1. ArchDaily
  2. The Berlage Archive

The Berlage Archive: The Latest Architecture and News

The Berlage Archive: Kazuyo Sejima (2002)

Easy to overlook behind Kazuyo Sejima’s celebrated control of spatial and material effect is her emphasis on program and its role in the ratiocinated process of form-finding. In this 2002 lecture on her “Recent Work,” Sejima delves into the methodology that informs her work, beginning with two ongoing (and since-heralded) projects: the Theatre and Art Centre at Almere and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art at Kanazawa.

In both of these projects, Sejima ruminates on the intrigue of the microunit, the autonomously coherent spatial cogs that accumulate to participate in the purposeful machine. First within the irregularly-intervaled grid of the Theatre (as studios and staging areas), and second within the cytoplasmic circumscription of the Kanazawa Museum (as exhibitions), individual programmatic components with discreet performative roles seem to float, untethered to each other, in voluminous seas of circulatory space. By segregating elemental blocks within these projects, Sejima exaggerates their apparent autonomies in order to paradoxically draw attention to their spatial interconnectedness.

The Berlage Archive: Jean-Louis Cohen (2006)

The Berlage Archive: Jean-Louis Cohen (2006) - Image 1 of 4

“No single major piece of architecture in the twentieth century can be taken out of its political context and its relationship with power.” So argues theorist and historian Jean-Louis Cohen in this lecture delivered at the Berlage Institute in October, 2006, titled “The politics of memory: Monuments to legitimacy.” Focusing specifically on landscapes of war and reconstruction in twentieth century Europe and their intimate relationship with structures of power, Cohen approaches the tenet that “all design is political” by examining the place of buildings in the deeply politicized landscapes of collective memory.

The relationship between architecture and power is complex and reciprocal. Regimes and revolutionaries alike employ architecture as a mechanism for expressing and executing their respective desires of stability and subversion. Accordingly, public architecture and public space bear the imprint of the political ideations that yield them and assume an operative function in the service of ideology. Architecture, in its role as a repository of collective memory and through its ability to shape public space and mold public discourse, is likewise capable of affecting the operation and exertion of power. Relics of history—residual architecture—play into our cultural fetishizations of nostalgia and encourage the translocation of ideologies between past and present.

The Berlage Archive: Toyo Ito (1999)

The Berlage Archive: Toyo Ito (1999) - Image 1 of 4

In this installment from the Berlage Institute, Toyo Ito opens a discussion on his traveling exhibition Blurring Architecture, the first iteration of which took place in Aachen. Explaining that architecture is often thought of as a very solid element, Ito meditates on the concept of distortion and shifts in contemporary ideas of architecture. Rather than considering architecture as static, he argues for an "ambiguous boundary" that is "not about form" but rather about the "conception of architecture." Considering the effects of the economy and politics on architecture, Ito pushes deep into philosophical notions of what architecture is and does, and how inquiry shapes the physical form of designs.

The Berlage Archive: Thom Mayne (1996)

The Berlage Archive: Thom Mayne (1996) - Image 1 of 4

In this 1996 lecture Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne describes his views of architectural theory and his unique approach to the architectural process at a time when firms had begun the transition to 3D digital models. As one of the founders of Santa Monica based firm Morphosis, Mayne speaks about the evolution of their built and unbuilt projects in the late 70s and early 80s by giving insights into three general topics including objects, context, and the role of nature in architecture. His discussion touches on everything from music and art, to philosophical questions regarding the process of architecture and its role in society.

In the development of his first projects, Mayne reveals a preoccupation with objects, their materials, and their relationship to the craft of architecture. He also describes how context shapes his designs, using the example of his Sixth Street House of 1983. For him, the project's site in Los Angeles was particularly influential to his work in the way that it is a “prototype of the modern metropolis” in which “…there’s no inside, there’s no outside, there’s no way of perceiving it, its growing, its moving, its changing, quicker than one can absorb it.” These notions of context were reflected in many later works, and tied into his interest in “the space between randomness and order.”

The Berlage Archive: Elizabeth Diller (1998)

The Berlage Archive: Elizabeth Diller (1998) - Image 2 of 4

The Berlage Archive: David Chipperfield (2001)

The Berlage Archive: David Chipperfield (2001) - Image 1 of 4

The Berlage Archive: Luis Fernández Galiano Theory Master Class (1994)

The Berlage Archive: Luis Fernández Galiano Theory Master Class (1994) - Image 1 of 4

The Berlage Archive: Rem Koolhaas + Kenneth Frampton (1998)

The Berlage Archive: Rem Koolhaas + Kenneth Frampton (1998) - Image 1 of 4