Bird's-eye view of the RAI complex
Most stations ended up just the way we envisioned them, no small feat considering the fact we started designing more than two decades ago. Some of them turned out even better than we thought, like Europaplein. It’s the least deep station, in an area far from the center and very simple, more simple even than we imagined. But it’s a spectacular simplicity that delivers a message: this is the kind of work we do really well and are famous for.
For more than three decades we have been creating innovative, flexible and efficient designs that must meet high standards and complex user requirements. Our field of work extends from (public) buildings to infrastructural projects and urban master plans. Whether we are renovating or modernizing a building or designing a completely new structure, we always seek clear, unique and efficient solutions.
Some of our designs are restrained, such as the extension to the Anne Frank House, while others are iconic, such as the Bergbau Museum and the Ziggo Dome. In various projects we have shown that combining old and new elements can result in very sustainable buildings that blend harmoniously with their surroundings and accommodate new forms of use.
Old and new buildings form part of an urban morphology that we respect and want to contribute to. In our iconic designs our aim is never to be conspicuous just for the sake of it. We deploy architecture to create new urban character and thus to contribute to the city of the future. Unexpected qualities surface frequently in the design and planning process, and they provide impulses for the urban environment or for the occupants of a building.
Our office is renowned for skilfully controlling the entire design and planning process in terms of both time and costs. We are well organized and have plenty of experience in supervising complex processes at all scales.
“We respect the hierarchy between urbanism and architecture. Our buildings must add something to the city. They must contribute to the city and function well as part of it.”
“In designing buildings, we want to fully comprehend and respect the interests of clients and also of neighbours, occupants and the city.”
Listening is an important quality in fully understanting all questions that arise during a design process. We want to discover ‘the question behind the question’, because that can help us to discover what really matters. Good architecture begins with clear thinking and thorough analyis. We always try to find the essence of the question.
Better solutions result if you are prepared to dig deeper and always have the courage to keep asking questions. In our designs we are not after sensational or spectacular architecture but after the best solution for the task at hand. We study the functional and internal logic of buildings and derive great pleasure from that.
Our work is rooted in the Dutch design tradition that marries understatement and efficiency with innovation and self-criticism. We adopt a restrained and intelligent approach and are not afraid of confrontations. That is also ‘Dutch’. Our team, however, consists of professionals from various cultural backgrounds who enjoy working both nationally and internationally.
We have a deep love of building and want people to enjoy our designs and genuinely appreciate them. In the station in Rotterdam you can see the trains and smell the wood as the lighting guides you to your destination. These are highly tactile, sensitive experiences, and it is fantastic that architecture can facilitate them.
“We want to get the very most out of every commission. That is why we want to understand the question behind the question. Our aim is to give clients more than they ask for.”
“Our office is full of extremely curious individuals whose job is to understand all stakeholders, not just the client. We keep posing questions. Why this? Why that?”
Our first projects were based on design principles that later came to be known as ‘sustainable’: compactness, good orientation and efficient use of materials. Sustainable building therefore comes naturally to us, as it has been part of our architectural tradition ever since the office was founded.
We make buildings that meet the highest contemporary standards of sustainability, among them RAI Amtrium and Mall Forum Mittelhein in Koblenz. In our office we have a specialist sustainability team that includes devoted and certified BREEAM designers. We are a participant in the ‘Green Building Council’, a member of the ‘German Sustainable Building Council’ (DGNB) and are certified ISO 14001:2015 .
We believe that sustainability is embedded in the wider context of social responsibility. In view of that responsibility, we always seek to balance the ecological, economic and social aspects of a project. We are proud that in so many of our projects we find an equilibrium between aesthetic and conceptual ambitions, efficient use of materials and innovative technological systems. That balance is essential for good architecture.
“We have created buildings with the highest attainable sustainability classifications. We have sustainability experts on our team, yet Benthem Crouwel is not a typical ‘green office’, because we always seek to integrate sustainability with other architectural values.”
“Over the years we have built enduring relations with many of our clients, and we have worked with some of them for decades. That continuity testifies to their trust in the consistent quality of our work.”
The application of new technology and new methods of production plays an important role in our work. We critically examine traditional processes of construction, production and planning again and again. Is there scope for improvement? Can we make it more efficient and smarter? These are the questions we ask ourselves throughout the process.
The aim of innovation is to ensure that our product possesses exceptional qualities that can make the result more user-friendly, sustainable, beautiful and easier to maintain. So for specific commissions we like to look for new methods and answers, as we did at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and Mall Forum Mittelrhein in Koblenz.
The facade of the Stedelijk Museum is made of composite material that seamlessly covers an exceptionally large area. The facade panels of Mall Forum Mittelrhein are manufactured from deep drawn aluminium sheets. In both cases we deployed existing production techniques from the boat building and automobile industries respectively to create architecture. That reflects what innovation means to us: introducing new technologies, materials and methods into our field.
“We believe that our way of working can make a major contribution to the design and planning process. Cooperating with stakeholders and co-creating are great ways to inspire others.”
“Our advisors are not only specialists in structural engineering, building physics and traffic engineering but also artists, graphic designers and changemakers. After all, other disciplines offer a fresh and potentially enhancing perspective on our field of work.”
Benthem Crouwel received many prizes for their work, ranging from national to international prizes. And the firm is frequently successful in national and international design and innovation competitions.
|2019||BNA Best Building of the Year 2019||an ode to craftsmanship, a declaration of love to materials||North-South Metro Line|
|2019||Amsterdam Architecture Prize||extraordinary craftsmanship, nuanced and thoughtful solutions||North-South Metro Line|
|2019||Talent met Toekomst||Saartje van der Made: great proof of her capabilities and talent.||Saartje van der Made|
|2018||'Amsterdam Prize' World Architecture Festival||the best building in Amsterdam||North-South Metro Line|
|2018||ARC18 Architecture Award||prize for best design||North-South Metro Line|
|2018||Nominee - Amsterdamse Architectuurprijs - A.A.P.||prize for the best building in Amsterdam||AM4|
|2018||Special Mention European Prize for Urban Public Space 2018||prize for the best recovery projects and developing public space||Cuyperspassage|
|2017||The American Architecture Prize||winner in Architectural design/Transportation||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2016||Nationale Staalprijs||best infrastructure project||Paleisbrug|
|2015||Nominee – Mies van de Rohe award||excellence in the field of architecture||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2015||Schreudersprijs||special achievement in underground construction||Delft Station|
|2015||BNA Gebouw van het Jaar||best building of the Netherlands in 2015||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2015||Nederlandse Bouwprijs||high quality innovative building initiatives||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2014||StIB Award||most successful area enhancement in the Netherlands||Rotterdam Central District|
|2014||Nationale staalprijs||inspiring use of steel in building projects||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2014||Brunel award||best projects in railway architecture worldwide||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2014||Houtprijs||inspiring use of wood in building projects||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2014||International Tunneling & Underground Space Award||Sustainable use of underground space and Tunneling client of the Year||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2014||Architect van het jaar ´14||best architect of The Netherlands||Team CS|
|2014||Gulden Feniks||best renovation and transformation projects||Rotterdam Central District|
|2014||Rotterdam Architectuurprijs||best architecture project in Rotterdam||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2014||Dutch Design Award||the best Dutch design has to offer. Won in category ‘Habitat’||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2014||Living daylight Award||optimal balance between daylight, artificial light and building design||Rotterdam Centraal, Rotterdam|
|2013||Co-creation Award||cooperation between architect and producer||New Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam|
|2013||Iconic Award Best of Best||Rat für Formgebung for interaction between design principles||New Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam|
|2013||Amstelveense Architectuurprijs||best new building in municipality of Amstelveen||Bella Donna, Amstelveen|
|2013||National Prix d’Excellence Award||to recognize the best real estate development||New Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam|
|2013||Best Architect ’14||most interesting the German architecture scene has to offer||Complete oeuvre|
|2013||Iconic Award Winner||Rat für Formgebung for interaction between design principles||Bergbau-Museum, Bochum|
|2012||Hedy d’Ancona Award||excellent care architecture||Academic Centre for Dentistry (ACTA), Amsterdam|
|2012||AIT Award||global award for best interior and architecture||Academic Centre for Dentistry (ACTA), Amsterdam|
|2010||Nationale Staalprijs||inspiring use of steel in building projects||Wilo, Zaanstad|
|2009||Nationale Renovatie Prijs Utiliteitsbouw (as of 2011 ‘Gulden Feniks’)||best renovation and transformation projects||Las Palmas, Rotterdam|
|2009||Benelux Aluminiumprijs Award||excellence in innovations for aluminum industry||Penthouse Las Palmas, Rotterdam|
|2009||Betonprijs||inspiring use of concrete in building projects||Muiderbrug on the A1 over Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal, Muiden|
|2009||PROM des Jahres 2009||most energy efficient real estate project of Germany||Etrium, Cologne|
|2009||Goldenes Gütesiegel||Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen - sustainable building||Etrium, Cologne|
|2008||Job Dura Prijs||excellent cultural projects and buildings||Las Palmas, Rotterdam|
|2002||Jaarprijs Nederlandse Raad van Winkelcentra||contribution to the qualitative development of shopping malls||Villa Arena home furnishing centre, AmsterdamVilla Arena, Amsterdam|
|1999||BNA Kubus, Royal Institute of Dutch Architects||outstanding merits for architecture in The Netherlands||Complete oeuvre|
|1998||FGH Vastgoedprijs||distinctive initiatives in the property market||World Trade Center, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport|
|1996||Wibautprijs, City of Amsterdam||urban design on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport||Amsterdam Schiphol Airport|
|1994||Architectuurprijs Midden-Brabant||best new project of the province Noord-Brabant||013, Tilburg|
|1994||Nationale Staalprijs||inspiring use of steel in building projects||Bridge over Open Havenfront, Amsterdam|
|1990||Nationale Staalprijs, honourable mention||inspiring use of steel in building projects||MORS, OpmeerMORS company building, Opmeer|
|1990||Constructa Preis||European award for industrial architecture||MORS, OpmeerMORS company building, Opmeer|
|1989||Kunstpreis Berlin||in the category Architecture||Complete oeuvre|
|1985||A.J. van Eck prijs||integration of the construction in the architectural design||House Benthem, House Jager, border crossing Hazeldonk|
|1983||Nationale Staalprijs, honourable mention||inspiring use of steel in building projects||House, The Haque|
Benthem Crouwel Architects has a project portfolio that covers the broadest range of architectural design, from small to very large scale projects. With offices in Amsterdam, Paris and Düsseldorf, we value our international, ambitious and dynamic atmosphere, but find it equally important that our work environment is open, friendly and non-hierarchical.
Employees are annually evaluated through performance interviews, where subjects like personal development, education and career planning are discussed. Benthem Crouwel Amsterdam operates in accordance with the Dutch CAO (collective labor agreement for architectural offices in the Netherlands), Benthem Crouwel Düsseldorf works according to German legislation.
Benthem Crouwel Architects
Generaal Vetterstraat 61
NL-1059 BT Amsterdam NL
PO Box 9201
NL-1006 AE Amsterdam NL