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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

  • Students • Entrée Libre • ( .edu registration required )

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

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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

*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.

Special Guest:

Jan Knikker will be introduced by special guest Reed Kroloff Dean and the Rowe Family College of Architecture Endowed Chair at the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. A leader in the fields of architecture, urbanism, and design, Mr. Kroloff has managed renown design programs; edited the architectural profession’s leading publication, spoken at gatherings such as TED and the Aspen Design Conference; written for a wide range of magazines and newspapers; appeared in a number of nationally televised programs on architecture and design; been an invited critic at schools and professional organizations across the country; and advised clients on some of the most significant projects of the last 20 years, leading the New York Times to describe him as “the man with the list at architecture’s party.”

Mr. Kroloff co-founded jones|kroloff, a practice that develops design strategy and guides architect selection processes. The firm’s clients have included the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Interior Designers, the Aspen Art Museum, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Friends of the High Line, the History Channel, the Mexican Ministry of Culture, MIT, Motown, the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Commission, the University of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Yale University, among others. The recipient of the American Academy in Rome’s 2003 Rome Prize Fellowship, Reed Kroloff also served as Editor-in-Chief of Architecture magazine. Under his direction, Architecture quickly became the nation’s leading design publication. Additionally, Kroloff directed the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and was Dean of the Tulane University School of Architecture in New Orleans, which he led through Hurricane Katrina and its recovery.

Mr. Kroloff holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and Yale University. He has served on numerous boards and advisory councils, ranging from the Chicago Architecture Foundation to the Register of Peer Professionals of the United States General Services Administration.

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