‘Starchitect’ Nathalie De Vries speaks to a full house at MSD

August 15 / 164

Renowned architect Nathalie De Vrie, part of MSD Dean’s Lecture Series for 2015. Photo: Philippa Knack.
Renowned architect Nathalie De Vrie, part of MSD Dean’s Lecture Series for 2015. Photo: Philippa Knack.


Staff, students, and industry professionals including design and architecture media filled the theatres of the Melbourne School of Design on Tuesday night for the third of the MSD Dean’s Lecture Series for 2015.



Over 700 registrations were snapped up within a day of its announcement, and a second theatre was opened to accommodate the overflow. (The lecture was at capacity, filling both the Singapore and the B117 Lecture theatres.)


Nathalie De Vries, dubbed a ‘starchitect’ by the mainstream press, spoke on the topic New Collectivities: Housing and the City, presenting a slew of slides on the iconic work of MVRDV, the Nederlands-based architecture firm she directs with partner Jacob Van Rijs and Winy Maas. 


MVRDV’s global work is known for addressing urban, design and planning issues with innovation, collaboration, and a highly experimental approach.


From twin silos converted to waterfront apartments in Copenhagen to a shipping container converted to a ten-storey apartment block in an industrial estate in Amsterdam, De Vries discussed urban and design considerations and how MVRDV has addressed these on hundreds of global projects. 


Examples included MVRDV’s inclusive approach to housing and their work in delineating entrances, pathways and different functions with bold splashes of colour and varied typologies.


De Vries’ primary message was that housing requires a “weaving” of social, economic and cultural factors.


“Each building is a small city, so we experiment with different pathways and uses of communal space” she said. 


De Vries is in Melbourne until Saturday. She will be participating in a number of student workshops, industry discussions and academic meetings throughout the week.


The Nathalie De Vries Dean’s Lecture was sponsored by Dulux, and an associated exhibition of work by MVRDV is on display in the Dulux Gallery until September 2. Gallery opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.


Story by Louisa Deasey

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