We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "Portugal Elderly Home" competition – Jeroen Mensink,  André De Hoop, Salomé Suarez Vilas and Shane Kemp from Netherlands!

Honorable mention from Netherlands

JAM* was founded in 1999 and is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. With an international staff of around 8 to 10 people – architects, landscape architects, urban designers and graphic designers – we work on a variety of projects on a variety of scales. From urban area development and large-scale road infrastructure to urban projects, architecture and interiors. Besides our design work, we do research projects and produce books and publications on spatial topics. Our goal is to create practical yet pleasant spaces, where the user feels elevated: spaces that matter.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

We’ve worked on several highways in Holland (A4, A16, A20, N3, N9), did urban design work in Amsterdam, Hilversum, Leiden and Veenendaal, renovated the office of publisher De Bezige Bij in Amsterdam and did some residential projects. Recently we started working on a new project at Schiphol Airport and a study to harvest solar energy along Dutch highways. Our publications include Vinex Atlas, Stromen en Verblijven and a series on the urban area development of RijswijkBuiten.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

As a design collective we consider our role as integrators of spatial design issues, on any scale and with every stakeholder involved. Fitting all the requirements in a convincing and seemingly simple gesture is what we try to achieve. In our JAM* sessions with clients, collaborators and stakeholders. Making it visually appealing is the bonus. Design is hard work to make it look easy.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

We don’t normally enter a lot of competitions, but we were looking for a challenge for our team on the side of the commissioned work. A project with a little more freedom that we could use to test some new software and workflows within the office. We wanted to encourage every team member to contribute to the best of their abilities. Working on this project has changed the way we work on our new projects today.

This project, in a country relatively far from us, with a topography that is very different from the flat sites we know in the Netherlands, offered us that challenge. Besides that, we love the country, its culture, the people and the climate and are regular visitors. And we consider the topic relevant in times with aging populations in Europe. Entering this competition was a way to show what we could add to the solution of housing the elderly.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Participate in competitions if you want to try new things, test your workflow or a new collaboration with fellow designers. Use it as a free space to experiment. Do it to have fun. And learn from it, as much as you can. Winning a price or an honorable mention should only be a nice bonus, not the main goal.

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