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Architect Pi de Bruijn is famous for expanding and modernising public buildings like the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam or the Dutch parliament in The Hague. He also developed huge urban areas like the ZuidAs in Amsterdam or the Beursplein in Rotterdam.

But a much smaller project proved to be a real turning point for Pi de Bruijn. In Roombeek, a tiny residential area in the city of Enschede, he decided to diminish his own role as an architect. He let the future residents create their own neighbourhood.

In May 2000, Roombeek was completely devastated by the explosion of a fireworks factory. 23 people were killed. Pi de Bruijn asked all residents to help determine what their new neighbourhood should look like. 50 % of the residents were able to design their own houses. De Bruijn merely functions as a supervisor, a coordinator of ideas. This new approach earned the city a prestigious prize for excellence in commissioning work in architecture and urban planning.

Pi de Bruijn used to believe in a modernist, idealistic, top-down approach. In the seventies he worked on the Bijlmermeer in Amsterdam. With separated areas for living, working, shopping and leisure. On paper it all seemed to work, but in reality the dream turned into a nightmare.

CREDITS: Director: Noud Holtman, Camera: Pierre Rezus, Sound: Wouter Veldhuis, Editing: Dominique Kools, Creative Producer: Geert van de Wetering,
Producer: Olivia van Leeuwen. Produced by Submarine, Music Sound Design: Jesse Koolhaas, Commissioned by DutchDFA.

Dutch Profiles is a series of short documentaries about architects and graphic, product and fashion designers in the Netherlands, commissioned by DutchDFA. The shorts are meant to spread freely over the web, but also to be shown in high-res as a part of lectures, exhibitions and business presentations.

“Dutch Profiles focuses on the conceptual, context-oriented and research-based practice of Dutch designers, telling the story behind some of those well-known images,” says commissioner Christine de Baan, programme director of Dutch Design Fashion Architecture.

Dutch Profiles includes interviews with, among others: MVRDV, 2012 Architects, Jurgen Bey, Claudy Jongstra, Gerard Unger, Paul Mijksenaar, Marlies Dekkers, Alexander van Slobbe and G-Star.

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