Florian Idenburg
architect and partner SO – IL

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

Born and raised in and around Haarlem. Studied at Delft University of Technology. My eight years’ experience in the Japanese office SANAA in Tokyo had a great influence on me both professionally and ideologically. At the moment I live with my wife and two daughters in Brooklyn, New York.

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

The built environment is the arena for life. It’s where everything comes together. Working on it, confronts us with the possibilities and impossibilities that we have as humanity in the realization of our destiny and our dreams.

3. Best city

Now we all live in a big city. That city has many pleasant neighborhoods. One is Brooklyn. Very diverse, very green, very livable. But raw and unfinished so it excites people. Another great area is Tokyo, where everything is mysterious, even after years of frequenting its streets. Also pleasant is the neighborhood Rio de Janeiro, full of energy and excitement. And so we go on, wandering from one neighborhood to another, in amazement.

4. Most beautiful building

I think the world has a lot of great buildings. Every neighborhood has at least one. Beautiful is difficult, what is beautiful? I like the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe, but OMA's Casa da Musica in Porto is beautiful too. But older buildings like the Hagia Sophia or courtyards of houses in Kyoto are really beautiful also.

5. Most beautiful park or square

Park: Central Park remains great in its hard-edge. But the Jardim Botanica also, recently I was in this botanical garden in Rio de Janeiro: an oasis of intense nature in an intense city. Square: The Piazza del Campo in Siena.

6. Best public facility / urban infill

Nowadays I am often in Anvers, I am very impressed with what they have done with the central station. The High Line in New York of Field Operations is also really good.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

The Internet.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

The intelligent, responsive city.

9. About the future of cities

The city is a hybrid mix of virtual and physical information. It is up to city planners to consider this as an integral project.

10. Personal contribution to urban development

With SANAA I designed a number of buildings that have brought dramatic change to the direct neighborhood. With SO – IL, our interventions so far have been more like acupuncture, but that will soon change.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

The economic crisis is a blessing, it makes the city more 'unfinished'. The more unfinished the city, the more energetic its life. The structures the crisis has brought about, are the most radical urban units. They frustrate all good intentions and leave the city open to more extreme interventions.