In pictures: Mireille Langendijk | Apeldoorn Direct

Mireille Langendijk is an architect and likes to contribute to a better world. With her passion and talent, she works on sustainable projects, culminating in MiniStek. In an interview, she talks about her vision, her favorite project, the profession itself and much more. I was of course also curious about how she lives as an architect. Are you also curious? You are reading this.

If someone introduced you, what would they say?

“This is Mireille. She’s an architect and a liaison. Well what would they say? I’m someone who converts people’s ideas into a design. I’m not necessarily a group person, more of a loner, but when I’m in a group, I have tend to do something for the group. Keep the group together and excited. They would also say I’m ambitious, but it’s never money driven. Now it seems I’m not very business minded. Everyone needs income of course to be able to pay for bread, but I like to contribute to a better world. I’m very passionate about that. Working on a future for my children and indeed for everyone. I want to go to bed feeling that I have achieved something today, done something good. It can be very small steps. I’m very passionate about that. What people would also say is that I always stay close to myself. What you see is what you get. I know who I am and what I want.”

About Mireille:
Born: 16 November 1987 in Apeldoorn
In love, engaged, married: Married with two children (1 and 5). Together they shake things up and are living shredders so I don’t have to leave work behind.
Be inspired by: Not really by a particular person. More of nature, designers and entrepreneurs. I recently visited the Dutch design week and at the beginning you look a lot at architecture, but in the end you also see how other designers and entrepreneurs do things. It is inspiring.
Hate: When people are not honest
Favorite book: I read a lot of different books. I read a lot about nature and about Charles Darwin, but I also like poetry, such as the book ‘Det ene er not det other’ by Henny Vrienten.
Favorite podcast: I don’t follow podcasts. I rather listen to it when I hear a good one. Like a podcast about the Bijlmer disaster by NPO, for example.
What can they wake you up to: Just let me sleep. I have two small children, so I’m happy if I can get a good night’s sleep.

Have you always wanted to be an architect?

“Actually from an early age. Not that I knew what that was at five, of course, but I discovered early on that I’m creative and technical. I drew a lot and made things. Also, I was outside a lot, in nature. In seventh grade I found out what an architect does and then I knew right away. I looked around a bit, it must be from school, but it was more out of obligation. I just knew what I wanted. to be an architect. “

“It is no longer a matter of course. Even my friends who have also done architecture are looking for what they want. The work is also so varied. The advantage for me as a freelancer is that I decide for myself what to take. It really increases my happiness.”

What qualities does an architect need?

“You really have to be a connection. In a building process you have to deal with many people. You work with the client, the contractor, a contractor and there are many other parties. As an architect, you are really the link between all parties. Creativity of course. To design, but also to come up with solutions, sometimes I have to be very strict with what I stand for, but sometimes I also have to realize that the process will go better if I let a few things go, so we can continue together. In construction, for example, things are often too expensive. Then I have to come up with something so that my idea can continue without the money that is not there. I am often asked what the most important points of the project are. So points me on three points that have to stay real and that way we try to develop the project further, although I like to work alone, I also like to come together in a process and then do my own thing again and then get back together Very nice, that va ration.”

What sets you apart from other architects?

“I am not a typical architect. I am very fond of natural materials and adapt my designs to the sun. Nature is my primary inspiration in this regard. My designs are sustainable. The most important thing in my work is that things make sense. The location of a window, door or canopy. Here it is important to take nature into account. The sun through your windows is also really good for us. You often don’t realize it, but it makes you feel better. Our brains are happy with plants and greenery, but also with a glint in the water. Reflection of light, shadows that you often don’t even notice. All the things, textures and aspects that stimulate the senses are what I give space to in my designs. I want to give people peace of mind.”

Do you have a particular method?

“I try very hard to listen to my gut. I then ask myself: ‘What do I want now?’. If I have to do administrative stuff, it makes no sense to hiccup. You can’t induce that motivation. Therefore, I often work with a list of the work I have to do, and then I see what I feel like doing at that moment. In the end, everything will work out.”

What do you like best about your job?

“I want to design things that are actually realized. I think it’s a shame if it’s just castles in the air. Doing things, that’s what everyone learns the most from. It doesn’t have to be perfect all at once. Together we learn from things, we leave things out or we add something. I really like that whole process. I also really created my own process. ‘Normally’ you go through all parties one by one. You follow a sort of sequence. I immediately throw everyone together at the table and then I ask them to throw everything on the table that they can think of and that needs to be taken into account. An integrated project. It often makes the process a bit more complex because you have to take many people into account, but the design is much better.

You are of course always aware of the latest housing trends, innovations, etc. How do you live? And are you satisfied with it or does it make you restless?

“As far as my own home is concerned, I am very calm and balanced. We just live in the country. We have a hectare of land and chickens and goats, so I’m also out a lot. At home I have a lot of rest. I can also stay at home. A weekend full of different things also makes me very restless. No day is the same during the week. My husband and I both have our own businesses with our own agendas, and of course we have two kids who have to go everywhere. So that rest is really important. My dream is to build my own house. We didn’t have to do anything to the house we live in now. But it is not the time yet

What do you hate?

“What I really can’t stand is when people bury their heads in the sand. The world is on fire and that some people only care about themselves. Some people have no other choice. They don’t have the financial means or they are struggling with enough problems themselves. But there is a large group of highly educated people who can make a difference and just keep doing their own thing. I do not understand. Especially not if they have children of their own.”

What are you most proud of?

“Minitek is everything I stand for. I also feel that letting go is the hardest thing for me. I haven’t made a single dollar from it yet, but I’m moving forward every time. The nice thing, but also the difficult thing about the mini-site is that I myself am the client, designer and also sort of producer. That makes it complex. If we’re talking about people introducing me, it’s this project that people call by my name.”

Is there enough space in Apeldoorn for MiniStek?

“The first to buy MiniStek’s houses are estates. Private individuals want to, but they can hardly get any land. It’s a problem. It’s such a shame. For example, I have ten very specific ideas, but I cannot engage in dialogue with all municipalities about lobbying for land. It really is a thing. Small houses are really not the solution to the housing shortage, but it is about the fact that some people have housing needs. I see MiniStek as an addition to the housing range. It’s a shame, it’s so difficult.”

“The difficult thing is that the people who can turn the buttons, who can influence the regulation, do not themselves need such a home. They don’t understand the concept. But it’s not about them, it’s about the people who need it. It is also such a big problem. Apeldoorn municipality also thinks it’s all exciting. They are therefore very much compared to other municipalities. But there is already land. Trees don’t pay rent so they can make money on a few houses. Their response to my request was that they do not associate with natural resources. The difficult thing is that the people from the regulations look at the process in a different way than the people who want such a home.”

Do you have a mission?

“To make the world a better place. Inspire people”. I wrote a book with 2 others. It’s called: ‘It can be done that way’. With this we want to show that things can be done differently and that it is not that it should be done less and less, but by taking one less step you get more elsewhere. I also believe that the better you know yourself, the better you can judge; this is where I have the most impact , or it’s the easiest step to take. That way you can assess a bit what suits you and what can have an impact on your life and therefore also on the bigger picture.”

What do you hope to have achieved in 5 years?

“I hope that MiniStek is well on its way to that time. That it is a product that you can order and that I can actually deliver. It doesn’t have to be a hundred a year. If only it worked. And a self-designed house in a nice location with lots of space. That our house is built completely to our taste, so that we can live green.”

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