in memoriam: Lucien Kroll

A very sad message tonight: today Lucien Kroll passed away, at the age of 95 years.

Architect, designer, urban planner, from Brussels in Belgium. But he was much more. He looked at the environment with very different eyes as colleagues. He is, was, a free thinker among architects, and for several years kind of my mentor , who made sure that I too started looking with different eyes. He was not so much interested in architecture, but much more in the built environment , and the people in it. “When I see two people running into each other, stopping and starting a conversation, I see the beginning of a square in front of me” , he told me.

On another occasion I learned the importance of the time factor: He was supervisor of a sustainable housing project ( Ecolonia,) of around 100 houses, in the early nineties. “To make a truly eco-friendly environment”, he sort of complained to me, “ I get six months, when in fact it should grow in 600 years…” The message was clear.

“I’m just the one who translates into a design what people tell me how they like to live.” And over the years, environmental concerns were added. Later, I had the opportunity to speak a few times together at conferences, which produced a perfect blending of social, cultural , and energy and resource perspectives, the desires versus the limits, as the basis for designs. Fascinating discussions, which yielded many new insights. I am eternally grateful to him for that.

Alas, he has passed away, but let us revive his philosophy and lessons learned.