Baumeister Academy 2020: SeARCH

The team of SeARCH in Hotel Jakarta.

SeARCH from Amsterdam

You’re into doing a 6-months internship and get 2.500€ on top? We have good news then! From now on, you can apply for the Baumeister Academy scholarship. This year you have the chance to be an intern at Adjaye Associates (London), Super Future Collective (Nürnberg), Urban Design (Stockholm), Henning Larsen (München) or SeARCH (Amsterdam). What they are SeARCHing for? Innovative, original and unexpected design solutions in the fields of urban design and architecture. But actually SeARCH stands for Stedenbouw en ARCHitectuur (Urban Planning & Architecture). We talked to them about the architecture in Amsterdam and how to make over hours more bearable. 

Bjarne Mastenbroek founded SeARCH in 2002, and has established an architectural office exploring the reciprocal relationship between architecture and site. Their projects are conceived as landscapes, connecting architecture with urban and interior with exterior. SeARCH believes in collaboration; with clients, users, and specialists. This sets the stage to create innovative, original and unexpected design solutions. Research into new building methods, products and materials is a natural extension of their work.

If you would have to do an internship today. Where would you go?
Tough first question! A quick yell across the office gave us the likes of Herzog & de Meuron (sharp design and superior delivery), Assemble (great range in scale and methodology) & SeARCH ()

Why should an architect choose SeARCH as a workplace?
Because no project at SeARCH is ever the same. With a few decades of experience behind us, we shift easily between typologies, scales, countries, and technologies, always putting design at the centre of what we do. For us, good design is about creating spaces and cities that are sensitive to site, sensible for people, and sustainable for both.

“Amsterdam is a true example of how great design comes from strict parameters.”

Amsterdam – why is Amsterdam a great city for architecture?
Amsterdam is a true example of how great design comes from strict parameters. The scarcity of land, and its relative sogginess, drove true architectural ingenuity and shaped Amsterdam’s liveable density.

This is your first time at the Academy. Why do you participate?
We are always on the lookout for motivated new architects to join SeARCH, maybe you know a few?

What do you expect from your interns?
We expect interns to bring their ideas and energy to the table, to take initiative, ask questions and learn fast.

Those who come from directly from a university: Are they good in what they do? What’s missing?
They usually need to learn how to prioritize. Often, interns try to do too much, instead of completing one specific task. We’ll help with that, breaking down a project into stages, as well as giving them a sense of how long tasks should take.
We draw projects mainly on Archicad and the software requires good organisation skills to be efficient.

“There is also (genuine Napolitan) pizza involved, so that helps!”

Type „Nine-to-Five “? And how are you handling overtime?
Overtime is not in the office culture, but it does happen. Sometimes a final push before a deadline is needed to deliver the best, and everyone (from project leader to intern) stays a bit longer. There is also (genuine Napolitan) pizza involved, so that helps!

Generalist or specialist? What has the young architect of today to be?
You have to be both. Be ready to ask the big questions and execute fine detail.

Your biggest success?
We recently finished Hotel Jakarta, a 30-metre-high load-bearing timber structure wrapped around a sub-tropical garden. Its Amsterdam’s very own energy-neutral flatiron building. 176 of the 200 hotel rooms were prefabricated and placed on site within three weeks. For us, Hotel Jakarta is the beginning of new way of designing and building – an innovative, sustainable timber revolution.

“Come work for us and we’ll show you our ‘necropolis’.”

And your biggest defeat?
The world changes fast, but buildings are slow. Giving up on design quality to get something built quicker is not in our nature, so projects can stall. Sometimes they get a second life… and well, sometimes they don’t. Come work for us and we’ll show you our ‘necropolis’.

Your biggest fad?
Oh, we have many and (like all fads) they change quickly. You can find our latest obsession on Instagram – @search_architects.

Your advice for aspiring architects?
Keep sketching! While the computer can be wonderfully timesaving, it can also be frustratingly time-consuming. Nothing quite beats the speed and clarity of sketching; it’s how we communicate.

Die Baumeister Academy ist ein Praktikumsprojekt des Architekturmagazins Baumeister und wird unterstützt von GRAPHISOFT und der BAU 2019.

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