An architectural office that has kissed goodbye to the idea of a harmonious body of work, a single recognizable style and an individual artistic endeavour, a firm whose 'anti-oeuvre' is defined by social and economic developments. Such is de Architekten Cie., since 1988 the umbrella name for the practices of founding members Pi de Bruijn and Frits van Dongen and newcomers Branimir Medic/Pero Puljiz and Pieter van Wesemael. Fellow co-founders Carel Weeber and Jan Dirk Peereboom Voller recently left the fold. In this first serious publication in which the architects present themselves as a group (de Architekten Cie.) Crimson Architectural Historians and lensman Marcel Molle, rather than humbling themselves before The Architect, flaunt their critical independence.
This new brand of monograph stands in good stead with a contradictory world in which architects have to be chameleonic one moment and instantly recognizable the next, and their architecture both technocratic and popular. In their essays Crimson broach such issues as the changing role of government as patron, client and everything in-between. Another phenomenon to feel the heat of the Crimson spotlight is the increasing demand for soft qualities in architecture and urban design. Market players in particular expect architects to design experiences. At the same time architects have to operate within diamond-hard confines that are ever narrowing in a country getting fuller all the time, not just of infrastructure and buildings but more particularly of rules and regulations. In his photographs Marcel Molle gives a mercilessly focused look at the messy reality of a building in use. The 'Cie.' itself is deadpan in the way it presents its designs - no frills and easy to read. The net result of this hazardous approach opted for by de Architekten Cie. is a new brand of monograph which can both grace the coffee table and fan the flames of discourse.
In de ware revolutionaire agitpropstijl van de jaren 1960 met scherpe teksten, onscherpe foto’s en vrije typografie wordt het werk van de Architekten Cie gepresenteerd in Profession Architect.
Het Houtblad, March 2003, pp. 46
'Insgesammt ist die Buchgestaltung ambitios, die vorgestellten Projekte anspruchsvoll geplant und jeden grosseren Aufschrei schlicht nutzbar.'
DBZ #6 2003