office & culture

smart people, sparkling office

Open minded, approachable and considerate people, working together in an inspiring and healthy work environment.

introducing our amazing team

Bright and ambitious with a touch of mischief. Serious architects with a smile. You’re more than welcome to contact any of us.

Pieter Keppel

Pieter Keppel

architectural draftsman

pieter@brightside.nu

After completing his internship at Brightside, both parties agreed: we would like to keep working together! Since then, Pieter has grown into a highly valued and fully-fledged team member, with consistent and strong dedication. Pieter often takes on a versatile role; whether he's jumping in to help during the critical final stages of a tender submission, assisting colleagues with modeling tasks, or playing a key role in the refinement and elaboration of designs, his flexibility and skill are indispensable to our team. As he gains more and more experience, his tendency to always work hard and deliver precise results has earned him the nickname “the steam locomotive”. In addition to his work attitude, Pieter is always friendly, easy-going and ready for a laugh. It's no wonder we're glad he is on the team! When not at work, Pieter loves to travel and hike with his friends, or spend time with his family in the weekends.

Axel Beem

Axel Beem

architect / digital innovation manager

axel@brightside.nu
+31 6 13 97 30 49

Axel is a bright mind with a love for solving problems (or puzzles, as he likes to call them). As an architect he enjoys working on a variety of things - from complex monumental transformations to refining the last renders for a presentation. When he has taken a deep dive into a project, it frequently happens that he forgets everything around him - including lunch - until the job is done. In his role as Digital Innovation Manager, Axel is a core part of the firms innovative force, proposing and implementing new technologies in our workflows and making sure everyone can use them effectively. More than once, he has returned from the weekend, announcing a self-developed plugin to further improve Brightside's workflow. In addition to his other responsibilities, Axel is happy to be a sparring partner to Maarten and Sander on strategic challenges of any kind. In his spare time he can be found with friends, engrossed in a good book or hanging upside down in the boulder gym.

Hennie Dankers

Hennie Dankers

project manager

hennie@brightside.nu
+31 6 46 28 85 60

With decades of experience as a project manager in large-scale projects focusing on living, well-being & happiness, Hennie now shares her wealth of knowledge with the Brightside team; a perfect match! As a true contractor's daughter, Hennie is always ready to roll up her sleeves and put out fires, both inside and outside of her role as project manager. When she has a spare moment, she doesn't hesitate to pitch in on designing floor plans for an elderly care facility or brainstorming on innovative solutions for patient care. Always enthusiastic and energetic, Hennie never fails to find time for a quick chat; even on the busiest and most hectic working days. During lunch, our team is regularly treated to photos of Hennie's creative endeavors as a chef or artistor, or to stories about her holiday adventures. From cave diving in the crystal clear waters of Egypt to going on safari in Zimbabwe, nothing is too daring for her!

Merel Paes

Merel Paes

architect / project manager

merel@brightside.nu
+31 6 22 68 96 11

With almost a decade of dedicated work on the team, Merel has established herself as both a seasoned architect and a trusted Brightside veteran. Over the years, Merel has contributed to an extensive array of projects, ranging from upscale residential developments to the transformation of historic landmarks. Besides her architectural expertise, she possesses a profound understanding of the construction process, making her an instrumental part of bringing Brightside's visions to life- in her role as construction manager often leaving contractors in awe of her technical prowess and keen insights. Within our team, Merel manages some of our most challenging projects, acts as the primary liaison for Firma230, and is Maarten and Sander's right (and sometimes left) hand. This strong spirit extends to her private life, where she casually takes the lead in communicating with contractors and coordinating with fellow residents of her future appartment. How does one woman manage to do all of this at once? We are often left to wonder... To relax, she enjoys being with friends and exploring the country by train with her boyfriend.

Olaf Bruins

Olaf Bruins

architect / BIM engineer

olaf@brightside.nu
+31 6 16 05 26 06

Right after earning his master's degree in Architecture from the Delft University of Technology, Olaf ventured 'down under' to gain years of valuable experience in the field - before returning to the Netherlands and firmly establishing himself at Brightside three years ago. An intuitive designer known for his ability to listen and transform complex architectural challenges into functional and inventive solutions, he is able to move from idea to fullfletched design in a matter of weeks - often in quick succession! Olaf thrives in collaborative settings, enjoys mentoring colleagues and is known for his easygoing nature and sharp sense of humor - his blend of ambition, modesty, and boundless curiosity making him not only a valuable asset to our team, but also delightful company. Outside of the office, he can be found exploring Rotterdam’s vibrant culinary scene, visiting museums - often accompanied by his girlfriend -or traveling with one of his close-knit circles of friends.

Maarten Polkamp

Maarten Polkamp

partner / architect

maarten@brightside.nu
+31 6 41 23 51 84
download cv

Maarten founded Brightside (then Personal Architecture ) in 2005, right after obtaining the dual master’s degrees in both Architectural Design and Real Estate Management at the Delft University of Technology - a testament to his thriving on challenges and his tendency to never shy away from risk. His strategic focus on long-term objectives, entrepreneurial mindset and passion for innovation have played a pivotal role in the firm's growth and success in the past two decades. Maarten places a high value on both professional and personal development within his team, actively fostering an environment that encourages collaboration, support, and continuous growth. He is dedicated to advancing the industry at large, continually seeking ways to enhance its impact on our surroundings - his certification as a Passive House Designer and his years of service as vice president of the BNA (Royal Institute of Dutch Architects), are just two examples of this commitment on various levels. During the weekends, Maarten can be found working on his own building projects - recently completing his fourth home in a decade - or visiting the zoo with his two young daughters.

Sander van Schaik

Sander van Schaik

partner / architect

sander@brightside.nu
+31 6 48 31 81 96

Sander is a talented architect with a knack for resolving complex spatial challenges with remarkable ease. He translates rough ideas into lucid sketches – more often than not, upside-down and backwards and mid-conversation. As partner and co-founder of Brightside, Sander ensures that each project fulfills our client’s needs and wishes, from the early conceptual phase through to technical detailing. He is both creative and thorough in his approach, leading the team team to explore numerous options before whittling their way down to a single, bold design. Like no other, Sander knows how to narrate the essence of our designs to his audience - taking them on a captivating journey from the initial concept to the final details. Just like that, Sander persuades a welfare committee—strictly guarding a plan's historical values— to embrace Brightside's vision for the transformation of a national monument's facade… In his free time, Sander and his partner enjoy taking their Podenco's, Raf and Peer, to explore the city. His shrewd eye for real estate development opportunities has transformed a casual stroll with the dogs into a full-blown development initiative more than once!

Pim van der Ven

Pim van der Ven

architect / business developer

pim@brightside.nu
+31 6 53 79 35 35

Throughout his career, Pim has consistently started, led and developed large architectural firms, including notable names like 'Mei architects and planners' and 'Juli Ontwerp'. His extensive experience spans numerous large-scale residential projects, schools, office buildings, healthcare complexes, and student housing. Having more than demonstrated his capabilities in these areas, Pim has shifted his focus to the things he now enjoys most. For half of the week, this means championing his 'Happiness & Health' philosophy through his building consultancy firm 'Juli Advies'—advising municipalities and real estate stakeholders on how to create happier and healthier buildings. The other half is spent with Brightside, contributing to our journey towards a better-built tomorrow - his vast network and experience forming the perfect synergy with Brightside's ambition, long-term strategy and drive for innovation. In his free time, Pim loves expanding his knowledge through reading, making long walks with his girlfriend, traveling to distant places to visit his kids on their travels, or enjoying friendly competition on the golf course with his friends.

Ivor Wester

Ivor Wester

intern

ivor@brightside.nu

As part of a minor for his studies at Delft University of Technology, Ivor is doing an internship at Brightside. Why? In his own words: "You learn a lot at the faculty, but at the same time very little about the ins and outs of an architectural firm. I am really looking forward to gaining practical experience!". So far, his expectations have not disappointed him: Ivor has quickly become a valuable and almost indispensable team member. This bright lad supports a wide range of projects - from helping with designs or producing 3D printed models, to coordinating and monitoring work on site. In addition, Ivor has proven to be an invaluable help with our recently completed rebranding project. In his spare time you can find Ivor on the hockey field as a player, or as a coach of the new generation, but often also next to the line with a beer in hand. We recently cheered on Ivor at the finish as he completed his first Rotterdam marathon!

we strive to grow as individuals, but also as a team

Our philosophy revolves around personalised development plans that tap into the intrinsic motivation and unique talents of each team member. We maintain focus and learn invaluable insights on ourselves and each other, by evaluating our projects and our processes. To foster inspiration and encourage knowledge-sharing, we employ various tools, amongst others the ‘Big Rock’, a weekly presentation by one of our team member on a hot topic, “Start-Stop-Keep” exercises, where people reflect on their habits and ambitions, and a “Daily Stand-up”, where we tackle the challenges at hand together. And we maintain focus and learn invaluable insights through thorough evaluations of all our projects in each stage of the process.

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we take great pride in our office culture

At Brightside people feel at ease and are standing by to assist and support one another. In an open and safe setting, we closely work together in order to achieve the best result. In our ‘weekly cuddle’ we discuss the projects at hand with the whole team. A moment where ideas are formed, current themes are discussed, and solutions are devised for challenges we face in our projects and processes.

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inviting and inspirational

Our workspace is meticulously designed, offering the perfect blend of professionalism and comfort. An office with a welcoming, homely and cosy atmosphere, thoughtfully equipped with all the essential tools to facilitate productivity. The warm and carefully curated colour palette, personalised lighting options, height-adjustable desks, and an abundance of greenery, make it a welcoming place for our team as well as our valued clients and partners.

balancing dedication and celebration

At Brightside, we cherish the moments spent together beyond office walls just as much as our hard work within them. We enjoy social gatherings, embarking on exciting excursions, attending lectures as a team, and celebrate our achievements together in the local pub until the wee hours...

Our office in Firma230

'Firma230', our multi-tenant office building in the buzzing heart of Rotterdam, is initiated and developed by Brightside Architects. A dynamic building where we practice what we preach. As the developer and ultimately responsible, we are proud to house both start ups and mature companies, and one of Rotterdam’s most successful restaurants.

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on the bright side

Glass half full or half empty?

If you look at life as at least half full, then you’re a Brightside sort of person. Are you looking for a new opportunity? Do you want to challenge yourself? Contact Maarten or Sander now (not tomorrow).

Contacteer Brightside

Maarten Polkamp

maarten@brightside.nu
+31 6 41 23 51 84

Sander van Schaik

sander@brightside.nu
+31 6 48 31 81 96

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Brightside Architects
Goudsesingel 230
3011 KE Rotterdam


hello@brightside.nu

+31 10 88 65 093