Interview from the Dutch book Manifest
Robert Winkel of Mei architects & planners pleads for respectful architecture in which buildings are closely related to earth, air, people and animals. In SAWA he hopes to realize all his ideals.
Robert Winkel / “Architecture is not a purpose in itself, but a means to achieve a better society with happy people. Most corporations, traditional developers, and contractors work from a different interest. There are few incentives for them to think about their fellow man. The demand for homes is high, there is not enough space and that means that they do not have to run fast. These parties may say they want it differently, but that will not happen; they have no interest in it.
Neighborhood development has been successful in Katendrecht. Gentrification has taken place here without the original inhabitants having disappeared en masse. There is a good composition of different groups and there is great social cohesion. For me, it is a great example of how you make the city.
However different the projects of Mei architects – for example Jobsveem, the Schiecentrale and Fenix I – the mindset is the same everywhere. Characteristic are the connectedness and the distinct architecture. I like galleries and often use them in buildings. For example in the Schiecentrale in the Lloydkwartier in Delfshaven (Rotterdam), where I live with my family. During these corona times we’ve met with other residents in the gallery, which was really a connecting space.”
Robert Winkel is founder and director of Mei architects and planners. By also developing himself and taking risks, he wants to add value to a project for the neighborhood and also make more sustainable choices. He foresees a great future for timber construction. In Manifest he advocates “friendly neighborhood development”, in which different groups merge together and inclusivity is key.
Climate and social inequality are one of the major issues of our time. Global warming, demographic growth and expanding urbanization pose exceptional challenges. In Manifest, designers bundle their vision on these issues. They show how you can respond to new challenges professionally.
The question to which an answer is sought in Manifest is not whether you should deal with climate and inequality, but especially how you can best do this.
Participated to Manifest: Thomas Rau, Nanne de Ru, Odette Ex, Paul de Ruiter, Dirk Peters, Diederik Dam, Irma van Oort, Do Janne Vermeulen, Jeroen de Willigen, Bart Mispelblom Beyer, Michiel Hofman en Barbara Dujardin, Dikkie Scipio, Roberto Meyer en Wouter Thijssen, Robert Winkel, Daniel Jongtien, Pascal Cornips, Saartje van der Made en Joost Vos, Victor de Leeuw en Willemineke Hammer.
Manifest is for sale through the webshop of De Architect.