Irma van Oort, architect and partner at KCAP, has been part of De Architect Manifest TV's third episode on January 28th. In the Manifest book, launched late 2020, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dutch architectural magazine, sixteen architects talked about their vision on climate and inequality. Irma van Oort shared there her view on how KCAP, with over thirty years of experience in sustainable urban design and architecture, creates projects that respond to these significant issues of our time.

In the special Manifest TV session, she is discussing the significant housing challenge that Rotterdam is facing, together with Mattijs van Ruijven, Rotterdam's Head of Urban Planning, and Jos Melchers, Rotterdam's director of area development. The larger question is about the urban development of expanding cities and how we compose frameworks that combine qualitative urban space and housing development with climate targets

With the experience of KCAP’s work at the interface of urban planning, architecture, and landscape that continuously strives to create a healthy living environment based on the principles of social sustainability, she explains the importance of neighbourhoods with a human scale and varied programming, qualitative public spaces, greenery, good social facilities for recreation and sports, with the possibility of social mobility. And above that, what has emerged more explicitly over the past decade is the search for quality of life: well-being and health. It also means designing places for social encounters to foster community building and prevent anonymity. Mattijs van Ruijven and Jos Melchers explain the specific possibilities and challenges the city of Rotterdam is facing and which role municipal governance plays in those processes and how to make sure that a densification resulting in 50,000 additional homes for Rotterdam is well embedded, A city is always in transition and it is important that this transition takes place carefully.

Concluding, the interaction between buildings, public space, programming, routes, and connections as well as the collaboration and exchange between municipalities, commercial players, designers, and citizens is key to make cities livable and inclusive: places for people to feel at home.

Curious to view more? Watch the whole interview (in Dutch) here.

Portrait photo by Femque Schook