Entries by Olv Klijn

Anyone Can Build New Houses

Not so very long ago, renovation or wholesale maintenance of post-war housing was not an activity you could use to distinguish yourself as an architect. After all, the task was primarily technical in nature. There was no honour to be gained as an architect unless it involved a residential building by a famous architect like Rietveld, Van Tijen or Brinkman en Van der Vlugt, or so it seemed.

Plan Documentation From Dwelling to Dwelling

Traditionally, architecture is not only about the production of new buildings, but also about the adaptation of existing ones. Consulting the history of architecture teaches us that there are countless fantastic examples of buildings that have been radically transformed over time, for example Roman theatres and stadiums that were transformed into squares and residential complexes […]

Een Blok Stad

Rotterdam (NL)

The idea behind the project Een Blok Stad (A Block of City) was conceived ten years ago when a nineteenth-century city block located between the Zwaerdecroonstraat and the Snellinckstraat that was owned by housing association Woonstad Rotterdam was nominated to be demolished. The residents of the block vehemently opposed the housing association’s new construction plans […]

Herengracht 249

Amsterdam (NL)Pieter Intesz. Claes and Emma architecten

Not many housing types have become part of the architectural heritage of a country to the extent that the Amsterdam merchant’s house did in the Netherlands. The type is inextricably bound up with the famous Grachtengordel (Canal District) to which it owes its existence and of which it determines the character. At the same time, […]


Rimavská Sobota (SL)Ateliér A4 and gutgut architects

Many suburbs of former Eastern Bloc cities still look like concrete jungles, built during the decades of Soviet reign in which the post-war housing shortage was addressed on a large scale. There is no place with a higher concentration of these structures in the former Soviet Bloc than in both countries in the area formerly […]


Amsterdam (NL)Ernest Groosman and Vanschagen Architecten

The Dutch housing market contains several stubborn paradoxes. One of them is that only really ‘old’ and really ‘new’ dwellings are deemed acceptable; everything in between is a bit of a problem. As such, no one is surprised that thousands of euros are invested to actualize historical canal houses or to restore houses from the […]

Relaxed Private Commissioning

Until a few years ago, it was common practice in the Netherlands for developers to deliver generic products and give most of their attention to production. Of course, there was also a market that accepted this. It made little difference what was produced, for everything sold. Although architects had been expressing an interest in increasing […]

Miss Sargfabrik


The Viennese housing project Miss Sargfabrik (2000) is the sequel to a project located nearby (1996), named Sargfabrik. They have a lot in common: bright-orange façades with an unusual programme that includes room, alongside housing, for collective, and in the case of Sargfabrik, public functions. In addition they have the same client: a collective named […]

Maison Latapie

FloiracLacaton & Vassal

On a perfectly ordinary street in Floirac, a suburb of Bordeaux, French architect couple Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal built a house in 1993 that stands out for its minimalism. Not the kind of minimalism that made Swiss architecture world famous, but a minimalism that Rem Koolhaas once described as ‘Calcutta minimalism’ and that has […]

Generalizations are Passé

A conversation with architect Frits van Dongen, who remarks that typological innovation is both the consequence of a meticulous process of rationalization and optimization and the product of endlessly soldiering on, constantly building on what has gone before.