Archive for October, 2010

Bimre Bliss

October 31, 2010

Mid nineties we were asked to do an exhibition about what the City of Amsterdam could be like in the year 2015. The idea of the curator was to use public billboards all over town. But how to present architecture in a billboard?

Around that time we discovered the amazing potential of Photoshop. We ended up making several king-size posters with collaged alternative realities. These hoped to create convincing imagery that could ‘compete’ with the advertisements that are normally on display.  (

One of the proposals was Bimre Bliss; a retouched photograph of a fantastic area in the Bijlmermeer. The Bijlmer was notorious for being the only real ghetto in the Netherlands. Mid nineties a campaign was launched to radically transform the neighborhood. The local government and the housing corporations decided to convert the high-rise honeycomb pattern -about the only suitable backdrop for an ‘urban’ video clip in the Netherlands- into a low-rise ‘suburban paradise. Back to ‘normal’.

Bimre Bliss however was an attempt to bring to the fore the intrinsic beauty of this neighborhood. In our eyes it was magnificent. How could we explicate that?

In a way Bimre Bliss was a visual manifesto. We tried to raise awareness and respect for what we found. How can we as planners identify and reinforce the qualities of what is out there?

In spite of the surreal reality portrayed in the image photo-editing was actually limited to a minimum: we just slightly cleaned up the buildings, bleached out some cars. And we tagged the word Camping.

One other minute change was the differentiation of the shades of green of the trees. It was frustrating to see that the main asset of the area -the landscape in which the honey combs would sit to create a vertical garden city- never really turned out as once intended. Economizing during execution led to planting of poplars only. We hoped that partly replacing these cheap and rapidly growing trees (that anyways reached the end of their ‘life span’ of 30 years) with more lavish versions finally would turn the place into a lush park.

But one of the central ideas of the renewal of the Bijlmer was to demolish the multi-story parking garages and to introduce cars on ground level. ( A gotspe: it meant sacrificing the most positive feature, the green space. But the local government and its designer of public space, Hans Straver, managed to turn the parking lot into a sophisticated landscape: it is fascinating to see that park and parking can actually coincide…

Nieuw Crooswijk Buurt BBQ

October 25, 2010

C06 is is now under construction. B05, nicknamed Kuifje, will follow soon. As will 5 other smaller blocks.

Binary Bear

October 13, 2010

Just born: Orson Wolfram. Orson is the son of Jasper, our computer guy. As a welcome present we designed the Binary Bear T-Shirt. It should actually be animated. But how to animate a baby onesie? Please click the image below…

click image!

Good News: expanding markets…

October 11, 2010

Astronomers for the first time have identified a planet where conditions are such that life should be possible. Let’s hope that life on Gliese 581g will be intelligent and that it appreciates good architecture…

Shovel Playground: Tabula Rasa Fata Morgana

October 7, 2010

When discussing our proposal for the Temp agency ( with Peter Hopman of Bureau Lakenvelder he right away got enthusiastic. Stupid jobs can be exhilarating! He mentioned a business idea he’s working on. The plan is to buy a couple of secondhand draglines and shovels and to find a free site somewhere and then rent out the machines for a couple of hours. Peter thinks there is a big market of shovel enthusiasts. And he’s right: when we mention the idea people ask to sign them up immediately…

Presently there are a great number of sites that have been cleared of their initial buildings but still wait for the new developments to break ground; these crisis-inspired mini-desserts are scattered around the city. At the same time there are plenty idle excavators…

Since we are working on an investigation in how to use and program a temporarily empty building site near Lelylaan Station in Amsterdam we might have a the perfect lot available. Imagine the astonishment of commuters that slowly start to grasp that all that activity is fruitless: nothing is actually being build…

Click image!

Temp agency

October 5, 2010

Now it has become clear that building production in the Netherlands will come to a full stop we should reconsider our trade. Initial nightmares of a back-to-the-eighties scenario with sacrificing architectural qualities (lowering the ceiling heights back to 2.44 meter to economize for instance) – that in itself would be enough reason for taking a sabbatical decade- have now been replaced with a notion of complete redundancy.

So not just the scope of services should change, but we really should start looking for new jobs. Advertising perhaps? Law? (Pieter is potentially an superior attorney) Or maybe switch to teaching school kids?

Currently we discuss setting up a Temp Agency. The idea is that there are numerous jobs that are uninspiring, numbing even if you have to do them all your life but can be great fun to do for a couple of days. Can we form some sort of rotating work system? A pool of laborers that can do a whole range of jobs one after the other? The jobs should be not too complicated and not require too much routine. We still have to figure out a lot, how to deal with wages, work ware etc, but it could make life much more interesting.


October 3, 2010

20 captains on one ship

Business Napkin

October 1, 2010

The Boombench was presented at the NEXT Arhus conference organized by Michael went to check it out.  A Good he thing he brought business cards. ..


October 1, 2010

Somewhere hidden in the colonnade of Piazza San Marco, outside the domains of this year’s Biennale we discovered a rare masterpiece.