Jan Benthem and Mels Crouwel met at the Delft University of Technology in 1979 when one of the lecturers introduced them because he felt they would form a good team. The same year, they founded Benthem Crouwel Architects in a modest basement of an Amsterdam canal home. At the Amsterdam-based Benthem Crouwel LAB, partners Pascal Cornips, Daniel Jongtien, Saartje van der Made, and Joost Vos manage an international team of 60 experts. They collaborate on projects in Amsterdam, Paris, and California. The architecture practice encompasses all forms, scales, and services of design. A comprehensive and multinational portfolio and more than four decades of expertise ensure that the team are well-prepared to face any urban issue. They had no intention of establishing a large firm, but two significant contracts in the late 1980s – the master plan for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and becoming an architectural supervisor for the RAI exposition and convention centre – would be vital in the firm’s growth.

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Jan Benthem and Mels Crouwe_©https://www.benthemcrouwel.com/origins

Work process

They approach each project in the same way: curious and enthusiastic, they employ their ideas, experience, and skilled craftsmanship to develop the finest solutions possible. This results in high-quality, sustainable urban settings and adaptable, mixed-use buildings that are a joy to live in are created. They aim to link people and places. Exceptional architecture begins with an open mind: they can expose the question behind it via inquiry, careful listening, and comprehensive investigation. The designs are then achieved via multidisciplinary collaboration with the customer and other stakeholders. This is how they not only fulfil the design challenge but also raise the project to the status of a future-proof urban asset. This method results in utilitarian yet fascinating structures that people can connect with, both now and in the future. The ultimate result is a collection of flawlessly integrated functionalities – meaningful, functional, and attractive buildings.

Studio – Vision

“A good idea will always remain a good idea.” – Jan Benthem

The studio’s vision is to produce unique and major designs which follow the following keywords:

Innovative

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Goede Doelen Loterijen & Dutch Charity Lotteries Head Offices_©Benthem Crouwel

The LAB was established to give this creative space within the studio; it’s an initiative where employees can examine clichés and paradigms and be original outside the framework of current projects. The LAB provides a chance to highlight the unique capacity to come up with innovative and surprising ideas that enhance people’s lives and showcase the creativity and variation that define our work.

Connective

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Underground Station At Delft©Benthem Crouwel

Transit will always be a fundamental element of society, and as such, it will continue to influence the climate and quality of life significantly. For increasingly densely populated cities to function, we require highly efficient and high-quality public transportation hubs that are so safe and entertaining that they become commuters’ first option. People’s ideas and behaviours can be changed by well-designed public transportation. People must choose public transport; it cannot be forced upon them.

Responsible 

An architect’s job requires a great deal of responsibility. The sheer nature of their vocation put them in an awkward situation. They contribute to an ever-expanding built environment by providing people with places to live, work, and transportation hubs. However, in doing so, they add to our planet’s pollution and weariness. The construction industry accounts for around 35% of global garbage. Change is unavoidable; it is only through bold, forward-thinking thinking that we can continue to construct and renovate without depleting vital resources.

Mixed 

Benthem Crouwel Architects work on a diverse variety of large and small projects, practical and expressive, cultural and commercial, domestic and international, private and public. This very idea is what keeps them inspired and alert. An excellent and broad blend means our expertise is constantly updated and expanded while enhancing our interdisciplinary approach.

The First Project

Client– Family J. Benthem
Location– Almere, The Netherlands
Gross floor area– 65 m²
Construction– 1982 to 1984

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House De Fantasie©Benthem Crouwel

The house De Fantasie (‘the fantasy’) was created for the municipality of Almere’s ‘unusual homes’ competition. The brief was to create a place without regard for existing construction codes. All prize winners received a five-year lease on a parcel of land. The home and its foundation needed to be simple to disassemble.

The living area of the tiny house is bounded on three sides by glass sheets to include the surrounding scenery in the housing experience. The private zone, which consists of the two bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom, is surrounded by sandwich panel walls. The house’s remarkable design combats wind pressure in three ways. The space-frame floor structure is connected to a concrete slab base, stabilising fins are strategically positioned at the joints of the toughened glass sheets, and two steel tension cables secure the lightweight profiled steel roof carried aloft by the glazing.

Latest Project

Client– Mr and Mrs Yokus
Contractor– Kadar Bouw
Location– De Lichtenberg, Amersfoort (NL)
Gross floor area– 359 m2
Start construction– 2022

House Amersfoort©Benthem Crouwel

A home designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects is being built at the highest point of Amersfoort, in the rolling green area of Lichtenberg. The design prioritises landscape and security. An open plinth provides the best connection to the garden and the surrounding region. The sleeping quarters and workplace are housed in a confined floating volume above the plinth, which contrasts with the openness of the plinth. The ‘floating house was designed for a family that desired plenty of space but wanted a modest home.

Images

  1. https://www.benthemcrouwel.com/origins. Jan Benthem and Mels Crouwel. [Photography]
  2. Benthem Crouwel. Goede Doelen Loterijen & Dutch Charity Lotteries Head Offices. [Photography]
  3. Benthem Crouwel. Underground Station At Delft. [Photography]
  4. Benthem Crouwel. House De Fantasie. [Photography]
  5. Benthem Crouwel. House Amersfoort. [Photography]

Online sources

  1. (no date) Benthem Crouwel – Beyondarchitecture. Available at: https://www.benthemcrouwel.com/ (Accessed: November 27, 2022). 
Author

Vanishya Vasanth is an architectural graduate and an enthusiastic writer. She writes to remember, gaining knowlege with every word. You will find her sketching and doodling her thoughts dreaming of a self-sufficient and sustainable world ahead.

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