About the New Architect


Thijs Asselbergs
TU Delft


With over 40 years of experience as a lecturer, architect and driver of architectural policy, Thijs Asselbergs looks ahead in About the new architect. In response to conversations with students, Asselbergs shares his personal perspective on the profession and explains how ‘the new architect’ should be shaped.

In 2008, when Thijs Asselbergs had just taken up his position as professor at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. It ushered in the financial crisis, which had an enormous impact on the construction industry and architecture. Over half of the architects at the time lost assignments or quit altogether. This led to a rise in small architectural firms with all kinds of new forms of collaboration. What does the future of architecture look like after that turbulent history? Which challenges await the current generation of architects in times of far-reaching economic and climatic changes? And what is the difference between the old and the new architect?

Author Biography

Thijs Asselbergs, TU Delft

The curriculum of Thijs Asselbergs’ professorship at the Delft University of Technology also bears witness to the desire for innovation and collaboration. As a professor of Architectural Engineering (since 2008), he develops innovative technological solutions, together with students, as an integral part of architecture. He interprets technology broadly. It’s about industrialised, flexible and circular building solutions, such as those for the one million houses that must be built in the coming decade. However, Thijs Asselbergs wants to do more with his students. He wants to understand the possibilities of data architecture, research digitisation and robotisation, think about new financing of the construction industry, devise systems in the field of mobility and investigate how environmental damage and the loss of open space can be limited. The breadth of this research area already shows how the profession of architect is changing. That is why Asselbergs set up the platform De Nieuwe Architect (The New Architect) prepare his students for their future roles. He is also involved in BouwLab and Openbuilding.co, two initiatives that stimulate innovation in the design and modernisation of buildings, building on the Open Building approach developed by John Habraken in the 1960s.

Thijs Asselbergs graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of Delft University of Technology in 1982. He co-founded the design magazine Items in the early-1980s and published articles about design and architecture in various daily newspapers and professional journals. In 1985, he established his own design firm in Haarlem. At the end of the 1980s, he was head of the Architecture department of the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam,, and in the early-1990s, he was the city architect of Haarlem. He has chaired various building aesthetics committees of large cities and was Building Aesthetics adviser to the Chief Government Architect and Crown-appointed member of the Dutch Council for Culture. In addition, he occupies various board positions and is jury chairman of renowned Dutch architecture prizes. Up until 2010, he was chairman of the Archiprix Netherlands Foundation and Archiprix International, which organises prizes and exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad for young, recently graduated designers. He is director of Thijs Asselbergs architectuurcentrale. Completed projects include housing complexes in numerous cities, Ruimte voor de Waal (Room for the River Waal) in Nijmegen (Gulden Feniks prize in 2017) and Cloud Nine in the music venue TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht (Rietveld architecture prize in 2015).

about the new architect book cover



August 9, 2023


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