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Frits Palmboom

Urban designer Frits Palmboom (1951) made his name in 1987 with the book Rotterdam, verstedelijkt landschap (Rotterdam, Urbanised Landscape), a completely new interpretation of the urban morphology of Rotterdam. Based on a historical analysis of the physical history of the urban landscape, Palmboom showed how a combination of the geology of the delta, the polder patterns and the war damage of the bombardment together with the motors of modernisation of large-scale traffic and ports had led to the characteristic fragmented urban fabric of Rotterdam.

As a student, Palmboom was inspired at the former TH Delft by the work of Pjotr Gonggrijp. His work showed him how drawing could be a form of reading the landscape. In 1973 Palmboom made an analysis of and design for the urbanisation of the area around Alphen aan den Rijn, in which the influence of Gonggrijp is clearly visible. Based on a meticulous morphological analysis, Palmboom developed a linear urbanisation model along a public transport line based on cycles of growth and change.

The design of IJburg (1995-97), which Palmboom made together with Jaap van den Bout, also relates to the coherence between the large-scale manufactured landscape of the polders and the IJsselmeer area, and the physical morphology of the new district of islands. Palmboom designed a vocabulary of transitions between water and land with an eye for the relationship between man and the vast water landscape.

Without a doubt Palmboom is one of the leading Urban architects of our time and it is nice to be able to ofer one of his earliest publications from 1979 inwhich he takes a look at 8 projects on Urban architecture and building in the Soviet Union from 1926-1930.

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