Rob started out as a student in sculpture 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 directly useful in society made him choose against a career as 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.

What is so great about being an architect entails three things for Rob. First the fact that thought experiments and visions of beauty can become reality. Second, managing the designprocess in which everything comes together. And the entrepreneurial adventure that is a part of being an architect.

‘Working in emergent markets produced a culture shock. At first you have no network there, you are forced way outside your comfort zone, because you have little clue as how they do business there. You take enormous risks. Tremendously exciting. It is such a fascinating region where big and rapid changes take place. What is really inspiring is their drive to think far into the future and plan and build with great optimism.’