Fred Schoorl
director Royal Institute
of Dutch Architects

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

Rich town, poor neighborhood. Big family, little money. Story of My Life. In the district where I lived in Wassenaar the backdoor was always open , football was played in the street and rugged nature was our backyard. Love for nature and culture came to me early. I studied historical geography and planning in Amsterdam.

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

In high school I wrote a thesis 'Future vision of nature & landscape'. Hilarious. But why? Atmosphere, sensibility and people who make and demolish landscapes and cities, fascinating. The narrative element is for me the most fascinating.

3. Best city

Does not exist. Personally I have bonded the most with Valencia, the 'little Barcelona' that I've seen change from a sleepy, poetic orange-city in to a modern city that craves recognition and almost loses itself in it. Architecture plays a special role, with Calatrava as MeisterSinger.

4. Most beautiful building

The Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision - designed by BNA Kubus-winners 2010 Neutelings Riedijk Architects - beautiful and well developed. I witnessed the struggle from the sidelines. Yet, banal, I find the Sagrada Familia, because of its importance, impossibility, incompleteness, eccentricity and ditto architect, and my fascination with Spain, more intriguing. The soul of the Catalans is in that building. More so than the CCTV tower is for the Chinese. And it is on many tourist top-10 lists!

5. Most beautiful park or square

Central Park. Beautiful story, beautifully landscaped, complete with a municipal program. Although the public program in the dry bed of the Turia in Valencia is also beautiful. And the Westerpark in Amsterdam, of course.

6. Best public facility /
urban infill

If Jane Jacobs could have imagined a human city scale, she would have found Amsterdam an educated guess. As a cyclist and a walker you can hardly wish for a better city.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

The Internet: movement and processing of information in 'a flat world'. But photographs, film and television as predecessor. And the 'OV-bike' of course as the everyday innovation.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

I expect the next major innovation in the field of physical movement and energy.

9. About the future of cities

The trend towards urbanization will continue. The extremes in the BRIC-countries will change the appearance of world drastically. In Europe we are the Old World, if we don't reinvent ourselves. Our cities will be archaeological sites, with many tourists. But not unpleasant, as long as the conflicts do not wipe out our cities.

10. Personal contribution to urban development

If I have contributed anything it as initiator and the 'architect' of the Belvedere project at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. At Natuurmonumenten, Nirov and Ymere continuing work on solid and socially relevant projects. Further with all my heart and soul to inspire people to eradicate time and resistance. And by writing columns, moderating and judging. To blow my own horn in the orchestra. That's it.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

Very important that the frayed edges, the informal culture and the creativity keeps the city awake and together forms the compost heap where the city can grow again. The craving for un-planning, no-plans and so forth I understand.