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In Between
The urban architecture of Donna van Milligen Bielke
by Hans Ibelings en Kirsten Hannema

Architecture shapes the space around us. Architecture as a solitary building has a certain function, which means that it meets a certain need. More important is the dialogue that a building enters into with its direct context. Because together, the surrounding buildings, the architectural boundaries, shape the public space. These public spaces, consisting of streets, alleys, courtyards and squares, form the urban fabric which ultimately gives the city its character. In that sense, architecture is about dividing space by setting boundaries. Boundaries between indoor and outdoor space, between private and public, between open or closed. The proportion, permeability, materialization and detailing of those buildings define the expression of the space around us. To give a sense of which space we are dealing with. It is about shifting the focus from object to space, about the continuity of the surrounding context. For Donna van Milligen Bielke architecture begins and ends with architecture. Even if she never mentions it explicitly, for her, architecture suffices to make architecture. Just as a language comprises all its words, including the ones that are rarely used, architecture is based on all its forms and manifestations. Wittingly or unwittingly, every architect stands in relation to all architecture that has ever been made. Not every architect fully acknowledges this, but Van Milligen Bielke certainly does. In her work it is possible to see the depth of the discipline's history. This book has been published as part of the young Maaskant price 2019 Which Donna van Milligen Bielke won.


Donna van Milligen Bielke (1983) Has a fascination for redefining and positioning boundaries, and the influence of architecture on public space. In 2014, Van Milligen Bielke was awarded the Prix de Rome for architecture, the most prestige’s price for architects under 40 in The Netherlands, for a plan for organizing the public space of Rotterdam. “While current architectural discourse is characterized by the orientation on the object, architecture as a volume and the city as the collection of these volumes. van Milligen Bielke takes a different approach. Her work is precisely at the interface of architecture and the city. Or, in her own words, about "shaping, connecting and responding to urban fabrics". With ingenious precision, she connects existing and new structures. creating new parts of the city that do not radically break with the existing, but add a layer to it. Her clear architectural language goes back to the essence without being nostalgic and convinces in the creation of openness and possibilities for appropriation” said the jury that awarded her with the the Young Maaskant Prize of 2019. Hans Ibelings is the Director and editor of The Architecture Observer (Amsterdam/Montreal), he combines his post as lecturer in the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at Toronto University with his career as an architecture critic and historian. Until 2012 he was director and editor of A10 new European architecture, a European journal he set up in 2004 jointly with the designer Arjan Groot. Kirsten Hannema is an architecture critic and journalist. She writes as an architectural critic for de Volkskrant (one of the biggest read Dutch newspapers) and other architectural magazines such as ArchitectuurNL and Museumtijdschrift. Since August 2016 she has been editor-in-chief of the 'Yearbook Architecture in the Netherlands'. To this end, she selects special projects from that year and describes important developments that influence architecture.

2019, Softcover, 14.5 x 20 cm, 160 pages, illustrations in colour and b/w

Title In Between, the urban architecture of Donna van Milligen Bielke

Authors Hans Ibelings en Kirsten Hannema

Editors Donna van Milligen Bielke, Hans Ibelings and Matthew Leander Kalil

Publisher The Architecture Observer

ISBN 978-94-920580-7-2