RAAAF operates at the crossroads of architecture, art and philosophy. The studio started in 2006. RAAAF makes location- and context specific work and has developed the design approach of ‘strategic interventions’ (download PDF), which derives from the respective backgrounds of the founding partners: Prix de Rome Architecture laureate Ronald Rietveld and philosopher Erik Rietveld. Through a unique working method based on multidisciplinary research with scientists and other specialists, RAAAF’s real-life thinking models link local qualities with long-term strategies.
For RAAAF every project is a manifesto in itself. Our interventions are the result of an independent attitude and research agenda, starting from our own fascinations while confronting them with urgent societal issues. To use the words of Lebbeus Woods, what interests us is "what the world would be like if we were free from conventional limits and show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules." Showing these visions is the aim of each project.
A striking example of this is the installation ‘Vacant NL’, the Dutch contribution to the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010, in which the potential of 10.000 governmentally-owned vacant buildings was shown, now central in the discussions concerning innovative re-use. Another example is the cut-through monument ‘Bunker 599’, which unorthodoxly questions the Dutch and UNESCO policies on cultural heritage. ‘The End of Sitting’ is a thinking model that questions our ‘sitting society’. This architectural installation is a concept for a new working environment wherein the chair and desk are no longer unquestionable starting points. Instead, the installation’s various affordances solicit visitors to explore different standing positions in an experimental work landscape.
RAAAF’s work has been published world-wide and exhibited at leading art- and architecture biennales such as those of São Paulo, Istanbul and Venice. The studio has won several prestigious awards, including the Prix de Rome Architecture 2006, the Architectural Review Award 2013, the European Prize of Architecture 2017 (Philippe Rotthier) and a VIDI-award of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2013 RAAAF earned the title of New Radical and Dutch Architect of the Year. The various juries emphasize the ability of the studio to cross and stretch the disciplinary borders of architecture, philosophy and art.
In 2016 Ronald & Erik Rietveld have been invited to become members of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts (KNAW).