Wouter Veldhuis
urban planner/architect and director Must stedebouw

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

Born, bred, working and living in Amsterdam. Studied architecture at the Faculty of Architecture in Delft. In 1997 started, together with fellow students Robert Broesi and Pieter Jannink, Must stedebouw. Recently did my entrance exams to register myself as an urban planner.

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

The reason to study architecture was an art program, on a Amsterdam television channel, about the promising architect Rem Koolhaas. I knew nothing about the subject. I now know much more about architecture and urbanism, but I still do not know why it fascinates me so much.

3. Best city

Amsterdam, the city where for more than 500 years the best people have been working on a cohesive and diverse urban fabric. The city has always found a balance between conservation and development. The result is variety and consistency. In what other city can you cycle carefree for hours through vibrant neighborhoods, attractive streets and beautiful parks?

4. Most beautiful building

True architecture is created when architect, client and location accept each and give each other space. This is rarely the case. Peter Zumthor's Bruder Klaus Chapel in a field in Eifel is a recent example of such an exceptionally beautiful building where everything will fall into place.

5. Most beautiful park or square

Sloterplas in the heart of Amsterdam's Western Garden Cities. An unprecedented and accurate operation. Unique in urban planning and landscape architecture, it's a park and a square simultaneously. The fuller the city, the more valuable this great void in the middle of the city will prove to be.

6. Best public facility / urban infill

In response to the aesthetic poverty line of construction in the Western Garden Cities of Amsterdam by Van Eesteren there has been an exuberant amount of experimenting with land allotment. This has yielded the most fascinating spatial configurations. Allotment is elevated to higher mathematics, since then it has only diminished.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

The European Union in the 20th century has finally secured civil democracy. Because of this social innovation prosperity, security and freedom is guaranteed in a region that is traditionally unstable and violent.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

The colonization of the Moon is an inevitable step in our earthly civilization. Technically it is possible, resources abound. Will we ever be wise enough to solve our own problems without expansion? If we can leave the Moon alone it is the most innovative form of organization: hands off!

9. About the future of cities

The city has barely survived the onslaught of the anti-urban modernism. Many cities have regained people's loyalty. At a time when you can physically and virtually live anywhere, for the individual who deliberately chooses a fixed spot this is a luxury. Customer loyalty is more important in a city than customer acquisition.

10. Personal contribution to urban development

Part of the Eindhoven area Lakerlopen is recent work. Ten years ago, we opted for an open planning process, refused to disqualify the existing and still were not afraid to intervene heavily. The result is a very thorough and widely acclaimed intervention in existing urban areas. A key objective in our work and hopefully an inspiration to others.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

Pertinent nonsense. There is no enemy, there is no war. The city is where the citizen has the freedom to develop themselves. Then do it! Take on the discussion, form coalitions, take initiative. The city, that is what are we.