Submarine Channel

Architect Pi de Bruijn is famous for expanding and modernising public buildings like the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam or the Dutch Parliament in The Hague. He also developed huge urban areas like the ZuidAs in Amsterdam or the Beursplein in Rotterdam. But a much smaller project proved to be a real turning point for Pi de Bruijn. In Roombeek, a tiny residential area in the city of Enschede, he decided to diminish his own role as an architect. He let the future residents create their own neighbourhood.

In May 2000, Roombeek was completely devastated by the explosion of a fireworks factory. 23 people were killed. Pi de Bruijn asked all residents to help determine what their new neighbourhood should look like. 50 % of the residents were able to design their own houses. De Bruijn merely functions as a supervisor, a coordinator of ideas. This new approach earned the city a prestigious prize for excellence in commissioning work in architecture and urban planning.

Pi de Bruijn used to believe in a modernist, idealistic, top-down approach. In the seventies he worked on the Bijlmermeer in Amsterdam. With separated areas for living, working, shopping and leisure. On paper it all seemed to work, but in reality the dream turned into a nightmare.

Video Profile Pi de Bruijn


Director: Noud Holtman, Camera: Stef Tijdink, Sound: Benny Jansen, Editing: Casper Sikken, Commissioning editor Submarine: Geert van de Wetering, Production Submarine: Olivia van Leeuwen, Production assistance: Marah Haan, Voice Over: Lotje Sodderland, Music/sound design: Big Orange, Produced by Submarine, Commissioned by DutchDFA.

Dutch Profiles is a series of short documentaries produced by Submarine commissioned by DutchDFA about architects, graphic, product and fashion designers in the Netherlands.

Dutch Profiles focuses on the conceptual, context-oriented and research-based practice of Dutch designers and includes interviews with, among others: MVRDV, 2012 Architects, Jurgen Bey, Claudy Jongstra, Gerard Unger, Paul Mijksenaar, Marlies Dekkers, Alexander van Slobbe and G-Star.


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