Glimpses of Practice – dialogue between two cities

The Thursday program for Glimpses focused on differences and similarities between Dutch and New York practices. We started with a visit of the Hudson Square Connection, where planning director Renee Schoonbeek, arranged an introduction and walk around this industrial neighborhood in motion. We discussed the Business Improvement District as a potential planning tool for the Netherlands Situation, and Renee shared her experiences in the Netherlands and the US as a source for comparison.

We then visited the SO-IL architecture office in DUMBO, where Florian Idenburg showed some of the office’s projects and shared his thought about building up a new architectural practice in New York. Florian sees the office that he and Jing Liu built up over the past six years as an international office with a world-wide reach, established in New York because it is such a good jump-off point for the rest of the world.

From the SO-IL office, a small delegation of the Dutch architects visited the Brooklyn Waterfront Parks – at the heat of the day, over 35 degrees Celsius. Dan Wiley and others shared their thoughts about the Brooklyn waterfront and the parks designed by Michael van Valkenburgh.

The evening program was a discussion on the future of architectural practice. Three Dutch designers and four New York practitioners were comparing notes. Between Bjarne Mastenbroek’s plea to ‘fight back for more space for architecture’ and Suzannah Drake’s ‘tinkering with what can be done’, a world of difference became apparent. It even took a while before we were starting tpo understand each other’s arguments, but once the discussion started, it continued way beyond the meeting at the AIA Center for Architecture.

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