7 January 2020

Alumn Remco Beckers works at Bureau Europa

Remco Beckers, project coordinator at the architecture institute Bureau Europa, studied Arts and Culture and the Research Master in Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology in the hope of going into research. Although an academic career is not yet on the cards, he’s happy to have completed these interdisciplinary programmes. “I look at the world differently now; it shaped me as a person.”

Remco Beckers

Juicy anecdotes

His work consists of organising lectures, debates and city walks on themes such as the democratisation of architecture. “Architects are no longer solitary geniuses who design buildings or even entire neighbourhoods. Increasingly, they work in collectives.” Early on he also organised an exhibition: Unvollendete. Nooit gebouwd Maastricht [Unfinished. Never Built Maastricht], on buildings that were designed but never came to fruition. “I really liked that many visitors shared juicy anecdotes themselves. There was a former mayor who was such a fervent advocate of a bridge planned in 1967, the Zuiderbrug, that he was willing for it to run through his front garden. And that actually ended up happening, when the Kennedybrug was built.”

Shivers

Beckers is particularly proud of an exhibition he organised later: Stucco Storico, het verhaal achter een ambacht [Stucco Storico, the Story Behind a Craft], a history of 18th century decorative stucco in the Euregion. “At first I thought: what can you even say about stucco? But gradually you discover its impact. It’s thanks to stucco that people can design the interiors of their homes to their own tastes. But my favourite part was tracing the lives of the stuccatori. They came to this region from Switzerland and built lives of their own here. Those tangible reminders, a signature here or a doodle there, they give me shivers.”

Porcelain coral

Beckers is currently working on a new exhibition, with the title A Rose is a Rose is a Rose. Het Landschap als Drager. [Landscape as medium]. “It’s about our outlook on nature and, therefore, ourselves. Nature and technology are becoming increasingly intertwined. We want to show that this can also be a positive thing. For example, designers are mitigating the damage to the Great Barrier Reef with 3D-printed porcelain coral. But why? Where does our view of nature come from? And how does it determine our landscape architecture?”

Full disclosure: he’s still interested in pursuing a PhD. “I love it at Bureau Europa and I hope to stay for a long time, but someday I want to go into academia. I used to think that was something I had to do before I turned 30, but now I think that’s silly. I can do it whenever; age doesn’t matter. Learning is a lifelong process.”

By: Hans van Vinkeveen, photos: Philip Driessen