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Since the nineties, contemporary architecture is being confronted with a contradictory phenomenon. Architects are asked on one hand to produce very neutral and anonymous buildings adaptable to different programs. On the other hand at the same time, they are asked to create very specific buildings easy to identify with unique spaces. Atelier Kempe Thill – founded in 2000 by two German architects André Kempe (Freiberg, *68) and Oliver Thill (Karl-Marx-Stadt, *71) – takes this modern paradox very consciously as the point of departure of the work. The office tries to create structures that are neutral and economic as well as being specific and innovative. The aim of the work is to achieve “Specific Neutrality” that gives architecture the possibility to express the hidden vitality of our time.
Atelier Kempe Thill architects and planners was founded in 2000 by the two German architects, André Kempe and Oliver Thill, following their Europan 5 winning proposal of three hundred dwellings in Kop van Zuid, Rotterdam.
The office’s range of work has systematically broadened since its foundation. Beginning with collective housing and small public building commissions, the practice portfolio has developed to include large renovation, infrastructure and urban design projects. Single-sided specialisation and the consequent limitations have been avoided through the wide diversity of commissions; as a result the practice is also more economically stable. Since its foundation, Atelier Kempe Thill has tried not to limit itself to the Netherlands, but instead establish itself within the wider European market. Through its participation in over two hundred international competitions, the office has acquired commissions in the Austria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Morocco, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Atelier Kempe Thill is becoming increasingly well known in architectural circles. In the last years the office has appeared in around five hundred publications worldwide, amongst which were four monographs. In addition, the office’s partners have given more than two hundred lectures. This professional recognition enables the office to acquire increasingly complex projects and compete with the larger, more commercial practices.