interview with architect kersten geers
interview with architect kersten geers interview with architect kersten geers
apr 15, 2014

interview with architect kersten geers

david van severen (left) and kersten geers (right)
photo © tine cooreman




office kersten geers david van severen was founded in 2002 by kersten geers and david van severen. their architectonic ideas start from geometrical corrections and rather rigid classifications, ‘in order to measure the world as it presents itself to us and allow life to unfold in all its complexities’. in 2010 they won the venice biennale silver lion for most promising young architect and then in 2012 an overview of their work and has been published as a 2G#63 monographic issue. kersten geers told designboom more about himself and the office’s work…



designboom: what is the best moment of the day?
kersten geers: when I wake up with the sun rising in a beautiful place.


DB: what kind of music are you listening to at the moment?
KG: it’s almost always early nineties stuff; slint, steve albini, my bloody valentine – their most recent stuff is also great.


DB: do you ever listen to the radio?
KG: only classical music stations because, generally, I find most radio stations distracting or irritating, at least the ones in belgium.


DB: do you ever buy design and architecture magazines?
KG: no. never.


DB: where do you get your news?
KG: I read the new york times, the new yorker, the economist…


DB: I assume you notice how women dress, do you have any preferences?
KG: yes, I like them to dress elegantly.


DB: are there any type of clothes you avoid wearing?
KG: I don’t like to wear jeans.


DB: do you have any pets?
KG: no.





office 124 – oasis, sharjah
photo © bas princen courtesy of OKGDVS



office 124 – oasis, sharjah



office 76 – wall (scenography for a theater play by LOD)
photo © bas princen courtesy of OKGDVS



office 76 – wall
photo © bas princen courtesy of OKGDVS



office 61 – villa voka (office building housing the chamber of commerce in west flanders)
photo © bas princen courtesy of OKGDVS



office 61 – villa voka
photo © bas princen courtesy of OKGDVS



office 61 – villa voka




DB: when you were a child did you always want to become an architect?
KG: no, I had no idea what I wanted to be… perhaps an astronaut or something crazy like that. to a certain extent I became an architect by accident. I studied latin in secondary school and I fell in love with the roman empire – perhaps that’s where my interest in architecture began.


DB: do you draw?
KG: yes, I think it’s important to draw. both myself and david [van severen] draw quite a lot.


DB: where do you work on your projects?
KG: anyplace, anytime; whenever I have the opportunity to think, draw or take pictures I might work on a project.


DB: how would you describe your style?
KG: spontaneous-constrained-love.



office 56 – merchtem weekend house (extension and renovation of a row house in merchtem, belgium). read more about this dwelling here
photo © bas princen courtesy of OKGDVS



office 56 – merchtem weekend house
photo © bas princen courtesy of OKGDVS





office 56 – merchtem weekend house (click for enlarged versions of the plan and section)



office 39 – buggenhout villa
this freestanding dwelling is situated in the middle of a parcel between woods and an agricultural area near the village of buggenhout. the surrounding unkempt garden is not included, and functions as an automotive access around the house. the outside house is conceived as a patio villa with a garden. its thick double walls—two load-bearing layers of standard brick, painted white—carry a concrete platform that forms the base for the inside house. read more in our previous coverage of this project here.



the inside house is a compact set of rooms in the depth of the roof of the patio villa. this is conceived as a wooden box that covers the platform, which is made watertight by covering it completely with a dark plastic membrane.




office 39 – buggenhout villa (click to view an enlarged plan)




office 39 – buggenhout villa (click to view an enlarged section)




DB: can you describe an evolution in your work?
KG: there’s a lot of feeling and emotion in our work so I feel like it’s constantly moving but not necessarily forwards. if I were able to describe it entirely I’d kill it.


DB: which project has given you the most satisfaction to date?
KG: perhaps it was when we worked with bas princen for the venice biennale in 2010. I don’t think it’s the best work we’ve ever done but it was a nice collaboration and winning the silver lion for that project made it special.


DB: do you have any advice for young architects?
KG: do not be too eager to be successful and celebrated for the sake of notoriety. instead, be eager to find out what you like and explore it further.


DB: besides architecture what are you passionate about?
KG: I have a very big interest in music and art. to be honest I’m more interested in art than architecture. I’m always looking at art and studying how artists work, it really fascinates me.

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