Philosopher Erik Rietveld and his brother appointed as Radical Innovator

6 March 2013

A jury from the magazine Vrij Nederland has selected philosopher Erik Rietveld as Radical Innovator. Erik Rietveld is a Veni laureate and is carrying out fundamental research at the University of Amsterdam into the philosophy of the cognitive sciences. Since 2006, Erik Rietveld has worked under the name Rietveld Landscape, together with his brother and architect Ronald Rietveld, to translate the results of his research into architectonic designs.

Erik and Ronald Rietveld have been selected due to the innovative character of their work. They have built up an international reputation thanks to their unconventional concepts, innovative research and inspiring interventions for socially relevant subjects. In 2006, Ronald Rietveld won the Prix de Rome Architecture. The jury under the chairmanship of Herman Wijffels chose 23 Radical Innovators from about 400 candidates who were scouted by Vrij Nederland and Kennisland. The jury had seven members: Willemijn Verloop, Herman Wijffels, Rob Gonggrijp, Sywert van Lienden, Frans Nauta, Chris Sigaloff and Frits van Exter. The list of 23 innovators [in Dutch] was published on 6 March in a special edition of Vrij Nederland.

An example of Erik and Ronald Rietveld's work at the interface of architecture, art and science is Vacant NL, the Dutch contribution for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010. With the exhibition the brothers put the enormous potential of the growing number of vacant government buildings on the agenda. It was a call for the utilisation of temporarily empty buildings for innovative initiatives that could strengthen the economic top sectors in the Netherlands. With this the Rietveld brothers used the highest podium in the world of architecture to launch the new discipline of Vacancy Studies. In 2012, this discipline was included in the Knowledge and Innovation Agenda of the top sector Creative Industry.


The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research awarded a Veni grant to Erik Rietveld in 2009 for his innovative scientific research in the area of embodied cognition. This has contributed to the realisation of the in-depth research that lies at the basis of several of the best-known projects of Erik and Ronald: Vacant NL, the Dutch Atlas of Vacancy, Nieuw Amsterdams Park and the design methodology of 'strategic interventions'. International juries have crowned their work in recent years with recognitions such as the prestigious Rotterdam Design Prize and two Dutch Design Awards.

Now the brothers are working on the book Vacancy Studies that will be published later this year. Erik Rietveld regularly publishes in international philosophical journals about 'acting skilfully without thinking about it'. This includes cycling but also the skilled intuitive actions of experts such as physicians or architects. Over the next few years Erik Rietveld wants to use his practical experience with architects for the further development of his philosophical framework for cognitive scientific research into intuitive expertise.

Source: NWO