Utrecht-born Ben Van Berkel is one of the architecture world’s most active star professionals and one of The Netherlands’ most well known contemporary architects. He studied architecture at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and at the Architectural Association in London, before co-founding the independent practice Van Berkel & Bos Architectuurbureau in Amsterdam in 1988, with colleague Caroline Bos.


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The practice immediately made a strong impact with their work, which received international critical acclaim. The Moebius house, and the NMR facilities for the University of Utrecht stand out, alongside one of their very first projects, the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam. This is also one of the architect’s favorite projects: ’I was young when I designed it and I never really thought that it would become such a symbol for the city,’ he explains proudly.
Following their success and the practice’s growth, the two founders decided to establish a new firm in 1998, and thus UNStudio (United Net Studio), a network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure. UNStudio’s completed work includes the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, a facade and interior renovation for the Galleria Department store in Seoul, and a private villa in up-state New York.
Their current projects count the Graz Music Theatre (MUMUTH), which we presented on this year’s Architects Directory shoot, and the highly anticipated, luxurious Five Franklin Place condominiums in New York’s Tribeca district, which the architect discusses in more detail in our latest issue, W*115.
Today, the Director of UNStudio is overseeing the firm’s 36 ongoing projects, varying from masterplans, to buildings, products and studies, while currently getting ready for the launch of their Venice installation as part of this year’s Architecture Biennale headline show, curated by Aaron Betsky.