Creating Smart Buildings and Healthier Urban Environments, ft. Winka Dubbeldam from Archi-Tectonics

Exploring the Boundaries of Architecture with Winka Dubbeldam

In the bustling, ever-evolving world of architecture, it’s rare to encounter minds that truly push the boundaries of what is conceivable. Winka Dubbeldam, the head of Archi-Tectonics in New York City, stands out as one of these visionaries. Originally from Holland, Winka’s journey in architecture took her to Columbia University in New York, where she intended to study but ended up making the city her home. We recently had the opportunity to dive deep into her architectural philosophy and explore her innovative projects during a transatlantic podcast.

From Holland to Manhattan: A Global Architectural Perspective

Winka’s background is as diverse as her architectural projects. Despite being based in Wall Street, the heart of Manhattan, Archi-Tectonics maintains a distinctly European vibe. This is reflected in the team composition – a mix of talents from various backgrounds, creating a mini-United Nations of architectural prowess.

Her journey has led her to undertake projects across the globe, from a house in London to significant projects in China and Paris, each marked by a unique blend of innovation and foresight. This global perspective allows Winka and her team to bring diverse architectural solutions to the table, transcending traditional boundaries.

Architectural Innovation: More Than Just Design

Winka’s approach to architecture is refreshingly unconventional. Instead of specializing in a particular type of building, she focuses on innovation. This philosophy is evident in her projects, such as the Asian Games Stadium, which doubles as a concert hall. This hybrid structure is not just an architectural marvel but also a testament to sustainable design.

Her work is heavily influenced by the concept of “synthetic natures,” where architecture learns from and incorporates elements of plant intelligence. This forward-thinking approach positions Archi-Tectonics at the forefront of architectural innovation, constantly exploring and expanding the boundaries of what buildings can represent and accomplish.

The Journey from Concept to Reality

One of the most intriguing aspects of Winka’s work is the journey from a visionary concept to a tangible reality. The process involves not just creative design but also the meticulous calculation and planning required to bring these complex structures to life. Her projects, like the folded glass building in New York, demonstrate the intricate dance between innovative design and practical execution.

This building, Winka’s first, showcased the potential of parametric design long before it became a mainstay in the architectural world. The use of folded glass, a material worked in Barcelona and mullions extruded in Hong Kong, speaks to her ability to think outside the box and utilize global resources innovatively.

A Day in the Life at Archi-Tectonics

Winka’s dual role as a practitioner and academic brings a unique dynamic to her work. Her firm operates more like a laboratory, maintaining a small, dedicated team that engages in every aspect of the projects. This approach ensures a rich, collaborative environment where ideas can flourish without the constraints of conventional hierarchical structures.

Her commitment to teaching and shaping the future generation of architects is evident in her involvement with her students, encouraging them to build strong arguments and narratives around their designs. This emphasis on the ‘why’ behind the design is a crucial lesson for aspiring architects.

Looking Towards the Future: Architecture and Nature

The future of architecture, according to Winka, lies in its ability to coexist harmoniously with nature. She envisions buildings that are more than just sustainable – structures that actively contribute to the environment by absorbing carbon and producing oxygen. This vision aligns with the growing need for environmentally conscious architecture, pushing the envelope in terms of materials and construction methods.

Final Thoughts: The Essence of Architecture

Winka’s perspective on architecture is both refreshing and enlightening. She underscores the importance of having a unique architectural voice, advocating for a personal touch in every design. It’s not just about mastering styles or accumulating experience but about expressing your individuality through your work.

For those intrigued by Winka’s unique approach and groundbreaking projects, delving deeper into her work and philosophy is a must. Visit Archi-Tectonics’ website to explore more and witness the blend of innovation, sustainability, and artistry that defines her work.

And remember, for more content curated specifically for architecture students and professionals, be sure to watch the full video of this insightful conversation and explore more at