‘You have to conquer the design to make it yours’


“I can come up with my most beautiful design, but if it doesn’t evoke the right feeling in the user, it will never work. The only thing I can do is use my skills and tools to create something they want,” says Martien van Vliet, architect and owner of Werkplaats van Vliet.

“Clients have to conquer the design, if you will. That goes for people, and also animals.” This philosophy was the starting point for a unique design Van Vliet created for the Anderstein estate in Maarsbergen: a new habitat for a barn owl that resided there.

“I came up with a fauna folly made from the bricks of an old barn. It was an apartment complex for the owl, and other birds and animals too,” continues Van Vliet. “I purposely designed it to be a high tower, so that it would be visible from the entire estate and in keeping with the existing sight lines of the environment.”

“I prefer to work with wood as well. It is extremely sustainable and it is easy to work with on site.” His love of wood also stems from his past: “I started out as a carpenter and from there I went on to become an architect, designing new building as well as doing renovations.”

“I am a hands-on architect, really engaging with clients to make sure that I get to a design that not only I like, but the client can make their own. Only then, it becomes the perfect design.”


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