in enabling delta life.

Dredgescape in New York
W Architecture has shaped a new recreational place on the Hudson with increased access to the water's edge on Manhattan's Westside, and facilities for boating and learning. Using dredge from the port, W Architecture imagines a series of archipelagos to soften the urbanized Hudson providing launches and landings as well as a habitat for animals and educational experiences along the Hudson. The island groups will be located with respect to edge and bottom conditions, and at appropriate intervals to allow for various experience levels of human powered investigation.

Using dredge materials, W Architecture proposes to create new 'archipelagos' to create a system for refuge and exploration along the Hudson estuary. This system will allow for increased water access by human powered boats, allowing people to experience their enriched local ecology.

The access points for this system will create 'Marine Streets'- places where the urban landscape breaks and eases into more wild one. The Marine Streets mitigate the boundaries between water and land offering increased resistance to sudden storm surges and improved stormwater management.

Both 'Breathing' teams have taken the water base as a starting point for their Glimpse of the future and both teams share a respect for existing ecological systems and reinforce the relation between the people and the waterfronts. Both plans show how recreation and energy generation can be combined within our cities.

Symposium on the Future
During the Symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam and New York' Dirk Sijmons (Director H+N+S Landschapsarchitecten and former Chief Government Advisor on the Landscape) will reflect on both Glimpses of the future.
See ARCAM for more information on the Symposium at July 5th.

Marlies Buurman (ARCAM)


MAKING – by SO-IL and Barcode

The discussions around ‘Making’ suggest that it is not so obvious what makes our future prosperous. Both teams agree that the future of making will be less ‘material’ in character. But what exactly will be made, and how the future of work is organized, are themes that generated much discussion in the Glimpses teams.

Rotterdam based Barcode Architects is convinced that the future of working and the future of learning are intertwined, and that national excellence is to be cultivated. Its glimpse shows what they define as ‘the tip of the iceberg’, a center of excellence that pulls the best and the brightest from the dozen or so other Dutch ‘centers of excellence’. The team proposes a huge circular depression in the Haarlemmermeerpolder next to Amsterdam’s international airport. This creates a focal point for national excellence and an organizer for international exchange. A red carpet connects the center to the Schiphol departure lounge, providing an escape for scientists and new knowledge.

So-IL emphasizes the future scarcity of precious metals and other hi-tech resources. Its glimpse takes recycling to the next level and suggests that the area around Bush Terminal becomes a market place for the exchange of valuable re-use materials. Robots sort through the rubble on barges in front of the terminal, and a ‘farmers market style’ precious materials market provides the innovation producers of Bush Terminal with the resources needed to solidify their inventions.

Both glimpses emphasize the production of software and orgware. What is actually produced is not ‘stuff’ but software, apps and ideas. That leaves the question open where and how the physical production of the future will take place. Is China becoming the industrial production heartland of the world? Or does Africa have the future? SO-IL assumes that more and more of the tools and gadgets will be locally re-used, so that less physical products will be required. Barcode proposes the tip of the iceberg for the Netherlands. And the team is convinced that the tip of the iceberg is about knowledge. Where the actual production takes place is not the concern of their glimpse.

During the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' at ARCAM (July 5) we will discuss the theme of “MAKING” further. Henk Ovink, the Director for National Spatial Planning at Netherland Ministry for Infrastructure and the Environment, will address the theme and reflect on the glimpses by SO-IL and Barcode. Caro van der Venne of Barcode Architects will be there to discuss the theme. Florian Idenburg of SO-IL will not be present. Luc Vrolijks will stand in. Florian will lecture at ARCAM later this month, on July 22nd.

See for more information and subscription: ARCAM

Luc Vrolijks



We have one week to go before the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' is organized at ARCAM, the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture (July 5, 1-5 pm). This week, the themes to be discussed during the symposium will be addressed in this blog daily: Eating, Breathing, Making, Moving and Dwelling, which are also the main themes of the exhibition 'Glimpses' now on show at ARCAM and the Center for Architecture New York. We will start today with EATING.

In the Exhibition Glimpses we have challenged ten architecture and landscape architecture firms to imagine an urban future with the focus on above themes. For 'Eating' we have asked the Dutch firm van Bergen Kolpa Architecten and Work AC to design visions for local food production in New York and Amsterdam. How will food be intregrated in our cities of tomorrow?

van Bergen Kolpa Architecten has examined the way food production on a more regional scale can be integrated in the city of Amsterdam. In their vision the Dutch polders, once the icon of our food production landscapes, function like parks for the Amsterdam metropolis. These green wedges can be developed into a Landscape Supermarket.

Prompted by the growing demand for recognizable food, Amsterdam Homemade directly involves city dwellers from all cultures in food production, stimulating local economies and entrepreneurship.
By making use of the available soil types and differences in water levels, ideal conditions can be created for a wide variety of produce: pandan and risotto rice is cultivated on the water terraces of the Waterland Wedge. Tilapia fish is reared in water basins in the IJ Wedge and kiwis and avocados grow along undulating fruit walls in the Amsterdamse Bos Wedge.
The requisite landscape climates are created by means of old techniques such as heat accumulation in serpentine walls and modern techniques such as insulating vapor roofs and the use of thermal heat. Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten has focussed on the green wedge 'Brettenzone'.

Their Glimpse 'Amsterdam Homemade' is divided into 1 hectare plots (~2.5 acres), which can be rented and managed by entrepreneurs and city dwellers in a cooperative way. The produce is sold in Amsterdam Homemade’s market buildings. The combination of open space and entrepreneurship, consumption and recreation is central to the development of Amsterdam’s metropolitan park landscape. In this vision food and recreation can be combined and a new form of coherence could be organized around food.

The New York based firm Work AC has named their Glimpse of the future 'Infoodstructure Brooklyn'. It is a vision for Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. They explain Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant are poorer Brooklyn neighborhoods, underserved by supermarkets and suffering from a number of health problems associated with poor diet. They propose a new food infrastructure for these neighborhoods that can eventually spread to the entire city.

Work AC declares that New York will be completely free of the combustion engine and private transportation will be dramatically reduced. Most people will travel by foot, bicycle, rickshaw or an expanded network of public transportation, including a new gondola-based personal rapid transit system which will seat up to eight people and allow each car to choose a unique destination.

Some streets will therefore be able to be completely liberated from vehicular traffic and transformed into vast, linear urban farms for the community - with bicycles and pedestrians alongside. Concentrating primarily on North-South running streets, this new network of fresh produce will not provide all of the district’s caloric requirements, but will introduce people to the pleasures of organically grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Bodegas, Greenmarkets, and Hubs will specialize in one type of organic specialty food: fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, dairy etc.


The visions of van Bergen Kolpa and Work AC are very different but are both showing how food and urbanism can work together. They also show that our existing food systems with the growing population has to be reinvented. Other models are needed. Also the human dimension in both plans is very interesting.

During the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' at ARCAM (July 5) we will discuss the role of food production in planning issues further.

See for more information and subscription: ARCAM

Marlies Buurman