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Jeroen Beekmans

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Subscribe to Volume

Posted on February 10, 2013 — by

Volume is an independent quarterly magazine that sets the agenda for architecture and design. Subscribe now and get our limited edition shopping bag!

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The Cycle of Japan Lecture Series

Posted on February 6, 2013 — by

The Cycle of Japan is a new lecture series at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam, that focuses on what the Netherlands can learn from Japanese urban practice. Edwin Gardner will kick off the series with a talk on 14 February.

The Cycle of Japan

In the last decades development in the Netherlands is often equated to a linear process of more buildings, more cities and more square meters per person. With the recent economic crisis, this expansion mechanism has come to an abrupt halt. Due to the economic crisis of the 90s and an aging population Japan has long been engaged in a cyclical construction where growth and shrinkage are not opposites and where progress is sought in change, metamorphosis and and small amount of available space for housing. The central question in this Capita Selecta lecture series is: what can we learn from the Japanese condition in the Netherlands?

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Blog

Do Us (and Yourself) a Huge Favor!

Posted on January 21, 2013 — by

Since the recent Dutch cultural budget cuts we lost our last bit of public funding from the Mondriaan Foundation (thanks for supporting us all those years!). That makes it impossible to run Archis and Volume the way we used to. Apart from all kinds of alliances, cuts, free contributions, etc, we are also asking for your help. If you are a follower or fan, but not a subscriber yet, please do so now! We also have an incredible offer for new subscribers: until the end of this month you’ll get two books of your choice for free. Click here to subscribe!

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Event, Volume #34

Launch of Volume #34 at Athenaeum Amsterdam

Posted on January 14, 2013 — by

Launch of Volume #34 at Athenaeum

With Volume #34 we present the latest in New Town development: the city as enterprise. On Friday January 11th we launched the new issue at Athenaeum in Amsterdam. Click here for a photo series that was published on Facebook.

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Event

The Good Cause Opening in Rwanda

Posted on December 14, 2012 — by

From November 24th to Dec. 1st 2012, the Archis-curated exhibit The Good Cause made an appearance in Kigali, Rwanda. Initiated by Killian Doherty, the architect of the Football for Hope Centre in Kigali, The Good Cause was presented inside one of its featured case studies.

The Good Cause Opening, Rwanda

Doherty’s center is a beautiful community building for the people in the neighborhood of Kimisagara to play football, meet, learn, and relax. Doherty created a huge overhang between the brick building and the football pitch to provide shelter during the rainy season and used the container in which the pitch was transported, as a rainwater collector.

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Event

The Good Cause Goes to Rwanda

Posted on November 19, 2012 — by

Archis in collaboration with KD|AP will be exhibiting The Good Cause: Architecture of Peace in Kigali, Rwanda at the Esperance ‘Football for Hope’ Community Centre from November 24th to December 1st, 2012. The exhibition will feature work from photographer David Southwood and architect Anne Feenstra. If you’re in Kigali, come visit!

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Event

Fit! Architecture and Health

Posted on November 6, 2012 — by

Fit! Architecture and Health

‘Fit! Architecture and Health’ is a series of lectures and debates asks whether architecture can continue to play a vital role in improving our health. Is architecture equipped to combat 21st-century diseases of affluence? Is architecture capable of providing environments that encourage physical activity? Can it facilitate an increasingly aging population to taken an active part in society? Could architecture even play a part in healing?

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Event, Volume #32

New Futures Adrift: Recap

Posted on September 18, 2012 — by

Rory Hyde at New Futures Adrift

Thanks to all who came out Friday to Mediamatic for the ‘New Futures Adrift’ combined book launch which included Volume’s 32nd issue, ‘Centers Adrift’, as well as Rory Hyde’s Future Practice, and Katja Novitskova and Rory Hyde’s New Order. Thanks also to Wouter Vanstiphout, Reinier de Graaf and Sandra Kaji-O’Grady for speaking at the event, and Rory Hyde and Arjen Oosterman for moderating.

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Event

Win Tickets for Urbanism Week 2012!

Posted on September 15, 2012 — by

Urbanism Week 2012

After a successful first edition in 2011, coming September the second edition of the Urbanism Week will be held, organized by POLIS – platform for urbanism TU Delft. Last year more than 200 students and 80 professionals from different nationalities took part in the workshops, lectures and debates. This year’s theme will be “Second Hand Cities, re-thinking practice in times of standstill”. The reason for this year’s theme was to share alternative solutions to the same problems cities all over the world have been experiencing for the last years during this recession. New cities are no longer designed in Europe. Instead we have to deal with what we have and redesign them such that they can sustain after their first lifespan. Many questions come to mind, questions such as: What is the role of the citizen these days? What is the best way of engaging with citizens and getting them involved in projects? It is time to explore new ways of making city. How can virtual networks help us find these ways?

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Event, Volume #32

New Futures Adrift: Launch Party

Posted on September 6, 2012 — by

To celebrate Volume’s most recent issue ‘Centers Adrift’, the featured insert ‘New Order’ from Katja Novitskova and Rory Hyde, as well as Rory Hyde’s new book Future Practice, Volume and Mediamatic will be throwing a very special launch party in Amsterdam. Speakers include: Reinier de Graaf, Wouter Vanstiphout, Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, Arjen Oosterman and Rory Hyde. Three publications, one event. Come one, come all.

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Event

At the Middle Dyke

Posted on August 28, 2012 — by

Atelier aan de Middendijk

Atelier aan de Middendijk & Guido Marsille invite you to the opening of an exhibition, part of the Noorderlicht photo festival.

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Event

Storytelling Festival

Posted on August 17, 2012 — by

Storytelling Festival

Between 4 and 6 November, 2011, Amsterdam’s NDSM Wharf will be the stage for the Storytelling Festival. The great stories about this remarkable place and its transformation from a shipping wharf into a creative and sustainable breeding place will have a prominent place in the program of the festival. Friday 4 November we’ll dive into the past, present and future of this impressive place in North Amsterdam with a free program full of NDSM stories.

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Event

ARCHIZINES World Tour

Posted on August 15, 2012 — by

ARCHIZINES

ARCHIZINES is a showcase of new fanzines, journals and magazines from around the world that provide an alternative discourse to the established architectural press. This Autumn, the Archizines World Tour exhibition will visit seven countries, featuring 60-80 inspiring architecture-related magazines from around the globe, including Volume. There will also be a special Archizines Live taking place during the Venice Architecture Biennale, hosted by Salon Suisse.

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Blog, Event

Under Tomorrow’s Sky

Posted on August 9, 2012 — by

Liam Young, guest editor of Volume’s Guilty Landscapes issue, will be exhibiting a new project in Eindhoven Friday August 10th. Under Tomorrow’s Sky is an endeavour to explore a fictional future city, informed by some of the most pertinent thinkers on the city, technology, and the environment. The exhibit takes place at MU and will run until October 28th. The opening on Friday August 10th will begin at 8pm. Hope to see you there.

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Blog

3D-Printed Medicines

Posted on July 25, 2012 — by

3D-printed medicines

3D printing is on the rise, and it will not only affect design and architecture. Recently we stumbled upon an interesting article on Inhabitat that describes the ambitious idea by Lee Cronin, a chemist at the University of Glasgow, to build a 3D printer that is able to print medicines.

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Blog, Event

Sandberg Institute Graduation Show

Posted on July 11, 2012 — by

From today till Sunday 15 July 2012 graduating students from the Sandberg Institute present their works.

The Sandberg Institute provides the Masters of the Rietveld Academie. Presentations will be held in the old Filmmuseum (Vondelpark), Galery Fons Welters, Apple Arts Centre, ARCAM and VU Hortus.

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Blog

Join Volume Now and Win a Never Walk Alonely Planet Guide!

Posted on July 6, 2012 — by

Summer has finally hit Amsterdam and before it becomes rainy and cold again, we have a special holiday offer for our new subscribers. Buy a subscription to Volume for yourself or your loved one and receive a unique Volume bag for free. We will also put you in the running for one of the copies of Beyroutes or Mokum.

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Blog

From Slaughterhouse to Aquaponics Farm

Posted on July 6, 2012 — by and

The Plant, Chicago

Peer Foods, former owners of a meatpacking and slaughterhouse business abandoned a factory in the Union Stock Yards, Chicago. Plant Chicago recently bought the facility and started to restore it. Using a complex interrelated system, The Plant will create 125 jobs in the particularly economically distressed Back of the Yards Chicagoan neighborhood.

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Blog, Event

Rietveld Academy Graduation Show

Posted on July 4, 2012 — by

The annual Graduation Show of Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academie opens its doors today at 4 PM. Rietveld’s Graduation Show is the moment in the year when the youngest generation artists and designers presents itself to the public.

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Blog

Tokyo Opens ‘Tallest Tower in the World’

Posted on July 2, 2012 — by

On May 22nd, the world’s tallest tower opened its doors to the public. The 634 meter-high TOKYO SKYTREE is smaller than the Burj Khalifa skyscraper classified into a different category. The TOKYO SKYTREE Tower is accompanied by a shopping center housing 312 stores and restaurants, as well as various entertainment facilities.

The tower has been built using state-of-the-art Japanese architectural expertise to protect the tower against eventual earthquakes. Takeshi Maeda, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, hopes that the construction of such a landmark will bring back tourists to Japan. Tourism has fallen in Japan due to last year’s unfortunate events.

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Blog

The Wave Garden

Posted on June 21, 2012 — by

Architect Yusuke Obuchi created Wave Garden, a concept for a dual-function power plant and public park.

Wave Garden by Yusuke Obuchi

Monday to Friday, the electric power plant generates energy from movement the ocean waves. During weekends, the Wave Garden changes into a public garden, “thus changing from a space of production to one of recreation and consumption”, Pruned explains. The size of the recreational area changes according to the energy that is used during weekdays. The less energy used, the more area allocated to recreation.

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Blog

Green Schools for Gaza

Posted on June 14, 2012 — by

Twenty eco schools are planned for the Gaza Strip, where sustained conflict and occupation has strained the economy and increased energy prices. The schools are designed to be resource-efficient, which is key for a region with low accessibility to resources. They will run on solar and geothermal power, with traditional islamic features, such as mashrabiya screens, as well as rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling systems.

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Event, Volume #27

The Senior Moment

Posted on June 8, 2012 — by

The Senior Moment

Please join the Columbia Lab for Architectural Broadcasting (C-LAB) at Studio-X from 5:45 – 9pm on Wednesday 13 June for an evening event on aging and New York City.

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Article, Volume #31

Commodify

Posted on June 5, 2012 — by

It is typical for human beings to mould nature, justifying their actions by their aesthetic and economic aspirations. But nature cannot endure everything.

In Halso’s photographs, control over nature has acquired a concrete form. The elements of nature have been rethought and have, for logistical purposes, been packed into modules that are easier to handle. The whole of nature is stored in a gigantic warehouse complex and the most common types of nature from soil and flora to fauna can be easily assembled into working ecosystems. What is happening? Has nature been evacuated to await better times, or has it been simplified into merchandise and absurd tableaux? When Halso is looking into the future she doesn’t like what she sees.

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Article, Volume #31

Martyr Street

Posted on May 15, 2012 — by

Labelling a martyr is, in a way, an expression of collective guilt. Martyrs are a simultaneous reminder of the hopes and ideals that an individual stood for, and also the oppressive nature of humankind to smother those ideals. Memorializing martyrs then is a way of atoning for this collective guilt and to give renewed hope that the dreams of the fallen can somehow be realized. A popular way of memorializing martyr is to name streets after them – creating a potentially difficult juxtaposition. To what extent can a street, subject to all the pressures of the city, live up to the lofty ideals of an individual? And what does it say of us when a memorialized street itself becomes a symbol of broken dreams? Guy Tillim and Susan Berger have both created photo series that examine this deep irony.

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Event

What Design Can Do Breakout Session

Posted on May 9, 2012 — by

What design can do for… contact! Breakout session for What Design Can Do, Friday May 11th 2012, 13.45–15.30. Open and free for everyone.

While almost everyone is connected to one another through the internet and social media, real contact seems to be in decline. Virtual time is replacing public time. This breakout session will try to break through this development and find an answer to the question ‘What design can do for public contact’.

Detail of work by Philip Beesley at Venice Biennial

Featuring Axel Timm of the German architectural collective Raumlabor; Francisco van Jole, internationally renowned internet journalist; Younghee Jung, leader of Nokia’s corporate research team in Bangalore; and Ole Bouman, director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI).

Meet us at 13.45 sharp at Leidse Plein, Amsterdam to experience (the limits of) connectivity. This intervention is brought to you by NAI and Archis/Volume with DUS architects. Limited participation available, please RSVP at the latest by Thursday May 10th to rsvp@archis.org.

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Article, Publications, Volume #31

Exposing the Oil Sands

Posted on May 9, 2012 — by

Garth Lenz is a photographer who uses his images to communicate larger environmental issues and broadcast clear messages for change. His work on the Athabasca oil sands, in the photo series ‘The True Cost of Oil’, aims at documenting the scale and scope of environmental transformation occurring due to oil extraction. As the title suggests, lenz asks the viewers to ask themselves what cost are they willing to bear, for their oil consumption.

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Blog

Project Japan Lottery Draw

Posted on May 7, 2012 — by

We recently had a little lottery draw to win a copy of ‘Project Japan: Metabolism Talks’, signed by the authors, Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist! Take a look at the draw to find out if you were the lucky one selected.

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Event

Urbanists Talk: Jeffrey Inaba at NAi

Posted on April 26, 2012 — by

Jeffrey Inaba, Volume’s feature editor from C-LAB, talks about the convergence by technology, automobile, and higher learning corporations and international policy organizations on the city — and how they are making the City 2.0. The lecture is part of the program of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012 and takes place at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) on Thursday 3 May from 8 pm. Click here for more information!

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Event

Crisis at the Storefront

Posted on April 26, 2012 — by

Volume’s presence at the Storefront For Art And Architecture in New York was well received by a good crowd attending the event. Justin Fowler, editor of the Volume in New York, gave a presentation about his opinion on Crisis, one of the themes of the day.

Fowler’s presentation tackled issues such as the aging population and war survivors, leading to what he calls a ‘Trauma Generation’. The presentation created a link between the trauma generation and urban planning. “Human development corresponds with urban development”, he stated, illustrating his presentation with various projects aiming overcome issues of the aging population.

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Event

Volume at Storefront New York

Posted on April 20, 2012 — by

Volume is present at the last day of symposium on publishing practices at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City. The Storefront hosts a two-day symposium in conjunction with Archizines, an exhibition by Elias Redstone. Volume’s New York editor Justin Fowler will participate in the talk on Crisis at 4 pm, or follow the live stream here.

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Blog

Urban Peccancies: Beyond Fukushima and the Guilty Landscape

Posted on April 18, 2012 — by

Japanese photojournalist Kazuma Obara recently released a collection of photographs entitled Reset: Beyond Fukushima. Reset visually explores the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, one of the most harrowing results of the 11 March 2011 earthquake off the coast of Tōhoku, Japan. The disaster sparked a critical global conversation regarding whether or not nuclear power should be one of the planet’s primary source of energy, including the long-term effects of nuclear waste.

Fukushima Daiichi is now one amongst a growing list of what could be termed ‘guilty landscapes’: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Bikini Atoll, Chernobyl, Tiananmen Square, and Fukushima Daiichi are all places that continue to carry heavy historical baggage. Such a recent apolitical addition to this list reminds us of our collective duty to balance the emotional weight of such places with the desire to progress beyond previous mistakes.

Kazuma Obara’s Reset: Beyond Fukushima is published by Lars Müller Publishers.

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Event

Publish This: ARCHIZINES in Barcelona

Posted on April 16, 2012 — by

Without resorting to the tired clichés on the advancements of globalisation/consumer technology/social media/creative economies/additive manufacturing, it would be safe to say that the relationship that architectural publications have with the discipline that they cover is undergoing a transformation. ARCHIZINES showcases the globally developing alternative in architectural publishing, featuring sixty architecture publications from over twenty countries. The publications serve as new platforms for practitioners, theorists, students, and anyone with a vested interest in contemporary architecture (NB: that would include all of us) to provide commentary and criticism of the built environment.

Curated by Elias Redstone, ARCHIZINES features publications running from the low-budget fanzine aesthetic (New York’s Evil People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films) to the glossy bound almanac (Toronto’s Bracket) that showcase research (Paris’s Criticat), art (Amsterdam’s foto.zine), and narrative (Beijing’s What About It?) in contributing to the discourse of the spaces and places that we use and inhabit. Having recently visited London and Milan, ARCHIZINES will showcase the diverse and critical platforms in architecture publishing as part of its tour, currently parked in Barcelona until 4 May at Otracosas de Villar-Rosàs. ARCHIZINES world tour will continue, with upcoming visits to, amongst others, New York, Berlin, and Montréal currently scheduled.

ARCHIZINES is on now at Otrascosas de Villar-Rosàs (Via Laietana 64) in Barcelona. The exhibition runs until 4 May.

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Blog

When Architecture Meets Lego

Posted on March 27, 2012 — by

KRADS is an architectural studio based in Denmark and Iceland. Their Playtime project makes use of Lego to search for new urban concepts and forms. During the first two months studio participants searched for aspects and potentials of the ultimate European skyscraper.

The research phase resulted in the Open Tower exhibition, a form-exhausting collection of 676 models in scale 1:1000, which are presented as a grid of 26 linear iterations. “This extensive catalogue of possibilities will serve as the first step to a more precise parametrization of the process and a deepened design process on modeling 8 European skyscrapers in scale 1:100”, the initiators explain.

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Blog

Everywhere I’ve Been

Posted on March 23, 2012 — by

Co-founder of location-sharing platform Geoloqi Aaron Parecki has been tracking every geo-location he has been over the last 3.5 years. The project resulted in a series of maps generated from 2.5 million unique GPS points (approximately 1 point per 2-6 locations), which were tracked by Parecki’s smartphone. The different colors of the lines represent different years, in order to reveal how his physical footprint changes over time due to the different locations of his house.

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Blog

Interview: Irma Boom

Posted on March 9, 2012 — by

The latest issue of Volume marks a special jubilee: it is the twenty-fifth issue designed by Irma Boom – the award-winning Dutch book designer whose work for clients such as Office for Metropolitan Architecture and Ferrari has earned her the highest regard in the profession. On February 24th 2012, Volume sat down with Irma Boom to discuss among other things her practice, her work with Volume, and her unexpected love for iPads.

Arjen Oosterman: “First I was wondering if you could introduce your studio since you’re not an employee of Volume, but have your own office.”
Irma Boom: “Yes, I’m an external designer – which is a very important detail. [Laughs] The office consists of three people: two assistants, Julia Neller and Sanne van de Goor and me; I make Volume with an ex-assistant, Sonja Haller. The first issues were made with a former student of mine Natascha Chandani (issues 6 to 10) and from issue 11 until now with Sonja. This is the only magazine we do and we’re very proud of working with Volume and Archis.”

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Event

Debate: WIJkonomie Tarwewijk at the NAi

Posted on March 9, 2012 — by

On Wednesday February 22nd Droog held a debate, in collaboration with Jan Konings, Kosmopolis Rotterdam, and the Netherlands Architecture Institute, which in many ways mirrored many of the themes discussed in the latest issue of Volume. The debate was held primarily to discuss WIJkonomie Tarwewijk ­– a project currently taking place in the Tarwewijk neighborhood of Rotterdam. The project explores how one can make visible and build on existing social and economic networks as a method of economic and social development. Although Tarwewijk is one of the poorest areas in the city, it has a hidden network of homeworkers, from hairdressers to car repairmen to radio broadcasters. Is there a way this network can be improved on to strengthen the economic and social vitality of the neighborhood?

The evening opened however not with a discussion about Tarwewijk, but with Levittown, one of the first tract suburban developments in North America. Charles Renfro from Diller Scofidio + Renfro presented his project Open House, made in collaboration with Droog, which looked at inventing new service economies in the suburbs. Designers were paired with homeowners to temporarily transform suburban homes into a service-sector business. One elderly couple sold their attention for a small fee – clients would choose from a list of attentive services (hugs, active listening, confessions, advice) and the transaction would take place at their kitchen table. Another couple transformed their house into a museum, creating a spectacle out of the banality of a typical suburban home. One man simply sold signs, to support the new service-sector economy that had temporarily emerged.

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Event

Success and Uncertainty

Posted on March 5, 2012 — by

The ‘Success and Uncertainty’ project displays a series of 21 neatly designed posters that were made by Dutch graphic designers Sandra Kassenaar and Bart de Baets during their residency in Cairo during the outburst of the revolution in Egypt and the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak in Spring, 2011. Kassenaar and De Baets created one poster every day for a period of three weeks, that were displayed at the entrance of a gallery in Cairo.

All posters in the series commented on recent events and contain political discussions, interviews with locals in Cairo, international comments on the revolution, observations and more. The series is on show between 3-18 March at the San Serriffe art book shop in Amsterdam, so be sure to check it out when you’re nearby!

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Blog

Join Volume Now and Win a Signed Copy of ‘Project Japan’ from Rem Koolhaas and Irma Boom!

Posted on March 2, 2012 — by

Spring is almost in the air and along with it a new Volume subscription special. Guaranteeing yourself or a loved one a yearlong source of inspiration just got easier. Buy a subscription to Volume now and receive a unique Volume bag for free. We will also put you in the running for a signed copy of Project Japan from Dutch book designer Irma Boom and architect Rem Koolhaas.

Click here to subscribe!

The offer is valid from March 1, 2012-April 30, 2012. A winner will be selected at random from all the new subscribers from that period. The winner will be announced in the second week of May 2012 and will receive the book free of charge.

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Blog

Self-Organization

Posted on February 27, 2012 — by

By Caroline Bos (UNStudio)

The principals of self-organization and professionalization seem to be at odds – especially in the world of architecture. While self-organization has been lauded for its ability to create buildings where no capital investor would dare, professionalization is seen as rigid and inflexible. Can the two find a compromise? Caroline Bos, co-founder of UNStudio, sees professionalization not as inherently antagonistic, but potentially a useful counter-balance to self-organization.

Some years ago, as part of a study group organized by Luuk Boelens, I visited Villa 31, one of the oldest and best-known informal neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. This is where we met Alicia, an immigrant from the north who had lived in the Villa since 1974 and had moved incrementally through various layers of self-organization. (1) As a new inhabitant she had initially participated in the construction of her own self-built house and services, such as water, sewage, and electricity, fulfilling her most basic individual needs. As time went on, Alicia became involved in community projects; a flourishing subsidized canteen had later made way for sponsored computer programs. Thus her self-interest became mixed with community interests and she had learnt to liaise with various donors. Finally, Alicia had to some extent participated in the management or the governance of the Villa. At this level, her original self-interest had expanded and developed to encompass a more comprehensive approach and understanding of shared benefits.

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Blog

Timeline for a New Order

Posted on February 27, 2012 — by

By Rory Hyde

Click here to view the full version.

The decline of the welfare state and the seemingly relentless drive toward privatization is one narrative within the larger tide of change sweeping through the decades. Starting with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union – the ‘end of history’ when political and social life would supposedly plateau into a period of numb democracy – the Timeline for a New Order traces an arc to today marked by bubble economics, citizen revolt, technological disruption and climate shocks, and extrapolates to a future world not unlike our own but grayer, greener and more individualistic. This is neither utopia nor oblivion, but something in between, invisible to those who live it, and believable enough to prepare for.

This article was published as part of Volume #30: Privatize!.

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Blog

Celebrating the End

Posted on February 27, 2012 — by

[The Purge]

Ink Tank is an evolving artist collective with the expressed purpose of executing creative ideas in all media. Under the name Last New Year, the group created a number of installations and interventions in and around an impoverished home in Austin.

Last New Year is a celebration of the end. The project elaborates on the idea of a fictional group of people living in the home, who would react to the prophesied end-of-times 2012 date. The most remarkable intervention of the project was Chris Whiteburch’s ‘The Purge’, a giant wooden artwork that expresses how the house would explode as soon as The End is there. Check out this article on Colossal to see more photos of The Purge.

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Blog

American Palimpsests

Posted on February 24, 2012 — by

We fell in love with ‘American Palimpsests’, a fascinating photo series by American-Iranian-Jewish photographer Stacy Arezou Mehrfar, who currently resides in Australia. The series portrays the typical American suburb as an unstoppable force that colonizes natural environments without any sense of context or pre-existence. “‘American Palimpsests’ discusses the sterilization of the natural landscape into new suburbia”, Mehrfar explains.

“Many of the new developments I photographed for American Palimpsests now lie empty, and the subprime crisis has left the development of many neighborhoods incomplete. Based on the current state of older American suburbs, I wonder what will become of those empty new suburbs in 30 years time.”

Click here to enjoy the entire series.

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Blog

Radiant Beach

Posted on February 22, 2012 — by

25 February – 4 March, 2012, Mediamatic Fabriek, Amsterdam. Opening on 24 February, 17-20 h. Curated by Katja Novitskova and Rory Hyde. Featuring works by Martti Kalliala, Katja Novitskova and Rory Hyde, DUS Architects, Liam Young, Sascha Pohflepp, Femke Herregraven and Chris Lee + more. Click here for more information.

The harnessing of the immense power of the atom is one of the great achievements of the 20th century, one that both poses great risks and offers great opportunities. Under the Beach, a Radiant City, an installation by Finnish architect Martti Kalliala, explores a future scenario where the risks of spent nuclear fuel are turned into an opportunity for leisure. Inspired by the afterglow of nuclear waste, Kalliala created an artificially hot beach in Mediamatic FABRIEK, the new gigantic exhibition space of Mediamatic. For ten days of winter you can immerse yourself in the radiance of the thunderbolts of Zeus.

Radiant Picnic on 4 March
All the fun of a summer resort: with music, volleyball and picnic food. Bring your own ‘poisonous’ snacks, your whole family and relax on the radiant warm-spot.

New Order
Mediamatic’s New Order exhibition series explores a world in which energy has become a fundamental principle of our society. Five consecutive solo shows feature new works by Dutch and international artists, designers and architects, each responding to various elements of society – such as politics, economy, health, food and experience – which together combine to outline a complete future world.

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Blog

Fantasy Maps

Posted on February 13, 2012 — by

In this article on The Awl, Victoria Johnson presents a collection of fascinating maps of fictional places that serve as gateways to imaginary lands. One of the maps in the collection was taken from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. Baum drew forty individual maps for this novel. This is the major one that shows the entire land the story takes place in:

“The Emerald City, in the center, is surrounded by four distinct countries. The countries are bordered by deserts (Great Sandy Waste is the obvious winner here and a great potential new name for the litterbox). Beyond the deserts like a number of intriguing countries that make at best a passing appearance in the story, such as Merryland and the Country of Gargoyles. ‘Kansas’ of course appears nowhere.”

Click here to view more fictional maps. Inspired? Check out this article on Boing Boing that refers to more sources with fantasy maps.

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Event

Volume at Block City Exhibition

Posted on February 9, 2012 — by

Seeing this picture, you wouldn’t think of Volume as cornerstone. But ‘The Block’ issue (Volume #21), produced in parallel to the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam in 2009, was instrumental for creating the exhibition ‘Block City/The Past, Present and Future of Mass Housing’ at Jaroslav Fragner Gallery in Prague.

The exhibition is based on a fifteen-year research of Dutch architect Bart Goldhoorn into the possibilities of housing development in the future. His concept of the ‘Block City’ is a combination of analysed housing complexes of the 1960s and the 1970s as well as the contextual, individual, but also very expensive ‘Designer City’. Goldhoorn had the opportunity to test this concept in a new town for 40 000 inhabitants south of Moscow. The outcome of his endeavour are four master plans and 150 models of housing blocks created by architects from around the world which are part of a touring exhibition from 2011.

Click here for more photos of the exhibition.

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Event

Pizza and Food for Thought at Trust Design Discussion

Posted on February 8, 2012 — by

Wednesday 15 February, 6-7 pm, at ARCAM, Amsterdam. Make a reservation at rsvp@premsela.org.

Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion, will host a panel discussion on design and trust at the architecture centre ARCAM in Amsterdam on Wednesday 15 February at 6 pm. It takes place in connection with the conference Social Cities of Tomorrow.
 Coinciding with the discussion will be the launch of Volume magazine’s fourth and last Trust Design supplement. The series has been produced in cooperation with Premsela. The Arcam discussion and magazine supplement will focus on the private vs the public.

Over pizza and drinks, Premsela’s Tim Vermeulen will speak to the researcher and writer Scott Burnham, project manager of Premsela’s Trust Design project; Michiel de Lange, co-founder of The Mobile City and a new media lecturer at Utrecht University; and Henry Mentink, co-founder of MyWheels. Come and listen, participate in the discussion, and enjoy a slice of pizza. Admission, pizza and drinks are free. Due to limited seating please RSVP to rsvp@premsela.org.

Trust Design is a Premsela research project set up to investigate the relationship between trust and design. How can design respond to the contemporary crisis of confidence? What are the components of trust? Can you design trust? And can you trust design? Trust Design 4 is supplement to Volume’s upcoming issue, Privatize!

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Blog

Broken Houses

Posted on February 6, 2012 — by

[Broken Houses]

The Broken Houses project by Tel Aviv-based artist Ofra Lapid is an impressive series of small, precise scale models of destroyed houses. Lapid says to base her “mock-ups of destruction” on photographs of abandoned structures neglected by man and destroyed by the weather.

“I find these photos on the web while pursuing an amateur photographer from North Dakota who obsessively documents the decaying process of these houses. His photographs are used to create small scale models. Afterward, in the studio, the models are photographed again, omitted from their background and placed in gray.”

Click here to check out the entire Broken Houses photo series.

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A Trip to the Past

Posted on February 1, 2012 — by

[Haverleij]

Last Saturday, the Archis/Volume team visited two neo-traditional neighborhoods in the South of the Netherlands. Holland’s first neo-traditional neighborhoods are largely completed, and during this excursion led by Volume’s Editor-in-Chief Arjen Oosterman we had the opportunity to visit the most famous one of them, Brandevoort. The popularization of neo-traditional neighborhoods and vintage urbanism has led to intense debates in professional circles. Is this a good thing because people like it? Or is it fake because we are rebuilding the past without any historic anchor points?

Our first stop was Haverleij near the city of Den Bosch. This district by Sjoerd Soeters comprises approximately ten ‘castles’ situated in a natural and green setting. All castles, which are designed by different architects ranging from Soeters himself to Michael Graves, have a residential function and feel like gated communities, although there are hardly any fences. Many of the buildings have typical medieval elements, such as bridges and castle-like walls and towers. At the same time, the neighborhood hardly feels ‘fake’ due to the great variation in architecture and building materials. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: Haverleij and its residential concept makes a statement against the crumbling of social cohesion in the modern world. All castles breath social control, unity and safety.

The same goes for Brandevoort, our second stop. Brandevoort part of the latest generation of Dutch suburbs, the so-called Vinex neighborhoods. The state-led Vinex program regards nation-wide production of new large suburbs near almost all medium-sized cities in the Netherlands. Many Vinex projects have resulted in landscapes of monotonious houses in semi-modern building styles. But Brandevoort is a remarkable exception. This new neighborhood by Rob Krier, built close to the city of Helmond, looks and feels like a traditional medieval town. Brandevoort tends to breath history, although Krier’s plan has been existing for only eight years.

Most people would compare Brandevoort to ‘real’ fortress towns and medieval city centers and conclude that the streets are quiet and boring. But shouldn’t we compare the atmosphere to other Vinex-neighborhoods designed and built in the same period under the same conditions? In that case, Brandevoort is pretty lively and livable. People seem to be happy. After 40 years everybody could have been forgotten that this historical town is completely fake…

Click here for a Flickr set with more photos of the trip!
Photos by Valerie Blom

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Mapping Trees

Posted on January 30, 2012 — by

Josef Kellndorfer and Wayne Walker of the Woods Hole Research Center recently worked with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey to create an extremely detailed map of all the trees in the United States. It took the team six years to collect the data for the map with help from a space-based radar, satellite sensors, computer models and a massive amount of ground-based data. They managed to visualize the American forests with an accuracy of 30 meters. Click here for the full map.

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And the Winner Is…

Posted on January 27, 2012 — by

Remember our December Special? New subscribers to Volume magazine were in the running to win a unique Worldmoon jewel designed by DUS Architects. Watch the official lottery drawing by our Editor-in-Chief Arjen Oosterman and find out who’s the lucky winner!

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Social Cities of Tomorrow

Posted on January 25, 2012 — by

International conference and workshop, 14-17 February, 2012, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam. Visit socialcitiesoftomorrow.nl for more information.

Our everyday lives are increasingly shaped by digital media technologies, from smart cards and intelligent GPS systems to social media and smartphones. How can we use digital media technologies to make our cities more social, rather than just more hi-tech?

This international conference brings together key thinkers and doers working in the fields of new media and urbanism. Keynote speakers such as Usman Haque, Natalie Jeremijenko and Dan Hill will speak about the promises and challenges in this newly emerging and highly interdisciplinary field of urban design. The keynotes will be accompanied by presentations of ‘showcases’ from various disciplines, such as architecture, art, design, and policy.

Social Cities of Tomorrow explores how urban designers, interface developers, app builders, policy makers, housing coorations, artists, scientists and others can use digital technologies to organise citizen engagement, and to contribute to our social cities of tomorrow.

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Unfolding the Earth

Posted on January 23, 2012 — by

Mapping the Earth is a classic problem. There’s no right way to do this perfectly in a way that depicts the shape and size of the surface in a proper way, argues Jack van Wijk, Full Professor Visualization at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). To explore new ways of unfolding the Earth Van Wijk developed a series of myriahedral projections.

“Why not just take a map of a small part of the earth, which is almost perfect, glue neighboring maps to it, and repeat this until the whole earth is shown? Of course you get interrupts, but does this matter? What does such a map look like?”

Click here for the full series.

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Event, Volume #29

Volume #29 Launch in New York City

Posted on December 8, 2011 — by

Join Volume, Mark Wigley, Jeffrey Inaba, C-LAB, and guests at Project No. 8 (Ace Hotel location, 22 W. 29th Street, New York, NY) from 7-9 pm on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 for holiday cheer and urban conspiracy… i.e. the launch of Volume #29. Copies will be for sale, but drinks and music are complimentary. Click here for more information.

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December Special: Join Volume Now, Get a Free Volume Bag and Win the Worldmoon Jewel!

Posted on December 1, 2011 — by

December is the month to guarantee yourself or a loved one a yearlong source of inspiration. Buy a subscription to Volume now and you will get a unique limited edition Volume bag for free and be in the running for the Worldmoon jewel. Click here to subscribe!

Commissioned by Alicia Framis for the Moon Life project, Amsterdam-based DUS Architects have designed a masterplan for the moon captured in the form of a jewel at a scale of 1:140,000,000. The jewel can be worn as a brooch or a necklace.

(This offer is valid from Dec 1st – 31st, 2011. A winner will be selected at random from all the new subscribers from that period. The winner will be announced in the second week of January 2012 and will receive the jewel in a special gift box, free of charge.)

Click here to subscribe to Volume.

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Event, Volume #29

Volume #29 Launch at Art Basel Miami Beach

Posted on November 30, 2011 — by

Join Printed Matter, Jeffrey Inaba and guests to celebrate the launch of Volume #29: The Urban Conspiracy! Friday 2 December, 2011, 5-7 pm, at Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami Beach Covention Center. Sponsored by Printed Matter.

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Home-Sense: Dwelling and the Internet of Things

Posted on November 28, 2011 — by

One-day conference on Friday 9 December 2011, 9-18 h. at V2, the Institute for the Unstable Media, Rotterdam. With Rob van Kranenburg, Martin Pot, Ben van Lier and others. Registration: students €15, professionals €35. Click here for more information.

On December 9, 2009, the first Council-conference was held in Brussels. A wide variety of researchers, artists, IT-professionals, architects etc. gathered to discuss questions and answers concerning the Internet of Things. Part of this debate was focused on sub-themes, one of those was ‘Home-Sense’: what are the consequences, implications, questions for our home-environment in relation to the IoT? On April 9th, the world-wide IoT-day, this discussion was continued in Rotterdam on a smaller scale: now, 2 years later, it is time to gather the developments and focus once again on the issues involved. This conference intends to do that by bringing together a variety of professionals and researchers throughout the various disciplines, present/discuss the current status and try to articulate elements that will contribute to the actual, still developing issues of home vs. technology. The morning session will handle the background, architecture, technology; after lunch the emphasis will be on experience, privacy, spheres.

Click here to buy Volume #28, the Internet of Things issue!

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Failed Architecture #6: Concrete Failures

Posted on November 18, 2011 — by

Wednesday 23 November 23, 8 pm, De Verdieping, Amsterdam. With Peter Luscuere and Hielkje Zijlstra. Entrance: € 2.50. Click here for more information.

Failed Architecture shows buildings and urban environments that are malfunctioning, displeasing or have failed to stand the test of time and are currently neglected, abandoned or even vandalized or demolished, because of changing economic, social, political and/or physical circumstances.

In the sixth edition of Failed Architecture, the focus will be on the more concrete, technical and practical failures of architecture. Which seemingly clever building technologies or materials have turned out to have unforeseen negative implications for the inhabitants, users, repairmen and janitors? Which types of buildings are more often subject to failure or usage problems? When can we speak of just unforeseen complications and when are architects or contractors to blame? Which cases are exemplary and what lessons can be learned for future architecture?

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Data and Owner

Posted on November 16, 2011 — by

By Usman Haque and Ed Borden. Published in ‘Volume #28: Internet of Things’.

Pachube, a data brokerage platform for (sensory) data, positions itself at the fore of what is emerging as a global network of millions of exchangeable data sets. Such a platform, in combination with the emergent technological landscape, then raises questions about a very slippery topology of relations to data. The slipperiness of the current times can be seen as rooted in the novelty of our current state on both individual and corporate fronts. As the US Bill of Rights provided a reassurance of the rights to human liberty, Usman Haque and Ed Borden have crafted a new Bill of Rights for our emerging state of Things.

Pachube Internet of Things Bill of Rights
1. People own the data they (or their ‘things’) create.
2. People own the data someone else creates about them.
3. People have the right to access data gathered from public space.
4. People have the right to access their data in full resolution in real-time.
5. People have the right to access their data in a standard format.
6. People have the right to delete or backup data they own.
7. People have the right to use and share their data however they want.
8. People have the right to keep their data private.

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Cities and Plants

Posted on October 11, 2011 — by

Vienna-based creative studio Atelier Olschinsky merges the worlds of digital illustration and architecture. Under the names ‘Cities’ and ‘Plants’, Peter Olschinsky and Verena Weiss created a series of stunningly detailed graphics. Providing a look into the fictional machine rooms of today’s cities, the creators tend to represent the urban beauty as well as complexity and brutality.

Check out Atelier Olschinsky’s Behance profile for more pictures of the ‘Cities’ and ‘Plants’ series.

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Research in Action

Posted on October 4, 2011 — by

Wednesday 5 October 2011, 2:30 pm, Goldsmiths College, London. In collaboration with Christian von Wissel and CUCR, Sociology Post-Graduate Research and Graduate School. With Lilet Breddels and Arjen Oosterman.

Volume magazine presents itself as a ‘project to go beyond architecture’. The ambition to research the potential of and opportunities for architecture in society, and to approach this from a social point of view lead to a unique practice of research, reflection, speculation and action. Two very different projects demonstrate method and result: ‘Architecture of Peace’, and ‘Internet of Things’. Both were titles of two issues of Volume, both are longer term projects in different stages of development and implementation – research-based, action driven.

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Event, Volume #28, Volume #28

‘Volume #28: Internet of Things’ Discussion at NYABF

Posted on September 28, 2011 — by

Sunday 2 October 2011, 1 pm. MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave. at the intersection of 46th Ave. Long Island City, NY 11101. Click here to attend the event on Facebook.

When things start talking back to you…

Literally everything is getting connected these days, your children, dog, car, fridge, even the trees in the park. Data production and data collecting is key here. It has huge potential for creation, and likewise for control. Artists and designers are discovering new fields for exploration, commerce sees new potential and new markets, and governments take further steps in monitoring, mapping and ruling. So what is the role of the designer here? And how should we approach the tension between creation and control?

A discussion with Mark Shepard, Lilet Breddels and Arjen Oosterman, plus our mystery guest…

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Archis/Volume at the NY Art Book Fair 2011

Posted on September 27, 2011 — by

30 September-2 October, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, Queens. Click here for more information.

[nyc art book fair]

Printed Matter, the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to publications by artists, presents the sixth annual NY Art Book Fair, September 30–October 2 at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, Queens. A preview will be held on the evening of Thursday, September 29th. Free and open to the public, and featuring more than 200 exhibitors, the NY Art Book Fair is the world’s premier event for artists’ books, contemporary art catalogs and monographs, art periodicals, and artist zines. Exhibitors include international presses, booksellers, antiquarian dealers, artists and independent publishers from twenty countries. We’re proud to be part of the NYC Art Book Fair!

The NY Art Book Fair 2011 will include special projects, screenings, book signings, and performances, throughout the weekend. The Classroom—a curated series of artist-led workshops, readings, and discussions—and the fifth annual Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference—a dynamic, two-day symposium on emerging practices and debates within art-book culture—will engage visitors in lively conversation all weekend long.

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The Milan Breakfasts

Posted on August 13, 2011 — by

Thursday 14, Friday 15 and Saturday 16 April, 9:30-11:00 am, Studio Zeta Milano, Via Friuli 26, Milan. Free admission (limited capacity). Start the day with coffee, croissants and quality conversation on design!

Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion, and the Design Academy Eindhoven present The Milan Breakfasts, taking place during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. We invite everyone to join us at 9:30 am on Thursday 14, Friday 15 and Saturday 16 April for free coffee, croissants and quality conversations on design. International design professionals and educators will talk with each other and the audience about three urgent issues: consumer trust, open design and designing for social change. Before all the galleries open and the frenzy of the Salone takes hold of Milan, start the day with breakfast and food for thought.

Thursday 14 April: Trust This Breakfast
Premsela and Scott Burnham have been investigating the problem of consumers’ waning trust in the products and services they use since 2009 in the Trust Design project. So far, the design world has not succeeded in finding satisfactory solutions. We’ll talk with Burnham, Lilet Breddels of Volume magazine, and the designers Gijs Bakker and Alberto Meda on how design can win back the public’s trust.

Friday 15 April: Open Design
Don’t ask what design can do for you – ask what you can do for design! More than four decades after John Kennedy’s original exhortation, the masses have all the tools, information and production methods to become designers themselves. But is it really true that anyone can be a designer? We’ll talk to professor Paul Atkinson and the designers Yves Béhar, Martí Guixé and Joost Grootens about open design.

Saturday 16 April: Design Matters!
Green design, cradle to cradle and sustainability are gaining ground in the design world. Responsible design is quickly becoming a matter of course. But what about the other pressing issues 90 per cent of the world population is dealing with today? Real design for real needs is a matter of urgency. We’ll talk about designing for social change with guests including Premsela director Els van der Plas, Maria Teresa Leal of the design cooperative Coopa-Roca, designer Jan Boelen, Cheick Diallo and Ilse Crawford (TBC).

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Volume #27 on Aging Launches at the Milan Design Fair

Posted on August 12, 2011 — by

Thursday April 14, 9:30-11:00 am. Studio Zeta Milano, Via Friuli 26, Milan, Italy, free entrance (first served). With Gijs Bakker, Scott Burnham, Alfredo Meda and Lilet Breddels.

With the Western world heading towards a life expectancy of 100 years, and the rest of the world soon to follow, the question is: with the realm of architectural invention on the issue ready for the taking, are you ready to face getting old? And are you ready to talk about it over breakfast?

Volume 27 launches its issue on aging during breakfast at the Milan Design Fair. This issue of Volume explores the question of aging through current architectural typologies and institutional approaches over vast territory – from the nuclear industry that builds until One Billon AD to the top-down and bottom-up growth of New York, Tehran, Berlin and Newcastle – and is a necessary compendium for those who wish to design into the future by understanding the immediate challenges of today.

Included in the issue is a 40-page insert on trust, design and aging, presented by both Archis and Premsela. Over breakfast, Gijs Bakker, Scott Burnham, Alfredo Meda and Lilet Breddels will be on hand to discuss the importance of designing trust throughout the ages. They ask: after the breakdown of trust in the functioning of society, can design win back the public’s confidence?

This event is hosted by Archis, Premsela: the Dutch Institute for Design and Fashion, and Design Academy Eindhoven.

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Archis/Volume and PICNIC

Posted on August 11, 2011 — by

We’re pleased to announce that we are a partner of PICNIC Festival 2011! PICNIC Festival is an annual three-day event that blurs the lines between creativity, science, technology and business to explore new solutions in the spirit of co-creation. This year’s theme is Urban Futures, with a focus on sustainability, infrastructure, society, design and media. PICNIC Festival 2011 takes place from 14 to 16 September at NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam.

Thanks to our partnership with PICNIC, we would like to offer you a 20% discount on both festival Passe-partouts and Day Tickets. To purchase your ticket, go to picnicnetwork.org and the registration section to fill in the promotional code VOLPIC20 before you complete your payment.

We hope you’ll be able to join us at PICNIC Festival 2011.

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The Internet of Things Workshop II: Builders at Play

Posted on July 27, 2011 — by

Archis/Volume and VURB present the Internet of Things Workshop II: Builders at Play. September 2-4, Waag Society, Amsterdam.

Calling on architects, coders, urban geographers, sociologists, and urban explorers interested in bettering the city through digital means. Following the May 7th Internet of Things Workshop at the Staalvilla, Archis/Volume, VURB, Caro van Dijk and Alexander Zeh will organize the second iteration with the explicit goal of creating prototypes observably eliminating the division of virtual/real. Join us for a three-day hands-on workshop where we will create viable and functional prototypes for the city.

The results of this workshop will then be presented at PICNIC 2011, which will take place between September 14-16 at the NDSM-werf in Amsterdam with the theme of Urban Futures. The three-day festival will explore globalization and its impact on our cities, our society and our lives.

Click here to download a PDF with more information regarding the workshop, and/or contact Vincent Schipper (vs@archis.org) to subscribe or to learn more!

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Wanted: Managing Editor

Posted on July 18, 2011 — by

Volume has a vacancy for a managing editor!

He or she will be responsible for the textual quality of the magazine and all related text production. This includes editing and finalizing author contributions, proof reading and taking care of the textual integrity and consistency of Volume. Dealing with deadlines and timeframes is part of the job, and so is communicating with contributors from different cultural and language backgrounds. A potential second element of the position is contributing to Volume’s content in editorial meetings and with own contributions. Volume offers a prestigious platform and network to contribute to and work with.

Candidates must be native English, fluent in speech and writing, have serious editorial experience, be precise and deadline aware. To be able to participate in content production candidates should be open, curious, internationally aware and research minded. A degree in architecture is considered as positive. The position is on a freelance basis and (depending on editorial involvement) can add up to 3 days a week at our offices in the vibrant surroundings of the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam-Noord.

Please send your resume and motivation to Lilet Breddels (lb@archis.org) before August 1.

Volume is an independent quarterly magazine that sets the agenda for design. With going beyond architecture’s definition of ‘making buildings’ it reaches out for global views on designing environments, advocates broader attitudes to social structures, and reclaims the cultural and political significance of architecture. Volume is a project by Archis (Amsterdam), AMO (Rotterdam) and C-Lab (Columbia University, New York).

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Event

Unknown Fields: From the Atomic to the Cosmic

Posted on July 10, 2011 — by

Summer 2011 Trajectory Public Forum. Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to Baikonur Cosmodrome. Architectural Association Gallery, 11 July, 2011, 11 am – 4 pm. 36 Bedford Square, London. Free for all. Click here for more information.

This year, on the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first manned space flight and the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, we will pack our Geiger counters and space Suits and chart a course from the atomic to the cosmic to investigate the strange natures that stretch from the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor in the Ukraine and Gagarin’s launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Before we leave on our research trip we will be joined in London by an ensemble of artists, authors, scientists and designers to present a series of projects and thoughts motivated by the sites we will be visiting. Through the lens of these 2 events we will re-examine our contemporary attitudes toward the natural world and discuss our cross section through the haunting landscapes of the ecologically fragile and the technologically obsolete. We will explore the ‘Unknown Fields’ between cultivation and nature, between utopian projections and dystopian ruins as we spin cautionary tales of a new kind of wilderness.

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How to Design Better Cities with Urban Interventions and Computer Code?

Posted on July 4, 2011 — by

This article was written by Martijn de Waal and published on The Mobile City. Click here for the original version.

Last Thursday I attended the first edition of the Cognitive Cities Salon in Amsterdam. Here are some notes on two of the lectures. What I found interesting was that both were addressing urban design not as primarily an aesthetic discipline but as a social and cultural one. Caro van Dijk discussed the design of urban and virtual objects around which urban publics can form and thus bring about an urban public sphere. Edwin Gardner looked at the use of computer algorithms to make urban design more adaptive to the needs of citizens.

Making public space with urban objects
Caro van Dijk is one of the co-organizers (together with Archis and VURB) of an upcoming workshop on the internet of things and architecture. She introduced the design-approach that they would like to use as a point of departure for the workshop (presumably to take place during picnic 2011, here in Amsterdam in september.

This approach is based upon Yiri Engestrom’s notion that:

“people don’t just connect to each other, they connect through a shared object.”

Whereas Engestrom is concerned with the role of social objects that can be shared through social networks, Van Dijk looked back into the history of architecture and found inspiration in Aldo van Eyck’s playgrounds. After the second world war this Dutch Archtiect designed more than 700 playgrounds for the city of Amsterdam which transformed numerous open and often derelict city spaces. These playground consisted of bare, geometrcial shapes functioning as sandpits and climbing frames.

These interventions did two important things, Van Dijk Explained. First, because of the use-value of those objects for kids, they turned underused spaces into public spaces, where people started to hang-out, take notice of each other, interact, meet up. In other words: these objects brought about an urban public sphere. Perhaps as important is that they were able to do this because of the bare structure of these objects. The use of these objects wasn’t prescripted, but afforded an open sense of play. Kids could use their own imagination and use the tools as props in their own stories or events. (A similar claim for the design of open ended play was made earlier that evening by Kars Alfrink of Hubbub, see also here.)

Van Dijk compared this approach with Primal Source, a project by Usman Haque, that was carried out at the Glow-festival in Santa Monica in 2008. This installation consisted out of colorful projections on a waterscreen. The shapes, colors, rhythms and intenstiy of these pojections were determined by software analyses of the reactions of the public picked up by 8 microphones. This provoked the audience to start singing, yelling, and clapping, sometimes individually, sometimes in concert. Thus, a public that shared a communal experience emerged out of the collective, interactive use of the art-installation.

[iframe http://player.vimeo.com/video/1520054?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 420 317]

Can we now make use of new media technologies to design urban interventions that do something similar? That work as virtual/physical/hybrid objects around which (temporarily) urban publics can form, thus calling an urban public sphere into being? That is indeed an interesting starting point for a workshop.

The Algorithmic City – a techno-utopian scenario
A second presentation that I wanted to highlight here was held by Edwin Gardner who presented his ongoing research work on the algorithmic city.

Gardner asks the question what happens to urban planning when we add algorithms to the urban planning process? How can we use algorithms to make planning and urban design a more generative, adaptive process, that works in the interest of citizens rather than that of project developers or investors?

So far algorhithms have shown up in ‘parametric design’ where all kinds of parameters can be tweeked that the computer will then turn into a design for a building or even a complete city. Gardner is not so much interested in this approach. The problem is that there is no relation between the paramaters, the shapes generated and the society that is going to make use of these shapes. Social or ecnomic data are hardly used as parameters and the result is ‘a fetishism of easthetics’, at best beautiful to look at, but completely meaningless.

a

Gardner instead takes inspiration from Christophers Alexander‘s A Pattern Language, a book that was based upon:

“…the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets and communities. This idea… comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people.”

A Pattern Language therefor gave an overview of various planning ‘problems’ and provided patterns that could be used as a solution, it was a catalogue of planning tools, that could be used to structure the city. These patterns or design-objects could be used to draw-up a city, the indiviudal elements combined into a ‘language’. Later, Alexander would say the pattern language had three essential features:

First, it has a moral component. Second, it has the aim of creating coherence, morphological coherence in the things which are made with it. And third, it is generative: it allows people to create coherence, morally sound objects, and encourages and enables this process because of its emphasis on the coherence of the created whole. Although A Pattern Language was first aimed at both architects as well as ordinary people who wanted to prove upon their enviromnent, in the 1990s Alexander turned to computer scientists. Could they design software algorithms that would help generate cities based on patterns that were livable and adjusted to a human scale?

Gardner picks up this question and looks at three levels in which algorithms could play a role:

1. Building Code
Building codes (code as in law) can be understood as the program that currently generates the city. Its restrictions and prescriptions determine the parameters that planners and architects must design within. Now, Gardner asks: what if we turn building code as in law into a building code as in computer software: ‘How can we turn building code around from a bureaucratic obstacle, to an open standards object-oriented programing platform with an ecosystem of API’s and apps empowering civlilans and city authorities, both amateurs and professionals?’ Can we use models of the city such that are currently used in BIM-software as living models, in which all sorts of sensor-assembled data about the city is constantly fed back into the model, and that can be used to develop the city further?

2. Algorithmic Masterplanning
Building upon that, can such a system be used to plan a city more organically? Now master-planning is mostly a ‘shock-and-awe’-discipline, especially in countries like China where complete cities are drawn from scratch. But what if we can make use of a living city model that anyone could add upon, that would enable incremental urban growth initiated by smaller parties?

3. Algorithmic zoning
Can we design systems that can temporarily adjust the use of existing urban spaces to human needs, rather than to the logic of investors? For instance, could we think of an algorithm that detects long-term vacancy of office buildings and comes up with alternative uses?

I found all three provocative ideas to think about, even though, as Gardner himself admitted in the subtitle of his talk, they are still very much techno-utopian.

At the same time, a presentation of James Burke showed that such a future might be not that far off. He is currently working on an app that would make use of social networking to address the problem of empty office space and the resuse of such urban places. Can a system be designed that allows citizens to temporarily make use of such places? The discussion learned that perhaps the sofware code is the easiest part of this problem (bringing people, ideas and empty spaces together). The harder part will be dealing with legal codes such as contractual regulations, and zoning uses that are related to tax-regimes that may prevent owners from participating in such a system.

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Event

Cognitive Cities Salon Amsterdam

Posted on June 27, 2011 — by

Thursday 30 June, 2011, 19:00-22:30. De Verdieping, Wibautstraat 127, Amsterdam. Entrance: €10.

This first Cognitive Cities Salon Amsterdam will deal with the synthesis of architecture and network technologies. We hope to see many of you at our first iteration of the Cognitive Cities Salon in Amsterdam. It is our combined pleasure to introduce you to the speakers that will engage the conversation about the future of cities at De Verdieping on the evening of June 30th.

Edwin Gardner, architect and theorist. Design researcher at the Jan van Eyck Acadamie and editorial consultant to Volume
Katalin Galayas, Policy Advisor to the City of Amsterdam
James Burke, interaction designer, user experience architect and co-founder of VURB
Kars Alfrink, ‘Chief Agent’ of Hubbub

The four of them will present their thoughts on urbanity, technology and how we are in the middle of it all. But the Salons are not intended to give only the speakers the stage. While sometimes it is important to only receive curated information, we are very much hoping for a lively debate at the event. Be challenged by the speakers, but also do your best to challenge them.

A special call for participation for the next IoT workshop by Volume and VURB will be delivered by Vincent Schippers, Alexander Zeh and Caro van Dijk. The workshop is for architects, planners, coders and others interested in prototyping applications for a more writeable city. The evening will be moderated by Juha van ‘t Zelfde, host of Visible Cities.

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Fight the Dutch Cultural Meltdown

Posted on June 24, 2011 — by

“Alles van waarde is weerloos.”
(“Everything valuable is defenseless.”)
— Lucebert

Although it’s Summer in The Netherlands, it feels like the country is going through a cold and grey Winter. With its empty politics of symbolism, our populist right-wing coalition destroys what civilization needs: beauty, innovation, care, trust, openness and tolerance. Its plans for draconic cuts in Dutch art funding will lead to irreparable cultural and economic damage. Dutch government spending on the arts will be severely reduced from roughly 950 to 750 million euros. These cuts are not distributed evenly: the remaining funds will be directed at traditional, established art forms and museums. The frustrate the Dutch cultural world even more, the government has also approved plans to raise sales tax on theater, cinema and concert tickets from 6% to 19%.

It’s time to take a stand together and fight the cultural meltdown. Please sign the petition, participate in the March for Civilization on 26 and 27 June, or do something else. Check out the Dutch Art Damage Map for an overview of all protest actions. Thank you!

Image courtesy of Mediamatic, Amsterdam.

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‘The Good Cause’ Photo Report

Posted on June 21, 2011 — by

Click here for the photo set on Flickr!

On Thursday June 16 director Mirko Zardini and Phyllis Lambert (founding mother of the CCA) opened the exhibition ‘The Good Cause, Architecture of Peace’ at the CCA. Some 300 people attended the opening and visited the show curated by Saskia van Stein (NAI), Arjen Oosterman and Lilet Breddels (Archis).

The Good Cause shows the thin line between an architecture of war and an architecture of peace. It shows the complexities of a post-conflict resolution but also gives clues how architecture can contribute to a sustainable peace. The exhibition can be seen as an installment in a longterm project with the aim to better the way the world deals with international peace keeping and reconstruction.

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City Inc.: Bata Cities/Corporate Towns

Posted on June 20, 2011 — by

Opening 22 June 2011, 6 pm. Free entrance. Exhibition runs between 23 June and 31 August, 2011. Bauhaus Institute, Dessau. Click here for more information.

The Exhibition ‘City Inc.’ shows the legacy of an utopian city of the early 20th century. Inspired by Fordist theories, garden city principles and socialist ideals, the Czech shoe company Bata went on a mission to “shoe the world“. In Zlin, in the Czech Republic, Bata built a first company town according to modernist architectural precepts, testing the idea of a model town that could be efficiently replicated.

These Bata cities, soon to be exported all over the world, all combined the same components: architecture, urban planning, management, social engineering and communication. The geopolitical context of colonialism as well as growing international trade and labour division encouraged the company’s expansion.Soon enough the Bata empire formed an international corporate network of 80 Bata cities as places of production as well as a modern way of life.

The exhibition introduces two Bata satellite towns, Batanagar (India) and East Tilbury (Great Britain); two places which have developed in opposite directions depending on the remaining presence or final absence of the Bata production in the city. Not only does the show give an insight into the complexities and contradictions of life in a city that has changed dramatically during the last century, it also reflects the uncertain future of these two company towns in the context of current strategies of global corporations with regards to their “urban footprints”.

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The Good Cause: Architecture of Peace

Posted on June 16, 2011 — by

Thursday 16 June, 2011, 18:00-21:00, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. The Good Cause exhibition runs between 16 June-4 September, 2011. Organized by the Netherlands Architecture Institute and Archis in collaboration with the CCA. Click here for more information.

How can construction be an instrument of peace? Post-conflict cities share many problems such as spontaneous construction and a lack of strong civil governance, thus even well-intended projects under these conditions risk fixing inequalities permanently or introducing new ones in the built environment. Can architecture, beyond solving a direct need or problem, add to stability and peace? The Good Cause: Architecture of Peace considers cases that suggest how peace can be materialized.

Complementing the exhibition ‘Architecture in Uniform: Designing and Building for the Second World War’, NAi, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, presents The Good Cause, an experimental research lab that explores the possibilities for architecture to strengthen the transformation of post-conflict urban areas. Gathering statistical data, graphics, maps, movies, publications, fragments of real life, pictures and interviews this temporary experimental space will survey the controversial thin line between the architecture of war and the architecture of peace within the unstable condition of ‘reconstruction’.

Launch Architecture of Peace Website

Complementing the exhibition, the official Architecture of Peace website has launched today. The website is a treasure trove of information regarding the Architecture of Peace topic, and showcases case studies, videos, the ethical code for architects and more. It is set up in order to be as open as possible, so the website only consists of a menu, linking to all kinds of external sources. The site can be visited at architectureofpeace.org.

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The Internet of Things at MoMA

Posted on June 6, 2011 — by

We are frantically and lovingly working on Volume #28. The issue will be dedicated to a forward-looking debate on the Internet of Things (IoT) and the role of the architect in this new landscape. Mindblowing, we think. More on that soon!

In this present climate of excitement and apprehension around the IoT, Paola Antonelli’s next show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. ‘Talk to Me’ will explore the communication between people and objects. It will focus “on objects that involve a direct interaction, such as interfaces, information systems, visualization design, and communication devices, and on projects that establish an emotional, sensual, or intellectual connection with their users. Examples range from a few iconic products of the late 1960s to several projects currently in development — including computer and machine interfaces, websites, video games, devices and tools, furniture and physical products, and extending to installations and whole environments”.

The Creators Project interviewed Paola Antonelli and got a sneak preview of a few of the objects to be included in the show. Watch the interview here. The ‘Talk to Me’ online journal should be as interesting as the exhibition. At MoMA.org/talktome, the MoMA team shares their “findings, considerations and explorations as they research, investigate and hear from their networks of designers, artists, scientists and scholars”. An exclusive insight into the curatorial process.

‘Talk to Me’ opens on July 24 and runs until November 7, 2011.

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Vacant NL

Posted on June 1, 2011 — by

“Vacant NL explores the potential of thousands of vacant buildings in the Netherlands dating from the 17th to the 21st century. This challenge calls for unorthodox and temporary interventions, which a team of designers and specialists in legislation, science, and technology will envision and test on location.”

During the 2010 Architecture Biennale in Venice, it became clear that thousands of inspiring, vacant public buildings in the Netherlands have the potential to be reused for creative entrepreneurship and innovation. With the two-year master’s program Vacant NL, the Sandberg Institute is realizing its ambition to train designers, craftsmen and scientists to become specialists in the temporary use of buildings and other spaces.

Directed by landscape architect Ronald Rietveld and philosopher Erik Rietveld, the program revolves around design research on the potential of vacant spaces. Insights and solutions from different fields of knowledge are combined to address the topic in an integrated manner. Several unique buildings are available for experimentation and for making site-specific design interventions. Without doubt, what the Netherlands needs in the current decade is a multidisciplinary team of talented specialists in temporary reuse of buildings and other spaces. The challenge posed by Vacant NL calls for a range of visionary, unorthodox and unsolicited interventions. Design and build the impossible!

Vacant NL is open for ten students, all of whom will be expected to have a solid basis in a relevant discipline at the start of the two-year program. Seven of the students will have a background in design in the broadest sense of the word. This could be in architecture, industrial design, interior architecture, web architecture, or stage design. The other three students will be resourceful specialists from other fields. They could be creative lawyers, fire fighters, documentary makers, urban geographers, cultural historians, research journalists, plasterers, event planners, or aerospace experts, for example. Their expert knowledge of their respective fields will enable them to contribute to surprising, unconventional design solutions. The variety in the students’ backgrounds and the contributions that specific experts from outside the field of design will make to the program will enable the integration of multidisciplinary knowledge. Vacant NL believes that by combining design, science, and technology in real-life situations, one can make the step towards real innovation.

Click here for more information regarding the program.

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Goodbye Timothy!

Posted on May 30, 2011 — by

After being one and a half year at the Archis team as managerial editor of Volume, Timothy Moore is going back to his roots in Melbourne. Congratulations on your new job as Editor of Architecture Australia, and thanks for being part of the team!

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Event

Blogging the City

Posted on May 1, 2011 — by

Thursday 12 May, 10:00-18:00, at Uferhallen, Berlin. Organized by Urbanophil and Architekturvideo. Click here for more information.

The Internet has become the most powerful communication infrastructure developed and used by mankind. It is changing our communication habits and ways of interaction and collaboration, and opens up new ways to disseminate information and knowledge. The Internet is also changing the discussion of urban issues, the distribution of information, how actors communicate and participate in the shaping of our (built) environment. Instead of passively consuming, one can now participate, publish and network. This opens up new opportunities for civil society engagement.

It is not just the technology that makes things special — much more important is the change that goes along with the societal penetration of these technologies. Its great social and communicative consequences are not yet sufficiently discussed and understood. Especially in the fields of urban planning and architecture, the possibilities and new challenges are underestimated and slowly accepted. But there is a growing group of young urban planners, architects and activists, which explore the design challenges and opportunities that derive from the digitalization of space and society. But despite these developments, the urban-architectural blogosphere is just at the beginning. Therefore a conference is organized to discuss the changes, possibilities and limits, but also the challenges.

Check out the Blogging the City website to learn more about the conference.

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Launch of ‘Mokum: A Guide to Amsterdam’

Posted on April 22, 2011 — by

Buy here!

We are proud to announce a new title in our Never Walk Alonely Planet series! After the big success of Beyroutes: A Guide to Beirut, Archis launches Mokum: A Guide to Amsterdam. Mokum will be presented at Paradiso on Thursday 5 May, 2011.

Mokum is an alternative travel guide to Amsterdam that explores the boundaries of freedom in this European capital. How free is Amsterdam in 2011? How are the hard-won rights of women and gays, the freedom of speech and sexual liberties being influenced by the political climate in The Netherlands? Are these rights still visible and tangible in the urban realm? The travel guide challenges its reader to explore and analyze the rights and freedom in Amsterdam. Roosje Klap’s graphic design is inspired by the esthetics of the Dutch free press in the 1960s and 1970s. Every chapter (Devotional City, Protest City, Cappuccino City, Monumental City) is based on a hand-made silk-screen poster from that time. Mokum includes maps, stories, poems, essays, illustrations and photos from more than 40 authors — from artists to geographers, from Amsterdammers to New Yorkers, from newbies to celebrities. Mokum will change your perspective on the city forever!

Mokum is an initiative of the Amsterdam 4/5 May Committee.

Mokum: A Guide to Amsterdam
Archis, Amsterdam, 2011
€19.50
Editor-in-Chief: Christian Ernsten
Graphic design: Studio Roosje Klap
208 p. ills color & bw, 16 x 23, pb, English
ISBN: 9789077966556
Available from 27 April via Idea Books.

The Never Walk Alonely Planet series provides an insider’s perspective on the social and cultural reality of the city, with attention to daily life, political dimensions, and spatial consequences. The guides are appealing to both born and raised city dwellers and first-time visitors to a city.

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2067: The Legacy, Event

‘2067: The Legacy’ Presentation in Delft

Posted on April 18, 2011 — by

Presentation of '2067: The Legacy'

Last week the successful Milan Trust breakfast debate discussed the role of design in creating Trust (trust as product, not to be mixed up with trust as lubricant for sales) with the presentation of Volume 27: Aging and the insert Trust Design: Design, Trust, Aging. (click here for photo’s and ‘soundbites’ of the event A week earlier, the latest Archis book publication was presented at the TU Delft. 2067: The Legacy – Indesem explores the future of architecture presents lectures, debates and student designs from the Indesem 2007 workshop. Both Trust and The legacy reintroduce grand narratives in a discipline in crisis: trust as a major focus for architecture and design, Legacy as strategy to reposition the architects’ role. So, what was the idea behind The Legacy, and what did it produce?

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Milan Breakfast Photos

Posted on April 15, 2011 — by

Premsela, the Dutch institute for design and fashion, has made available a series of photos on its Flickr page taking during the discussion on ‘Trust and Design’ which took place yesterday morning. Premsela and Scott Burnham have been investigating the problem of consumers’ waning trust in the products and services they use since 2009 in the Trust Design project. So far, the design world has not succeeded in finding satisfactory solutions. Scott Burnham, Lilet Breddels of Volume magazine, and the designers Gijs Bakker and Alberto Meda discussed how design can win back the public’s trust.

Photos were taken by Davide Bellucca. Click here to go to the slideshow. Click here for videos/soundbytes of the Trust discussion!

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Volume #27

Out Now: Volume #27

Posted on April 1, 2011 — by

With the Western world heading towards a life expectancy of 100 years, the question is: with the realm of architectural invention ready for the taking, are you ready to face getting old?

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‘The Future of Architecture’: Debate and Book Presentation

Posted on March 31, 2011 — by

Thursday 7 April at 4pm, Why Factory (TU Delft, building Bouwkunde, Oostserre). 2067: The Legacy: Looking back to the future of architecture in Rotterdam.

Special offer: During the presentation the book 2067: The Legacy will be available for € 15.00 (normal price € 19.90).

The event presents the outcome of Indesem 2007, where the potential of the architect to set the agenda was at stake, tested at 20 locations in Rotterdam. For this festive launch Winy Maas, Wouter Vanstiphout and Dirk Sijmons will debate on the societal role of the architect: research agenda’s, consequences for education and relationships with local politics. What profile can we think of for this figure, that oscillates between landscapes of the future and cities of the past?

2067: The Legacy contains lectures and inspirational input from Herman Hertzberger, 2012 architects, Ronald Wall, Floris Alkemade, ZUS, Wouter Vanstiphout, Michiel Riedijk, Winy Maas, Dirk Sijmons, Salomon Kroonenberg and Juhani Pallasmaa and reports on the discussions and results from the workshops to formulate a future agenda for architecture. Jeroen Musch created a photographic report and Maureen Mooren with Sandra Kassenaar signed for the special design.

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Extracultural

Posted on March 25, 2011 — by

The viability of a contemporary counterculture is defined through the sustainability of its oppositional stance. CyberAnthropologist Steven Mizrach argues that to find a countercultural voice, oppositional figures – hackers, cyberpunks, techno music makers – must liberate their niche, underground positions in the name of information dissemination. An anthropologist teaching at Florida International University, Mizrach focuses his research on the confluence of anthropology and ‘high technology’, or AnthroFuturism.

Not surprisingly, there is both continuity and change between the countercultures of the 1960s and those of today. The computer underground, the rave movement, the modern primitives, and other contemporary cultures can trace a lineage back to the Beatniks and Hippies of the 1950s and 1960s. Several key figures, such as Timothy Leary, John Perry Barlow and Stewart Brand, most obviously bridge this transition. However, rather than examining continuity, this essay will focus on evolving attitudes toward the natural and organic versus the artificial and synthetic. While the hippies were sometimes wary of advanced technology, today’s countercultures readily embrace it as a tool for countertactics.

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Technological (Sur)realism

Posted on March 24, 2011 — by

Excerpts from an interview conducted in March 2010.

Neil Spiller’s work — which spans his theoretical ventures and architectural practice, and was shaped by his training with both Cedric Price and Gordon Pask — explores the friction between media and reality, interrogating the oxymoron inherent in the notion of ‘virtual reality’ and how this divergent term informs the built environment. Here, he sits down with Volume to reveal the Surrealist methods latent in the dream state of the architect.

When I first started writing, the big buzz was full body immersion in cyberspace and Mondo2000. Since then, a lot of us have realized that our intelligence is literally embodied. Our intelligence is made out of virtual and real things, and the synthesis of the virtual and the real is where my explorations lie. Certainly the idea of living in a pod with my bodily functions wired up to the sink is not a good thing. For me, architecture is embodied in a series of reflexive objects or narratives. I often say that architecture can exist from the microcosmic and the nanoscopic to the cosmographic. I’m interested in the blurred boundary as a place from which to speculate, in both architecture and drawings. I’m always kind of sniffing and licking them a bit, not sure if they’re any good yet.

I spend a lot of time talking about, perhaps reassessing, the spatial protocols of Surrealism as a way of finding methods to expand aspirations and knowledge of the digital world. Specifically, the Paranoiac-critical method, as Salvador Dalí’s psycho-sexual approach, is how I re-interpret the world. People have described my drawings as a kind of myth-making, and certainly my work over the last ten years has become very mythic. So I try to link to his body of work, which I think was brave for its time, and uses it to question some of the assumptions we (architects) have about our role in the contemporary world … Soon we’ll be able to start to make spaces that aren’t dictated by the tyranny of the planner or the aesthetic tyranny of the architect.

What has disappointed me is the way the architecture profession has taken to virtuality by one particular route, which has now been exploited to the point of ubiquity. There is a lot more of the virtual world that rubs up against architecture that needs exploring. I am interested in what I call architecture of the second aesthetic, which is essentially algorithmic. I think there is a place for algorithmic architecture, but to explore it properly we might have to leave the computer behind.

I think I’m an ‘optimistic Futurist’; I’m much more interested in what’s going to happen a year or five years hence as opposed to thirty or fifty years from now. Scientists call that ‘deep future’ and it’s actually almost entirely unpredictable. When you’re a student, you’re like a heavy metal guitarist: you want to rush up the fret board as fast as possible. And when you’re my age, you want to play the blues, because it’s about the emotional content of the work. So blues is the thing. [Laughs]

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After Whole Earth

Posted on March 17, 2011 — by

Alex Steffen Interviewed by Yukiko Bowman and Julianne Gola.

In the late 60s, the Whole Earth Catalog popularized an understanding of ecology as a continuum between the self, technology, and the environment. Forty years later, Alex Steffen, editor of the website Worldchanging and the recent compendium Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century (Abrams, 2006), is approaching sustainable living from the micro (the design of refugee shelters) to the macro (climate change). A global advocate for a social, high-tech approach to environmental and community sustainability through innovation, Steffen is also the editor of the last (unpublished) issue of Whole Earth, the magazine that grew out of the Whole Earth Catalog. Here, he assesses the legacy of the Whole Earth Catalog in contemporary discussions of environmentalism and how counterculture compares with his notion of ‘bright green’.

Yukiko Bowman: In many ways, today’s mainstream environmentalism comes directly out of 60s counterculture and the Whole Earth approach. These days, ‘green’ is used as a selling point for everything from gasoline to t-shirts. How do you position Worldchanging – as an extension of countercultural ideals or as an example of environmentalism’s increasing popularity?
Alex Steffen: In order to keep fulfilling our function, we need to be on the edge. It is a real challenge for us that our content has moved into the mainstream. As the sea of innovation grows, it becomes harder to cover its surface. You know, I grew up on a commune where Whole Earth Catalogs were bouncing around. That countercultural filter was a big part of how the people who raised me saw the world. Today, the Whole Earth Catalog has become the placeholder in our cultural notation for ‘all that innovative hippie crap’.

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2067: The Legacy

Posted on March 10, 2011 — by

Indesem explores the future of architecture. Order now!

“Architecture should put itself in the middle of the public debate on space.” With this ambition Indesem, the biennial International Design Seminar, explored challenges and potential of architecture. Curated by Winy Maas, the workshops focused on major issues, confronted these with specific locations in Rotterdam and presented these as billboards all over the city.

“Think not what you would like to make, but what in fifty year’s time should be your legacy”, was the brief. 2067: The Legacy contains the lectures and inspirational input of Herman Hertzberger, 2012 Architects, Ronald Wall, Floris Alkemade, ZUS, Wouter Vanstiphout, Michiel Riedijk, Winy Maas, Dirk Sijmons, Salomon Kroonenberg, Juhani Pallasmaa and reports on the students’ struggle to formulate an agenda for architecture. With beautiful photography of Jeroen Musch, graphic design Maureen Mooren with Sandra Kassenaar.

336 p, ills, color & b/w 17×24 English pb.
€ 19.90
ISBN: 978 90 77966 518.

Click here to order 2067: The Legacy.

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Event

Tagging the City

Posted on March 4, 2011 — by

Tuesday 8 March, 2011, Impakt HQ, Utrecht. Open: 19.30, start: 20.00. Free entrance.

Today’s cityscapes are tagged not only with traditional graffiti out of the spray can, but also with what could be called ‘digital graffiti technologies’. RFID tags and Photos and Youtube videos placed on Google maps also mark and control virtual and physical territories. The big difference, however, is that these new media technologies are mostly used for entertainment and surveillance purposes and not for individual expressions and political statements. The fifth Utrecht New Media Evening features artists, activists, academics, and developers who discuss the new digital graffiti practices, and how they can establish alternative communicative systems that remain bottom-up and subversive.

Keynote speakers:

Evan Roth (USA): co-founder of both Graffiti Research Lab and Free Art & Technology Lab (F.A.T. Lab). His ‘EyeWriter’, made a paralysed graffiti writer bomb again and Roth developed various digital graffiti analysis tools resulting in ‘Graffiti Taxonomy, Paris 2009’ and the ‘Graffiti Markup Language’, an XML based open file format designed to store graffiti motion data.
Jeroen Jongeleen/Influenza (NL): internationally renown for his infamous interventions in public space under his alter ego Influenza, prosecuted for vandalism by the same Boijmans he later exhibited in, Jongeleen talks about the relationship between subversive markings on the streets and the web.

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Disastrous Urbanity

Posted on March 3, 2011 — by

An impressive animation of satellite images taken before and immediately after the flood shows how rising water leaves a trail of destruction in Brisbane. A split second transforms the city’s colorful urban landscape into a brown quagmire. Monitoring changing landscapes using satellite images provides insight in various scenic transitions. The New York Times has made available a shocking series of aerial photos from GeoEye and Google that show Port-au-Prince before and after the January 12, 2010, earthquake. Specifically interesting to take notice of here is how Pétitionville’s tent city is organically constructed with an almost Medieval street pattern.

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Bahrain: Another Vision

Posted on February 22, 2011 — by

Excerpt from Al Manakh 2: Gulf Continued
By Digby Lidstone

In the autumn of 2008, as the first ripples of global recession spread across the Gulf, Bahrain announced its Vision 2030 plan. It was not the first Middle East country to draw up a blueprint for long-term development. But in the words of Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, ‘it came at an opportune time’.

With oil prices falling from an all-time high in July 2008 to a seven-year low a few months later and stories of debt defaults, redundancies and investment scandals flooding the newspapers it was a good time to establish where the Bahraini economy was heading. Vision 2030 was not intended to pilot the nation through the storm. Yet its clear appraisal of every issue from road traffic to healthcare, as well as its basic targets, provided much needed clarity in a time of confusion.

Vision 2030, developed with the help of PricewaterhouseCoopers, is not an urban planning document per se. Rather it is more of a social strategy. The central aim of the vision is to create ‘an economy that raises a broad middle class of Bahrainis who enjoy good living standards through increased productivity and high-wage jobs’. Yet many of the plan’s provisions relate to the future development of Manama and its outlying urban areas.

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IABR Call for Projects

Posted on February 16, 2011 — by

In just a few decades 80% of mankind will live in cities where more than 90% of our wealth is generated. And all that covers less than 3% of the earth’s surface. Cities are effective, they drive innovation, offer the best answer to overpopulation, and are the greenest answer we have on a planet where crisis and climate change are forcing us to find rigorous solutions. But then cities must be better managed, better designed, better organized, and better planned than they currently are. Only then can cities save us from ourselves.

With Making City, the International Architecture Biennale will therefore actively engage with ‘city making’ in the form of concrete projects in three cities: Rotterdam, São Paulo and Istanbul. For this, an international team of curators is engaged in a two-year research programme in these three cities. Their main goal is to redefine the role of and the relation between planning, design and politics and thereby contribute to a more effective toolbox for making the city. Open and new alliances among urban planners, scientists, businesses, developers and local administrators are the driving forces in this endeavour. It will culminate in presentations, exhibitions, lectures and debates in the three cities, after which it is the stated intent of all partners to see the projects realized.

The IABR calls for submissions of projects that advance innovative responses to today’s most pressing urban challenges. Municipal, metropolitan and national governments, cultural organizations, researchers, designers, and other parties are invited to submit design projects that rethink the existing interaction between politics, planning and design. The selected projects will be integrated into the 5th IABR’s overall research and development process and they will be presented in Making City, the 5th IABR’s main exhibition at the Netherlands Architecture Institute, opening in April 2012. Projects can be submitted until 1 April 2011, 12:00 CET. Click here for submission guidelines, the complete Call for Projects and more information on the 5th IABR — Making City.

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Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize

Posted on February 3, 2011 — by

The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a biennial international award to recognise individuals and organisations that have made outstanding contributions to the creation of vibrant, liveable and sustainable urban communities around the world. It seeks to recognise individuals and organisations responsible for urban initiatives that display foresight, good governance or innovation in tackling the many urban challenges faced by cities. These urban initiatives can include (but are not limited to) urban planning projects, urban policies and programmes, urban management, as well as applied technology in urban solutions.

These urban initiatives should incorporate principles of sustainable development and demonstrate an ability to bring social, economic and environmental benefits in a holistic way to communities around the world. The Prize will also place an emphasis on practical and cost effective solutions and ideas that can be easily replicated across cities. Through this prize, Singapore hopes to facilitate the sharing of best practices in urban solutions among cities and spur further innovation in the area of sustainable urban development. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate will be presented with an award certificate, a gold medallion and a cash prize of S$300,000, sponsored by Keppel Corporation.

Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2011.
Click here for more information.

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Event

Review: Voyager 3 at Dutch Design Workspace Shanghai

Posted on January 20, 2011 — by

Midway December we kept on fighting on through the snowstorms for a short stopover in Shanghai. Voyager 3: A group of Western and Chinese architects, designers and artists, presented their proposed contribution for an imaginary third Voyager space probe in the format 20 x 20 (20 images of each 20 seconds), amounting to 7-minute presentations each.

Alicia Framis presenting the Moonlife Concept Store in Shanghai.

The event was organized by Volume and the Platform for Urban Investigation in conjunction with the official Chinese launch of Volume 25 – Getting There, Being There: Architecture on the Moon with The Moonlife Concept Store catalogue inside. The evening was followed by a creative industry event with food/drinks/music.

The first two Voyager capsules, sent into space in the seventies to take images of several planets in our planetary system, venture on into deep space and (potentially) encounter other intelligent life one day in the future. For that reason a representation of life on Earth was selected by scientist Carl Sagan and his team. These sounds and images included greetings in 55 languages, animal sounds etc. Not only was this a rather narrow subset of life on Earth but it also represented a strictly western point of view.

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Event

Debate on Tour: Where Is Tehran?

Posted on January 12, 2011 — by

Thursday 20 January, 2011, 20:00-22:00, The Dépendance, Schieblock, Rotterdam. Entry fee: € 5,-/€ 3,- (students/friends of NAI), register here. Click here for more information.

How has Tehran dealt with rapid urbanisation, modernisation, the Islamic revolution, severe pollution and congestion in the twentieth century? Do the current economic sanctions pose a threat to social cohesion? The architectural historian Wouter Vanstiphout and Tehran expert Ali Madanipour try to get to grips with this complex metropolis.

The prominent Tehran expert Ali Madanipour will give a lecture on the social and environmental developments of the past decades on Thursday 20 January. He will tackle the design, planning, development and management of Tehran, from the old master plan of 1968 to the present-day one. He will also touch on the challenges with regard to social cohesion and other contemporary problems. The architectural historian Wouter Vanstiphout will introduce the speaker and chair the discussion afterwards. This evening is the first in a planned series on the Iranian capital.

Debates on Tour
The NAI Debates on Tour programme is intended to promote the exchange of information all over the world between (mainly) architects regarding current global themes in architecture. During the last few years the NAI and local partners have organised a large number of debates all over the world in which Dutch architects have debated with their international partners, often linked to workshop sessions or architectural guided tours. A series of lectures and debates builds on the knowledge acquired in this way.

Where is Tehran?
The Netherlands Architecture Institute and Archis/Volume are jointly focusing on the Iranian capital. Under the title Where is Tehran? this project investigates where Tehran is at the moment in terms of geography and level of development. This research project was launched in October 2010 with a Debate on Tour in Tehran on its architecture and urban planning. It is being followed up with the evening debates in the NAI and a second visit to Iran later this year. Archis/Volume is preparing an alternative travel guide to this fascinating city.

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Volume Cover Collection

Posted on January 8, 2011 — by

We have created a photo set on Flickr containing covers of all Volume issues that have been published so far. When you click on a cover, you will also find information on that specifice issue, along with an ‘Order on Amazon’ link. Enjoy!

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20 Essential Works on Utopian Fiction

Posted on December 30, 2010 — by

Every amateur philosopher has dreamed about what they perceive as a utopian society. It’s fascinating to think about a world without the ills we experience today and how perpetually imperfect humans would achieve such an existence. Utopian fiction does just that, enabling readers to travel to a world that will never truly exist. Below is a list of the 20 essential works of the genre. Each are an excellent read when the real world seems as though it’s becoming a dystopia.

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Wanted: Interns!

Posted on December 28, 2010 — by

We are looking for motivated and enthusiastic people to strengthen our research and production team!

Candidates should bring:

commitment to the field of work of Archis and Volume magazine
fluency in English and or Dutch
capability of working independently and ‘carry’ a theme.

You’ll get:

‘behind the scenes’ insight of editorial research and production and publishing
exchange with and feedback from the small and dedicated Archis team
access to the wide Archis and Volume network

Archis is a foundation with 3 basic sections: Publishers (Volume, Beyroutes, e.g.), Interventions (workshops e.g.) and Tools (lectures, debates, e.g.). Volume is an English thematic quarterly magazine, dedicated to the potential of architecture in its broadest sense. We are specifically looking for interns on the following themes.

Architecture of Peace
For our long term (2 years) project consisting of two issues of Volume, two exhibitions and several (online) debates and forums we are looking for interns on several aspects of the project from research to production to publicity.
Period: from January 2011 to February 2012 for a minimum of three months and two days a week.

Aging
The upcoming issue of Volume deals with several aspects of Aging: like demography (aging of populations), technology (aging of matter) and politics (aging of ideology). The issue will be released in March 2011. We are looking for someone to help with the research and production but also with the ‘afterlife’ of the issue once it’s out by actively searching for relevant platforms (virtually or physically) to continue the debate.
Period: January 2011 – April 2011.

Internet of Things
The summer issue of 2011 will be dedicated to the Internet of Things. The issue will be about ways to go beyond the gadget and application mode. We are looking for someone to help with research and production but also with the ‘afterlife’ of the issue once it’s out by actively searching for relevant platforms (virtually or physically) to continue the debate.
Period: March 2011 – July 2011.

Video postproduction
We are looking for people with video editing skills to create ‘digestible’ video/audio material for the websites, vodcast or other use. We have raw material from launches of Volume issues, debates and research trips. Most pressing to tackle is the video capture of our Tehran research trip. The Tehran research (in collaboration with the TU Delft and the NAI) will result in an alternative travel guide to Tehran to be published late 2011.
Period: January 2011 – July 2011.

We are flexible and open to proposals on your side, regarding working hours and input. If you are interested in any of these positions please write an email with your background and motivation to Valerie Blom: vb@archis.org.

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Event, Volume #26

Photos of the Volume #26 Lunch Launch

Posted on December 21, 2010 — by

In the midst of the snow blizzard which turned Amsterdam white and matching with the cover of Volume #26, the Architecture of Peace issue was launched in SPUI25 with a lunch time debate. Editor-in-Chief Arjen Oosterman pointed out some of the dilemmas involved in working in post conflict areas and looked at the ethical codes used in the design field. Architect Rory Hyde wondered whether and how aesthetics played a role when ethics are so badly needed. It leaded to a lively discussion that will be put online in the coming days for those who couldn’t make it through the snow.

Click here to visit a gallery on Facebook with pictures of the event. Below you can find a live registration of the Lunch Launch.

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Event, Volume #26

Volume Presents: How Do We Materialize Peace?

Posted on December 13, 2010 — by

Friday December 17, 2010, from 12:45-14:00, at SPUI25 (Spui 25-27, Amsterdam). Click here to register.

Can architecture establish and perpetuate peace? Does it have anything to offer on that level? Often architecture has been accused of causing tension, social unrest and even segregation. To be accused of such effects it must be powerful. So let’s explore this strength in a pragmatic positive direction: architecture’s contribution to post-conflict reconstruction. For the presentation of Volume 26: Architecture of Peace a debate on two themes will be held at Spui 25, Amsterdam:

Is an ethical code for architects needed and if so, what should it look like?
What is the relation between ethics and esthetics?

Presentations by Rory Hyde and Arjen Oosterman.
Door open: 12:15 w/ sandwiches.
Debate: 12:45—14:00.

This event is kindly supported by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

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