Anne Holtrop Material Culture

The Temple Talks series 2018-19 opens with a lecture by architect Anne Holtrop. The materiality of an architectural project is often understood as its construction and expression. Holtop’s own association with material has shifted towards one that focuses on the process of working a material and the unique gestures dictated by a particular material, which he describes as material gesture. This shift of focus enables me to find form and an expression of architecture as a result of intervening in the process of making. The term gesture is borrowed from Roland Barthes, who in his writings on the work of Cy Twombly, defines the term gesture as the surplus of an action. An action, he writes: “is transitive, it seeks only to provoke an object, a result.” Whereas the gesture is “the indeterminate and inexhaustible total of reasons, pulsions, indolences which surround the action with an ‘atmosphere’.” In his work, he explores the gestures of making in relation to a material, in order to produce an architecture that is solely based on the relationship between the two, where the essence of the work lays within the material, the form and the act of making.


Anne Holtrop (°1977, NL) graduated cum laude in architecture from the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam in 2005 and is currently based in Amsterdam and Bahrain. His work ranges from models to temporary spaces and buildings. In 2015 the first two major buildings, the National Museum for the New Dutch Waterline and the National Pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain for the Milan Expo 2015, were completed. In 2016, Anne Holtrop co-curated the Bahrain Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennial: Places of Production, Aluminium. The same year Anne Holtrop opened a second studio in Bahrain which is currently working on the design and building of the Sheikh Isa Bin Ali Al-Khalifa Museum, the Siyadi Pearl Museum, the Murad Boutique Hotel and the Garden House. Studio Anne Holtrop designed a new retail identity for Maison Margiela in collaboration with its artistic director, John Galliano. The new look was unveiled during the couture show in July 2018. The interiors of four major stores will be completed later this year. Anne Holtrop was course director of the master Studio for Immediate Spaces at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam from 2012 to 2016, and was editor of the architectural journal Oase from 2005 to 2013. He is currently visiting professor at the Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio and is appointed professor of architecture and design at the ETH in Zurich, starting in January 2019. For his practice Anne has has been awarded several grants from the Mondrian Fund. In 2007 he received the Charlotte Köhler Prize for Architecture by the Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation and in 2016 the prestigious Iakov Chernikhov International Prize. 2G magazine dedicated its 73rd issue to Studio Anne Holtrop.