To our regret, the newest issue of Volume has been delayed, but yes, we are still here and yes, we are still producing. The aftermath of the pandemic will throw us in another long global transition, and architects cannot afford to waste time feeding golden calves. Before we operate, this time we must change the default settings. For now, we would like to share the effort to change the Default by Massimo Paolini. He wrote a letter to the Mayor (in this case Barcelona) late April as an urgent call to rethink the city as a direct reaction to the Covid pandemic.
In addition to the interview published in Volume 56, we release some more material from that conversation that we couldn’t include in print. Enjoy!
There once was a time when work and leisure were separate realms: you worked or you played. These days, playing is work and work demands playing. Who’s fooling who, may we ask?
In the build up to our next issue, #56 Playbor, we’ll publish a series of texts exploring not only the data produced by these international surveys, but too the conditions and criteria that defined their questions in the first instance. The task is to explore and deconstruct the terminology, methodologies, and perimeters of these polls and surveys whose goal it is to quantify the qualitative, to measure the ephemeral.
The question ‘how do we materialize peace?’ is as old as humankind, though unfortunately more relevant than ever. The Middle-Eastern tensions have not come to an end, and yet the USA is preparing for new confrontations. The ‘super-powers’ are arm-wrestling over world hegemony and segregation, and expulsion leads to growing gaps in societies.
When it comes to heritage, the material remains of our presence in the past, the max we do is to protect and preserve. Respect for what was takes over from engagement with what is, or can be.
In her book ‘The Battle for Home’, the Syrian architect Marwa Al-Sabouni focuses on Homs and how the city was destroyed by architecture even before the war began. Lilet Breddels discussed with her in Amsterdam last December, when she received a prestigious Prince Claus Award for her contribution to architectural thinking.
Four Architecture of Peace Dialogues in April & May 2019 intend to give new insights and tools to work with in the coming years. The format of the exchange will experiment with the fusion of the ‘Socratic Dialogue’ and ‘The Handbook for Democratic Dialogue’.
In Volume 54 we look at what biennials promise and what we actually get; we look at who is pulling the strings and for whom they are made. But first and foremost we check what a biennial can do.
Shortly after the release of Volume 53: Civic Space, we realized that we left out a crucial group of stakeholders, animals. Starting from the ecosystem designed for the ‘Chickenville’ project, we discussed our shortcoming with SKROZ Architecture. Our conversation, informally carried out via messaging apps, shone a light on yet another sensitive term of mediation often forgotten in architecture: humour.
It’s been seven years since Daan Roggeveen and Michiel Hulshof published How the City Moved to Mr. Sun, the story of mass urbanization in China. It looked specifically at the mechanisms behind this phenomenon and the challenge to host the next 300 million people during the coming twenty years (starting from 2010). After Ole Bouman’s reflection on the Venice Architecture Biennale two weeks ago, this is the second prelude to Volume #54: On Biennials with a special on the UABB\Shenzhen.
With a variety of authors, VOLUME #53 investigates these physical and virtual spaces –
and the kinds of agency used to negotiate them – through the lenses of Institutions and
Most people focus on object and form. Not Keller Easterling. She’s drawn to the in-between. Challenging the binaries of formal-informal, practical-impractical, like-dislike, right-wrong, Easterling points at extemporaneous design thinking that works with potentials and indeterminate forms. In this frame, space is an informational system where discrepancies between what an organization is saying and is actually doing open new territories for design to intervene.
Informality can be interpreted as a positive quality hinting at individual freedom or even be romanticized as bottom up and empowering force. But informality as safety valve for a system that is not able to adjust to changing conditions smoothly and quickly enough is another matter.
‘Reinventing the fringe’ is a critical reconsideration of post-war urban areas on the fringe of nine European cities, viewed from the perspectives of sustainability, social cohesiveness, mobility and land use.
Jaap Bakema and the Open Society is the first extensive book publication on the Dutch architect Jaap Bakema, his ideas and ideals for society at large. Throughout the post-WWII decades Bakema was inspired to build for a democratic and open society. His body of work, his teaching and writing, and his international presence are testimony to the vicissitudes of the welfare state and the roles played by architecture and planning in its construction.
In collaboration with Volume, KU Leuven’s Faculty of Architecture, campus Sint-Lucas Ghent/Brussels, selected recent graduate projects and reflected on the underlying ambitions of the school. The result is ‘Doing It the Belgian Way’, one of the two inserts in Volume 50. The insert presents three perspectives: Embracing Complexity, Embedding in the Local, and Un/Re-Learning. The following text is the introduction to this third chapter.
While the Istanbul Biennial questions ‘Are We Human?’, Volume explores the post-human world of Artficial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It’s not about the future, not about promise, it’s very much about the here and now. Please join us coming Friday (October 28) for an informal gathering at Post Office, Rotterdam to exchange on this life changing topic.
To see housing as a fundamental human right is a relatively new concept with consequences for law, justice and politics. In issue 46: Shelter, Volume published Abla el Bahrawy’s quick scan of the first formulation of this universal right and its further development into an action agenda in consecutive UN-Habitat conferences to promote and secure this right globally.
‘To beyond or not to be’, our slogan over these years, has proven its relevance. By becoming the norm it’s topicality has been lost. It is time to move forward and take new directions.
Together with the International Master of Architecture of the (KU Leuven), Archis organizes a lecture series on the topic of Learning.
Photographer Steven Wassenaar his work on Paris’ slums has been nominated for de Zilveren Camera 2015. Steven made contributions to Volume, among which his article ‘Coping with Slums and Slabs’ for Volume #16: Engineering Society, which focuses on France’s urban policy towards slum-living.
On Wednesday 27 January, The Rijksmuseum will host the launch of ‘Aldo van Eyck, Seventeen Playgrounds’. The book, by Anna van Lingen and Denisa Kollarova, highlights and discusses the seventeen remaining playgrounds in Amsterdam by Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck.
For our 10th anniversary, we received a wonderful gift from one of our Japanese readers. This is simply amazing, you have never seen anything like this!
Volume wants to thank all of you who showed up at our events in New York and Amsterdam. Without you, it wouldn’t have been as great as it was. We are looking forward for the next ten years!
Learning by Doing: A digital interview with Francien van Westrenen, Willemijn Lofvers, Tim Devos and Hans Venhuizen, the intiatiors of Stroom Den Haag’s project ‘Stadsklas’.