Bookmark and Share

PI Ter Apel


The architect, project manager and artists involved in the commissions for PI Ter Apel all commented that it was an extremely successful project in terms of the relationships between the project team and the way the resulting works integrate into the new prison buildings. They all mentioned the fact that everyone in the team was positive about the commissioning of art work – the enlightened architect who enjoys collaborating with artists, the enthusiastic prison director (the client) who is himself a knowledgeable art lover, the construction manager, the supportive project manager, and selection of the right artists who were able to respond in an inspired way to the challenges of the prison situation.

The architect, Martin van Dort, feels that his role is to create a functional building that is fit for the purpose of the client. He also values conceptual input into his buildings but does not feel he can deal with both function and concept successfully at one time and values the input of other artists. He enjoys working with artists and does so a great deal. He prefers to work collaboratively with them through discussion, close working and responding to each other’s input and ideas, so that the result is truly integrated. He sees himself as an artist with a particular role in relation to creating buildings, and welcomes the contribution of other artists in bringing a new way of looking at things, which is stimulating to himself as an artist, and brings additional quality of the resulting project.

The role of the architect can be crucial in helping artists to realise their concepts in an architectural situation, by advising on materials and processes to make the works, and by understanding the constraints imposed by certification for building works.

Martin van Dort says that while the Netherlands may have had Percent for Art for almost 50 years, many architects still prefer not to work with artists, although equally as many enjoy and benefit professionally from the process.

© Copyright Joanna Morland 2000