STAR is a practice dealing with architecture in all its forms.
STAR strategies + architecture was founded by Beatriz Ramo in Rotterdam in 2006. STAR is interested in all topics directly or indirectly related to architecture, and works on projects and research of any scale in the fields of architecture, urbanism, and landscape design. STAR takes responsibility for all the phases of the process.
Since its foundation STAR has been proactively generating most of its work through self-initiated studies and taking part in open competitions, which quickly became its biggest source of acquisitions, giving STAR the chance to obtain large-scale projects practically from its foundation, as in the case of Manzana 5 - a 60.000 m2 mixed-use building in Spain. This led to the attractive situation of forced independence and freedom, making the office flexible and competent. Several awards in International Competitions for public buildings, housing, infrastructure, and urban planning in the Netherlands, China, Iceland, Lebanon, and Spain STAR have gained STAR international recognition.
The office portfolio includes a wide array of projects: ranging from a very small low-budget private house, a prototype to bring cinemas back to the city centers, new typologies for collective social housing, super-multifunctional cultural buildings, a hybrid complex consisting of a Ferris wheel and a Railway station, an eighty metres long panorama representing the European Union – in collaboration with, and commissioned by OMA/AMO - to a strategic study on the elements that are currently shaping secondary European cities.
STAR remains continuously active in research and writings, and is a regular collaborator on MONU magazine on urbanism. Since 2007 STAR is academically active in several schools and institutions in the Netherlands as an extension to the office’s study projects through courses and research ateliers on architecture typology, urbanism, interior architecture, and criticism. Beatriz Ramo has run courses at the Sandberg Institute and the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam, and at the Academy of Architecture in Tilburg, where she is visiting critic of Stadslab -European urban design laboratory and tutor of its 2010 Master class in Ukraine.
STAR has been featured in publications worldwide, exhibited at centers of renown such as the NAi, ARCAM, Ludwig Forum, etc… and is regularly invited to lecture at numerous institutions, such as the SCA in Buenos Aires, the Architecture Club in Kiev, Chalmers School in Gothenburg, Elisava School in Barcelona, the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw, the CCPE in Rosario, and the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.
In 2009 STAR won the International Competition for the Mirador del Palmeral (Palm Grove’s Viewpoint) with the simplest proposal, yet the most controversial project the office had ever undertaken. The two-phased competition received a lot of attention, not only because worldwide renowned firms were invited to participate, but because STAR, as the office getting through the first-open phase, won the competition with a strategy, rather than with a design. STAR’s proposal was a culmination of a long time study on the iconic building phenomenon and represented a step forward in many ways. The development of this competition brief was the ultimate proof for STAR that architectural thinking is stronger than even architecture itself.
As part of this assignment STAR is currently working on the Paseo, a 15,000m2 reurbanization plan for the surrounding areas, expecting construction to start in summer 2011.
Due to the protected character of the site, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000, STAR has been involved since 2009 in studies on interventions in preserved areas. One result of that research was the critical essay: In the name of the Past, Countering the Preservation Crusades. This essay is part of God Save Architecture; a series of studies that STAR is currently working on, aiming to develop critical assessments of today’s most dangerous clichés, assumptions, and manipulations in the field of architecture.