‘Design by thinking of…’ is a lecture series, offering architects a stage to share their world of thought and design with peers.

The title of the series is taken from the text ‘Three Generations’ (1981) by Peter Smithson (1923–2003). He writes: “We are, after all, both apprentices-by-proxy and members of the family who design-by-thinking-of-the-making to inherit as a landscape of the mind, the thoughts and the ways of putting things together.”

For every architect, this ‘design-by-thinking-of’ is different. It contains the essential aspects of the run-up to, the actual design itself, the built result and the reflection afterwards.

Since 2021, the lectures are held five times a year at Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam. Attendance is by invitation. ‘Design by thinking of…’ is an initiative of Office Winhov. Editorial board: Ard de Vries Architects, Moriko Kira Architect, Bergplaats and Office Winhov.

Hirokazu Suemitsu (SUEP)

20.03.2024
Design by thinking of… Aesthetics-Sustainability

Hirokazu Suemitsu(SUEP)

20.03.2024
Design by thinking of… Aesthetics-Sustainability

In his lecture, Hirokazu Suemitsu positioned the work of SUEP in light of the current climate crisis. He is always questioning what we, as the architect, can do now. In the thinking and actions of Hirokazu and his partner Yoko Suemitsu, the concept of animism plays a central role, and involves not only the (religious) animation of people, animals and plants, but also geographical conditions. Translating animism into his architecture is determined by the transitions in Japan brought on by climate change and demographic shifts. Drawing on five themes and his own work, which has been steadily developing since 2004, Hirokazu made clear that he seeks a future balance – a new sustainable aesthetic – between durability and architectural design and the classical and the modern. In his design practice, which oscillates between research and design, Hirokazu combines local, physical, geographical conditions with astronomical, technical and circular knowledge and innovations. This has resulted in a formal language that is both contemporary and site-specific and yet universal.

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Oana Bogdan (&bogdan)

17.01.2024
Design by thinking of… Bats

Oana Bogdan(&bogdan)

17.01.2024
Design by thinking of… Bats

In her lecture, Oana Bogdan covered both her personal and professional development: growing up in Dracula’s hometown, her youth in communist Romania, studies in Leuven, collaboration with Leo Van Broeck in Bogdan&van Broek, MBA education, position as interim Secretary of State for Culture in the Romanian government, the founding of a political party, the continuation of the firm as &bogdan, dealing with bats during a commission, and finally her work in many juries and commissions. It’s an unusual journey but one that links the public dimension of architecture and our profession’s ability to make a difference for underprivileged people in our cities while still dealing with the unrelenting criticism wherein architects do their work. In this context, the German word ‘werdegang’ best covers the meaning and impact of this lecture. Obviously, Oana remains motivated by issues such as connecting people, the role and position of female architects, the actions of an architect in particular political-economic conditions or designing a building as a passage in an urban-historical space. This multifaceted approach ultimately finds its form in a series of meaningful and carefully designed buildings where engagement and craftsmanship – and if need be, bats – ably intertwine.

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Jürg Conzett (Conzett Bronzini)

07.11.2023
Design by thinking of… The Troubled Water

Jürg Conzett(Conzett Bronzini)

07.11.2023
Design by thinking of… The Troubled Water

This evening was dedicated to the idea that bridges are the ultimate architectural-constructive task. And for Jürg Conzett (Conzett Bronzini), the starting point for such projects is how the bridge will not only fit, but also shape, its landscape. He talked about his designs for both new bridges as well renovations of existing bridges – often illustrated with his partner Lydia’s beautiful models. While the unyielding alpine landscape and its constant changes seem to lead to obvious solutions, it’s precisely that insidious simplicity that conceals a site-specific, deeply considered architectural-constructive design. One project for the village of Bondo (Bregaglia, CH) was a particularly lucid example of building on site-specific conditions (and the changeability of these conditions) while still being aware of how significant bridges are in the landscape. In addition to the dramatic consequences of an avalanche in 2017, the project clarified that the design of three new bridges worked to transform the village’s whole structure. Yes, a bridge may conceal structural feats, but it’s more important that it works to connect people. And therefore, it should be understood first and foremost as a cultural project, and only then as an engineering achievement.

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Stephen Bates (Sergison Bates Architects)

20.09.2023
Design by thinking of… The Room And The City

Stephen Bates(Sergison Bates Architects)

20.09.2023
Design by thinking of… The Room And The City

For Stephen Bates, the European city and its associated culture is an infinite source of inspiration. The work of Sergison Bates Architects constantly responds to a plurality of moments and atmospheres associated with a place and a fascination with historic housing plots. Stephen took us through London (Hampstead mansion block, Lavender Hill courtyard housing), Antwerp (Cadix harbour building) and Hamburg (Mönckebergstrasse). This fascination with the city takes shape in the recent publication From the Room to the City. Munich, Urbanity and Complexity in which Stephen studies the city’s historical layers, fragmentation and the added architecture. Written with his fellow professor Bruno Krucker and students at Technische Universität München, the book reveals a deep understanding of how the layered, unfinished and unplanned helps define the city’s identity – and provides the foundation for architectural thinking.

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José Toral (Peris+Toral Architects)

10.05.2023
Design by thinking of… Dwelling And Building

José Toral(Peris+Toral Architects)

10.05.2023
Design by thinking of… Dwelling And Building

The work of Peris+Toral Arquitectes, led by Marta Peris and José Toral, centres around the research and design of collective social housing and urban spaces – as well as the densification of these spaces. José’s talk focussed on the social aspect – namely, his deep concern for sustainable, affordable housing. His bureau focuses on low-tech sustainability based on proven, often historically validated, ventilation techniques. The results convincingly prove that a comfortable indoor climate in the Iberian region is quite possible even without energy-consuming air conditioning. He also makes clear: a social and sustainability agenda does not exclude sophisticated and aesthetic architecture. Residential floor plans take an unexpected turn through Marta’s fascination with the cinematographic work of Yasujiro Ozu. It results in inventive floor plans that allow for a multiplicity of living patterns even within the strict constraints of social housing.

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Chie Konno (t e c o)

15.03.2023
Design by thinking of… Biological Commons

Chie Konno(t e c o)

15.03.2023
Design by thinking of… Biological Commons

This evening with Chie Konno was not only an introduction to the work of this young Japanese architect and her office t e c o, but was also the surprise announcement of her receiving the Architectural Design Division prize of the Architectural Institute of Japan for her Kasugadai Centre project. Chie’s work provides insight into a number of pressing social issues in Japan. Besides attention for sustainability and circularity, she’s also impressive in how she tackles the reality of an ageing and declining society and its impact on suburban communities. Design-wise, Chie and her practice respond to these challenges with an architecture that’s sophisticated, serving and yet modest. The lecture made clear this architecture involves much social research and direct dialogue with users and stakeholders. The results are meticulous, diligent and distinctly architectural. These are beautiful and articulate buildings that genuinely promote social cohesion and offer communities – including her own mother – a quality living environment.

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Peter St. John (Caruso St John Architects)

25.01.2023
Design by thinking of… Resources, Material and Transformation

Peter St. John(Caruso St John Architects)

25.01.2023
Design by thinking of… Resources, Material and Transformation

Peter St. John’s lecture covered much more than the three words promised in its title. The work of Caruso St John Architects while now spanning many decades and many imitable developments, still comes with an element of elusiveness that has always fed fascination for the work. Certainly, Peter made no attempt to explicitly interpret his architecture – it was a lecture with an open ending. However, Peter’s ongoing quest was made clear through his recent work, as elaborated on in the recent publication Collected Works, Volume 2, 2000-2012, which covers projects such as the British pavilion for the Venice Biennale, the transformation of Royale Belge in Brussels, the Veemgebouw in Eindhoven and the Swiss Life Arena in Zurich. If there is one common thread in his work, it’s architecture as a highly sensitive response to highly diverse situations – and a response that always finds a different and highly unpredictable form.

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An Fonteyne (noArchitecten)

17.11.2022
Design by thinking of… You And You And You

An Fonteyne(noArchitecten)

17.11.2022
Design by thinking of… You And You And You

An Fonteyne’s title alludes to the multifaceted interaction between society, its inherent culture and the architectural project. Here, the relationships and sometimes tensions between history, the public and a project’s reception play an important role. noArchitecten use this constant interplay to sharpen the architectural design and load a place with meaning. The key concepts in her presentation were about connecting, building on and crafting history. She illustrated her approach with wonderful projects such as Het Steen in Antwerp, where an ‘addition’ to a historic building caused much controversy and criticism. With KANAL in Brussels, she went even further with the rather stressful transformation of a former Citroën factory into a cultural centre – where building type, history, place, society and culture charge this architecture of intervention.

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Floris Cornelisse (HCVA)

28.09.2022
Design by thinking of… Little Fields, Long Horizons

Floris Cornelisse(HCVA)

28.09.2022
Design by thinking of… Little Fields, Long Horizons

The title ‘Little Fields, Long Horizons’ refers to the work and thinking of writer-poet-artist-gardener Ian Hamilton Finlay. During a visit to his poetic landscape artwork ‘Little Sparta’ in Scotland, Floris Cornelisse was impressed by the contrast between the locality and the significance of place versus the vastness and all-consuming nature of the horizon. Floris’s guiding design principles are formed by concurrent and reinterpretable contrasts and intersections, such as old/new, small/big, and light/dark. In addition, Hamilton Finlay serves as a model for how the references of HappelCornelisseVerhoeven to literature, art, and history create a breeding ground for the idiosyncratic and wonderfully beautiful architecture. This approach also allows for the pleasure in the sincerity of falsification that is inextricably linked to architecture.

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Saar Meganck (Dhooge & Meganck)

11.05.2022
Design by thinking of… Words

Saar Meganck(Dhooge & Meganck)

11.05.2022
Design by thinking of… Words

Can ‘words’ take on the role of referencing in a design? For this evening, Saar Meganck (Dhooge & Meganck) eloquently explored the relationship between words and their associative meanings within architectural design. Saar works from a rich fascination with, and focus on, how words “experience and engage” with the many layers of architecture. In the lecture, the beauty of architecture is flanked by meaningful references to everyday life, as well as the literary and philosophical worlds of Marcel Proust and Martin Heidegger. It's a linguistic approach that gives language a central role in the reception and creation of architecture. For Saar, creating with words is an intrinsic part of the design process – whether it’s a church renovation or her dissertation, ‘The Inspired Wall’, about the use of colour in the Bossche School.

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Daniel Rossbottom (DRDH Architects)

13.04.2022
Design by thinking of… The City

Daniel Rossbottom(DRDH Architects)

13.04.2022
Design by thinking of… The City

The city is a central concept in the designs of Daniel Rossbottom (DRDH Architects) and is also the focus of his Chair in Interior Architecture at TU Delft. In this presentation, he focused on how public urban interiors are an essential part of the modern city. His research concentrated on ‘what we have achieved, what we have made and what we have forgotten’. The city as architecture and as a place where people live is both the beginning and the end of all his work. The lecture covered many urban projects, including the library and concert hall in Bodø, Norway, and the housing complex and social centre in Aarschot, Flanders, which sought to blend with the city’s existing morphology.And, even with a rural winemaking facility in the Azores, Daniel finds a way to explore the essence of urban interiors…

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Donna van Milligen Bielke

09.03.2022
Design by thinking of… The Space In Between

Donna van Milligen Bielke

09.03.2022
Design by thinking of… The Space In Between

The title of the evening proves to have predictive value. In many ways, the ‘in-between space’ is a constant in Studio Donna van Milligen Bielke’s work and research. It’s an ongoing process of exploration, learning, and research that results in designs that build on each other. Donna’s graduation project, ‘Reversed Boogie Woogie’, and the recent award-winning project De Kunstwerf in Groningen demonstrate the promising continuity of work. Her way of looking and designing constantly oscillates between the notions of a ‘city within a city,’ a ‘building within a building,’ and a ‘city within a building.’ Donna continually explores how buildings can shape public space – and in this quest, we only expect a long and promising future.

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Dirk Somers (Bovenbouw)

10.11.2021
Design by thinking of… Other Designs

Dirk Somers(Bovenbouw)

10.11.2021
Design by thinking of… Other Designs

Dirk Somers’ Antwerp-based practice, Bovenbouw, wants its designs to be completely free of any compulsive desire for the avant-garde. Bovenbouw’s designs, such as the Container Park in Luchtbal and the transformation of three historic buildings on Leysstraat in Antwerp, nicely illustrate this approach. During his lecture, Dirk shared his thoughts and insights with the necessary humour. His approach obviously combines detached observation with personal engagement and a love for the directness of architectural intervention. However, this relatively easy-going attitude has limits as Somers urges himself – and the audience – to focus on tending to architecture’s soil rather than admiring the flowers that bloom on it…

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Job Floris (Monadnock)

13.10.2021
Design by thinking of… The Order of Things

Job Floris(Monadnock)

13.10.2021
Design by thinking of… The Order of Things

We had the honour of Job Floris being our first speaker for the ‘Design by Thinking of…’ series. Not surprisingly, the lecture began with the famous Monadnock Building in Chicago. His practice is named after this 19th-century building, renowned for its combination of strong and simple form and its load-bearing masonry façade. Job took us through the spatial, associative, practical and poetic layers that make up Monadnock’s design. The park pavilion in the De Hoge Veluwe National Park and the striking Landmark Nieuw Bergen are beautiful highlights in an evolving oeuvre – in which ‘Chicago’ continues to resonate.

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