Architectenbureau Vroom is specialised in architectural conservation, restoration, renovation, and adaptive reuse of—often listed—monumental buildings, with a focus on the city centre of Amsterdam. For advice, planning applications and interior designs please contact us: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us for a first free appointment!
Monuments and missions
Should the 1780 carpentry be preserved, or should one disclose the original building walls that date from 1675? Are the monumental items compatible with the new features inside the building? For these kinds of questions, we find solutions. Our work is to create innovative and refreshing designs that take into account the historically developed situation. Old and new will blend harmoniously. We find a balance between the historic building—with its historic values—and the demands of the client. Furthermore, we have excellent relations with the municipal authorities, including Monuments and Archaeology (BMA), and we enjoy involving our clients in the discourse about the monument, the design, and its implementation. In architecture, the goal should determine the execution, and our goal is to build well.
Involved from start to finish
Once we get started, we do much of the work ourselves. We take care of the first exploratory meetings, building permits, specifications, tender up, all the way to overseeing the execution of the work. This enables us to monitor quality and costs throughout the construction process.
Besides conserving and highlighting monumental aspects, our primary goal is to adapt the property to modern needs in close consultation with the client and the authorities concerned. We aim to get the best out of every design. In the design we translate the wishes of the client while simultaneously considering the requirements of the monument (in case of a listed building), building regulations (related to the licence application), and eventually the implementation by a contractor.
We divide our activities into four phases:
Phase 1: Existing Condition + Preliminary Design
In this phase, the required research will be done based on old drawings and records, as potentially provided in archives. Based on our measured survey of the building, we will assess the current situation and set up the preliminary drawings. The drawing of the existing condition includes plans for all levels, the elevations, and cross-sections. These drawings form an important basis for all subsequent stages.
To create a preliminary design, a program of requirements (project brief) will first be prepared in consultation with the client. Subsequently, we will examine how all the required spaces and functions fit into the existing building. In this phase, the larger configuration and design is established. In the next stages, we will continuously zoom in to comprehend all the challenges.
Phase 2: Definitive Design (including planning permission)
In the second phase, the definitive plan will be worked out, developed, and submitted for the planning application. A regular building permit takes 8 weeks, but for a monument, or an application which derogates from the zoning plan, the extensive procedure of a maximum of 26 weeks applies. A building permit complies with the national regulations, but the costs for the licence varies by municipality.
Stage 3: Construction Preparation + Price & Contract Formation
As soon as the application has been submitted, the third stage can start. In this subsequent phase, the plan will be developed in greater detail. The construction specifications book, the accompanying drawings and appendices describe the building instructions as thoroughly as possible. This can range from an overview of all the sanitary fixtures, the finishing of interiors such as floors, walls, and ceilings, to the detailing of joints, plaster, carpentry, and joinery (e.g., mantelpieces and window frames).
There are different approaches in choosing a contractor. Based on the specifications, several contractors can be invited to take part in a tender, in which these parties each submit a bid with a price. A contractor will then be selected based on price, quality, and planning options. It is also possible to invite one contractor to offer a price to work within a construction team. Plans can then be optimised with this contractor, reducing the extent of the construction specifications book. The final contract documents comprise the papers from our office, any additional pieces from external consultants (such as engineering drawings or an asbestos survey), and the contractors target budget and planning.
Phase 4: Implementation
In the fourth phase, we will supervise the construction work. At this stage, building management is of utmost importance to achieve the desired quality, including controlling the progress and the costs. In general, during fortnightly construction meetings, all the key findings and changes are reported. Throughout the construction period, we check and assess the quality, the progress, and the offers of additional work. In the end, the handover takes place: it is the last check of the construction stage. If the assessment is approved by both the client and the architect, it will be the moment the contractor has finished his work.
The purpose of the above information is to give an indication of our role as architects and our work per phase. Naturally, each project and client are different. Accordingly, we are always prepared to make a bespoke product. We would therefore like to invite every client for a free appointment at our office.
Our reliable network of external specialists offers our clients access to extensive knowledge. This network includes—but is not limited to—specialists active in the field of subsidy schemes, tax advice, environmental and soil investigations and historical (architectural) research. Structural analysis is outsourced to experts in that field. Costs and calculations, such as compiling management budgets, are also usually outsourced but always checked extensively by our firm.
Our office is GEAR certified and a member of the Association of Architects Working in Restoration since 2008 (VAWR – www.vawr.nl). The VAWR is an active trade association that aims to promote and realize high-quality preservation, conservation, and restoration of monuments in our country. The association was founded in June 2006. Members of the VAWR are in possession of a GEAR certificate. GEAR stands for: Joint Recognition Scheme for Architects working in Restoration, an arrangement which guarantees that affiliated offices meet specific requirements that require the responsible handling of monuments.
The GEAR comprises criteria and assessment procedures that define and test the quality of the work of restoration architects and architectural firms. Recognition as a GEAR architect guarantees the delivery of quality in the conservation of monuments, in collaboration with other parties. In addition, the scheme is aimed at consolidating and increasing professional knowledge and collegial exchange. Architectenbureau Vroom masters the complex regulations for monuments, in combination with the use of the latest techniques and materials. The use of sustainable materials and careful handling of energy consumption are axiomatic for us.
From left to right: Jan-Willem Kuipers MSc., Wolbert Vroom MSc., Debby Heilker-Lamerigts MSc.,
Letizia Romani M.Arch, Matthijs Bos BSc., Elynne Keizer. BSc.
Wolbert Vroom MSc Architect / director
From an appropriate 17th-century setting, Wolbert works with great pleasure on the conservation and renovation of historic houses in and around Amsterdam. After studying Architecture in Delft, he started his own firm in 1988. In his leisure time, Wolbert Vroom enjoys old and rare architecture books.
Debby Heilker-Lamerigts MSc Project manager
Debby Heilker–Lamerigts works at Vroom since November 2008. She graduated in 1997 from the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture. Debby has worked for 12 years at Van Schagen Architekten and completed the BMA course Conservation Techniques in 2010. Debby has built a beautiful portfolio including the conservation and renovation of Tweede Weteringdwarsstraat, Zuster Constancelaantje, Achtergracht en Herengracht. At Vroom, she works as a project manager/designer.
Jan-Willem Kuipers MSc Architect / Project manager
Jan-Willem Kuipers works at Vroom since January 2016. After receiving his BSc at the Hogeschool Utrecht (HU), he graduated in 2004 from the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture. Jan-Willem worked at the Architecture Centre Thijs Asselbergs, Meyer and Van Schooten Architects and at Delfgou for eight years. Jan-Willem has built a beautiful portfolio including the conservation of the Keizersgracht, Herengracht, Honthorststraat and Stadhouderskade. At Vroom, he works on conservation projects as a project manager/designer.
Matthijs Bos BSc Draughtsman
Matthijs Bos has been working at Vroom since August 2015. First as an intern, then as an on-call worker, and since April 2018, he has been employed as a technical designer. After completing a vocational engineering degree in architecture, he decided to advance his education. In July 2017, Matthijs graduated in transformation, renovation, and restoration at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS/HvA).
Letizia Romani, M.Arch, BSc Draughtswoman
Letizia Romani has been working at Vroom since November 2022 as a 3D draughtswoman and technical designer. In 2017 Letizia obtained her BSc at Roma Tre University (Italy) and she graduated (magna cum laude) with a master in Restoration from Roma Tre University (Italy). She has two years of work experience.
Elynne Keizer BSc Draughtsman
Elynne Keizer has been working as a technical designer at Vroom since August 2023. She graduated from Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen in May 2022. During her studies she did an internship at Adema Architecten in Dokkum. In September 2023, Elynne started the master’s degree in Architecture at the Academy of Architecture in Rotterdam.