Erik Smits has joined the board of directors at architectural studio ZJA, where he will be in daily charge as architect and partner along with Rein Jansma, Rob Torsing, Reinald Top and Ralph Kieft. ‘An inspired professional with an outstanding ability to combine perfectionism and realism, the epitome of calm in the turbulent waters of complex projects, equipped with a great sense of humour and continually focused on the wellbeing of his team.’ Our staff members believe those few words sum up his character.
Art, technology and functionality
ZJA has always been an architectural studio with an inventive mentality, deploying contemporary technologies such as computational design. During his studies at the TU Delft, Erik was enthralled by a talk by Moshé Zwarts about construction and aesthetics.
‘For me, architecture is a combination of art, technology and functionality,’ Erik explains. ‘How buildings hold themselves upright, the interplay of forces: I found that aspect fascinating even as a child.’ He came to work at ZJA immediately after graduating in 2000, and passionate and dedicated as he is, he never left.
Working together on complex projects
ZJA works on complex design commissions in public space and specializes in infrastructure, public transport, civil engineering structures, and sports and leisure projects.
As Erik puts it, ‘As a project architect, enabling the design process of complex commissions such as the historic Diamond Exchange or the Amsterdam Central Station – and especially the collaboration within them – to run smoothly is perhaps the most enjoyable challenge of my profession.’
Working on a sustainable environment for living and working
ZJA integrates topical themes such as quality of life, climate, energy, circularity and technology into a wide range of projects. As well as working on diverse commissions, Erik was internally responsible for the setting up and management of the quality assurance system, and is currently further developing his skills in the field of HR.
‘Ultimately it’s the people who do it all,’ Erik says. ‘And it’s the people who matter. You can always continue to learn from and inspire one another, and as partners at ZJA we complement each other. My focus will now shift slightly away from working “in the company” and more towards working “on the company”. I look forward enormously to getting to grips with that.’