Winner De Meester 2016: Alex de Jong

Alex de Jong wins De Meester 2016 for the best graduation project!

Yesterday evening, November 16, 2016, the Rotterdam promotional prize ‘De Meester’ was awarded for the second time at Het Nieuwe Instituut. With his graduation project ‘Water renews’, Alex de Jong, alumnus of the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture, has won a prize of 5,000 euros. The jury was very impressed by the current relevance and expressiveness of his project. View the photos of this festive evening!

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.

Live assessment
During the second festive edition of The Evening of De Meester, the three nominated candidates presented their plans to the public and the professional jury: Barend Mense – Inclusive Hackney (Urbanism), Martins Duselis – Roseform (Architecture) and Alex de Jong – Water vernieuwt! (Urbanism)

At the end of the evening Dikkie Scipio, secretary of the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation and chairman of the jury, announced De Meester van 2016.

In addition to practicing architects and urban planners, the jury also consisted of representatives of science & the arts and the media: Frits van Dongen (architect, Dongen Koschuch architects and planner and former Government Architect), Dikkie Scipio (architect, Kaan Architects) , Arjen Knoester (urban planner, senior designer Urban Development Rotterdam, Morfis architecture and urbanism), Hans Lensvelt (design expert Lensvelt Contract Furniture) and Merel Pit (architectural journalist).

The jury recognized a considerable degree of radicalism among all nominated graduates. From a sharp analysis and in-depth research, all three nominees have, according to the jury, come up with powerful designs that strongly question the existing practices in architecture and, in particular, urban development. Of the graduates, there could only be one winner in the end and that is Alex de Jong with his project ‘Water renews!’ For Arnhem.

Water renews!
The Netherlands has a huge water task. The water comes from all sides. We are already working on this in various ways, but major bottlenecks remain. Like in Arnhem, where there is a huge bottleneck in the national river system. While a similar problem has been tackled in Nijmegen, nothing happens in Arnhem. With his project Alex de Jong shows that an enormous intervention, a ‘city spillway’, is possible, which at the same time can be the catalyst for the renewal of the post-war district of Groot Malburgen.

The jury was impressed by the deep combination of civil engineering and urban design in the project. Alex de Jong takes the polytechnic approach to urban design to a higher level according to the jury. From an icy water-state logic, not only is a major water task tackled, but also an entire district offered a beckoning perspective.

In addition, the jury praises the enormous communicative power of the project and the designer. Alex de Jong is aware, according to the jury, that the scope of the urban design power is strongly determined by the accessibility of the way in which the design and intentions of the designer are communicated. That awareness is of great importance.

Images of the evening can seen here.

View the follow-up of De Meester 2016 prize winner Alex de Jong here.