Rob started out as a student in sculpturing at the Rietveld academy. ‘They nicknamed me the engineer, I made well reasoned constructivist sculptures, a kind of models without a purpose.’
His taste for collaboration and the need he felt to be useful in society in a direct way made him not become a sculptor. Following art school he chose to study architecture and building technology at TU Delft, initially because he was gripped by the beauty of structures, in which mathematics, material and feeling come together.
The best that can happen according to Rob is that when the discoveries architects make can actually be realized. His example is The Shaded Dome, an experiment ZJA undertook together with partners, and that proved to meet a demand for flexible, mobile and energy efficient constructions for schools, sports facilities, museums and events. In the Netherlands but also in Africa and Asia.
‘At that moment design, entrepreneurial initiative and a responsible role in society come together splendidly. In my eyes that is the future of architecture: using intelligent and innovative design to answer the needs and problems that we face today. You can think of joining the efforts to re-think the design of buildings and neighborhoods originating from the vision that the environment, health, sports and healthcare are all connected in what you could call a Healthy City.’