chapter  7
On being a humble architect
BySjoerd Soeters
Pages 6

My position is that the ethical imperative for the architect is to have the right attitude. I define this as ‘humility’ and I would like to illustrate it by means of illustrations from my own background, in Holland, and some of my own work. Though the image of an architect may appear to be that of an ‘artist’, who imposes his vision on ordinary mortals, my stance is the very reverse. Unlike Nietzsche, I do not stand on the Alps and survey the plains beneath – I come from the lowlands and professionally I try to stand in the midst of our society and combine in my work all its aspirations, rather than filtering them through the conventions of architectural taste. Paradoxically, my position as a ‘humble architect’ is exceptional in the landscape of today’s Dutch architecture and city planning, but I shall try to show you how it can contribute to the present debate on practice.