Maarten Kloos
director ARCAM

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

My father was an architect and on mothers side we were musical. This made it inevitable that I hesitated a long time between architecture and the cello, I even divided my time and attention between architecture in Delft and the conservatory in The Hague. But there was no escape: I graduated from the TU Delft.

2. Why are you fascinated with
architecture / urban development?

For architecture: everything I overheard as a child at home in Van Loghem's 'Tuinwijk-Zuid' in Haarlem, one of the nicest floor plans ever drawn and my father's drawing room on the second floor. For town planning: much later, from gradually formed attitudes about society.

3. Best city

I do not like absolutes. My 'best city' is often a city near the water, but mostly just the last city where I've felt comfortable. I can greatly desire New York, have a love-hate relationship with Paris, and Madrid, at present, is on my mind.

4. Most beautiful building

Like the 'best city' also the 'most beautiful building' does not exist. An experience I do know is that a building can be overwhelmingly poignant. I would always prefer to be in such a situation alone. It happened to me in Le Corbusier's building for the Mill Owners' Association in Ahmedabad, India.

5. Most beautiful park or square

As well as a park and a square, there must be an attractive area where people can meet. A square that is fascinating in that aspect is the Prato della Valle in Padua, the most beautiful parks include Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo and the new Westerpark in Amsterdam.

6. Best public facility /
urban infill

I hesitate here, because if I'm honest, I say the western suburbs. Can I, as a true 'Amsterdammer', say that? I'll just go ahead and say it: New West, a great spatial organization with tremendous future potential already expected 80 years ago by a number of visionary designers.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

For me the past century began in 1909, when Blériot first crossed the Channel in an airplane. From that moment all the spatial development associated with the questions of how lightness can to relate to consistency on the one hand and on the other dematerialization.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

Any substantial future innovations will cover the concepts of place and time. On the same level as the time machine, the 3D multifunctional or deconstructing and then reconstructing organisms, no opportunity should be excluded.

9. About the future of cities

It is obvious that the city as we know it will undergo an incredible transformation. This will mainly be implemented under very different relationships between the components in a much more fluid character of the city as a whole.

10. Personal contribution to urban development

With the establishment of ARCAM in 1986 a platform was created that has helped to broaden the appreciation of urban quality. The ARCAM CARD (1995) showed that a seemingly abstract element as 'future prospects' also has tangible form.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

A phenomenon like the urban guerrilla clearly creates division among people. Some find it stifling, some invite the prospect. I am among those who look forward to it, want to be surprised and disappointed when the new ideas on this front seem to be missing.