Possible Architecture: Anne Holtrop

Dutch architect Anne Holtrop is known for designs that incorporate abstract, unexpected references to engage the visitor's imagination.


You describe your work as a “possible architecture.” What does that mean?

I often start a design with things that come from outside of architecture—inkblot drawings or found forms. These don’t come from trying to solve a problem—they are specific and autonomous. By making them into architecture, I discover what kind of spaces they could create. That’s why I call it a “possible architecture”: In a sense, everything can possibly become architecture.

But architects generally think in terms of constraints. What parameters do you consider?

Of course, the program needs to fit in and it needs to work logically. But I also like to have constraints that aren’t rational. When I designed the Museum Fort Vechten in the Netherlands (a building that commemorates a 19th-century water defense l...


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