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Wim Quist

27-10-1930

Wim Quist (1930) graduated from the Academie van Bouwkunst (Academy of Architecture) in 1960, after which he set up as an architect in Rotterdam. His oeuvre comprises offices, houses, factories, public buildings, and a surprising number of museums. Rooted in modernism, Quist’s work is characterised by clear shapes and a pure use of contemporary building techniques and materials and is at odds with the iconic trend in architecture.

His work is averse to trends and fashions, and for each commission he looks for the most suitable way of translating the schedule of requirements into architecture. He uses clear, elementary shapes, often untreated materials and a precise degree of detail. His work is austere and concentrated but also light and contained.

Quist has built a great many iconic buildings such as the Maritime Museum (1986), the head office of Robeco (1992), Rotterdam’s Schouwburg theatre (1988), Willemswerf office building (1984-1989) and Rotterdam’s drinking water facilities (1959-1965). Quist also built a large number of museums, including an extension to the Kröller-Müller museum in de Hoge Veluwe National Park (1969-1977), Museon in The Hague (1980-1985), Cobra museum in Amsterdam (1992-1995), Museum Beelden aan Zee (1994) and the Noordbrabants Museum.

Wim Quist was professor of architectural and urban design at Eindhoven University of Technology from 1968 to 1975, and Government Architect from 1974 to 1979. During this period he built several large-scale new projects such as the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Hagoort) National Library of the Netherlands, and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (Apon) and Social Affairs and Employment (Hertzberger).

Though he is far from dogmatic in his choice of architects, Quist has a preference for functionalism. He pursues a “humane, expressive logic”, i.e. a building has to be logically structured, have visual strength and yet be human. Quist’s great affinity for the visual arts resulted in the establishment of a committee that advises on art in government buildings.

Quist worked at Quist Wintermans Architects in Rotterdam from 1995 to 2003.
He has won several prizes, including the Prix de Rome in 1958, the A.J. van Eyckprijs in 1970, the David Roëll Prijs of the Prins Bernard Fonds cultural foundation in 1990, the BNA Kubus in 1986 and the oeuvre award for architecture from the Fonds BKVB (Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture) in 2007.

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