an urban planning graduate of the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design, landed the prize of €5000 for his graduation project ‘Water Renews!’. The jury was very impressed by the relevancy and expressive power of his project. Photographs of the festive evening can be seen here!
The prize was created by the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation and aims to support the young architect or urban planner and give his / her work a platform. With this award, the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation especially wants to emphasize the social significance of architecture and urban design.
During this De Meester Evening, the second festive edition, three nominees presented their projects to the public and the jury. The nominees were: Barend Mense with Inclusive Hackney (urban planning), Martins Duselis with Roseform (architecture) and Alex de Jong with Water Renews! (urban planning).
At the end of the evening Dikkie Scipio, secretary of the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation and chair of the jury, announced the De Meester winner of 2016.
The jury comprised practising architects and planners as well as professionals from the disciplines of science, the arts and the media: Frits van Dongen (architect at Van Dongen Koschuch Architects and Planners, and formerly Chief Government Architect), Dikkie Scipio (architect at Kaan Architecten), Arjen Knoester (senior urban designer for the Municipality of Rotterdam and urban planner at Morfis Architecture and Urbanism), Hans Lensvelt (design expert at Lensvelt Contract Furniture) and Merel Pit (architecture journalist).
The jury saw considerably radical elements in all the nominated graduation projects. Through critical analysis and in-depth research, all three candidates were able to come to powerful designs that questioned contemporary architectural – and especially urban planning – practices. Only one candidate could be the winner and that was Alex de Jong with his ‘Water Renews!’ project for Arnhem.
The Netherlands has always faced an enormous water management challenge. Water comes from every angle. There are a multitude of projects that are tackling this, but major bottlenecks remain, such as the river confluence at Arnhem. A similar problem of high river waters has been resolved at Nijmegen, but there are no plans for Arnhem. Alex de Jong’s project shows that a huge intervention – an ‘urban spillway’ – is possible and that can simultaneously function as a catalyst for urban renewal in the post-war neighbourhood of Groot Malburgen.
The jury was impressed by the thoroughly investigated combination of civil engineering and city planning. In the jury’s assessment, Alex de Jong elevates the multidisciplinary technical approach of urban planning to a higher level. From the logic-driven perspective of hydraulic engineering, not only is the task of water management resolved, but an entire urban district can be given a bright future.
Additionally, the jury praised the great communicative power of the design and the designer. Alex de Jong is conscious that support for a strong urban design is very much determined by the accessibility of its presentation and how the design and the intentions of the designer are communicated. Awareness of this aspect is very important.
The FGF supports young people in Rotterdam in their education and training in the field of architecture. Architecture is to be understood in its broadest form and therefore includes its relation to art, culture and science.