Volume #14: Unsolicited Architecture
In order to actively grapple with the challenges of our age, architects have to transform themselves from extremely competent executors of assignments into entrepreneurs and producers. This issue of Volume discusses essential tools to reclaim professional autonomy. In the first part, Volume sits ‘Around the table’ with forward-thinking practitioners who see a different role and responsibility for architects. The central part presents the portfolio of the Office for Unsolicited Architecture founded by Ole Bouman and students of MIT. The third part marks the unsolicited world according to young architects and artists from around the globe.
Volume#14: Unsolicited Architecture
ISBN 978 90 77966 14 3
Price: € 19,50
Release: December 2007
Editor-in-chief: Arjen Oosterman
Contributing editors: Ole Bouman, Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley
Feature editor: Jeffrey Inaba
Editorial Consultants: Carlos Betancourth, Thomas Daniell, Markus Miessen, Kai Vöckler
Design: Irma Boom and Sonja Haller
Publisher: Stichting Archis
Volume #14 includes contributions by Ole Bouman, Matthijs Bouw, Elizabeth Demaray, F.A.S.T., Bryan Finoki, Alicia Framis, Andrea Giacomelli, Harmen de Hoop, Katrin Korfmann, L.E.FT., Ersela Kripa, Katherina Matoukis, Hugo Priemus, Wang Qingsong, Rebar, Sašo Sedlacek, Michael Shamiyeh, Dik Smits, Studio Beirut includes Steve Eid, Pascale Hares, Bernard Mallat, Nabil Menhem, Joe Mounzer Rani Rajji and Michael Stanton, Kirsten Algera, Felix Janssens, Daniël van der Velden, Kai Vöckler, Hans Wilschut, ZUS
Office for Unsolicited Architecture is conceived by the MIT Unsolicited Architecture Studio under the direction of Ole Bouman. Thanks to Yung Ho Chang, Alexander d’Hooghe, Ute Meta Bauer, Eric Howeler, Christine Boyer, Adèle Santos.Student editors of the portfolio are Andrea Brennen, John Snavely and Ryan Murphy. Student researchers from MIT are also Michelle Petersen, Gabriel Chan, Damian Chan, Shirley Shen, Dan Smithwick, Lena Vassilev, Dickson Wong, Andrey Dimitrov, and Edmund Ming-Yip Kwong. HKU (Utrecht, The Netherlands) student researchers areTim van de Weerd, Sarah Yu and Nataly Engel.
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Who rules the city? The traditional set of players who determine planning and management of cities has gone through a major shift. The financial crises since 2008 were a major trigger, but also more social and cultural incentives can be indicated as forces in play. Private partners, city urbanists, city governors, housing corporations, developers, and citizens try to redefine their roles in new constellations. Who sets the new rules and what effective regulation helps to facilitate citizens to co-create their environment?
Following Word War Two, London embarked on a highly prolific rebuilding campaign. But it wasn’t simply putting the pieces back together. The ambition of the welfare state combined with new ideas in architecture to produce radical new designs, altering the British landscape. The organization behind this was the London County Council, and in particular the Architects’ Department. Ruth Lang discusses the machinery of the bureaucratic system that enabled one of England’s most innovative periods in design.
Hong Kong and Macau aren’t independent nations, yet they appear at the Biennale regardless. As recent appendages to China, they are undergoing an often-uncomfortable transition to a new political reality. Thomas Daniell explains how both pavilions give different responses to the unification question. Hong Kong emphasizes its inclusion in a larger regional network, the Pearl River Delta, while Macau places focus on its cultural distinctiveness.
With Rem Koolhaas ‘couch surfing’ has acquired a new meaning. Anyone lucky enough to actually get an interview with Koolhaas will most likely end up on his couch. The back seat of his BMW that is. Some private conversation time, wherever the journey takes you, accompanied by the deep hum of the V12 sports engine. Volume became member of this back seat club to discuss some intentions behind Fundamentals and perspectives on architecture it produced.
This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale breaks with two mechanisms that defined its presence over the last fifteen to twenty years. First is the setting of a grand, though conveniently abstract theme that suggests a connection between current development and the state of architecture. The ethics of architecture (or of the architect?), the architect as seismograph, architecture is for people, that kind of stuff. These past themes suggested a critical position of the curator on duty, but hardly succeeded in influencing the debate, let alone affairs. At best they added flavor to the core element of the Biennale: a presentation of who matters in architecture. And that brings us to the second mechanism: no matter the main curatorial theme, every pavilion was totally at liberty to present their best architecture and architects. Some pavilions succeeded in selling an idea more than products and some (rarely) attempted to raise an issue, but the ‘who’s doing what’ element was dominant.