November 15, 2012

Architect Wessel de Jonge, co-founder of DOCOMOMO International—the international working party for documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement—presented a lecture on the restoration and reuse of the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam.

The Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam is considered an icon of Modernism. Designed and constructed by Brinkman and Van der Vlugt in the 1920s, the factory had a huge impact on the development of modern architecture in Europe and elsewhere. It was not just its architectural style, but also its response to the social challenges of the day that made the Van Nelle factory special. It was designed on the premise that a modern, transparent, and healthy working environment in green surroundings would be good both for production and for workers' welfare.

Dutch architect, Wessel de Jonge, led the award winning restoration project for the adaptive reuse of the Van Nelle Factory (1999-2004). Today, the Van Nelle Design Factory provides office space for new media and design companies. The project and its team received the Europa Nostra Award, the Grand Prix of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage, in 2008.

Wessel de Jonge graduated from Delft University of Technology and is a successful practicing architect and academic and co-founder of DOCOMOMO International. In addition to his large-scale rehabilitation project for the Van Nelle Design Factory his other projects include the restoration of Gerrit Rietveld's 1953 Dutch Pavilion for the Venice Biennale (1995); the rehabilitation of the 1947 former Control Tower at Amsertdam's Schiphol International Airport (2001); and the restoration of Duiker and Bijvoet's 1926-31 Zonnestraal Sanatorium in Hilversum, the Netherlands, in cooperation with Bierman Henket Architects (2003).