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Hans van der Heijden (the Hague, NL, 1963) has a portfolio of housing, urban design, re-use, cultural buildings and research. His award-winning designs include the renewal of Bluecoat Chambers in Liverpool and the urban renewal at Hessenberg and in Lakerlopen. His investigative professional attitude resulted in the publication of books and essays on architecture. He also holds the chair in Contemporary Architectural Practice at the University of Liverpool.
HvdH grew up in the post-war residential area De Prinsenhof in Leidschendam as the son of an architectural technician and the grandson of a furniture maker. He studied architecture and urban development at the then TH Delft, where he developed a particular interest in the detailing and production processes of buildings. He specialised in housing design and in 1988, he was one of the first students to graduate on a densification proposal for the post-war Mariahoeve district in The Hague.
During his studies, HvdH worked at the then still young Mecanoo agency on various large-scale housing projects. In 1994, he founded the office biq stadsontwerp with Rick Wessels. The practice made its name by approaching renovation and new build as equivalent tasks. In 1996, this was confirmed by the win of the international Europan Prize for young architects with a design for the restructuring of a post-war residential ensemble in Liverpool. Since then, HvdH has worked on various architecture and art commissions and teaching projects, in addition to his work on Dutch projects. In 2008 the restoration and extension of the art building Bluecoat Chambers in Liverpool was completed.
HvdH published the books Tuindorp Kethel Schiedam, noddy, noddier, noddiest (2004), Architecture in the Broken City (2008) and Post Piraeus (2017). He has contributed to four editions of the Yearbook of Dutch Architecture. For the Rotterdam-based architecture platform AIR he programmed the debate series ArchitectuurCases. HvdH was a professor at the University of Cambridge, UK.
After leaving biq stadsontwerp in 2014, HvdH works under his own name in his Amsterdam office. He was a participant in the manifestation WerkBundStadt Berlin. HvdH is a member of the Gestaltungsrat in Potsdam (advisory design committee). The NRC journalist Bernard Hulsman praised the social housing designed by HvdH at the Rotterdam Persoonshaven as the most beautiful architectural design of 2020.
Photo: Jan Bijl, Rotterdam