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How will migration influence architecture and the city?



Letter IV

from the portfolio Letters from Home, 2004 

Portfolio of eight woodblocks and metalcuts printed in black on handmade Kozo paper and mounted on Somerset paper

Edition of 20

Image size: 12 x 9 inches (30.5 x 22.9 cm)

Sheet size: 22 1/4 x 15 inches (56.5 x 38.1 cm)

Robert Verrijt (Architecture BRIO)




Away from Home

A Way to A Home


While Away, Way is a Home


For 17 years I’ve been away from what I used to call home, the Netherlands. First in Sri Lanka. Then in India. 

I was a migrant. An immigrant Architect. 


Recently I moved again. Back to the Netherlands. But instead of going home, I became a migrant once again. 

An immigrant Architect at home. 


I’m not the only one. More so than ever, humanity is on the move. Either out of choice but more often out of necessity. 

We take our cultural baggage with us, in the lives we live, and how we view our world around us. Having experienced several ways of being, we see things with clarity. And when we are away, we change the world around us.


But the slowness of architecture resists. When frozen in time, architecture and the real lived world drift apart to the point that architecture becomes an artifice, a deception. 

In other cases architecture is destroyed to make way for a new dominant culture, eradicating cultural memory and the potential for us to meet ourselves home, in our immortal alter ego. 

Often the power of architecture is manipulated to shift diversity and variety to a single vision. Rather than representing a greater number of varieties, it restrains our gaze to a few standards and protocols. Architecture has the power to include as much as exclude people.


Our practices aim to celebrate the convergence of the global and the local. Ideas are like a seed, transported by birds, wind and sea currents, transported into other ecosystems to intermingle and transform.

In contrast to plantation agriculture, like a colonial eucalyptus forest inhibiting divergent views beneath its canopy, architecture has the potential to diversify, crossbreed, inoculate, chameleonize, enriching the planetary garden, modifying the earth's surface, weaving new stories between newly built relationships, losing one's identity, and imagining alternative destinies for our homes to come.

Led by Shefali Balwani and Robert Verrijt, Architecture BRIO engages actively in the creation of contextually appropriate, sustainable design solutions within an increasingly changing world. The work of the studio addresses new ways of understanding the often contradictory interrelations between the city, architecture, landscape, and the world of interiors. There is a growing need for our built environment to re-establish healthy relationships with the natural world. Similarly there is an urgency to address the never before seen growth in urban and rural areas in India and globally. Within this context, the work searches for a delicate balance between architecture as the act of disappearance, and creating characterful, responsive and experiential environments.

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