Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Author of The Venice Variations
Concept Illustrator and Designer
MVRDV Architecture and Urbanism Practice
Associate Design Director and Architect
Professor Sophia Psarra (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL) is author of The Venice Variations (UCL Press 2018) addressing cities and buildings as multi-authored processes of formation alongside authored projects of individual design intention. Her book Architecture and Narrative (Routledge, 2009) explores the relationship between design conceptualization, spatial narrative and human cognition. Her edited book The Production Sites of Architecture (Routledge 2019) investigates the processes of knowledge production in the design, publication and experience of buildings. Sophia has taught and lectured internationally at The University of Michigan, Columbia University, Syracuse University, Cardiff University, The University of Greenwich, The University of Bologna, IUAV, Venice, Gratz University of Technology, The National Technical University of Athens and The University of Thessaly in Greece. She has collaborated with cultural institutions on layout design, exhibition concept and visitors’ experience (The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, New York, The Natural History Museum, London). Her design work was exhibited in Venice Biennale, the George Pompidou Centre, NAI Rotterdam, RIBA London, Berlin, Milan and Athens, Greece.
Don Carson is a concept illustrator & designer working in the theme park and computer game industries. Don has worked as a Senior Show Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering art directing projects like Splash Mountain, Mickey’s Toontown, and Blizzard Beach. His focus is bringing design principles unique to environmental storytelling to projects all over the world. Don has applied these designs to computer games, the theater, and other media. Don has a long career in theme park design, and he strives to show the potential of using the principles of environmental storytelling to influence an audience’s experience, whether they are exploring a physical or virtual world.
Associate Design Director, and Architect, Gijs Rikken (NL), joined MVRDV in 2007 after completing his Master of Architecture at the Eindhoven University of Technology. As Design Director for Studio 8, Rikken drives design direction for the development and execution of a wide variety of projects in the Netherlands and abroad, ranging from large-scale, complex buildings to detailed innovative materials research. Rikken’s core strengths lie in the translation of the brief into a design underpinned by intrinsic MVRDV values. His technical background influences his fascination for materials and (innovative) materials research, which he applies to support the office’s theoretical ambitions.
Rikken is currently responsible for the development and construction of Valley, a 75,000m2 mixed-use building in Amsterdam, which boasts three residential, green-covered towers and a publicly accessible, vertical park. Other key projects include the Glass Farm in Schijndel, The Crystal Houses in Amsterdam, and the Balancing Barn in Suffolk, England. Definitive works consist of the winning design for the Urban Hybrid in Emmen, the Coral Tower in Sydney, and the Theater aan de Parade in Den Bosch.
“At MVRDV, we continuously push the envelope. As architects, we have an obligation to try to change the world into something better. Something greener, more social, more mixed, more accessible, more wonderful.”