Officially an architect

When I was a little kid, I wanted to become a fighter pilot and fly F16s. Turns out glasses disqualify you, but architect seems like a pretty good plan B. In fact, considering you don’t have to bomb anybody, it’s probably even better. However, since I don’t have the correct prerequisite degree, I have not legally been allowed to call myself architect. Until now!

I recently took the exam at the Architectenregister, which consists of a written portion and a practical exam. The practical part lasts for eight days and is done at the offices of the Architectenregister in The Hague. During those days, the task is to design a building. All candidates were given the same instructions. The theme of the exam (both the written and practical parts) was “hybrid urban blocks that combine education and housing.” The building we had to design was to occupy the site of the old conservatory in The Hague, house a new style of vocational school, have a publicly accessible route through it, include commercial spaces and 10,000 to 15,000 square meters of housing.

Though it was not enough to just draw some floor plans and sections. Our designs did not just have to meet “hard” requirements, which were outlined in documents such as a list of required spaces for the school. There needed to be a clearly formulated concept, have a constructional principle and detailing related to that concept, the building needed to relate to its context, and also say something about our vision on architecture. All in all, the eight days were both entirely too short to produce an actual, finished building, but also very interesting and inspiring.

And to top it all off, since I passed the exam, I can now officially say I’m an architect!

Here’s the images that I used in my presentation. My building was called “The Helix”, since the public route that I designed, winds itself up along the interior courtyard, while a route that goes through the vocational school on the inside winds itself up in the opposite direction, like a helix. You can see the public route (outside) in red and the interior route in blue.