Jen Alkema (b. 1962, Haren, The Netherlands) was born into a family of builders, with his grandfather, father and uncle all employed as building contractors. After completing his studies at The Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam in 1994, Alkema reached the finals of the 1995 Prix de Rome, a prestigious national competition organized by the Dutch state every five years for architects under the age of 35. That same year, Alkema established his own architectural firm.
In 2004, following the nomination of the Spanish architects Cruz and Ortiz to renovate the New Rijksmuseum, the Programme Management of the New Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam asked the Chief Government Architect to recommend architects for the award phase regarding the interior design of the museum. Along with Jen Alkema, David Chipperfield (GB), Antonio Citterio (I), Christian Kieckens (B), Michele de Lucchi (I), Evelyne Merkx (NL) and Jean-Michel Wilmotte (F) were selected for a prestigious cultural assignment that was unprecedented in the Netherlands.
Alkema’s style is characterized first and foremost by its austere nature and use of subtle, reserved detail. His work aims at a sensuous, pure experience of space. It is an architecture stripped of non-essential adornment and embellishment. Examples of Alkema’s work can be found in and outside The Netherlands, primarily commissioned by private clients. The scope of his creation ranges from the complete renovation and restoration of existing spaces to the design of new homes, apartments, offices and shops, as well as the design and development of project furnishings.