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Best Interior Designers

Top architects | Jacob Van Rijs


Jacob van Rijs (born in Amsterdam in 1964) he is a Dutch architect, lecturer and urbanist. In 1993 together with Winy Maas and Nathalie de Vries he set up MVRDV. Early work such as the television centre Villa VPRO and the housing estate for elderly WoZoCo, both in the Netherlands, have brought him international acclaim and established MVRDV’s leading role in international architecture.

He completed his studies at the Delft University of Technology. He regularly lectures and teaches at schools and institutions all over the world Delft University of Technology, Architecture Academy Amsterdam, Architecture Academy Rotterdam and, Architectural Association School of Architecture London, Cooper Union New York, Rice University in Texas, TN Probe in Tokyo and Universities of Madrid and Barcelona.

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In 1991, together with Winy Maas and Nathalie de Vries, he founded the MVRDV studio (an acronym of the initials of the names of the three founders), which produces designs and studies in the fields of architecture, urban studies and landscape design. The studies on light urbanism for the City of Rotterdam, the headquarters of the Dutch Public Broadcasting Company VPRO and the Wozoco’s senior citizens’ residences in Amsterdam, which won the A.J. van Eck Prize of the Dutch Architects’ Association, have brought MVRDV to the attention of a vast collection of clients, giving the studio international renown. Today, the studio is actively involved in numerous projects in various parts of the world. MVRDV designed the Dutch pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hanover, the Logrono Eco-City in Spain, the Gyre building in Tokyo and many others.

Projects of MVRDV are among others the design for the Netherlands Pavilion at the Hannover World Expo 2000, the innovative business park Flight Forum in Eindhoven, the Matsudai cultural centre and the Gyre shopping centre in Japan, the iconic Mirador building in Madrid and the Silodam building and Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam.
Current projects in development are among others the new television centre in Zürich, the new Market Hall for Rotterdam, a number of housing and office projects in the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, France, England, Albania, the USA and China. Masterplans in construction are the office campus near Unterföhring, Munich, the Xinjin Water City near Chengdu, China, the New Leyden masterplan in Leiden, Netherlands. MVRDV also works on the masterplan for Greater Paris.
The work of MVRDV/Jacob van Rijs is published and exhibited worldwide and received many international awards. The monographic publications FARMAX (1998) and KM3 (2005) illustrate the work of the Rotterdam based office.

Since 2011, Jacob van Rijs has been Chairman of the International program Royal Institute of Dutch Architects’ and in 2014 he was appointed Board Member of the Dutch Trade Board.



Office Village by MVRDV

MVRDV created an urban centre in the heart of “business-park suburbia” with its UPV Munich office park, says studio co-founder Jacob van Rijs in the third movie from our exclusive series (+ movie).

The Rotterdam-based firm won a competition in 1999 to design the office park on the outskirts of Munich. The first phase involved the construction of nine buildings – five by MVRDV and another four by local firm Lauber Architekten.

The main aim was to recreate the successful aspects of a city-centre complex, even though the project is located out of town. This led to to each building being given similar but unique characteristics, together forming a heterogeneous ensemble.

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“The essence of it is essentially like an office village,” says Van Rijs in the film. “Every building is a rather simple box-like shape with one facade, and every building has a distinct element that differentiates it from the rest – this can be a colour, it can be a material, or a texture of the facade.”

“You see a kind of office-like atmosphere in a different setting, somehow a kind of urbanity in the middle of a business park suburbia,” he adds.

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The complex is occupied by a mix of different tenants. There is only one car park, forcing both employees and visitors to walk around the complex and enter the buildings via the front door, rather than using elevators or stairs from basement parking levels.

“People have to park a car and walk to the front door of the office like you do in a normal city, you walk out on the street and then you go into the building,” explains Van Rijs. “You see colleagues, people from other companies, you see life on the street.”

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Inside, the office floors were designed to be both flexible and adaptable, and different buildings can be linked via connecting basements. There are also rooftop gardens, creating spaces where employees can take time out from their work.

“I like it when you are in different corners of the building, you look outside and you always see a different combination of facades in a picture frame,” adds Van Rijs.

The project was completed in 2003, 10 years after Van Rijs co-founded MVRDV along with partners Winy Maas and Nathalie de Vries. One of the studio’s first major projects was Villa VPRO, a public broadcasting centre in Hilversum, while later well-known projects include the Glass Farm shop and office complex and the Markthal in Rotterdam.

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Museum Schiedam

Location : Schiedam, Netherlands
Year : 2013 -2014
Client : Stedelijk Museum Schiedam
Program : 500m2 transformation and relocation of entrance: cafe, wardrobe, museum shop and event space
Budget : Undisclosed

In 2006, the museum went through a renovation which relocated the main entrance in the basement, the stair leading to the reception area proved difficult to find. The centrepiece of the museum, the neoclassical Giudici chapel lay neglected and lacked good acoustic quality.

The MVRDV design unites all the demanded programme in a series of large book shelves, they contain the reception desk, wardrobe, the museum store, the cafe counter and various presentation spaces for art and products for sale. The chapel was built in 1787 by Jan Giudici as spiritual centre for a guesthouse for the poor elderly and sick with a sober, greyish interior. The bright red colour was chosen to act as a warm element, making a clear juxtaposition between the old and new and to pay respect to the former sacral function of the space.

With one clear and monumental gesture, the shelf combined many functions whilst at the same time keeping the space as open and usable as possible. The design is respectful towards the impressive and grandiose yet at the same time austere chapel, whilst adding qualities the space lacked, providing new functions.

As the chapel is a listed monument the transformation could not change the existing structure, the shelf is constructed in MDF and respectfully meanders around the historical elements such as windows, columns and the organ – framing them at the same time. The small distance between the shelf and the elements also mediates between the perfectly level new addition and the oblique historical structure. Perforations in the backs of the shelves avoid problems with humidity. The higher shelves play an acoustic role whilst others highlight products by using built in LED armatures.

Due to its light construction the shelf can be removed at any time without leaving a trace in the monument.

Stedelijk Museum Schiedam is a municipal museum for modern art and owns a fine collection of works by artists such as Karel Appel, Lucebert, Constant and Corneille. The museum is located in Schiedam’s historical town centre, a quintessentially Dutch town with canals, churches and many wind mills of gin distilleries. The transformation was made possible with the support of Bankgiro Lottery, Foundation Schiedam Vlaardingen, De Groot Foundation and the Municipality of Schiedam.

Design team: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries with Fokke Moerel, Arjen Ketting, Taylor Cornelson and Zeying Song

Lighting : Viabizzuno
Structure: ABT
Shelf construction : Coors Interieurbouw
Photography: Daria Scagliola, Stijn Brakee

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Market Hall

Year: 2004-2014
Location : Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Client : Provast Nederland bv, The Hague, Netherlands
Program : 100.000m2, 228 Apartments, 100 fresh market produce stalls, food related retail units, preparation and cooling space, supermarket, 1.200 parking spaces.
Budget : EUR 175 Million

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The Market Hall is open 10:00-20:00 on all days except Sunday and Public Holidays, when it is open from 12:00-18:00. You can find the Market Hall at Blaak Station on the Rotterdam Metro (take any exit), or from tram lines 21 or 24, both of which depart from the Central Station and go to Blaak. Tours of the Market Hall can be booked from Markthal Tours.

New laws in the Netherlands require covered areas for traditional open air meat and fish markets due to new hygien constraints. MVRDV posed two questions in response to these challenges: ‘Can we use this operation to evolve the market typology as well as densify the the city centre?’ and ‘Can we increase quality as well as density of programming at Blaak?’

The Market Hall is part of the new inner city heart of the Laurens Quarter, the original pre-war centre of Rotterdam. The building is a sustainable combination of food, leisure, living and parking, all fully integrated to enhance and make the most of the synergetic possibilities of the different functions. The hall is formed from an arch of privately developed apartments, strategically allowing private investment and iniative to provide a public space. The result is a covered square which acts as a central market hall during the day and, after closing hours remains lively due to restaurants on its first floor.

The apartments follow strict Dutch laws regarding natural day-light: all rooms that require natural light are situated on the outside. Kitchens, dining rooms and storage are positioned at the market side, establishing a connection to the market. The front and backside are covered with a flexible suspended glass façade, allowing for maximum transparency and a minimum of structure, which will be the largest of its kind in Europe.

Design Team : Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries with Renske van der Stoep, Anton Wubben, Marc Joubert, Sven Thorissen, Monica Freundt, Laura Grillo, Joeri Horstink, Tadas Jonauskis, Diana Lopez, Gijs Rikken, Elsbeth Ronner, Yvo Thijssen, Johnny Tsang, Anet Schurink, Jeroen Zuidgeest, Michele Olcese, Laura Grillo, Ivo van Capelleveen

Co-architect: INBO, Woudenberg, Netherlands
Structure: Royal Haskoning DHV, The Hague, Netherlands
Services / Acoustics : Peutz & Associes, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
Installations : Techniplan, Netherlands
Glass Façade : Octatube, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Above Ground Contractor : J. P. van Eesteren
Below Ground Contractor : Mobilis and Martens en Van Oord, Netherlands




Artwork : Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam

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Balancing Barn

Location : Thorington, Suffolk, UK
Year : 2007-2010
Client : Living Architecture
Program : 210 m2, holiday rental home
Budget : Undisclosed

Red Dot Award 2011, Cologne, DE
RIBA Regional Award 2011
Nominated for Brit Insurance Awards 2011, London, UK
Winner public vote 2011, RIBA Manser Medal, London, UK

A stay at the Balancing Barn can be booked through Living Architecture (Website). It sleeps 8 people confortably, and is often booked many months in advance.

The Balancing Barn is situated on a beautiful lake in the English countryside near Thorington in Suffolk. The Barn’s architecture and engineering is a dramatic response to the picturesque natural setting. The traditional form and pitched roof make reference to the local agricultural vernacular, with an updated aesthetic. In this sense the Balancing Barn aims to live up to its philosophical goal of re-evaluating the countryside and making modern architecture accessible. In addition to this, it is both a relaxing and exciting holiday home. Furnished to a high standard of comfort and elegance and set in a quintessentially English landscape, it engages its temporary inhabitants with a new way to experience the countryside.

Approaching along the 300 meter driveway, the Balancing Barn appears at first to be a small, two-person house. It is only when visitors reach the end of the track that they suddenly experience the full length of the volume and the cantilever. The Barn is 30 meters long, with a 15 meter cantilever over a slope, plunging the house headlong into nature. The reason for this spectacular setting is the linear experience of nature. As the site slopes, and the landscape with it, the visitor experiences nature first at ground level and ultimately at tree height. The linear structure provides the stage for a changing outdoor experience.

At its midpoint the Barn begins to cantilever over the descending slope, a balancing act made possible by the rigid structure of the building, resulting in 50% of the barn hanging freely in space. The structure balances on a central concrete core, with the section that sits on the ground constructed from heavier materials than the cantilevered section. The long sides of the structure are well concealed by trees, offering privacy in and around the Barn.
The Barn’s metal facade reflects its natural surroundings and the changing seasons. On entering, one steps into a kitchen and a large dining room. A series of four double bedrooms follows, each with separate bathroom and toilet. In the very centre of the barn the bedroom sequence is interrupted by a hidden staircase providing access to the garden beneath. In the far, cantilevered end of the barn, there is a large living space with windows in three of its walls, floor and ceiling. Full height sliding windows and roof lights throughout the house ensure continuous views of, access to and connectivity with nature. The Barn is highly insulated, ventilated by a heat recovery system and heated by a ground source heat pump, resulting in a highly energy efficient building.

Design Team : Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries with Frans de Witte and Gijs Rikken
Co-Architect: Mole Architects, Cambridge, UK
Landscape Architect: The Landscape Partnership

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Special Project by MVRDV and Jacob van Rijs


Location : Ypenburg, The Hague, the Netherlands
Year : 1998-2005
Client : Amvest Vastgoed, Amsterdam NL
Program : 900 homes, 6 ha
Budget : Undisclosed

Ypenburg, The Hague, The Netherlands
Ypenburg is a residential neighborhood and easy to reach from Delft or The Hague, please respect the privacy of its inhabitants if you do visit.

The centrally planned developments of the Netherlands have lead in the 1990s to the construction of a giant compromise: millions of suburban houses are under construction, combining a low rise house with a relatively dense setting. It leads to environments that are neither urban or rural or even suburban, but rather to houses with very small gardens and claustrophobic environments. How can we escape from this claustrophobia while working within the difficult constraints of the site?

Within the 7,000 new houses built in the Ypenburg housing suburb near The Hague, the Waterwijk area commands a special position. Compared to other strategies in the overall plan, Waterwijk strives to create the most intense water-focused environment as a way to increase the attraction of the neighborhood and position it to compete better with the others. This approach has been carried out by turning the housing area into an archipelago of islands with houses on them. The question for MVRDV was how to realize or strengthen an archipelago like this with the market-driven technical possibilities?

A diversity of development approaches spreads risk. This resulted in a choice of as many different living environments as possible on each group of islands: patio houses, garden houses, houses around a court, apartments and reed houses. The difference in character is maximised by different choices of green facilities, different ecological measures, different lighting, different pavement and different materials for the houses of each island.

The size, 900 houses in total, enables experimentation. Is it true that 10 percent of a project’s budget can be dedicated to experimentation? According to the principles of economics, experimentation can happen as long as the remaining homes carry less risk. By saving costs on one island, by making islands with fewer quays, with less infrastructure, and fewer details, MVRDV allowed investment in another island that allowed for new experimental environments. Different architects have worked within the masterplan to further maximise its architectural diversity.

Competition Phase:
Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries
Tom Mossel, Carolien Ligtenberg and Christelle Gualdi
Design Phase:
Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries
Renske van der Stoep, Bart Spee, Tom Mossel, Frans de Witte, Carolien Ligtenberg

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Sources: wikipedia,,,,,,,


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