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Sustainable and Social Architecture and Urbanism in France

  • Thursday October 19 • 6:30 p.m.

  • On Site • Enter via 54 W. Chicago Ave

  • In English

  • $40 Members • $50 non-members

  • Pre-reception add-on is available for an additional $50

  • (The Symposium on Contemporary French Architecture is a fundraising event, benefitting cultural and educational programming. After reception included.)


MVRDV experienced an astonishing development in France. Invited by the French president to rethink the sustainable future of Paris, the Dutch architecture practice soon started to realize projects all over France, that are socially engaged, sustainable and sometimes truly out of this world. Always with a Dutch touch within the French context, bringing both worlds together. 

“We refuse to become specialists in just one thing; we want to have a very wide portfolio. So, we don’t dismiss small things. Our work ranges from concept kitchens to public buildings, large urban projects, and everything in between.”
-Jan Knikker

*Pre-reception will include bubbles, light bites, and the opportunity to mingle with guest speaker Jan Knikker.

*Post reception will include a complimentary glass of wine.

About the Guest:

Partner and Director of Strategy at MVRDV, Jan Knikker (Bad Soden Taunus, DE - 1972) joined MVRDV in 2008. Prior to this, Knikker shaped OMA’s public image for nearly a decade, after having first began his career as a journalist. As Partner and Director of Strategy at MVRDV, Knikker drives Business Development and Public Relations efforts, spearheading a large and dynamic studio that also includes the office’s visualization capacity. He further leads the office’s branding efforts, and MVRDV’s expansion into new regions and typologies, by supporting the office’s ambition to generate solutions to global challenges through a multifaceted approach to architecture, urbanism, and computing. 

Knikker regularly lectures at international, commercial, and academic venues in the USA (CTBUH), Germany (Polis Convention, Stiftung Baukultur), the UK (RIBA and the universities of Coventry, Liverpool, and Aberdeen), Israel (CTBUH, Technion, Bezalel), Colombia (Universidad Nacional, Utadeo), Australia (RMIT), Kuala Lumpur (UCSI), and many other notable venues. In addition to his extensive public relations work, Knikker has written and contributed to numerous MVRDV publications and exhibitions, including MVRDV Buildings. 

Deputy Editor to Winy Maas of Domus 2019, he also regularly contributes to a range of design-field publications. He is a member of the HNI Heritage Network, and Gestaltungsbeirat of the City of Wiesbaden and led the online design magazine Dafne, and from 2007 to 2011 was a member of the International Projects commission of the Netherlands Architecture Funds. In 2021, he wrote and published RIBA-bestseller How To Win Work, a book bridging the gap between architects and marketing by giving practical tips, best-practice advice, and anecdotes for small architecture practices. Together with a neighborhood committee in The Hague he lobbies for the reopening of the Canals of The Hague, which have been closed in the 60’s.

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