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Top Architect | René van Zuuk

René van Zuuk born in 1962 is a Dutch architect since 1992. He studied building production technology at the Technishe Universiteit Eindhoven. He was also a teacher during more 6 years. His office, René van Zuuk Architekten by, has created a portfolio with a large variety of designs.


His style is modern architecture, the main principles behind the designs can be place in three categories, structure, production technology and construction. The Arcam building is a direct result from transforming blob architecture into well thought-out architecture that is based on production methods.

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Immediately after graduating, he began working at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (1988-1989). In 1989 he won the prize ‘Unusual live II’ in Almere with his own house “Psyche”.After the realization of his house in 1993 he founded René van Zuuk Architects in Almere.

The agency has a diverse portfolio, including the Centre for Architecture Arcam in Amsterdam apartment in Block 16 in Almere and the Youth Complex ‘The Future’ Ajax Amsterdam. In 2005, of Zuuk in a period of just five weeks made ​​the design for the Roosendaal Pavilion.

From Zuuk is known for his sculptural designs that are searched for default structures to create new forms as construction and cost-conscious. But this will, according to him never to the form itself, but to the spatial effect, which perfectly suits the use and function of the building. From Zuuk is a big supporter of prefabricated building systems and pays great attention to form and material, this is clearly reflected eg Block 16 in Almere. Here the limits of tunnel formwork be searched. This apartment is also popularly The Wave named, referring to the ‘wavy’ facade.

Background & Realizations

 Block 16 / The Wave, Almere city center

Block 16 is part of the master plan by OMA for a new prestigious city center in Almere. The autonomous expressive block reacts to present two conditions : the billowing end marks as a kind of gatekeeper to the entrance of the harbor . At the other end of which is the movement flatten and close the volume with the orthogonal structure of the adjacent glass towers .


Apartments, Fitness, Almere NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Kersten Scheller, Bjorn Ophof, Marieke van den Dungen, Client: Almere Hart cv., Start of design: 1999-2002, Completion: 2002-2004, Area: 8.740 m², Volume: 25.602 m³, Building costs: €5.600.000

Project X, Almere, Netherlands

The architect lived in Villa Psyche for years, but a growing family and the availability of an adjoining parcel of land compelled him to build a new residence, called Project X. Completed in 2009, the 2,300-square-foot residence complements Villa Psyche and completes a small garden compound along a canal. The three-bedroom, split-level residence features an office studio on the lower level; living room and kitchen and dining area on the main level; and bedrooms upstairs.

Project X-Almere-Netherlands

Villa, Almere NL, Design Team: René van Zuuk, Client: Marjo Körner & René van Zuuk, Start of design: 2003 – 2004, Completion: 2004-2006, Area: 215 m², Volume: 780 m³

Pavilion, Zeewolde, Netherlands

The ‘art-track Zeewolde’ is a 7 km route passing through an open-air exhibition of high-quality sculptural art. This sculpture park flows out into a pond and in this pond the art pavilion. With this position in the water, at the end of the art-track, the building becomes the organisational nerve centre for events, exhibitions and lectures. The sculpture Sea Level by Richard Serra has particularly contributed to the art-track’s reputation. The elongated shape of the pavilion stems from Serra’s long black concrete wall. The limited budget was the occasion for applying a three-hinged frame to construct the span. These originally cheap structures are often used in barns an therefore well-known in the surrounding agricultural polder-landscape. All the trusses are identical but they are all at a slightly different angle compared to the ground surface. The result is an elegantly twisted roofscape.


Pavilion, Zeewolde, Netherlands, Design Team: René van Zuuk, Structural Engineer: Van de Laar, Building Contractor: Kingma Bouw, Area: 375 m², Photographs: Christian Richters

Private Villa, Heiloo Netherlands, Project

Heiloo is a small town close to Alkmaar, it is characterized by greenery and traditional architecture. Within this conservative context, in 2006 a competition was held for the redesign an existing villa. The client outlined that he would prefer to have a sleek rectangular house, however, due to the strict zoning laws in Heiloo it was only possible to build a single storey house with a pitched roof. The local plan also states a maximum height of 3.5m for the eaves. To get an idea of what might be considered as acceptable we studied the buildings in the vicinity, most of the houses have the traditional pitched roof with a few variations.

Much like Project X and Zilverparkkade the design is fitted with a pattern on the facade. The pattern applied to these two projects wraps horizontally around the facade, Villa Heiloo however is far more of a 3D structure which is slightly twisted. The Polyester concrete panels are shaped like leaves and slot together like a puzzle.



Private villa, Heiloo NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Kersten Scheller, Chris Collaris, Client: Brouwer Family Design: 2005-2006, Floor Area: 550 m², Volume: 2.000 m³

Folly, Fraeylemaborg Netherlands, Project

Fraeylemaborg is an estate of 23 hectares in the city of Slochteren (The Netherlands). The main building was originally built seven centuries ago but it got its final form at the end of the 18th century. During its lifespan, a number of important families lived on the estate. The last owners, the Thomassen à Thuessink van der Hoop van Slochteren family, sold the estate to the Gerrit van Houten Foundation in 1972 and it became a museum. In the museum you can still see how the last owners lived. Temporary art exhibitions are exhibited in the Coach House. The current museum does not have enough space to show her entire collection and therefore the museum issued a competition for several new exhibition follies to display special items. The copper chamber is one of the follies to be built.


Folly, Fraeylemaborg NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Jan Heimer, Dirk de Groot, Client: landgoed Fraeylemaborg, Design: 2014


Pavilion, Restaurant, Amsterdam Netherlands, Project

The design is located on a rectangular square next to Grimshaw’s new station at the Bijlmer, one of Amsterdam’s outer districts, and marks the junction of two pedestrian axes. Due their positioning and shape, the two pavilions guide the pedestrians on their way from the new train station towards the Bijlmer’s shopping district.

The existing buildings of the square are quite closed and provide an anonymous atmosphere. This image has been broken by creating a strong, open and inviting pavilion suitable for its eventual use, a lunchroom.


Pavilion, Restaurant, Amsterdam NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Kersten Scheller, Ferdy Holtkamp, Client: ING, Design: 2007

The Most Iconic Projects

Entrance parking garage, Shops, Lunchroom, Offices, Roosendaal Netherlands

The idea behind the urban proposal was that the pavilion would divide the square in two parts in such a way that you would still have the feeling of being on one big square. Because of the market activities which occupy the entire square twice a week, the terraces of the pavilion needed to be placed above the ground floor.

Originally the terraces could only be reached by going through the pavilion. Rene van Zuuk decided to make the terraces accessible from the outside of the building as well so you can walk from the square up onto the sloped roof to the terraces letting the roof become a public area. The entrances from the roof to the building are made by cuts in the sloped surface giving every floor its own terrace. The rest of the roof acts as a big stage which allows artists to give performances in front of the building. On the south side the pavilion reaches its highest point. This part of the building cantilevers over the main entrance of the parking garage allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the two levels below.



Entrance parking garage, Shops, Lunchroom, Offices, Roosendaal NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Kersten Scheller, Chimo Vila-Belda, Jorrit Spel, Client: Municipality of Roosendaal, Start of design: 2005-2006, Completion: 2007, Area: 620 m², Volume: 4.000m³, Building costs: €1.600.000

Lock Keeper’s House, Control building, Middelburg Netherlands

The design for a new bridge keeper’s house at Middelburg, a town in the south-west of the Netherlands, was an entry for a limited competition. Because the current bridge-main house was going to disappear because of a restructuring, the community of Middelburg decided to write out a competition.

The bridge-man house is only functioning six days a year, therefore we decided to add a new function; a light sculpture.


Lock Keeper’s House, Control building, Middelburg NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Client: Municipality of Middelburg, Design: 2001

Interesting Facts about René van Zuuk

For René van Zuuk aluminum’s flexibility and formability guarantee virtually unlimited design potential. It can be shaped, welded, screwed and cut into dynamic 3-D shapes. The extrusion process offers an almost infinite range of forms and sections, allowing designers to integrate numerous functions into single profiles and rolled products may be manufactured flat, curved, shaped into cassettes or sandwiched with other materials. In addition, aluminum can be sawn, drilled, riveted, screwed, bent, welded and soldered in the workshop or on the building site.

With Arcam René van Zuuk has demonstrated his talent for designing free standing, object-like buildings.


Architecture Center, Offices, Exhibition space, Educational space, Amsterdam NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Client: Municipality of Amsterdam, Start of design: 1999 – 2002, Completion: 2002 – 2003, Area: 477 m², Volume: 2.860 m³, Building costs: €1.600.000

Arcam, a Centre for Architecture is moved to its new quarters on the waterfront at Oosterdok in September 2003. The decision to move to new premises was prompted by the desire to give a forward-looking institute a more contemporary look and the growing need for a larger exhibition space. A small pavilion, designed by Renzo Piano, was partly demolished leaving the floors and columns to be integrated in the new design.

An important aspect of the architectural brief was that, despite its compact size, the new building had to be able to hold its own alongside the neighboring large structures and monumental facades on Prins Hendrikkade. Using the narrow, low-lying quay, as a departure-point for the shape of the new building, René van Zuuk added a third story and folded a skin of zinc-clad aluminium over the entire building volume, giving each facade its own perspective.

Other type of Projects

Almere, the Netherlands

The Almere Bridge spans the connecting waterway, between the open Weerwater and a little harbour for motorized boats, connecting two massive housing blocks located in the new city centre of Almere.


Bridge for pedestrian and bicycles, Almere NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Client: Municipality of Almere, Start of design: 2000-2002, Completion: 2004, Area: 264 m², Height: 12 m, Building costs: €1.800.000



Designed as a neutral continuity between two buildings, the Silver line tower, designed by Claus & Kaan, and Van Zuuk’s Block 16, the bridge has its own identity, with none of the directions from the surroundings being emphasized.

The cable-stayed mast structure refers to the image of sailing boats, reviving the maritime atmosphere of the harbour area. To enhance the slim appearance the two traffic flows are separated. After all two narrow lanes look more slender than one wide deck.

He is an architect with brilliant ideas and all thought in detail. Take a look at his website to see the multitude of projects that have available for different sectors.