I Don’t Like the Spotlight – the Photos

About two weeks ago I gave a presentation in mega church Bethel. A while ago I received several photos, made by photographer Jan Iepema. I’d like to share several of them with you.

For people interested. The photographer, Jan Iepema, used a D90 50mm 1.4.

Be sure to check out his Twitter and website.


Proud to be Dutch

A couple of days ago I picked up some family members in Amsterdam. I left a little earlier to ‘be a tourist in my own country’. Since I’d been in Amsterdam before, I decided not to go downtown but to check out several (famous) sights nearby the Dutch capital. Below I’ll mention three of them.

First stop: Muiden

To me Muiden is known as the northern end of the Dutch Water Line (Dutch: Hollandsche Waterlinie) and as part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam (Dutch: Stelling van Amsterdam). Also, Muiden is most well known for the Muiderslot. It’s probably the most well known castle of Holland.

In 1629 the Dutch started to protect the economic heartland of the Dutch Republic, Amsterdam, by creating a line of flooded land protected by fortresses. The water level in the flooded areas was carefully maintained to a level deep enough to make an advance on foot precarious and shallow enough to rule out effective use of boats (other than the flat bottomed gun barges used by the Dutch defenders). During the Second World War the line became mainly obsolete. In 1940 the Germans simply flew over the defense line using airborne troops. They caught the heart of “Fortress Holland” by surprise. Nonetheless, the defense line was kept into service until 1963. I’ve always been intrigued by these defense lines.

Second stop: IJburg, Amsterdam

IJburg is a residential neighborhood in the east of Amsterdam. I’ve been in Amsterdam several times, but never to IJburg. It’s currently being built on six artificial islands which have been raised from the lake. The artificial islands remembered me of Dubai (here and here), although I’ve never been there (and IJburg is not as big and prestigious).

Third stop: Enclosure Dam (Dutch: Afsluitdijk)

The Enclosure Dam is a famous dike with a total length of 32 km. It’s part of the larger Zuiderzee Works and the damming of the Zuiderzee, which was turned into a fresh water lake, the IJsselmeer. It’s one of the marvels of the Dutch battle against the sea.

Proud to be Dutch

After seeing these three places, I can’t help myself but to feel proud to be Dutch. How a small country can be big!

I Don’t Like the Spotlight

Last week, I came across this article. It’s about ‘the secrets of success in life’. According to this article, if you want to have success in life, you should get out of our comfort zone. I don’t know if it’s true, but this week I did get out of my comfort zone… Big time!

I had to give a presentation about a design I made for mega church Bethel (in Dutch: Vrije Baptistengemeente Bethel, Drachten). During the past, I gave many presentations, but none of them had an attendance of 400 people. And none of them were filmed by five cameras. This one did. Oh, there was an official photographer also.

As the title of this post suggests, I don’t like the spotlight. At least, that’s what I thought. This is one of the reasons I’m director. I enjoy being backstage. But as (soon to be) architect, it’s important to be on stage. To give presentations. To be, sort of, a public figure.

Anyway, since I was quite nervous for this presentation, I decided to go for a bike ride during the entire afternoon. This cleared my mind and allowed me to prepare my lines. Which, I believe, went well. That evening, the moment I stepped on stage… after I did my first line… and second line… I started to really enjoy being on stage. I saw the audience was engaged. Overall, time flew by and the presentation went great! Maybe I do like the spotlight after all…

Below are some video stills (from the video recording).

Moment of truth… first seconds on stage…

…I’m still a little nervous…

… and more relaxed already…

… I even had a couch to sit back and relax…

… I gave a live virtual tour of the new design…

… And time’s up… Questions? Anyone?…

…Body language during the Q&A…

…More body language.

What Architecture Can Do

An interesting lecture by Rem Koolhaas, founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. He speaks about what architecture can do to the world. This includes topics like architecture, energy independence but also (European) politics.

Interestingly Rem Koolhaas lectures to non-architecture students.


Internship @ Coop Himmelb(l)au

During my undergraduate studies I wanted to do an internship at a large international architecture firm. In 2010 I reached this goal by working for Vienna based company Coop Himmelb(l)au.

Deconstructivist Architecture

Coop Himmelb(l)au was founded in 1986. It’s an architecture firm primarily located in Vienna, Austria. The company was founded by Wolf D. Prix, Helmut Swiczinsky and Michael Holzer. It gained international acclaim alongside Peter Eisenman, Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry with the 1988 exhibition “Deconstructivist Architecture” at MoMA.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Coop Himmelb(l)au is the fact they have their own style. I mean, they practically invented deconstructivism and they’re proud of it. And why wouldn’t they!

During the course of the internship I worked on several great projects. Believe me, it’s kinda special to work on skyscrapers worth over 200 million Euros (290 million USD).

Controlled Chaos

According to Wikipedia, the architectural style of Deconstructivism is characterized by ideas of fragmentation. The finished visual appearance is characterized by a stimulating unpredictability and a controlled chaos. This is also true for one of the projects I was working on… controlled chaos.

Unfortunately I can’t share any information of the project I was working on, although I already wrote it’s a skyscraper. A soon as the project hits the website of Coop Himmelb(l)au, I’ll also post it here. In the mean time, I’ll share some photos of the beautiful city of Vienna.

The Austrian Parliament

The statue of Athena in front of the Austrian Parliament

View of the world famous Schönbrunn Palace

Hofburg Theater

The Hundertwasserhaus

St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) at Stephansplatz

The Votive Church (Votivkirche)

Inside the Austrian Parliament

Inside the Wiener Musikverein

City Hall

The ferris wheel (Riesenrad) at Prater park

‘Roman’ Ruin at Schönbrunn (erected in 1778)

View of the world famous Schönbrunn Palace during winter time

I just realized I didn’t include pictures of the Hofburg Palace, State Opera, The Johan Strauss Monument or St. Charles’s Church, to name a view. Maybe Vienna has too many monuments?!