In December 1998 Van Berkel & Bos Architectuur Bureau in Amsterdam founded a second practice: UN Studio. Since 1988 Van Berkel & Bos have realized several internationally acclaimed projects - among them the Karbouw and ACOM office buildings, the REMU electricity station, some housing projects and the Aedes East gallery for Kristin Feireiß in Berlin. The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, The Dutch pavilion for the Triennale di Milano and the renovation and extension of the Rijksmuseum Twente in Enschede were completed in 1996. Current projects include a Music center and an electricity station in Austria, a new town hall annex theater in IJsselstein and a masterplan for the station area of Arnhem.
UN = United Network The new UN Studio continues the type of projects that Van Berkel & Bos have carried out during the past years, ranging from small to large-scale public network projects. The objective is to employ intensive forms of collaboration for carrying out ambitious building projects that will serve as influential nodes. UN Studio is not only a design studio but, like Van Berkel & Bos, can also handle the technical details and project supervision. The new elements introduced by UN Studio are a new internal organization, an expansion of the capacities in the area of technological innovation and a new working method, described as network practice. UN Studio is a network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure.
UN Studio organizes strategic forms of collaboration with architects, graphic designers and constructors, building consultants, service companies, quantity surveyors, photographers, stylists and new media designers.
Connectivity is the key concept. The organization is made up of internal teams, including the Design Team, Management Team, Coordination Team, and Technology Team, supplemented by the specialist know-how from external organizations with which UN Studio collaborates. For each project, a team of experts is made up so as to achieve the optimum result. The composition of a project team is determined by the requirement for capacity and expertise during the project in question. Using the latest digital techniques, the growing volume of basic information can be ordered to form coherent models. Computer technology also makes it possible to combine in an early stage design (top-down) with detail research (bottom-up).
The network idea has been pursued in the new premises of UN Studio in Amsterdam. The offices are housed in a space designed by UN Studio itself. Fitted out in a sober, clean and contemporary fashion, it has the feeling of a functional laboratory. The spatial concept has been combined with new office principles. The network is a literal presence in the studio, which is situated on two large, loft-like floors. The workstations connected to this network are used flexibly; a clean desk policy ensures that most places are 'hot desks'. The staff use trolleys for their files and personal belongings, which are stored away each day. The workstations are arranged in an 'airport' pattern, that is to say, they are placed on tables which branch off a long, central table which runs along the length of the floors.
The computer studio is screened off from the outside by sliding walls that may be adjusted according to the incidence of light. Behind the sliding walls are the archives of the studio. The sliding walls are set up in a rectangular arrangement, creating inside and outside spaces within the studio. The common functions, such as reception, kitchen and meeting rooms are located outside the computer studio 'boxes'.