At a special ceremony in Paris, it was announced that Prof. Erik Rietveld, Socrates Professor at the University of Twente, and his brother Ronald Rietveld, Artist in Residence at the University of Amsterdam, have won the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture for their oeuvre. UNESCO supports this award and recognizes their contributions to sustainable architecture.
The Rietveld brothers are appreciated for their explorative, art-based approach in architecture, sustainability and ecological psychology. With their art collective RAAAF, they combine visual art, philosophy and architecture in a uniquely experimental and creative way. Many of their projects revolve around transforming existing heritage sites and creating new meanings for the future. They explore the boundaries of what is possible in architecture and sustainability. They are commited to education, andinspire and guide next generations of makers and thinkers through lived experience and example in their artworks.
Erik Rietveld is a Socrates Professor at the University of Twente’s Department of Philosophy (Faculty BMS) and VICI Principal Investigator at the Amsterdam University Medical Center. Rietveld’s Socrates Chair at the UT is titled Making Humane Technologies and his work emphasizes the importance of embedding technological interventions in society. He conducts research on the role of the environment in our daily lives. For this, he received a Vici grant in 2021. His philosophical work emphasizes the importance of what he calls “change-ability” in a rapidly changing world.
The projects of RAAAF (Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances), founded by the Rietveld brothers in 2006, are based on in-depth historical research and unorthodox site-specific interventions. Their artworks invite the public to think differently about climate adaptation, historical heritage, vacancy and health.
Some striking projects include "Bunker 599," in which a bunker, a listed monument from World War II, was radicallly cut in half to create a work of contemporary art. Paradoxically, since 2021 Bunker 599 is listed as UNESCO World Heritage as part of the New Dutch Waterline.
Bunker 599, RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon, 2013 Culemborg. Photo: Allard Bovenberg
Another special project is 'Deltawerk //', where a 250 meter long test model at the Dutch Hydrodynamics Laboratory has been transformed into a fascinating work of art. Deltawerk // questions the ambition to build an "indestructible Holland" in times of climate change and sealevel rising. Both projects were created in collaboration with Atelier de Lyon.
There is also 'Still Life,' a striking art installation placed in a former NATO bullet factory that evokes a sense of danger and contemplation in a turbulent world.
Still Life, RAAAF 2019 | Museum Het Hem Amsterdam. Photo: Walter Herfst