Jaap Bakema and the Open Society is the first extensive book publication on the Dutch architect Jaap Bakema, his ideas and ideals for society at large. Throughout the post-WWII decades Bakema was inspired to build for a democratic and open society. His body of work, his teaching and writing, and his international presence are testimony to the vicissitudes of the welfare state and the roles played by architecture and planning in its construction.
In the midst of the ongoing neo-liberal crisis of today and its conservative cultural fall-out, these ideas on the open society have regained relevancy, in particular in light of the current debates on how to involve citizens in city building and how to create alternatives for our crumbling welfare states. Brought back from the past Bakema’s legacy functions as a mirror to remind us of the radical potential of architectural conceptualization in its commitment to societal questions.
This publication highlights internationally acclaimed and lesser known work through Bakema’s texts (some of which are published in English for the first time), accompanied by a rich, visual documentation from the archives. The book contains interviews with contemporaries, who worked with him in different contexts, and essays that critically probe the socially engaged aspects of his work and the contexts in which they came into being.
Compiled and edited by Dirk van den Heuvel. With contributions by Brita Bakema, Christine Boyer, Lard Buurman, Dick van Gameren, John Habraken, Carola Hein, Herman Hertzberger, Frans Hooykaas, Arnold Reijndorp, Izak Salomons, Johannes Schwartz, Jorrit Sipkes, and Carel Weeber. Graphic design by Jaap van Triest.
On March 28th Dirk van den Heuvel will present the book at VI PER gallery in Prague, from 7 pm to 9 pm.