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Carlos José Maria Weeber

04-12-1937

Architect Carel Weeber makes his mark with housing block De Peperklip in Rotterdam south and the Black Madonna in The Hague. The apartment blocks are enormous, and convey Weeber’s repudiation of what he regarded as Dutch ‘frumpiness’. Although colleagues vote him ‘the worst architect in the Netherlands’, his work is highly regarded and garners numerous prizes.

Carel Weeber is born in Nijmegen and grows up in the Antilles. He studies architecture at the Technische Hogeschool in Delft between1955 and 1964. While a student, he works for a time with Groosman and is student-assistant modeller.

In 1966 he wins the Prix de Rome, the most prestigious prize for young architects. He then works with Van den Broek and Bakema on the Expo Pavilion for Osaka (1969-1970). Next to this, teaching is his prime occupation, and he lectures at the TH during the democratisation period. In 1977 Weeber sets up a firm of architects with Jan Hoogstad, Aat van Tilburg and W. Schulze (HWST). In a short space of time, he designs a large number of residential projects in Rotterdam: on the Voorhaven, Slaak, Oostzeedijk, Tolhuislaan, Vasteland and Pompenburg. He regularly clashes with building inspection commissions and residents’ interest groups.

Weeber is a fervent opponent of what is known as the ‘new frumpishness’ in Dutch architecture: small-scale, homey Dutch architecture of the late 1970s with its tiny gardens and pokey streets. His reaction takes the form of enormous apartment blocks. De Peperklip (1979-1982), a large-scale apartment complex in Rotterdam, is hotly contested from the beginning. Weeber also builds a rigorous, massive residential complex in The Hague, the Black Madonna (1982-1985). His designs reintroduce monumentality to the urban landscape.

In 1988 Weeber, Frits van Dongen, Pi de Bruijn and Jan-Dirk Peereboom Voller found Architekten Cie. His rational architecture takes an unexpected neo-classical turn and in 1998, he leaves the firm. Weeber moved to the Dutch Antilles in 2005, far removed from Dutch dialogues on architecture.

Weeber is professor and dean of Delft University of Technology, chairman of the BNA and the driving force behind the architecture section of the Rotterdamse Kunststichting. His is the recipient of the Prix de Rome, the Staalprijs, the Betonprijs and the Sikkensprijs.

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