Past Present Future: MVRDV

 John Hill
6. July 2018
Nathalie de Vries, Jacob van Rijs, and Winy Maas (Photo © MVRDV)
Itinerant Office's "Past, Present, Future: about being an architect yesterday, today and beyond" consists of interviews with eleven architects heading firms based in Italy and the Netherlands. Here we highlight Jacob van Rijs of Rotterdam's MVRDV.
Jacob van Rijs, along with Winy Maas and Nathalie de Vries, founded MVRDV in Rotterdam in 1993. In 25 years the collaborative practice has grown to more than 120 employees with offices in Rotterdam and Shanghai. Watch the short videos for insight on the past, present, and future of MVRDV or visit the "Past, Present, Future" website to read a transcript of Itinerant Office's interview with Van Rijs.


Chance has as much an influence on our lives as our motives and choices. Such is definitely the case with Van Rijs, who reveals that a lottery for industrial design pushed him into architecture. Initially disappointed, he came to enjoy architecture and stuck with it through the rest of his collegiate education. The rest, as they say, is history.


What is the MVRDV approach? In Van Rijs's words, it's finding "the most exciting approach," which "sometimes works, sometimes it fails." An example of it working? Seoul's version of the High Line – Seoullo 7017 – which opened in May 2017 and saw 4 million visitors in just four months. For Van Rijs, this points to the need for more investment in such projects.


In Van Rijs's mind, the architect of the future is grappling with data, especially when confronted with large projects. MVRDV's work ranges from big, "rough" projects to small, cute projects, such as (W)ego, that he sees as the cat memes of architecture. He'd love for MVRDV to be able to combine the two types of projects for a while.

"Past, Present, Future" is a project curated by Gianpiero Venturini, founder of Itinerant Office, with the support of the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rome. World-Architects is proud to be a media partner of the project.

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