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Putsebocht Award

Business Station
Mon 1 Jun

In 2020, the SKAR Ateliers in collaboration with Willem de Kooning Academy has established a new award: The Putsebocht Award.

The Putsebocht Award provides the winner, a Willem de Kooning Academy (WdKA) or Piet Zwart Institute (PZI) graduate of the academic year 2019-2020 with a free of charge studio workspace for the length of six months, plus the first right of contract for that workspace after the period is up, based on an entrepreneurial plan for the future.

The Award

  • A free of rental charge workspace of 45m2 in the former classrooms with high ceilings, available for a full six months period between August 1st, 2020 and February 1st, 2021.
  • First right of contract for that workspace after the period is up.
  • Free access to Business Station consults, training & events.
  • Prospect to co-programme events with Business Station.


  • You are a WdKA or PZI graduate of the academic year 2019-2020.
  • You provide motivation and entrepreneurial plan (see this form) including:

a) a concept plan expressing that you want to start your own practice/enterprise/studio as an independent artist/designer;
b) a motivation letter, a short explanation (no longer than ½ page) of what your contribution as a resident of Putsebocht community will be, “the what, why, with whom and how”.

  • You have chosen Rotterdam as a home base for your professional practice.
  • You provide the description of your work (concepts or projects for existing and potential clients) that give a good impression of:

a) the relevance of the issues it addresses;
b) the expected impact on its target audience as well as on Putsebocht community;
c) the potential to transform your ideas into a successful entrepreneurial venture.

How to Apply

All contestants must send in their profile and a motivation letter (see the attached form), before July 10, 2020, to

A professional jury will review the letters. The jury members are Olof van de Wal (director of SKAR Ateliers, chair), Ariadne Urlus (a member of SKAR Ateliers), Charlotte Bik (Head of School Design & Commercial Practices at WdKA) and Maarten Jan van 't Oever appointed by the Business Station team.

The Award Ceremony

The Putsebocht Award winner will be announced during the Diploma Ceremony on 16 -17 July 2020.

Background of Putsebocht 3

In 2019 SKAR Ateliers transformed this beautiful, old and abandoned school at the Putsebocht into a new creative hub for starting artists and designers in the community of Rotterdam South.

SKAR Ateliers had joined forces with Willem de Kooning Academy to develop, to build up and to facilitate this new community of solely WdKA freshly graduated creative entrepreneurs. Both SKAR and WdKA have seen the opportunity to respond to the desire of the new alumni to start their independent practices immediately after graduating.

The Building

Former school building on Putsebocht 3 offers beautiful spacious, high and bright workplaces: old classrooms with large windows. It was designed by city architect Adrianus van der Steur, who designed a group of public primary schools from 1924 onwards. A separate group included the large two-storey schools built in traditionalist style - each with a tower-shaped element - including this building on the Putsebocht from 1928, which now has a monument status. The building has a - somewhat dilapidated - spacious garden and playground, which the tenants are allowed to tend to and use. The forecourt remains the property of the municipality, but may also be used for event programming.

New Life

Now the building houses thirteen workspaces, which are exclusively rented out to the WdKA and PZI alumni who have recently started (or are about to launch) their independent practices. It is a community of startups in a rich variety of art and design fields.

This project offers an opportunity for artists and creatives to contribute to the neighbourhood and to add value to the city. A value, that lies in the development of artistic practice in a social environment where the young artist works on social issues driven by inner motivation or by the appeal made to them by society. In this way, art will add new perspectives to a neighbourhood and the artist can develop himself.

Alumni who run their own ventures and find inspiration in being a part of the community will occupy a workspace for a period of maximum five years. Interactions between the residents of the community and close relationship with the neighbourhood are evenly important.

The Collaboration

The new collaboration between SKAR, Willem de Kooning Academy and the National Programme Rotterdam South offers exciting opportunities in three areas:

  • alumni can move into fully-fledged and affordable studios;
  • alumni will receive guidance from the WdKA to further develop their artistic practice;
  • with this guidance, they will interact fruitfully with the neighbourhood.

The Role of the Business Station

In the Willem de Kooning Academy Business Station, the students learn to make an impact with their work and to determine its value within a given context.
In addition to specific programmes and modules, the Business Station offers a wide range of activities and events related to running a business.

The Business Station of the Willem de Kooning Academy is an integral part of the Putsebocht community. On the ground floor of the building, the Business Station occupies its own workspace, where the residents and WdKA/PZI students and alumni are welcome to seek advice or feedback and to participate in the workshops, meetings and debates that will be programmed throughout the year.