Architecture, Urban Design & Landscape Architecture
De Zwarte Hond is a design consultancy under the direction of Jeroen de Willigen, Willem Hein Schenk, Eric van Keulen and Jurjen van der Meer. The company was established in 1985 in Groningen (NL) and has offices in Rotterdam (NL) and Cologne (DE) and a staff of seventy people with differing backgrounds, competencies and skills. The integral design and realisation of architecture, urban assignments and landscape issues is carried out in multi-disciplinary teams. De Zwarte Hond’s order portfolio spans the entire spectrum of residential, working and recreational environments in rural and urban contexts: from villa to serially-constructed housing, from office design to business park, from cultural facilities to recreational landscape.
The world of urban design and architecture must adapt to a changing society. De Zwarte Hond focuses not only on buildings and the built environment but also, specifically on people. Actively involving users and clients in a brief breaks through conventional thinking, it saves energy, it discovers creative opportunities jointly and everyone remains inspired during the design process. This, in combination with unceasing passion to realise ideas, leads to achieving the ultimate objective: creating a better residential, living and working environment.
As an architectural consultancy, De Zwarte Hond aspires to creating value for users, clients and society. A design develops from an open-minded, broad outlook, one in which all circumstances and conditions are objectively examined and considered. Accordingly, De Zwarte Hond does not work with a pre-defined final outcome, style or signature, but is open to sincere dialogue. The result is always a design without an individual author, but a distinct identity. This ensures that the completed buildings and urban plans are always suitable for appropriation by context and users.
In order to create new spatial and social cohesion each building or spatial plan should offer possibilities that are not specified and defined. Carefully mapping out the programme, context, technique and financing creates openings for spatial economy. The difference between the programme requested and its clever, explicit translation creates space for an implicit programme and usage. A building or urban plan is a flexible interpretation within the framework of the brief. The undefined space within this initiates collective and social cohesion, and creates conditions for planned and unplanned developments.
Given the complex economic and social context, De Zwarte Hond can pro-actively tackle certain tendencies by carrying through its designs. The actual creation in this unmanageable society demands resilient and enduring professional skill. Unconditional devotion to a design is a matter of course, but a designer should also take responsibility for its realisation. De Zwarte Hond plays a central role in the ever-more complex world of commissions with the ever-extending alliances or collaborations that are necessary for completing a commission.
De Zwarte Hond and Bonnema Architecten entered into a contract as of 1 April 2012. Bonnema Architecten is part of De Zwarte Hond, but will continue to operate under its own name. Bonnema Architecten was established in 1957 by Abe Bonnema and gained its reputation with a specific portfolio in the field of health care and (large) business premises and government buildings. See the Bonnema Architecten portfolio: www.bonnema.com.