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


  1. Love the picture you've made of the bridges here in Sneek.

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