Karin Laglas
Dean of the Faculty of Architecture
Delft University of Technology

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

I graduated at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Delft University of Technology and I've been internationally active as a real estate developer for over 25 years now. During the past year, I was interim director of the Dutch Association of Architects (BNA).

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

Urban design and architecture shape the space we live in. This gives them a clear connection to everyday reality. A well-designed beautiful space or building makes life a little nicer.

3. Best city

Very close to home. Amsterdam is a great city. The beautiful historic centre which is still being used domestically. The successful transformation of the IJ-banks into urban areas, the Westergasfabriek, the cultural climate, the - despite everything - tolerance for those who deviate from the standard. A nice place to live.

4. Most beautiful building

The Faculty of Architecture in Delft of course! A great example of how an old, colourless and dull building can get a vibrant new life.

5. Most beautiful park or square

I find Parc de Bercy in Paris very pleasant. It balances between a park and an urban residence area. Beautiful overall design using different 'rooms' with different green and brick structures. Just on the other side of the Seine via a wonderful bridge a visit to the Grand Bibliotheque. And Bercy Village for a Sunday lunch.

6. Best public facility /
urban infill

The city of Lyon has achieved exceptional results. More than 10 years ago it intervened in the city centre. By linking smart parking and traffic circulation facilities to beautiful squares, and creating a couple of unique public buildings (the opera by Jean Nouvel for example). They are now busy with 'Lyon Confluence', the development of an industrial area adjacent to the centre. This too is well thought out - with great attention to public spaces and functions in the area - and in conjunction with a very public building where the Rhône and Saône converge intended to be the apotheosis.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

The many small and large innovations that have enabled us to build more slender, comfortable, cheaper and elegant. Let's continue this in the 21st century.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

Smart use of solar and wind energy in building materials and buildings so that we no longer (or barely) need fossil energy for the architectural environment. Ditto for transportation, transportation that meets individual needs and requires no fossil energy.

9. About the future of cities

Urbanization continues. The city is increasingly attractive because of the intellectual and creative driven economy. People are drawn to the city with the wish for gaining new experiences and to interact with peers. The importance of public and meeting spaces will increase but the Internet is also public space. The question is whether people will still care about their immediate physical environment (nearby) or fulfil these needs via Internet communities. It also requires thinking about the role of the district or neighbourhood as a 'self organizing spatially-administrative' entity. With the ongoing migration to the cities, we must ensure that there is also sufficient accommodation for those who have a smaller budget for they will also move to the city.

10. Personal contribution to urban development

I have been actively involved in a number of local and international large-scale inner city developments. For example city centre Amstelveen and other downtown developments. Now through my role as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in Delft I do this indirectly through the facilitation of urban education and research.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

Temporary use of vacant buildings and less regulation that impedes functional changes. A nice example are guerilla stores, temporary shops in unexpected places. Also a good way to get a location some exposure.