Juriaan van Meel new chairman Center for People and Buildings
6 februari 2023
The Center for People and Buildings (CfPB) welcomes Juriaan van Meel as its new Chairman of the Board. Hans de Jonge, Professor Emeritus at TU Delft, hands over the baton after over twenty years with the research and knowledge center.
Juriaan van Meel is a reputable name in the field and well-known to the CfPB. As an expert in workplace strategies, he has been active on the international stage in addressing issues related to work and the workplace for years. "My involvement in the field started with my PhD research at the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University, with Hans de Jonge as my PhD supervisor," says Van Meel. This was also the period in which the CfPB was established, over 21 years ago. "As a young researcher, I worked on various projects and publications of the CfPB and I have remained in contact ever since."
Theory and practice
Soon after his PhD research, Van Meel entered practice. As a workplace and real estate consultant, he was involved in a diverse range of projects, both in the Netherlands and abroad. More recently, he has shifted his attention to the development of BriefBuilder, an online application for quality control in complex construction projects. Of his work in practice, Van Meel says: "Super interesting and intense, but I am also happy that I have always managed to continue teaching, writing, and doing research. I have one foot in practice and one foot in the academic world. I feel at home at the crossroads between theory and practice."
And that is what attracts him to the CfPB. "The center conducts applied research. The outcomes must be relevant to the many stakeholders who struggle with workplace issues in practice." Van Meel says, "Probably more than ever, there is a need for independent research. Corona has sparked a broad debate about the work environment, with no shortage of opinions, wild predictions, and radical ideas. Thought-provoking, but there is also a need for nuance, context and solid data. And that is what the CfPB has on offer."
Van Meel also praises the multidisciplinary approach of the CfPB. "In the team, there is a range of disciplines, including business, architecture, ergonomics, history, law, anthropology and philosophy. In addition, there are close links with other universities and research institutions." According to Van Meel, this is not only interesting, but also necessary. "If you want to be able to say anything sensible about a concept such as hybrid working, you need to look at both spatial, social, cultural and technological aspects and you have to use a combination of different research methods."
Van Meel is convinced that organizations and their employees will greatly benefit from the work of the CfPB. "That is my driving force: the social relevance. Decisions about working from home, the layout of workplaces, and the location and design of office buildings have a huge impact on people's daily lives. If I can contribute to improving their work environment, together with the CfPB, I will be more than happy.”
With his extensive experience and international network, it is expected that Van Meel will help the CfPB to dive even deeper into concepts such as hybrid working and activity-related working. "I see all kinds of opportunities for expanding the number of partners, in both the public and private sector, also internationally."
Van Meel is looking forward to getting started. "I am grateful to be following in the footsteps of Hans de Jonge. He is the one who introduced me to the field. He is a visionary with a pragmatic approach. I will gladly take his way of thinking with me in this role."
Current members Monique Arkesteijn and Frits Brentjens remain on the board. With the arrival of Juriaan van Meel as the new Chairman of the Board and an extra board member, namely Ellis ten Dam, commercial director buildings at Royal HaskoningDHV, the new composition of the CfPB board is a fact.
Photocredits: Barbara van Baarsel