inning Europan 1 (1988-89), a biannual European design competition for young architects, was the genesis of Tangram Architekten. Under the leadership of Charlotte ten Dijke and Bart Mispelblom Beyer, about 25 dedicated people help make the office what it is today.
Since Tangram’s inception, the office’s designs have demonstrated a fusion between the disciplines of architecture, urban planning and the design of public space. Making room for density is the key theme in Tangram’s designs. Building with high density in mind is the only way to assure high-quality space while ensuring the preservation of valuable landscapes. The architectural process is a complex one in which the architect must serve many interests. Success can only be claimed when the final product is both simple and balanced, whereby its inherent complexity remains as an inscrutable element below the surface. Every design starts with functionality and flexibility. Things become more complicated when visionary aspects, spatial quality, beauty, harmony and balance are introduced as preconditions to the design. These less tangible layers in the design are what give a building a true architectural quality. It is the architect’s job to recognise and interpret these less tangible requirements. If the architect is able to achieve a harmonious balance between these objective and subjective stratifications in a design and if he is able to communicate these to others, then the architectural qualities will be recognised, endorsed and realised. A design of true quality is the sum of all its parts.