Since the architect-artist Luc Deleu (1944) founded T.O.P. Office in 1970, the bureau has made some thought provoking and critical contributions to the Flemish architectural landscape. Now that the office has celebrated its fortieth anniversary, Wouter Davidts, Stefaan Vervoort, and Guy Châtel found the need to bring Deleu and his office back to attention by composing a monograph. The human, urban, and global scale, as well as the concept of scale itself form the starting point of the architectural office, which could be called a research bureau more than an actual architectural practice. Building has never been its priority, because when you build something you really have to add something to the already saturated world, and not simply build just to build. The goal of the monograph is a “theoretical exploration of the work and practice of Luc Deleu and T.O.P. Office“ in which seven themes are each addressed by different written essays, a visual essay – created by fourteen different contributors – and a visual essay for every theme that was composed by Luc Deleu himself.
For decades satellite imagery has provided data for, and insights into, a huge amount of different fields of science such as ecology, geosciences, meteorology, and urban planning. Nowadays the usage of satellite imagery has increased overwhelmingly as consumer applications have found their way to the market – think about Google maps, navigation apps and weather forecasts. Correspondingly governments have found the use of the footage interesting for a broad range of practices, both malicious and positive.
Positive applications include infrastructural planning, mapping of urban expansions and ecological surveillance, though more nefarious uses have been featured frequently over the last few months: malicious military practices, observed and recorded by satellites, have been revealed to the public via the media. The fact that satellite imagery is increasingly used when it comes to media coverage and public presentations concerning politics and warfare shows the established importance of satellites for a broad range of purposes.
“At a moment when the connection between architects and their ‘own’ culture has dwindled to insignificance, and the market has dissolved any connective tissue between colleagues, it seemed urgent to listen to the survivors of a group of architects who saw their country and its transformation as a project, who changed their fatherland with new tools recognizably derived from its traditions, who worked together in a strategic alliance to achieve greater prominence and credibility, in a sustained intellectual effort that mobilized a vast range of other disciplines.” — Rem Koolhaas in Project Japan
The introduction of Project Japan sounds the alarm and makes the reader aware of the necessity for research into a group of people who took up the question of changing their world: the Metabolist Movement. Rem Koolhaas dives into this Japanese avant-garde movement and produces a combination of interviews, visual and written historic documentation, timelines, and project descriptions, providing insight into the individuals of the movement, as well as its overarching story.