Scapes: Wiel Arets Architects

Wiel Arets Architects

Hein Smedts; hein.smedts@schunck.nl

from 03/2011

Hein Smedts

Schunck-Glass Palace

A singular figure, an independent thinker, an integral part of the Dutch architecture scene while simultaneously remaining a case apart, Wiel Arets doesn’t follow trends, nor can he be easily classified. A key proponent of the ontological rather than representational approach to architecture (K. Frampton), his work tends towards a regularity of parts, without being minimalist in the reductive sense. It involves a high level of intellectual complexity whilst also being very concrete, and aims at the majority of people with modesty and attention.


A master of materials both in their crudest and also in their most surprisingly refined form, unlike many of his colleagues the central premise of his architecture does not reside in the sculptural or iconic elaboration of form, but tends towards a condensation and intensification that creates a special aura of lightness and consistency that characterizes his work. -Alberto Alessi


Born 1955 in Heerlen, graduated from the TU Eindhoven in 1983. In the following year he established Wiel Arets Architect & Associates in Heerlen. In 1996 the office moved to Maastricht. In 2004, a second office was opened in Amsterdam, with a third office opening in Zürich during 2008. Wiel Arets has held a number of academic positions: from 1986 to 1989 he taught at the Architectural Academies of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, from 1988 to 1992 at the Architectural Association London, from 1991 to 1994 he was visiting professor at Columbia University & Cooper Union in New York, at the HAK in Vienna, and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. From 1995-2002 he was dean of the Berlage Institute Rotterdam, and held the Berlage Institute Professorship till 2009 at the Technical University Delft. In 2004 he accepted professorship at the UdK in Berlin.