Wiegert & Kaj

Wiegert & Kaj rewrite the rules of architecture by mixing a contemporary experience of identity with an eternal sense of style.

Wiegert Ambagts and Kaj van Boheemen met while studying architecture at the Delft University of Technology. After working on various projects together, their mutual determination resulted in founding Namelok in 2015. To support their street-smart practice with a booksmart foundation, they continued studying at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and VU Amsterdam in the fields of architecture, architectural history, and design cultures.

Wiegert: “I will start with this: no one is original anymore, not even you. However, taste (and style as its visual expression) is an essential human ability, to the point that it is almost unconscious: we know if we like something or not before we understand why. The effects are mainly based on surprise.

Although we are all looking for a distinguishing individual style, I feel that we are moving in the opposite direction. The algorithms that we find ourselves in today are meant to offer that surprise, to show us what we do not know and what we did not know we had always wanted, and yet we are never completely surprised – because we know how to expect it.

Every cultural object that we aesthetize and consume is an important part of our identity and reflects who we are. “Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier,” said Bourdieu. But, if our taste is determined by data-fed algorithms that are controlled by giant tech companies, well, then we must be satisfied to classify ourselves as slavish followers of robots.”

Kaj: “I think it is time that architects wean themselves from the nostalgic vision of traditional master builders and find other ways of realizing their utopian aspirations. Architects must transcend the limitations of formal strategies and invent new forms of practice through interactive processes, multidisciplinary approaches, and collaborations.

New-generation architecture could be a design expertise that bridges a mix of strategic and creative abilities – including fine arts, digital technology, architecture, fashion, structural engineering, finance, and business management. Therefore, designers no longer need to look inward in search of the essence of architecture; instead, we must look forward and outward in search of countless opportunities offered by other disciplines and practices.

In order to do justice to the potential dynamic nature of architecture, all kinds of multidisciplinary experiments should be nurtured in a research-based, reflective practice.”