Meet… #19 | Chris Woltjes

In the series ‘Meet…’, GROUP A employees respond to a number of questions about their work. This time it is the turn of architect and project leader Chris Woltjes, who has been part of the team for more than a decade. In that period he worked on different kind of assignments such as the renovation of the Metro Oostlijn, the transformation of the Nieuwe Kerk Zierikzee and the Forum pedestrian area at Utrecht CS.  Currently he is involved in the Utrecht Central Park office tower and the design for a laboratory cluster on the TU Delft Campus.

Before I became an architect
I wanted to become an archaeologist in order to discover how humans adapted to their environment and how the environment in turn transformed through human activity. As an architect perhaps you’re also somewhat of an archaeologist, of the future, through the same kind of unearthing of human’s future environment.

With this architect – dead or alive – I would like to have a good conversation
James Joyce, this ‘architect’ of literature manipulates language in order to describe how he reads the world.

“… a waalworth of a skyerscape of most eyeful hoyth entowerly , erigenating from next to nothing and calescalating the himals and all, hierarchitectitiptitoploftical, with a burning bush abob off its baubletop and with larrons o’toolers clittering up and tombles a ’buckets clottering down.”
James Joyce. Finnegans Wake (1947, Viking Press New York)

Wouldn’t it be nice if every project brings a small wonderment?

I’d rather have a client with a strong opinion than one that gives us complete freedom of action
Designing is always teamwork. Strong opinions within a team can lead to clashes, but in the end a thorough discussion will bring the design further. So I definitely prefer a stronger opinion.

My most characteristic feature
My colleagues would have to answer this. I could not name a specific one.

A building that made a great impression on me
The old Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo! The photos I took there of everyday life continue to inspire me. We also design for people’s activity.

I’d like to get started with this area
The Groningen station area. Designing these types of nodes I could call a passion for me. Bringing together complex (technical) conditions with creating comfortable places of a human scale is the biggest challenge for areas of transit. It is always a privilege to work on such public projects and feels most rewarding when you succeed.

If I want to relax then I’m going to
Relaxation is to be found in many things. That could be the taking photos of the city, in canoeing in the wilderness, but also in finding flow in designing or writing a text.

When a project is finished, I’ll let it go and move on or
People’s environment is never finished.

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