Stakeholder interview: Wessel van Beerendonk, Architect

SH Wessel BeerendonkWessel van Beerendonk is Architect and co-founder at Studio RAP in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Studio RAP works with the most advanced digital fabrication methods to create a new expressive architecture. RAP realised in 2015 the first robotically fabrication building of the Netherlands.

‘The construction industry has the power to reinvigorate itself’

 What is the most important catalyst for further sustainable development in construction?

‘Profitable innovation is the most important factor for sustainable development in the construction industry. As an architect, I believe that we have the power to deliver a substantial contribution to our society by transforming the fragmented, one-dimensional building proces into a digital integrated building proces. We’ve got to redefine the role of the contemporary architect towards that of a digital master builder; one who utilises the untapped potential of digitalisation, automation and prefabrication for more expressive and efficient building design.

At Studio RAP we believe in digital fabrication, especially robotics, as the enabler to close the gap between the possibilities of the digital and the material world. This reunification results in a more straightforward building process where experts can work together, simultaneously, on solutions for a building’s total lifecycle; resulting in a circular construction industry. Under the master-builder’s guidance, the combined intelligence of architect, engineer, contracter, producer, investor and client results in much more than product innovation. It ultimately revolutionises the entire building proces.’

How do we ensure sustainability will continue to be a theme – and what role does digitalisation and innovation play?

‘Profitability is key. We’ve reached a pivotal point in history where we, the digital generation, have all the tools at our disposal to translate the awareness of our planet’s finite resources to tangible solutions. Digitalisation gives us the scope to see buildings as containers of materials but also of functional possibilities, spatial qualities and contemporary values. Automation gives us the possibility to build this wonderful environment time- and cost-effectively without forcing repetitive, exhaustive or dangerous low-wage jobs onto our working population.

Concluding; the construction industry has the power to reinvigorate itself and our society. By choosing long over short-term, circular over linear, innovation over tradition, idea’s over dogma’s and by leaving the wasteful, conservative models of the past for a profitable, sustainable future for all.’