Rodolphe Alexis Van Impe; An Architect and Modernist

A few months ago, as I recall, I met Rodolphe Alexis van Impe, an architect, a person who can- with his personality brimming with scholarly wit- implant a penchant for architecture in your heart. The 35-year-old had a spark in his eyes when he was speaking about his field of work, the spark that is rare to find in the world that is channeled by highly extractive career pathways. You would listen to his imaginative ideas, and you will want the time to cease, that you can absorb fully, ponder upon one idea at a time and commend the sheer excellence of the person in front of you.

One very startling feature, even rare as it may seem, is that Rodolphe appears to be a forward-looking person; A modernist. How was I able to judge that, and what pushed me to complement his name with that very title are his revolutionary ideas for the future of architecture. The general trend in the field is reversed, overarching importance for the traditions and culture; his unique approach was indeed startling.

While expounding upon the new ways of architecture, he shared his belief that the field of architecture should take a leap, move forward, and align with the modern fundamentals of sustainable development. His view was that architecture should be a mix of culture, but science and technology should also be given importance for the betterment and ease of the population. The newer façade of architecture should be smart, starting from basic interior designing to smart cities.

He appeared to have a firm belief that sustainability soon encompasses the field of architecture, but he argued that this transformation would not be an easy feat. Some of his ideas can be a resource to the industry, such as energy-saving techniques that must be included in modern households. How a house can be a means of all resources for itself, ensuring just the right placement of material and clever use of technology. One framework he had was the positioning of windows in a way that they give maximum protection against the sun while using and channeling the sunlight to generate energy for heating purposes and lighting. These ideas can be implemented on a large scale by creating sustainable and smart colonies and smart cities.

He moreover talked about how architecture is a field that cannot be practiced in isolation, with the emerging trends it is spreading around other areas of work as well. This idea was brought into discussion when he told me that how necessary is the knowledge of the material to the architect.

Moreover, he explained the idea behind the choices of colors and how colors speak to the mind of people. A simple change in color choice can transform the whole project. He was clear that a project is a product of mind for architecture, that nothing is placed out of reason, and everything has a well thought out purpose, may that be even a color.

Continuing with the talk, I asked him how being an interior architect, he deals with the customers, rules, and regulations, if he feels that people constrict his creativity. His response was manifold, and he was clear that art may be the field that is all about creativity and imagination, but it also needs to be practical. He was all about respecting the budget of the part and following the rules and regulations. He believes that it is true that ideas cannot be caged, but the field of architecture is also about serving people with what they demand.

When I asked him about the Belgian Architecture Industry, he appeared confident about the workers and that technology and how it is always at the disposal of witty minds. The problem lies with the system, that is averse to revolutionize itself. In a popular view, if the art community, revolution, and technological transformation are not for art. He is of the belief that people who are behind city management should be more forthcoming towards new ideas and make cities more amenable to the demand of population rather than touting just tradition and culture. Rudolph believes that the world is too crowded to afford the beauty of just horizontal buildings, so switching to vertical buildings, the idea which is not given much air in Belgium, must be accepted. This was all about his view of architecture and how the field can be transformed.


Now comes his personal liking dislikes, inspirations;

After having hefty discourse, I was comfortable enough to ask him about his muse. What compelled him towards this field, what touched his heart that he is able to maintain this commitment and excitement in what he does. The answer wouldn’t astound you because the motivation behind is a person known to everyone who has the abstemious insight of architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright had in himself the spark that can ignite the dreams. Rodolphe admires how Lloyd admires nature and how is artwork is always built around nature.

The next personal question I ignited was his favorite quote; he was clear and instant in his reply’ LESS IS MORE’, which is very apt as I was conversing with an architect. The idea behind this quote- he believed- is the soul of the whole field of architecture.

Before ending the conversation, I asked him about the things which he always carries with himself; the answer would give you all a clear insight into the kind of personality he owns, shrewd vibrantly unique yet subtle in his demeanor.

Rodolphe always carries his cell phone, obligatory! If you exist in the 21st century. The other item in his list was quite unique; A bowtie, because a party can come up anywhere and you cannot attend one without looking like a gentleman. The third item will depict his close adherence to art, his love for nature; A sketchbook! Always on the go.

My conversation with Rodolphe was a fresher. It was like watching a nice trailer of what architecture is all about with a host who is instant is grabbing your attention.

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© 2019 by Gerard Pierre


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