Delft: The Latest Architecture and News
INDESEM (International Design Seminar) is a biennale, founded by a group of students in 1962. The seminar was born from a desire to experiment with architecture and urban planning, while exploring beyond the boundaries of the curriculum. For this week the 80 participating students embark on a design project accompanied by lectures and discussions with renowned architects and theorists. InDeSem provides an environment in which students, architects, planners, designers and theorists engage in conversation and discussion about the current and future position of the architect, designer and planner within society.
In this article, Dirk van den Heuvel links (Dutch) Structuralism to current day developments – more specifically in the digital realm. The following essay was first published by Volume in their 50th issue, Beyond Beyond, the editorial of which is available to read here.
Throughout his life the Dutch architect Jaap Bakema (1914-1981) sought to convey to his students and colleagues the notion of what he called 'total space', 'total life', and 'total urbanization'. In his view, architectural design had to help in making people aware of the larger environment to which they belong and in which they operate. Architecture could not be uncoupled from urbanism, it was related to the deeper structure of society. His conceptualization of architecture was programme and process based and it put social and visual relationships at the centre, which betrays his adherence to Structuralism as voiced in the Dutch journal Forum of which he was an editor together with Van Eyck and Hertzberger, and to the Team 10 discourse, of which he himself was one of the leading voices. At the same time, Bakema would expand on the legacy of the Dutch De Stijl movement and Dutch Functionalism. In particular his concept of space and spatial continuity is derived from De Stijl. His diagrammatic approach to architectural design and programmatic organization, as well as the elementary architectural language of his projects were elaborations of the Dutch Functionalist tradition.
Van Dongen–Kuschuch Architects and Planners has released images for its ‘House of Delft’ mixed-use hub in the Netherlands. Located beside Delft Central Train Station, the scheme will act as a gateway to both the historic city center and the renowned University of Technology. The architectural intent behind the proposal is to celebrate the artistic, scientific and innovative achievements which came from the city throughout its history. As visitors step off the train, it will be both an introduction to the city, and an indicator of what it has to offer.
The Jaap Bakema Study Centre's second annual conference, entitled Research on Display: The Architecture Exhibition as Model for Knowledge Production, will begin next month in Delft and Rotterdam (The Netherlands). Featuring presentations and discussions from members of universities around the world—including Ghent, Valencia, London, Warsaw, Paris, Michigan, Yale, Oslo and Zürich—the two-day programme seeks to examine what it means to curate architectural research.
The medium of film has long been employed to visualise, document and narrate architectural and urban space. Since the advent of more accessible devices to capture and record these journeys and explorations it has been used more frequently by practices and students in an attempt to develop new ways of experiencing built designs. #donotsettle, a YouTube channel established by two architects and urban enthusiasts while studying at TUDelft in The Netherlands, seeks to reconcile the disparity between film as architectural representation and as an experiential medium. Although not high in production value, their films are exciting examples of how user-oriented architectural 'vlogging' can uncover an entirely new way of understanding the world around us, imbued with a refreshing level of enthusiasm and authenticity.
Six years after the original announcement of the project, the first phase of Mecanoo's new Train Station and City Hall complex in Delft, The Netherlands, has been opened to the public. Within the new station hall an undulating 'vault', which has been designed to evoke an "unforgettable arrival experience", features a scaled 1877 map of the Dutch city rendered in blue and white. Columns wrapped in a mosaic of Delft-blue titles, also reminiscent of the colours of Delftware, one of the city's most famous global exports. The station platforms below ground have been designed by Benthem Crouwel, the Dutch practice behind Rotterdam Centraal Station.
Great movements in architecture are usually set in motion by a dull societal ache or as a response to a sudden, unforeseen reorientation of a community at large. The Dutch city of Rotterdam - vast swathes of which were cast into oblivion during the blitz of May 1940 - has been at the forefront of many shifts in approach to the built environment. It is therefore fitting that the latest exhibition at the Nieuwe Instituut (formerly the NAi), simply titled Structuralism, is being held in the city that was recently named Europe’s best.
Furthermore, Dutch Structuralism is a timely subject for Dirk van den Heuvel and the Jaap Bakema Study Centre (JBSC) in Delft to tackle. With major civic buildings like OMA's extension to Rotterdam's City Hall taking shape, it appears that a resurgence of Structuralist formal thought is appearing in the contemporary city. The exhibition seeks to shine a new light on the movement by uncovering drawings, models and texts which profoundly shaped 20th century architectural thinking.
The Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design have announced their public events for Spring 2014. The public events are part of The Good Life series, "a multi-format program exploring the relationship of the built environment to collective pursuits, personal aspirations, and the contemporary world. It aims to reveal how—on different scales and in various cultural contexts—architecture and urban design can contribute and enrich societal livelihood."
The TU Delft Library, in The Netherlands, helped to place Mecanoo in the international scene. The library was designed 15 years ago, and to celebrate, Mecanoo released this great video revisiting the now iconic building. Enjoy!
The Berlage Institute closed in 2012. But the Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design is open for business. And it is accepting students. Located at the Delft University of Technology, though they are independent entities, the new, re-visioned Berlage is not simply a continuation of the original Berlage. Instead, it has been reinvisioned to train students who already have either an M.Arch or a five-year degree.
The Berlage challenges students to understand the issues and principles surrounding the economy, the environment, and society as the route towards good architecture. History and cultural issues are therefore central to this Master’s of Science degree, as they should be. Because in today’s economy, the formula for success demands more than just an agility with computer programs. Students need to be able to exercise critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, many school studios fetishize style over substance but when their students graduate, they are ill-trained.