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Post-OMA architects: Neutelings, Den Born


Kees Christiaanse (1953) is a partner from the early days of OMA and currently heads up one of the most influential architectural and urban development firms in the Netherlands: KCAP. The acronym stands for Kees Christiaanse And Partners, one of whom is Han den Born (1958), who also worked at OMA for a short while. KCAP projects are characterised by rationality; a form of professional common sense. Productivity is high. They are capable of working on different projects all over the world at the same time. By now Christiaanse has more completed buildings to his name than Koolhaas. He is more interested in urban development than architecture, and tends to create austere, unprepossessing and anonymous tower blocks, often brought about by a typical post-OMA original interpretation of programme and location. His designs tend not to be much to look at on the outside, but his intention is to create as many useful square metres as possible for the users.

Willem-Jan Neutelings (1959) is diametrically opposed to Christiaanse. His work is based primarily on eighteenth and nineteenth-century ideas about architecture with attention for symmetry and monumentality. He is also interested in ornamentation and integrated decoration in buildings; a theme that has no place within OMA. The unrelenting singularity and stubborn strangeness of his designs could be seen as reminiscent of OMA.

Working with Michiel Riedijk, his bureau Neutelings Riedijk Architects has designed the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision building in Hilversum. Here he revealed his roots by producing a completely impossible construction, while at the same time creating an entirely new type of building. Unlike Christiaanse, Neutelings works from a sculptural aesthetic. He sees architecture as an art form, whereas the founder of KCAP regards architecture as planning. One major distinction with Koolhaas is that the master sees a tight budget primarily as a challenge, while for Neutelings it can be a reason for not embarking upon a project.