Rademacher de Vries Architects | Portfolio Categories Exhibitions & Publications
Rademacher de Vries is a design and research office that focuses on architecture, the city and the urban environment. Through building, teaching and exhibiting we seek to produce relevant spatial insights that are rooted in a self-conscious understanding of our discipline and culture. Our design methodology is characterized by a research driven approach that investigates projects through the perspective of different scales, cultural transformations and technological innovations. In close collaboration with our clients, we apply this design method to overcome disciplinary boundaries and actively engage in societal challenges.
Rademacher / de Vries, David Rademacher, Christopher de Vries, Architecture, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, ENCI Gebied, Luikerwegtrap, Amsterdecks, Stationstuinen, Grondwater, ENCI, Maastricht, Amsterdam, verdozing, city ports, transformatie, erfgoed.
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Normal City

by Christopher de Vries

Article for MONU Magazine “Affordable Urbanism”

Spring 2020

 

Urbanization and gentrification have become so synonymous that they seem inescapably paired. Global cities such as New York, Tokyo, Berlin, London, and Paris, while at the center of our collective urban imagination, appear increasingly elitist instead of representing shared societal ideals. While there is much evidence that cities have predominantly been elitist over the course of history (Scott 2017), over the last centuries cities have transformed into beacons of civic pride, national self-image, and stages for an increasingly inclusive democratic society. This legacy is arguably under threat.

 

The most common approach to mitigate the impact of international real estate dynamics on the affordability of housing is to protect the city’s most vulnerable citizens through social housing and/or other redistributive programs. Regardless of one’s political predilections, both unfettered real-estate markets and the protection of the urban poor are producing cities that are in fact abnormal. Abnormal is used here in a strict statistical sense, implying that city-dwellers increasingly come from the far ends of a country’s normal income distribution. This article, in response to the notion of affordability, investigates the notion of the ‘Normal City’. Using three of our office’s projects to illustrate, we will focus on the spatial distribution of normality, the aesthetics of normality, and normal programs. This essay challenges the connotations of ‘normal’ as being mediocre, unambitious, and defeatist. In contrast, we argue that within the normal hides the heroic democratic project of the middle-class, which over recent decades has been losing ground due the systematic emphasis on competition over collaboration, identity over solidarity, and spectacle over decency.

States of Exception

Our proposal speculates about a territorial project that seeks to reclaim control over the urban condition through The state of exception. Our proposal explores the possibility of co-opting this concept in spatial terms as a mechanism to achieve spatial aspirations that otherwise appear unattainable in our urban world.

 

States of exception are spaces where the status quo of law, economics, spatial planning and building code are temporarily suspended or modified to investigate how specific societal goals could materialize. As such, states of exception are immaterial interventions that nonetheless have large spatial and material consequences.

Geography, Urbanism’s Critical Cousin

by Christopher de Vries

Article for MONU Magazine “Geographical Urbanism”

Spring 2014

 

Physical geography is a synthesis of two of humanities highest held deities; science and nature. The apparent objectivity of exact measurement combined with the sublime qualities of geophysical processes allow humanity to feel heroic and humbled at once. The marriage of urbanism and geography therefore sounds profoundly meaningful and promising. This essay, however, will argue that exactly because a geographic urbanism appears so self-evident it often mystifies ulterior socio-political agendas guiding urban development and architecture. Geography, just like any other science, religion, technology, or tool is ultimately operative, in the Tafurian sense, that is, ideologically instrumental. This essay will juxtapose localist and cosmopolitan applications of geographic approaches to urbanism through various case studies and seeks to reveal how normative political agendas seek legitimisation through a geo-scientific rationale. Out of these seemingly antithetical uses of geography in urbanism an alternative use is proposed. Geography in urbanism could be a reflective practice, a polemical approach that could underpin a self-conscious urbanism that reveals the tension between ideological aspirations and the geophysical constraints of our planet.

 

Earths proud empires are constantly passing away. But the plains and the mountains, the seas, peninsulas and islands, apparently go on forever. – Norman Davies, Europe : A History

 

Prix de Rome – Foundations

Honorary Competition

 

The Prix de Rome is the oldest and most prestigious award in the Netherlands for visual artists under the age of 40 and architects under the age of 35. The award dates back to 1808 when Louis Napoleon introduced the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands to promote the arts. Although the award adopted various guises over the years, the aim has always been to trace talented artists and promote their further development and visibility.

 

Since January 2013, the organisation and funding of the award is handled by the Mondriaan Fund. The Fund does so with due respect for the Prix de Rome’s long history and with the express wish to guarantee its status as an independent award.

Euregio Ontspoord? / L’Eurégio Déraillée?

The Euroregion derailed, is an exhibition that looks at cross-border urbanization and rail development in the Meuse valley between Liège and Maastricht.

 

In 2018 a three-country rail network was expected to be operational, between Aachen, Liège and Maastricht, but the Belgian-Dutch connection is still falling behind. Is this a sign of failing political cooperation or are it really just technical problems that can be solved? What does the rail connection actually have to offer for Liège, Maastricht and the border region between them?Are interests aligned, and is there consensus about what the transnational connection should promote? Can innovations in mobility and logistics lead to more compact cities? Or do they accelerate suburbanization in the Maas valley?

 

Through contributions from various architects, students, photographers, sociologists and civil servants these questions for the border region where examined and discussed during the opening conference.

Exploitation Landscapes

Exploitation Landscapes is an investigation into the constantly changing relationship between man and nature. Plaster cast reliefs explore this apparent dichotomy through traces found in the ENCI quarry in Maastricht. The reliefs show traces of geological, industrial and ecological processes that have inspired a century of public debate.

 

To produce the serie a mix of analogue and digital fabrication techniques were combined: CNC-milled base reliefs were made from pointcloud scans and satellite data while other traces where taken in situ with silicone. After its first exposition in Bureau Europa in 2016, a second exposition was held in 2017 in the Dominican church in Maastricht.

Camera Obscura

Public Space Design

 

The camera obscura has always had a strong relationship with its environment. The relationship, however, is one-directional: the camera takes in the surrounding through a small hole and projects the image into an enclosed space. For the Breda photofestival, we proposed a camera obscura that creates a dialogue with the city. Using mirrors and photosensitive emulsion the camera obscura would project an image of the city onto the ground.

 

During the festival the mobile camera obscura moves through the city, leaving a trail of images that form a growing open air exhibition: an imprint of the collective imagination.

Euregio Ontspoord? / L'Eurégio Déraillée?

Euregio Ontspoord? / L’Eurégio Déraillée?

The Euroregion derailed, is an exhibition that looks at cross-border urbanization and rail development in the Meuse valley between Liège and Maastricht.

 

In 2018 a three-country rail network was expected to be operational, between Aachen, Liège and Maastricht, but the Belgian-Dutch connection is still falling behind. Is this a sign of failing political cooperation or are it really just technical problems that can be solved? What does the rail connection actually have to offer for Liège, Maastricht and the border region between them?Are interests aligned, and is there consensus about what the transnational connection should promote? Can innovations in mobility and logistics lead to more compact cities? Or do they accelerate suburbanization in the Maas valley?

 

Through contributions from various architects, students, photographers, sociologists and civil servants these questions for the border region where examined and discussed during the opening conference.