On Wednesday evening 18 November 2015, the first winner of the new Rotterdam encouragement award ‘De Meester’ was announced at Het Nieuwe Instituut. Ruben Sannen landed the prize of 5000 euros for his graduation project Tanah Antara.

Encouragement award ‘De Meester’ has been initiated by the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation in collaboration with the Academy of Architecture in Rotterdam. The annual prize aims to support an outstanding graduate of the academy with a cash award and give his/her work a public podium.

Considering that architecture and urban planning are disciplines that, besides their academic relevance, have foremost an impact on society, the prize is awarded during a full evening programme open to the public. On the night, four nominated graduates present their plans to the public and jury. The jury gives feedback and commentary on the presentations and declares a winner that very same night.
Live evaluation
During the first edition of the prize, last Wednesday, the following candidates presented their plans: Stephan Boon (Perspective on Tides), Femke Feenstra (House for All Senses), Katarzyna Nowak (Art in Context) and Ruben Sannen (Tanah Antara).

The jury included practising architects and urban planners as well as representatives from the fields of science and communications: Han van den Born (KCAP), Dikkie Scipio (KAAN architecten), Mirjana Milanovic (dRO Amsterdam), Paul van der Laar (Rotterdam Museum and Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Michiel van Raaij (Architectenweb).

The jury recognised a strong rejection of the status quo in all the candidates. Through focused analysis and in-depth research, all four nominees developed strong designs that the jury felt could each be called highly innovative. But only one could be the winner and that was Ruben Sannen with his Tanah Antara design for Jakarta.

Tanah Antara
In looking for solutions to Jakarta’s growing water problems, Ruben Sannen built on the traditional Kampong for his graduation project to develop a sustainable urban neighbourhood in which water management is decentralised.

The jury: “Tanah Antara is a consistent and visionary project in which consideration for the local culture plays a role on all scales. In his convincing, well-informed presentation Ruben Sannen dives in to the reality of the situation. He places himself in society, rather than above it.”