Start of European state architect network

“This is a historical moment”, is what moderator Sophie Derkzen said at the start of the state and city architects meeting in Brussels, during the New European Bauhaus Festival. It was the first time that so many different state architects were in the same room, and for some of them it was the first time they met. As Wouter Veldhuis, Dutch Chief Government Advisor, put it: “We almost never meet up, but today is a good day to start a European network of state and city architects. I believe we can learn a lot from each other, especially within Europe.”

from left to right: Nathalie de Vries city architect Groningen, Erik Wieërs state architect Flanders, Kristiaan Borret city architect Brussels, Helena Bjarnegård state architect Sweden, Wouter Veldhuis Chief Government Advisor The Netherlands.

The Dutch Board of Government Advisors took the initiative to bring four different state architects (from Sweden, Ireland, Flanders and The Netherlands) and two city architects (from Brussels and Groningen) together during the New European Bauhaus – festival that took place in Brussels from June 9-12.

During a fruitful panel discussion, they explored how state and city architects can contribute to the Bauhaus principles: beautiful, sustainable, together. They talked about projects as diverse as reviving old industrial zones and using the energy transition to improve existing neighbourhoods, as installing design guidelines for high rise buildings.

Shared goals

The formal roles of the state and city architects differ. For example, the Flemish and Swedish architects often work directly with municipalities, whereas the Irish and Dutch state architects mainly advise national governments. But the goals they are working on are the same: a higher quality of the built environment, a more diverse and inclusive living environment, a sustainable future, and the bridging of the gap between government policies and citizens.

European state architect network

The state and city architects very much welcomed the idea of an European network. Swedish state architect Helena Bjarnegård offered to host the next physical meeting in Malmö in the summer of 2023.

In the meantime, we will report frequently on the plans and progress of the European state and city architect network.