Interview with Jury member, architect, urban planner Cees Donkers

20.01.2022 Interview with Jury member, architect, urban planner Cees Donkers

The international online magazine World Architecture published an interview with Cees Donkers, a member of the Jury of the Open International Competition for the development of an architectural and planning concept for the renovation of the city of Norilsk until 2035. 

Cees Donkers -  Dutch architect, an urbanist the ideological reformer of Eindhoven during the crisis of the 1990s into the most important design and scientific center, one of the founders of the Dutch Design Week exhibition Cees Donkers.

The urbanist spoke about his impressions after visiting Norilsk, his vision of the city's development and expectations from the finalists' work. We share excerpts from the interview:

"After a long trip from my home town via Amsterdam, Moscow and a night fly I landed in the early morning at Norilsk Airport. My first impression was the astonishing flat landscape with typical brown colored nature in a misty morning light. Impressive beauty. Together with my host we drove in the taxi to the city and I told her that it felt to me like ‘surfing the waves’ of this moving permafrost ‘earth-sea’ (I am a windsurfer myself). It made me aware of one of the typical elements of the identity of this region. May be also about the ecological restoration that I have read about in the introduction papers. 

The abandoned buildings on the way but also the huge and beautiful murals on some of the housing blocks at the entrance of the city related to the cold climate with painted pole bears showed some independency and new creative energy to me <…>

The competion is mainly focussed on a view on the physical and urban development of the city, its landscape and also economic and touristic promotion. For me the social development is also an important second part of this view on the future. I myself found out in my city that the ‘voice of the citizens’ is important to listen to. It can be the base for the acceptation and support of these future plans. Organizing small scaled dialogues in a cafe situation and workshops can help a lot to invite and even seduce people to join the conversation".

The full version of the interview in English is available at: https://www.e-architect.com/russia/norilsk-design-competition

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