Mei architects and planners is an internationally operating architectural firm with extensive expertise in the area of redevelopment, transformation, urban planning and inner-city development projects. The work of Mei architects and planners has been widely published and awarded.
The office was set up in 2003 by architect Robert Winkel and is based in Rotterdam. Mei is particularly noted for transforming existing buildings such as the Jobsveem warehouse, Delfshaven factory and Fenix warehouses in Rotterdam. And it has completed striking new-build projects such as Schiecentrale 4B in Rotterdam, De Verkenner in Utrecht and McDonald’s Coolsingel 44 in Rotterdam. In addition, the office has drawn up urban designs that include dynamic master plans for Moss Verket in Norway, London in England, Nantes in France and the OPG-location in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The work of Mei has been widely published and received numerous awards.
Mei likes to explore subjects in depth, and the designers on the team know all the ins and outs of building regulations. And thanks to his chairmanship of the Environmental Quality Commission in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Robert Winkel possesses a wealth of knowledge about local authority design and planning policy. All this expertise forms an excellent basis for highly complex projects. Moreover, delving into history in order to ensure that proposals for renewal draw naturally on existing qualities is something Mei takes for granted. Demonstrating this approach is the rich variety of re-use and redevelopment projects across the country, among them several projects concerning historic buildings that enjoy a protected status at municipal or national level. They include the Gouda Cheese Warehouse, the Jobsveem warehouse, WEST507 and the renovation of the Lijnbaan shopping precinct in Rotterdam.
In the area of technology, Mei embraces the challenge of inventing and developing creative solutions in the form of new products and applications. Examples include perforated steel sheets for a car park in Almere, the composite storage units and protective screens of woven stainless steel for the Schiecentrale 4b building and the gold anodized aluminum façade with heart-shaped perforations for the McDonalds pavilion in Rotterdam.
Mei is particularly interested in the people who occupy its buildings. What opportunities does the architecture offer them; What new prospects and potential for social interaction does it create. Because of their spatial design and routing, the buildings direct meetings between people and thus act as catalysts for the neighbourhood and contribute to the creation of strong communities.
A feature of Mei architects is the attitude of curiosity and openness with which the office deals with commissions, partners and contexts alike. To enhance its power of thought and action further, Mei enters into alliances with parties in the field. And the office likes to share the expertise it accumulates in the process. That is why Mei creates space not only for acquiring knowledge but also for imparting it through presentations, workshops, guided tours and guest lectures at universities.
Robert Winkel founded Mei architects and planners in 2003 and is the energetic leader of a growing Mei team of designers and experts. As chief designer, he is the driving force behind all projects at the office, and an enterprising and dynamic presence both inside and outside the office. Robert holds various external roles of social importance. He is chairman of Environmental Quality Commission in Amsterdam, supervisor of Rotterdam – the Hague Airport and chairman of the Quality-team Feyenoord-City in Rotterdam. On a regular basis he serves as a visiting critic on numerous universities and colleges and he is a frequently asked juror for various awards, as the Gouden Piramide state prize and ARC Awards.