Rick Wessels was interviewed by Peter de Winter of ArchitectuurNL. He criticizes the way in which housing renovation is appreciated within architecture. Awards such as Gulden Feniks are given to projects that seem to aim at new build standards. Because of this, more modest interventions remain unnoticed, or at least are kept outside the architectural domain. Ultimately, renovation never possesses new build quality, but that is precisely the charm.
‘Gulden Fenik refers to the mythological bird which resurrected from its ashes. The only thing I can deduct from that is that the existing housing stuck is an atrocity. Awful! Until we have thoroughly renovated the whole thing and then look how pretty it all has become. It is all about metamorphosis much rather than resurrection.‘
‘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.’