Rogier van den Brink

Rogier van den Brink



How do you design a building that is based on craft; a building that provides space for the artisanal production of everyday furniture? A painting by Pieter de Hooch, building a chair, a long series of studies and a night in a monastery helped me to find an answer to this. The result is an urban workshop in Amsterdam where a group of
apprentices live and work internally. It is loosely modelled on the 17th century guild life. The expression ‘Craft is continuity’ has an impact on all layers of my graduation project: in building on the existing urban fabric, in the expression of the architecture, in the design of the individual rituals of its users and in dealing with materials. The result is a plea for craft and re-using.

Craft appears to be in contrast to constant innovation, but that is not totally true. Craft has a self-regulating ability and does allow substantial innovations therein. However, it always builds on that which has come before. The craftsman stands, as it were, on the shoulders of his or her predecessor. This implies a bond with previous generations and points to an important function of education in the process of learning to master the craft.

The building of Workshop in the City has been refurbished and modified numerous times through the years. These layers are still more or less visible. I am grafting my addition onto the remains. I am not going back to a specific time, but I am looking for references from all time layers and translating that into a contemporary interpretation. My interventions always remain recognisable in that capacity. Through this approach, a multilayeredness arises, in which the existing and the new enter into a dialogue with each other.

During a weekend visit to the St. Benedictusberg monastery in Lemiers close to Vaals, I extensively examined the way in which the monks move through the building and how the architect has used the daily structure of their rituals as point of departure for the design of the spaces. In Workshop in the City, all spaces are designed based on the group size of the users. The ritual of the daily routine forms the basis hereof.

Graduation committee: Machiel Spaan (mentor), Gus Tielens and Floris Cornelisse. Additional members for the exam: Jolijn Valk and Jan van Grunsven.

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