Roots / 12 September – 3 December 2010 / SCHUNCK* / Heerlen NL

Young creative architectural talent educated in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine
Background information
Within the focal area of the Euregion Meuse-Rhine (The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium) six educational institutes for architecture and urbanism send out some 400 graduated young architects into the world, every year. Many of them leave the Euregion immediately after their graduation to seek their luck elsewhere.

The Euregional Prize for Architecture (EAP) – annually awarded by SCHUNCK* (the former Vitruvianum) and celebrating its 20th anniversary this year – gives every year a good indication of the power and potential that these designers radiate. Where do these young talents end up? How do they develop themselves and what opportunities do they get on the international labour market? These are some of the questions which SCHUNCK* aims to answer.

Content and purpose of the project

What’s so special about ‘ROOTS’ is the link between presentation podium and ideas competition. The presentation podium consists of a website, an exhibition and a series of lectures. The website will show the different paths followed by the designers who graduated from one of the six academies in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine over the last 20 years. The exhibition and the series of lectures are specifically aimed at up-and-coming talent and at creating new opportunities for them.

Furthermore, the ROOTS participants had the chance to take part in an ideas competition for a SCHUNCK* Pavilion. On Saturday 11 September 2010 – the opening day of the exhibition – the cash prize of € 5.000 for the best design will be awarded .

The project consists of the following five stages:
• Registration + selection
• Ideas competition
• Exhibition
• Lectures + debate
• Website

Registration + selection
In order to bring about as wide as possible an interest in participation, designers were contacted directly and advertisements placed in a number of international journals. 56 design offices sent their applications for participation in ROOTS. On 7 May 2010 an international panel of experts chose the best 22 design studios for participation in the exhibition as well as six interesting studios for the lectures. The expert panel consisted of:

  • Harm Tilman (chief editor De Architect)
  • Hans Ibelings (chief editor A10)
  • Stefan Devoldere (chief editor A+)
  • Sabine Kraft (chief editor ARCH +)
  • Florian Heilmeyer (editor Baunetz)

Although the exhibition focuses on the younger generation, it also shows an interesting survey of upcoming offices over the past 20 years.


The exhibition presents 22 interesting and talented design offices which all have in common that the founders graduated over the past 20 years from one of the six architectural schools in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine.
ROOTS aims to give an insight into the development process of these very different practices; the opportunities, working conditions and perspectives in the various countries.
Exhibition period: 12 September – 3 December 2010

Ideas competition

The ideas competition was open only to the 56 designers who applied for the ROOTS project. They were set the task to design a SCHUNCK* Pavilion. The studios had a period of 6 weeks to work out their design concepts and submit them. Mid August 2010 an independent international jury of experts will select the best design. The result will be announced at the opening of the exhibition on 11 September and the prize money of € 5,000 will be awarded.

Series of lectures/debate

During the exhibition period (12 September – 3 December) there will be two lecture evenings (15 & 22 September) and a concluding debate (6 October). At each of the lecture evenings, three exhibiting design offices will present a short office profile and then go on to discuss the possibilities, circumstances and chances they had, since the start of their career.In the concluding debate (6 October), themes such as: tender regulations and supportive programmes for new studios in the Euregion and Europe; the prospects of young architects and their influence on the quality of current architecture, will be discussed.

Criteria for participation

Designers who attained, between 1991 and 2009, their degree certificate in architecture or urban planning at one of the six academies/universities in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine and are now working independently, were able to participate.

  • Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Fakultät für Architektur (Germany)
  • Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg, Dep. Architectuur, Hasselt (Belgium)
  • Fachhochschule Aachen, Fakultät für Architektur (Germany)
  • Hogeschool Zuyd, Academie van Bouwkunst Maastricht (The Netherlands)
  • Institut Supérieur d’Architecture Saint Luc de Wallonie Liège (Belgium)
  • Institut Supérieur d’Architecture Lambert Lombard Liège (Belgium)


On Saturday 11 September 2010, there will be a big opening night for the upcoming Architecture generation. It will start at 17.00 hrs. with the opening of the ROOTS-exhibition at SCHUNCK* Heerlen, followed by the opening of WestArch in the Ludwig Forum Aachen at 20.00 hrs. WestArch is a similar project that provides an interesting addition to the ROOTS project. For those visitors who want to experience the whole evening, there are buses commuting between Heerlen and Aachen.

Objectives & target groups

ROOTS has been set up by SCHUNCK* to gain a clearer picture of the educational level of the academies/universities and the market mechanisms at play, and thereby aims to promote opportunities for up-and-coming architectural talent.
Not only should the project show the development and the potential of designers in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine, it will also attempt to provide them with better access to the working field. Roots aims to open up the horizon and let the construction world share in new insights of the up-and-coming generation who have begun to question current trends and tendering procedures.
Another aim of the project is to show the differences between the markets. The playing field for promising new talent is not always at the same level everywhere, but often the problems they face in neighbouring countries are similar. Which countries in Europe offer a favourable climate to young talent? How is this achieved and how are upcoming generations being challenged? What is the added value of this to society and the environment we live in? These are the key questions which will play an important role in the peripheral programme in particular.

Entrance: free

Exhibition period 12 September – 3 December 2010
Opening hours exhibition first floor: Tue, Wed, Fri: 11-17 hrs, Sat-Sun: 13-17 hrs