ARCAM, Amsterdam









The term ‘Suitcase Architecture’ was used in an exhibition where architects were asked about the figurative aspects they bring back from their travels and how they incorporate them into their projects. The following article from ‘De Groene Amsterdammer’ discusses the impact of architecture trips on later designs:

Architect Rudy Uytenhaak, in his youth, traveled across France in his 2CV , sketched the street patterns of Barcelona while walking, and used Goethe’s descriptions as a guide for a route through Italy. Architectural journeys carry a certain romanticism, but do they yield results? The Amsterdam Architecture Center (Arcam) attempted to illustrate the effects of these travels on subsequent designs.

In the exhibition, architects are portrayed as true pilgrims, traveling the world with cameras in hand. They journey not only to Italy and Greece but also along the works of influential figures like Le Corbusier, Jean Nouvel, and Peter Zumthor, and more recently, to China and Brazil. For Uytenhaak, traveling is primarily a matter of collecting material for stories. He rightly emphasizes that influences and anecdotes need to be “digested” before taking shape in one’s own work. Traveling does not provide a directly applicable vocabulary; rather, it operates on a subconscious and unobtrusive level.

For Charlotte ten Dijke of Tangram Architects, structure and contrast are the primary sources of inspiration. She meticulously organizes her travel photos around themes such as form and light, closed and open, mass and void. It’s an analytical, investigative way of looking that contrasts with the adventure sought by someone like Herman Zeinstra. If anyone’s ability to see how collected impressions take shape can be discerned, it is eminent figure Herman Hertzberger. Since the 1950s, he has meandered through the architectural history of countries around the Mediterranean, Africa, India, Japan, and Brazil. His influences come together in themes such as “social space,” “intermediate space,” and “promising space.” Meeting spaces or “connections” like staircases, enclosed squares, and galleries are what Hertzberger observes and incorporates into his own work. The impressions he captures serve his architectural vision and have resulted in an extensive image bank.

(Rubriek Architectuur, 2008)