On 26 February, the Dutch embassy in London organized a meeting on the occasion of our design for Liverpool’s Bluecoat arts centre. The architect Adam Caruso and the artist Ben Johnson introduced the evening. Adam Caruso compared Dutch landscape painting and architecture with the British and concluded that of old Dutch culture roots in utilitarian thinking and spatial planning. He placed the work of biq in that tradition, where the interest for everyday and functional givens inform architecture. Ben Johnson discussed the importance of the Bluecoat for the city of Liverpool by explaining his own work on the urban panorama that he made for Cultural Year 2008. He stressed his admiration for the liveliness of biq's design.
After these two introductions a debate developed in which the artists, architects and academics present actively engaged.
‘H. van der Heijden & R. Wessels’ approach is pragmatic and professional, which is not to reject aesthetics. The architects explain their approach as one which consists in accepting and evaluating individual needs, and in heightening existing facilities. But they are certainly not minimalists who -absorbed with subliminal aspects of everyday experience- often ignore what is merely ordinary. Pieces of furniture are for once allowed to appear on the plans of the dwellings. The mundane and exceptional, the small and the large, the new and the existing are all recognized and are ascribed the same value. Every aspect of the given situation is embraced with the same forthright, even-handed attitude.’