About Philip Vencken


Philip Vencken, born in 1950 in Singapore, studied architecture and urban design at the AAI in Dublin, Ireland and at the TU, Delft, The Netherlands. He received a scholarship to visit l’ Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France, to study and develop his passion for painting and drawing. 

During his studies he was introduced to and became friends with the well-known Dutch Benedictine architect/monk Dom Hans van der LaanDom van der Laan has spent a lifetime researching the essential basics of architecture. The research Dom van der Laan undertook into the architectonic space was the reason why Philip became attracted to his thinking and work.  

Together with a good friend, the architect and writer Richard Padovan, he introduced van der Laan’s work to The United Kingdom, where it had a big impact on architects such as David Chipperfield and Norman Foster. Van der Laan, together with architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Norman Foster, David Chipperfield and designers such as Dieter Ramshave had an important influence on Philips’ architectural thinking and the development of his work. 

The research of the essential basic elements of architecture, together with the interaction of the disciplines that shape our human environment have always been a fascination of his throughout his career. His first study, a multidisciplinary research project into the influence of interaction of design disciplines in hurnan developments, resulted into a paper: the Living City. 

Philip worked in London from 1981 until 1994  for several well-known, international architectural firmsIn 1989 he became a design director for Michael Aukett AssociatesFor this multi disciplinary firm of architects, urban designers, landscape architects and interior designers, he was a founding partner of the Amsterdam office and, in 1994, moved with his family to The Netherlands 

In 2001 he joined forces with a young and talented, Rotterdam based, architectural office to merge Aukett Amsterdam with this young firm. The merger enabled him to broaden the scope and type of projects he would like to become involved with. Especially the dynamics of cities, the rejuvenation and renovation of empty buildings in order to transform the social impact on city life had his specific interest because of the impact on its social environment 

Together they started theby now, well-known architectural firm GroupA, based in Rotterdam. As a founding partner he has been involved in a varied portfolio of integrated building projects such as the European Headquarters for Sabic, Sittard, Headquarter Buildings for BP International Rotterdam, Akzo Nobel, Zuidas Amsterdam, Tennet, Arnhem.  

GroupA also became involved in multidisciplinary buildings such as the renovation of The Caballero Factory, The Hague and De Smederij, NDSM, Amsterdam, a major multi use project in Shanghai, China, a mixed use project of offices, housing, retail and recreation in Rotterdam. Master plan projects and offices in Arnhema villa in Bussum, several museum projects in Poland and Norway and housing projects, including student housing in Utrecht, Arnhem and Amsterdam. 

In 2009 he sold his shares and left GroupA as owner and founding partner to be able to spent more time to analyse and apply the values of integrated design disciplines in the development processes of architectural and urban design today.  

In 2009 ARTE (Architectural Research of the Total Environment) was set up as vehicle to work together with a highly talented group of young architects and designers on a number of long-term projects. Philip strongly believes in the interaction of sharing knowledge and talent to achieve excellence and delight, in the projects the design team undertakes. Excellence in design is a stimulus needed for the wellbeing of people. 

“To bring form and function together in perfect harmony will create beauty”.  

This statement has been a driving force for him during the years of his long and international career. Philip Vencken is currently a practicing architect, urban designer and painter who also, as an invited speaker at seminars and workshops throughout the world, will plead strongly for the need to concern ourselves, as designers, for an integrated, sustainable and multi disciplinary design approach to the challenges of the future developments of our human environment.  

He has a long term involvement as an architect and urban designer in a number of projects in partnership with Powerhouse Company, Barcode, Studio Larkamika, all based in Rotterdam and with H+N+S Landscape Architects, Amersfoort. 

Philip has developed, along side his architectural career, a career as a painter. At first as a private passion, which would act as a catalyst for his architecture.  More recently and more independently from his architectural work, he is working on an oeuvre of mixed technique and oil paintings, which allows him to bring his ideas on dynamics, balance and harmony together. Painting has always been a strong driving force for him to develop his ideas and feed his creativity. 

Alongside his current architectural projectsmostly in partnership with other architectural and design firms, he has been given the opportunity to exhibit and sell his paintings to a wider public. Exhibitions have been held in The Hague, Amsterdam, Heerlen, Dublin and London. His work as a painter, draughtsman and sculptor has been a constant source of inspiration for the development of his ideas on architecture.  

Both worlds, that of the public architect and that of the private artist, are complementary and in harmony with his wish to remain interactive and independent. More and more both worlds become intertwined, where one feeds of the other.  

The overall commitment of Philip is to contribute, in his own particular way, to a society of humanity, beauty and delight. He sees that as the foremost role of an architect. As an artist he can maintain his freedom and his constraints are only the limits of his own mind. That particular freedom of mind is of benefit to his work as an architect. 

Philip will always undertake to bring the several disciplines together in order to create a multi-disciplinarity and integrated design approach to the needs of modern day society. In order to do so he shares his talent, knowledge and experience with others in the hope that this example will stimulate others to take a broad and progressive view of our sustainable environment