Roel Krabbendam was born in the Netherlands and grew up in the United States. A year spent wandering Europe and North Africa by bicycle when he was 20 years old convinced him to pursue architecture as a career, and he became a licensed architect in the State of California in 1993. He has since been licensed in Massachusetts and Arizona, where he now lives.
Nurtured by that year on the road, a profound belief in the importance of adventure informs Mr. Krabbendam’s decisions. He worked for a year in the Amazon Jungle of Peru, crossed the Sahara Desert with a bicycle and designed projects there for some years after, designed a retreat in the Himalayan foothills of Bhutan, and also completed projects in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hawaii, Alaska, California, Arizona, Massachusetts and Vermont. He has an allegiance to visceral experiences, something his wife and daughter inexplicably put up with.
Schools remain Mr. Krabbendam’s most rewarding endeavor. Dissatisfied with the sterile, repetitive classrooms he encountered all over the world, Mr. Krabbendam developed the alternative model of school explained in his 2018 book school. He continues to refine those ideas, devoting his doctoral dissertation to engaging stakeholders in school design workshops. He intends to change the experience of school for our children to one that marries adventure with effort, the two pillars in his opinion of a profound, rewarding and fully self-actualized life.