Making buildings together is fascinating. Improving the built environment and the way it functions. Clients of all kinds, from private individuals to local authorities, helping to change, examine, transform, intensify, discover new identities and then collectively achieve the final result, which is always more than the sum of the parts. From the biggest gesture to the smallest detail, offering a strong, clear and unique answer to a question. The best way I can describe this process is like ‘stealing bikes together’.
Our projects variety in type and scale: from residential schemes, utilitarian projects and the transformation and redevelopment of existing buildings, to complex urban renewal operations. A school, a mosque, a swimming pool, housing, urban design — it’s the diversity that is so inspiring. The work of MR A&U has been published around the world and won numerous prizes. Both in the Netherlands and elsewhere, the office has a proven track record in using its knowledge and experience to create architecture that is both layered and spatially strong. Depending on the project, the distinctive designs with their refined detailing can be either modest or expressive. The design style is comparable to a distinctive voice that can speak many languages. Themes such as patterns and ornamentation in brickwork attest to a deep love of materials, details and craftsmanship. The sketches by the office demonstrate an inquisitive design attitude that unites both analysis and intuition.
Marlies Rohmer has two publications to her name: in 2016 she released the book What Happened To My Buildings (NAI Publishers), a thematic study of the ‘longevity’ (that is, the sustainability) of old work by the office, with the intention of learning from what went well and what didn’t.
The first book, Bouwen voor de NEXT GENERATION from 2007 (NAI Publishers) combines a multi-year study of youth culture based on a personal archive of newspaper clippings about such subjects as increasing weight among young people and the lack of physical exercise in relation to architecture and urban design. The route from home to school as a key design challenge. With a lively sidewalk, the street as a village, vibrant city districts, a residential environment that is socially anchored to its context and climbable school buildings with a basketball court on the roof. Marlies was one of the first to highlight a variety of themes that would later become popular, among them the ‘active city’.