• Arch. Gijs Rikken

    Guest Speaker, MVRDV bv

    Arch. Gijs Rikken

    Guest Speaker, MVRDV bv



    Project Architect / Architect MVRDV bv, The Netherlands


    Explorations in Glass

    Architect Gijs Rikken from MVRDV will speak on the making of Crystal Houses in Amsterdam he has worked on together with star architect Winy Maas, bringing a poetic innovation in glass construction.
    MVRDV’s Crystal Houses is an exploration into reimagining the possible uses of glass in construction. The entirely transparent façade of a high-end flagship store on Amsterdam’s upmarket shopping street, PC Hooftstraat, uses glass bricks, glass windows frames and glass architraves in a way to evoke the vernacular of the area with the goal to maintain the character of the site. The 620 m2 of retail and 220 m2 of housing, were designed for investor Warenar. The design unites the ambition of Amsterdam to have large distinctive flagship stores without compromising the historical ensemble. The project, conceptualised by MVRDV, was developed and constructed as part of a multi-team collaboration including Gietermans & Van Dijk Architects, Delft University of Technology, Brouwer & Kok engineers, ABT consulting engineers, Poesia (brand of Vetreria Resanese) glass manufacturers from Italy and contractor Wessels Zeist.
    Despite its delicate looks, strength tests by the Delft University of Technology team proved that the glass-construction is in many ways stronger than concrete. The full-glass architrave, for instance, could withstand a force of up to 42.000 Newton; the equivalent to two full-sized SUVs.

    The entirely transparent façade is made of glass bricks, glass windows frames and glass architraves in a waybricks, glass windows frames and glass architraves in a way to evoke the vernacular of the area with the goal to maintain the character of the site.
    The Crystal Houses façade is a transparent reproduction of the previous 19th century masonry elevation, entirely made of adhesively bonded solid glass bricks. Even the window and door frames are reinterpreted by elaborated massive cast glass components.


    -BNA Building of the Year Category Winner (May 2016) – ‘The Couch’ Tennis Club IJburg
    -European Innovation Award (February 2016) – Markthal, Rotterdam
    -Rotterdam Architecture Award (December 2015) – Markthal, Rotterdam
    -Espa Gold Award for Best parking garage (November 2015) – Markthal, Rotterdam
    -Norwegian Steel Construction Prize (November 2015) – DNB Headquarters, Oslo
    -Neprom Prize for Urban Development (April 2015) – Markthal and surrounding Laurens Quarter, Rotterdam
    -MIPIM Award Best Shopping Center (2015) – Markthal, Rotterdam
    -Glass Award (November 2014) – Glass Farm, Schijndel
    -Graydon Award for Financial Stability (July 2014) – MVRDV, Rotterdam

    -Balancing Barn, Red Dot Award 2011, Cologne, DE – 2011
    -Balancing Barn, RIBA Regional Award Nominations – 2011
    -Balancing Barn, Nominated for Brit Insurance Awards 2011, London, UK – 2011
    -Balancing Barn, Winner public vote 2011, RIBA Manser Medal, London, UK – 2011
    -Crystal Houses, World Architecture Festival, shortlisted in shopping category – 2016


    Gijs Rikken is a project leader at MVRDV architects. Excursions into materiality and detail have been on his personal agenda since he started there in 2007 and remain a large part of his work today. During the last decade, he was responsible for projects such as the Balancing Barn, the Glass Farm, the Sky Vault Penthouse and, more recently, the Crystal Houses.
    He is currently working on Ravel Plaza, a 75.000m2 mixed use building in Amsterdam.


    All session by Arch. Gijs Rikken

    Exploration în Glass


    Realization of the Crystal Houses project

    KOPERNIC I Conference room


    Exploration în Glass

    BALTIC III Conference room