Since starting in 1986, the firm of Marlies Rohmer has grown from a one-person practice into a company with a staff of over 15 people. The portfolio is varied, ranging across urban design projects, houses, nonresidential buildings (such as a police station, a swimming pool and office buildings), schools, sheltered housing complexes and interior design. The firm’s oeuvre consists of a succession of striking buildings of unique character, each of which is a specific response to the commissioned task. We work both analytically and intuitively. When the form, the brief, the structure and (not to be forgotten) the social aspects of the project all unite in a single building, and when they together generate new meaning, the outcome is one of ultimate beauty. In some projects, the building blends with its surroundings in a timeless, modest way, while in others it is unmistakably a child of its time in a refined, made-to-measure suit. But the architecture always has a strong personal signature. We attach much importance to craftsmanship in methods and skills. The buildings have a refined finish and are thought out down to the finest detail. There is something waiting to be discovered at every scale, from the broadest gesture to the most subtle. Our love and concern for consistently well-made buildings is reflected in the way our studio is organized. We intend to keep our studio small and that goes along with a fairly limited portfolio. But it also means every design gets the time and attention it deserves.“The ultimate is a relative concept. To me, the ultimate means going on a quest, a journey whose destination is still unknown to you. It is not until you arrive somewhere that you can explain with any conviction why you travelled in the first place. In the ultimate, everything falls into place at last. It’s just like cooking: the raw ingredients may be practically inedible, but together they make up a tasty dish. The taste of the individual foodstuffs is no longer discernable, but when well combined they develop an extra dimension. The ultimate is everything that comes together in a unique synthesis that exceeds the sum of its parts.” A good example is the discotheque in Leidschenveen. The client originally wanted the building to be a windowless box in which the intimate atmosphere would remain unchanged 24 hours a day, so you wouldn’t know if it were day or night. The box had to be hermetically sealed to prevent noise leaking out to the surroundings. Moreover, a large number of escape stairways were required, so we decided to drape them over the building like a net stocking. The result was to give new meaning, both architecturally and from the viewpoint of urban design, to the sealed box, transforming it into an ornament. The escape stairs moreover double as seats, where young couples can court with a panoramic view of the A4 motorway and the new Vinex suburbs. The entrance was deliberately tucked beneath the building to make it practically invisible. This adds considerable mystique to the moment of entry. What is more, it reduces the noise nuisance to the surroundings and, last but not least, it enhances the sculptural quality of the building. So everything comes together in a single, multilayered principle. That is what I mean by ultimate beauty.