Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, Millennium Park Chicago
Assoc. prof. dr. ir. Susanne Komossa
Prof. ir. Michiel Riedijk
Assoc. prof. dr. arch. Roberto Cavallo
Assoc. prof. dr. ir. Susanne Komossa
Assist. prof. ir. Nicola Marzot
Ir. Sien van Dam
Ir. Joost Hillen
Ir. Ana-Maria Patroi
Ir. Ana Silva Pereira da Luz
Ir. Lidwine Spoormans
Ir. Hans Teerds
The AP-2 research project focuses on and questions the mutual relationship among public buildings, public spaces and the public realm. Their functioning and organization are physically, symbolically, socially and economically fundamental to the city. Architecturally, they form a domain both of convention and experimentation. And due to the nature and ever-changing character of the public realm, this relationship can only be seen in socio-cultural and economic context. The idea of the public realm refers to an intermediate “space,” be it virtual or physical, which facilitates and mediates between different groups of inhabitants and individuals; the idea of the public realm as the space of (ex)change of ideas, opinions and beliefs of the different groups of users. Therefore, the architecture of the city and its actual qualities form the main framework of this research.
The main aim is to understand the way in which society is represented and reflected through the architecture of public buildings and public spaces regarding the public realm of the city. The different stages of the design process– from concept to materialization, from urban space to tectonic detail – are objectives of analysis in theresearch projects and design studios that aim at the development of new and adequate design strategies fit for the contemporary and future city.
Methods and Instruments
The investigation of the public building and the public realm is fostered by the application of panoply of research methods ranging from typological analysis, typo-morphological research, the Delft method of plan analysis to theoretical research that links philosophical, sociological and economic notions with methods more specific to architecture.
- Type within the framework is considered as the category on all scales of the city; ranging from the scale of the building’s composition to access systems and the architectural elements that form the transition from private to public, but also to the urban scale of the city as a whole.
- Typo-morphological researchfocuses upon the transformation of architectural and urban models, in this case especially of public buildings and spaces in relation to the public realm of cities. This transformation, including periods of continuity and moments of discontinuity, becomes legible by analyzing drawings of public buildings and spaces in the urban context wherein these buildings were realized.
- The Delft methodof plan analysis is based on the assumption that architecture and urbanism are relatively autonomous scientific fields with their own rules. The body of knowledge of these fields is incorporated in concrete architectural and urban models and projects. The goal of the plan-analysis method is to deliver a strategy in which buildings can be studied as artefacts in situ and in relation to their social, cultural and economical contexts.
- Moreover the architectural drawing remains the result and instrument of the design process. The goal of architectural design is to evoke as precisely as possible a future not yet known in a drawing.
At the same time Architecture understoodas a Craft investigates the different modes of selection and interpretation during the design process and links skills to an intellectually driven and disciplinary-oriented design practice.
Among the most important aspects of the design research project ‘Architecture and the City’ are as follows:
- Considering the notion of the public realm in architecture and urbanism means in fact addressing today’s urgent (public) questions, such as a diversity of city inhabitants with a variety of backgrounds, a pursuit of cultural identity and self-manifestation, historical authenticity, and the dynamic relation between global and local developments.
- Regarding the fact that contemporary society needs to focus on energy efficient and sustainable perspectives, the research of the AP-2 group and the research-by-design within the involved master studios strive to fit the issue of the public building, and space and the public realm into the framework of the ‘Sustainable City’ in the broadest sense.
- The issue of density questions the vertical development of the public realm within a new kind of architecture and claims for integration between mobility infrastructure and architecture. This functional mix prompts new answers to exchange “private and public” with “formal and informal.”
- Closely related to the research of building typology is the transformative potential of the architecture of public buildings. In the near future almost all architectural briefs will have to deal with the transformation of existing buildings and built areas.
- The role of an efficient public transportation system, based on multiple modalities and scales, that is capable of ensuring reduction of transit time, community costs and pollution, will increase in a commuter-based society. At the same time the discontinuity within the public sphere and the unstable interplay between the visual experience and material perception of the contemporary city and its architecture has to be taken into account.
All these aspects contain a high potential for research investigation. The complexity of the research framework increases because the aforementioned picture interferes and coexists with more traditional ones that simultaneously are affecting it and being affected by it.
Collaborations in different forms - like exhibitions, lectures and seminar exchanges, international workshops, joint EU-program appliances – are and were ongoing during the past years with the universities of Florence (Marco Massa, Maristella Casciato) of Pisa (Antonello Boschi), IUAV Venice, Genua, Rome Tre, Barcelona (Joaquim Sabate Bel), Madrid (Gabriel Cabrero), Paris-Versailles (Jean Castex), Paris-Belleville and Seattle (Anne Vernez Moudon).
Within the framework of Saverio Muratori’s 100th birthday celebration, curated by prof. Giancarlo Cataldi, Florence, the international closing conference will be organized in Delft addressing the international impact of Muratori’s research (in collaboration with Hans Meyer, Urbanism and Clemens Steenbergen, Landscape Architecture). The 2012 conference on teaching in architecture will be organized in collaboration with the EAAE (European Association of Architectural Education) and the European Heads of Schools Network. Research exchange will be sought with the Institute Netzstadt und Landschaft, ETH Zurich (Kees Christiaanse), on the role and character of the Urban Catalysts in the framework of new urban configuration.
MSc 2, Maciek Glowka, Redesign of the Flower Market (Amsterdam,Spring 2010)
The goal of the research and design studio City Foyer is to bridge the gap between urban theories and architectural design. It starts with research on urbanity,and in particular the contemporary urban condition of the European city in relation to trends of modernity, globalization and the transformation of the public sphere. This research will lead to the publication of essays on these developments, with a focus on the impact of these trends on the urban public space and the role of architect within these developments. The personal point of view of this essay is the starting point for the second part of the studio, the design of a public intervention (building) in the city; from planning and concept to materialization.
One of the issues of this research and design studio stems from the famous text of Rem Koolhaas “Generic City,” in which he states that public life in the city of the future will take place indoors. Squares and streets have had their day and real public life will unfold on private property. The Spanish architect Manuel de Solà-Morales also identifies a new kind of urban space, in which the line between the public and the private is blurred: a collective domain. These changes lead to questioning the importance of the urban public sphere and its relation to and impact on the concrete public space. Giving shape to these spaces remains a crucial issue in architecture at the start of the twenty-first century. Even though a new web of virtual public spaces has emerged, architects still face the task of shaping public buildings and public space, and are therefore compelled to find links among the various forms and gradations of the public sphere that exist today. Additionally, the contemporary complexity of the urban context urges the development of new strategies of urban research in which philosophical, sociological and economic notions are linked to concrete urban buildings and spaces.
Urban Redevelopment in Relation to Public Realm: New Programs and Strategies
Agora in Rotterdam, Paul Angelier, selection for Dutch Archiprix 2007
Within the theme of context and modernity in the 21st century as a backdrop, this research and design studio focuses on ‘public buildings’ in the Netherlands, especially in Rotterdam and The Hague. Basically, the meaning of public realm in architecture is explored. The idea of the public realm refers to an intermediate “space,” be it virtual or physical, which facilitates and mediates between different groups of inhabitants and individuals. This idea concentrates on the public realm as the space of (ex)changes of ideas, opinions, and beliefs of the different groups of users. In other words, regarding the architecture of the city within the public realm, the actual design of the concrete daily environment is addressed and questioned from various viewpoints: political science, philosophy, social science, and economics.Today, new programs and strategies have to be developed to meet the city’s social, political and economic problems and needs. Innovative concepts and typologies that address the search for a new public realm can only be reached by understanding the crucial moments in urban and architectural practice, such as issues of sustainability, density, stacking of programs, public safety and accessibility.
Studies and design proposals for inner-city sites that are up to restructuring can provide new programs and design proposals in relation to the city’s future development; for example, the reinforcement of the creative infrastructure. Or to put it other words, on the one hand these sites can accommodate social, cultural and educational institutions that function on the level of the city region as a whole. On the other hand, solutions can be generated for local problems, such as the lack of cultural and spatial exchange in the appointed areas. Tackling issues on all scales ‘from city to chair’ and ‘from chair to city’ is essential in this approach. Thus, the research and design studio “public realm” is apt to result in projects and visions on a larger urban scale, as well as in site-specific interventions, ranging from an urban scenario to the exact detail.
Through the analysis of precedents, typological and typo-morphological research a link is established between research and design, among the architectural model, its rules and the ideal that is proposed in regard to the city’s public realm. More experimental methods like mapping, interviews, photography and on-site experimental workshops add a more bottom-up oriented perspective. At the same time specific tools are developed in order to judge designs in relation to the research theme. The extensive literary study is directed at notions of modernity, identity, public realm, public domain, junk space, place and “non place.”
The research theme is developed and taught in active collaboration with Annette Matthiessen (dS+V Rotterdam), Arie Lengkeek (AIR Rotterdam), Job Floris (Monadnock, Akademie van Bouwkunst Rotterdam) and housing cooperation Staedion in The Hague.
Limits of the Capital Region
Mapping the capital region of Brussels
The Brussels Capital Region is a special legislative entity, with its own borders, its own language policy, and its own political horizon. The territory of Brussels Capital Region is the stage for many different political and economical actors. It is the space of representation for a complex set of regional and supra-national communities and companies. Brussels Capital Region is a territory with very clear and hard limits, an island in the province of Flemish Brabant. Crossing its borders equals entering another community with other economical and spatial laws, enclosed by unfriendly territory – an archipelago of enclaves. Brussels CR is a region with a great potential for representation but little money.
The case of Brussels allows us to contemplate the capacity of the disciplines of architecture and urbanism to frame and/or mediate the contemporary issues of the city and its desires. The exceptional ‘form’ of the Brussels territory can only provoke radical thinking.
By focusing on the city with its borders, without prejudice, the researchers intend to focus on a debate about the role of architecture as an urban instrument. Brussels’ history of many (often not executed) plans appears to be the right backdrop for such an endeavor.
The Brussels Mundaneum studio investigates the capacity in which architectural form contributes to the construction of the city; in fact returning to a true “architecture of the city.” To do so, typological research and the transformation of building types must be addressed. Actually the notion of continuity forms a key element in this approach. Only knowledge of the past can provide an evocative future in the present.
The Brussels research and design studio focuses on the skills and the tools of the architect. Through plans, sections, perspectives, but also through details, materializations or other specific evocations, the architect should be able to convey his/her true intentions. After all, the architectural drawing is considered to be the main instrument and product of architects.
GROOT. European and Dutch Ground Scrapers: Vitalizing the Tradition of the Urban Low Rise, Hybrid Building
‘Whale’ section apartment building/swimming pool Paris 1923-1927
The fact that the hybrid building as an extremely condensed urban block that increases the city’s density and contributes to the public realm of the city – horizontally as well vertically - is one of the key interests of this documentation and research. The “ground scraper” is not only public because of the character of its plinth facing surrounding streets, but also because of its interior that is partly accessible to public. As such the European ground scraper extends the city’s public domain horizontally and vertically into the building’s interior and links the public domain inside and outside. It acts as a city within the city by hosting everyday life, work and leisure for a diversity of city inhabitants and visitors, and sometimes by holding even large-scale programs and events where citizens can manifest themselves.
Finally, new frameworks for the city, like the “compact city,” ask for innovative interpretations and designs of building types, worthy to be investigated and proposed. The architectural type of the hybrid building, for example, (re)defines and expresses the relation between architecture and the city in a specific manner. Its inner degree of complexity could additionally increase if new types are connected to already existing definitions, by actually absorbing the existing city into the new urban condition.
The city of Rotterdam forms the first test-case to document and discuss statements, such as “the hybrid building has a long-standing tradition within this ‘modern city’,” “it is a machine for urbanity,” “it enlarges the city,” “it innovates because of its ambitiousness but also because of necessity,” “it combines to activate,” “it asks for extraordinary design intelligence and craftsmanship.” A special way of drawing is developed to document, analyse and compare historical and contemporary hybrid buildings in Rotterdam and their often-foreign ancestors. The method includes a panoply of scales ranging from the morphological arrangement on the scale of the city to the architectural features that establish the mutual relationship between the public space of the city and the interior of the building.
GROOT kicks off with a manifestation, organized by AIR on November 11th of 2010, providing an exhibition and lectures.The research theme is developed in active collaboration with Francesco Cinquini (University of Pisa); Job Floris and Froukje van de Klundert (Academie van Bouwkunst Rotterdam/ Monadnock); Arie Lengkeek and Jos Stoopman (Architecture International Rotterdam - AIR) and Annette Mathiessen (Dienst Stedenbouw en Volkshuisvesting Rotterdam - dS+V)
Old School/New School; Perspectives upon Transforming the Grammar School Building and Extracurricular Day Care
Reflecting the future transformation of school buildings
Sien van Dam
In order to meet the demand for extracurricular daycare of children aged 4 to12 in the Netherlands, more space is needed. Foremost, elementary schools could supply these spaces, because school hours are complementary to extracurricular hours. However, - everyday school use and design proves that this combination is rather difficult to realize and not self-evident at all. What is needed is two-fold: (1) a new and more integral vision of the possibilities that provides a sustainable use of space of elementary schools in combination with extracurricular daycare; and (2) a better insight into the necessities and consequences of a combined use of functions within new and existing elementary school buildings -. The necessity to research the transformative potential of existing schools and school types becomes evident if one understands that in the Netherlands only a small number of new schools are built annually, while the vast number of existing buildings actually requires remodelling to adequately accommodate daycare.
The research and design work of this studio focus upon the transformative potential of school buildings, both old and new. In order to develop new architectural models for the multiple use of elementary schools, analysis and design proposals have been developed: for the classroom as a basic unit that should be able to host also extracurricular activities; for the configuration of classrooms and other collectively used spaces; for multiple access systems; and for the combined school building as a whole, bearing in mind the integration with outdoor spaces and amenities and façade design that integrates climate control with multiple uses will also be addressed.
The research includes: the design work of approximately eighty Bachelor 6 students; a lectures series broadly addressing the topic; and a project publication exploring the transformative potential of different types of school buildings. It will also incorporate eight essays, elaborating themes such as: best practices,the typology of schools and daycare centers or the climate design and control of school façades. Finally, an exhibition of the result of the students’ respective designs is planned.
As part of a conference planned in June 2011, the publication and exhibition will be presented to the representatives of governmental institutions and commissions that are involved in issues of schools and daycare in the Netherlands.
Old School/New School is commissioned and financed by Netwerkbureau Kinderopvang, Den Haag (Yvette Vervoort) and is enhanced byan active collaboration with Architectuurstudio Herman Hertzberger (Thijs Asselbergs, Herman Hertzberger and Liane Lefaivre)
Green Within Cities (upcoming)
Urban gardening, Schepenstraat Rotterdam 2010
Inge Bobbink (Dep. of Landscape Architecture)
Han Meyer (Dep. of Urbanism)
The role of green space in the condensed city changes as much in regard to a healthy environment as to the nature and meaning of the public realm. On the one hand, this researchwill focus upon the means of allowing natural sources to be used increasingly more as a key material in the architecture of public buildings, the methods of creating intervals between built areas and open fields for an improved absorption of CO2 emissions and allowing new farmers to cohabitate with urban settlers, and finally the ways of increasing the overall efficiency and at the same time lowering maintenance costs.
On the other hand, the research will address the changing definition of “green” suggesting new interpretations of city green;or example, in the zone of transition between private and public, the meaning of (future) parks as places and spaces of (ex)change, urban farming and gardening, and also green roof-scapes. New urban patterns overlapping the traditional European city, promoting for instance the ‘città per parti’ scenario, take into account the increasing integration of work and leisure within a society that focuses on knowledge and a creative economy. Therefore, the connection and mutual relationship of the “city green” to agriculture, the “natural” outside and in-between cities is the topic of this research.
To date, the faculty has rendered a considerable number of detailed researches dealing with a variety of types of historical and contemporary models of “green,” in and outside the city. The project “Green within cities” attempts to collect and connect all these studies as basis material that calls for an interpretation of the actual meaning of “green” for the future of a condensed city under changing socio-cultural and economic conditions.
F-1 Revisions: Changing Ideals and Shifting Realities
The Kulturhus and public space in Stockholm, Peter Celsing, 1966-1974.
Assoc. prof. dr. ir. Tom Avermaete
Prof. ir. Tony Fretton
Prof. em. ir. Max Risselada
Assoc. prof. dr. ir. Tom Avermaete
Assoc. prof. dr. ir. Christoph Grafe MA
Assoc. prof. ir. Dirk van den Heuvel
Assist. prof. drs. Irene Cieraad
Assist. prof. ir. Karin Theunissen
Assist. prof. ir. Jurjen Zeinstra
Ir. Birgitte Hansen
Ir. Jorge Mejía Hernández
Ir. Nelson Mota
“Revisions: Changing Ideals and Shifting Realities”focuses on the investigation of design approaches, attitudes and positions in the context of existing and emerging architectural cultures. The research aims for an in-depth evaluation of architectural proposals (projects, realizations, methods) in relation to wider political, social and cultural questions and challenges.
Special attention is given to the evaluation of approaches that can be qualified as “revisions of the modern” during the period 1945 to 1979. There is a rich body of architectural projects, realizations, texts and methods (mitigated moderns, other moderns, situated moderns) that offer alternatives to the paradigms of the pre-World War II modern avant-garde and what could be described as “high modernism.” This architectural body of work is of substantial interest for contemporary architectural debate and practice.
“Revisions: Changing Ideals and Shifting Realities”concentrates on the longer continuities at play in the architectural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the effects of processes of modernization and globalization on architecture. Within those historical and current developments, the research seeks to identify models and arrangements of what could be called “Architectures of Collective Purpose.” These are concrete and imagined architectural projects that negotiate processes of modernization and globalization versus local interests and specificities, and aim to facilitate collectivities and connections as well as diversity and emancipation.
Throughout the long modern era, moments can be identified in which architectures of collective purpose emerged, from “Hausmannian” control of metropolitan space to the rise of the shopping mall, from middle class Garden Cities to socialist industrial cities and new towns. As a starting point, we propose to re-visit the western European welfare state (1945-1979) in all its various guises, as one of the key moments in which an architecture of collective purpose was proposed and built. Against the background of current critical debates about the balance between state and private initiatives, revisiting the strategies and approaches of the welfare state may offer a rich source of inspiration and reflection. It should also allow us to propose solutions for both new interventions in contemporary cityscapes and the built legacy of the 1950s to the 1970s.
It is the explicit aim of this research project to develop new analytical methods and critical approaches for studying architecture in general and post-war architectural culture in particular. In recent decades meta-theoretical perspectives (post-structuralism, theories of power, gender, migration) have had a strong influence on the study of architecture. They have offered new viewpoints and concepts of approaching the built environment and its actors. These meta-theoretical investigations have, however, led to an increasing distance between architectural research and its object: the architectural project.
It is the objective of this research project to develop an alternative approach in which the architectural project is re-established as the central basis of analysis, while maintaining the insights derived from broader theoretical perspectives. For the development of this new approach the research project can rely on a longstanding tradition of project analysis within the Department of Architecture at TU Delft. In this Delft methodology, projects, buildings and urban ensembles are closely examined by means of a detailed investigation of plans, sections and other drawings in order to uncover their intrinsic logic, rationales and approaches.
It is one of the main objectives of this project to develop this Delft methodology into a new approach for the critical study of architecture which explicitly relates autonomous aspects of architecture, such as composition, typology and tectonics, to the aspects of program, usage, materials and construction method that require a broader cultural analysis.
The study of the role of post-war architectures, as well as the broader debates that informed them, inevitably has critical reverberations within contemporary cultural and architectural discourses. Examinations of the post-war period and its architecture could be seen as an act of recovering some of the socially engaged ideas that characterized the first three decades after 1945. Against the background of the gradual erosion of the institutional infrastructure of the post-war welfare state and the optimistic social vision that once informed it, a critical evaluation of the cultural objectives and social strategies might offer a reminder of the necessity of Utopian ideas for a civilized society. The position of the architectural discipline and the profession within a larger political agenda is of interest at a time when political thinkers are calling for a re-definition of the balance between collective and private interests, and a renewed interest in socially progressive reformist politics.
From this perspective the study of the post-1945 architectural production and its context in the agenda of the welfare state is certainly not only a historiographic enterprise. It entails an examination of a variety of concepts of architecture as a profession – in private practices organized as a network, as collective design studios or within public-sector organizations – which seems to hold heightened relevance as the star- architect model is under increased scrutiny. Finally, the recovery of major and minor histories of architecture within the framework of the welfare state should also provide material for a necessary re-direction of current debates about the role of architecture as a social art and as an agent of reform informed by a notion of collective purpose.
Collaborations include ABK Vienna (Marion von Osten), Columbia University (Joan Ockman), ETH Zurich (Lukasz Stanek, Georg Vrachliotis), INHA Paris (Mercedes Volait), KU Leuven (Hilde Heynen, Andre Loeckx), Princeton University (Christine Boyer), Hochschule München(Tomas Valena), UGent (Johan Lagae), Tate Britain (Penelope Curtis).
The European Welfare State Project – Ideals, Politics, Cities and Buildings
Model of Free University Berlin, Candilis-Josic-Woods, 1963-1973.
Dirk van den Heuvel
This project aims to start outlining the multifarious relations between architecture and the vast subject of the European welfare state, which by now is generally considered a historical phenomenon. Despite that, or even because, its built legacy is still critically viewed, and sometimes even rejected and ignored as one of the most important contributions to twentieth-century European cities, it is necessary to take a fresh look at this period of expansion and large-scale experimentation.
The welfare-state project was a reaction to the processes of modernization in the early twentieth century, and the destruction after two world wars. Caught between American corporate capitalism and Soviet communism, the welfare state project was also an attempt to devise a specific European answer to Cold War politics and emerging post-colonial realities. In most European countries this resulted in the construction of planning institutions and a new bureaucracy, facilitating the redistribution of wealth, knowledge and political power, and implementing new building programs such as (social) mass housing, cultural centers, schools and universities, but also new energy infrastructure as well as industries and businesses.
In retrospect- one can identify New Brutalism and structuralism among the foremost new formations within the architectural discourse and practice of the period. At the same time these two labels were never clearly or unambiguously defined. Part of the conceptual confusion is the critical engagement or unwilling involvement of architects in the project of the welfare state. Groups like Team 10 fiercely criticized (aspects of) the welfare state system, while building under its very conditions. Another complication in assessing the exact qualities of the built legacy of those years arises from the very different national and local contexts in which welfare state policies were developed, as well as from the variety of intellectual and disciplinary contexts that engendered architectural structuralism.
The project focuses on intersections of architectural discourse, building practice, and national and local cultural contexts, and seeks to clarify the contradictions and incompatibilities at play within the welfare state-architecture nexus.
Twelve Institutional and Public Buildings Revisited, 1925-1968
Acropolis and the Philopappos Paths Athens, Dimitris Pikionis, 1954-1957.
Salomon Frausto (Berlage Institute, Rotterdam)
Since the late nineteenth-century, the articulation of the complex and often ambiguous boundaries between the collective and individual aspects of the built environment has been of key interest to architects. This project explores twelve buildings whose architecture reformulated the relationship between public and private spheres in the twentieth century. It investigates in particular how architects have inventively re-thought the idea of public space in relation to programmatic function.
Against the background of the recent interest in the intangible forces that produce architectural culture, this project explicitly focuses on the tangibility of built form. It will offer detailed studies of the twelve institutional and public buildings, looking closely at their composition, type, and tectonics as well as reflecting upon their cultural resonance with distinct contexts, users, and programs. Explorations of innovative spatial, structural, and constructional systems will be combined with studies into ongoing architectural debates and the respective political, social, and cultural contexts of each building.
The project aims to re-address the theoretical framework of a three-year history and theory postgraduate curriculum organized by Kenneth Frampton and Max Risselada at the Berlage Institute in the early 1990s, which concentrated on architectural projects that were, at the time, mostly omitted from accepted histories of modern architecture.
The project is accompanied by a seminar series (in cooperation with Berlage Institute) and will also result in a publication.
Exhibition 25 years of OASE Architectural Journal, bookshop Pro qm, Berlin, 2009.
The apparent increase in popular demand for novel works of architecture has been curiously matched by the marked absence of a critical discussion of the objects that would explain and examine their role as cultural statements or as exponents of particular urban, social and political visions. The dearth of architectural criticism, in the mass media, is a perennial phenomenon.
If architecture is a rich and complex field of cultural production and knowledge that continuously redefines itself vis-à-vis spatial, societal and cultural challenges, then critically thinking and writing on this role of architecture both as a force of change and as a mode of reflection has to be recognized as an integral part of a productive architectural culture.
This research project is aimed at examining the role of criticism within architectural culture throughout the twentieth century. This includes the role of critics in the development of “Reformarchitektur” before World War I, the debates surrounding the modern avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s, and various critical cultures in Europe and North America after World War II. The research extends to understanding the conditions for a revived culture of architectural criticism in the contemporary situation.
Collage of Kasbah housing project in Hengelo, Piet Blom, 1966-1973.
Dirk van den Heuvel
Originally developed in linguistics, the structuralist approach has been introduced as a scientific method in anthropology and other human sciences since the 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s the double category of primary and secondary structure (langue and parole), essential to structuralism, in which the primary structure’s system of rules determines how the secondary elements are placed in relation to one another, also advanced to a leading ideology in the field of architecture and urban planning. From its development in Holland and within the Team 10 circle of architects, structuralism in architecture quickly spread worldwide.
Since the 1990s we have again been witnessing a revival of structuralist tendencies in architecture. Whereas the structuralism of the 1970s encountered limits in complexity that were insurmountable at the time, today there is much to suggest that the return to structural thinking is causally connected to information technology, which has opened up new possibilities for dealing with complexity. There is talk of neo-structuralism with a digital imprint. The question arises as to whether primary and secondary structures of the 1960s should be understood today as being in a state of complex interactions with one another, which could be described through algorithms. The current interest in design methods based on rules makes the structuralist approach one of the most productive and comprehensive methods for the organization, design and production of the built environment. At the same time it provides the systemic and meta-theoretical background for all disciplines involved in the production of space.
Changing Ideals – Re-Thinking the House
'House of the Future' exhibition at Ideal Home Show in London, Alison and Peter Smithson, 1956.
Dirk van den Heuvel
This research project seeks to investigate the notion of the house as the ultimate paradigm of the architecture of the modern era as hypothesized by Peter Collins (1965). General issues regarding the house as paradigm within the architectural discourse, include: the interrelation between avant-garde ideas and the development of consumer culture; the reciprocities at play between the private sphere of the home and its “muse-ification” and “media-tization”; the opposition of the everyday practices of inhabitation; and the principles of the ordering of architecture.
To unpack and demonstrate this web of exchanges and oppositions, the project aims at a confrontation and comparison by way of bringing together a number of radical positions, both historical and contemporary. Houses investigated range from the avant-garde to representatives of contemporary consumer culture, from early classicist cosmography to twentieth-century private country homes: the 1956 House of the Future by Alison and Peter Smithson, the Visser house designed by Gerrit Rietveld with an addition by Aldo van Eyck, House VI by Peter Eisenman, the Domus Cosmografica of the Mauritshuis as designed by Jacop van Campen, the Endemol Big Brother-house of the reality TV series, the IKEA Bo-Klok house, Greenwich Street loft by Winka Dubbeldam / Archi-Tectonics and theSoane's Museum by Sir John Soane. PhotographerJohannes Schwartz was commissioned to visit and document these houses.
The research project was initiated at the invitation of Guus Beumer, Director of the NAi Maastricht / Bureau Europa. It resulted in an exhibition that consisted of two parts: the Salon Imaginair, which brought together various classic and provocative house designs, and the installation Living with Things, designed by Studio Makkink & Bey. In addition, debates were organized among others with architects Tony Fretton, Don Murphy, Mechthild Stuhlmacher and Wim van den Bergh.