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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Portugal faced a dramatic housing shortage in the early 1970’s that contributed to the energies of 1974’s revolution. One of the first acts of the new government was to institute new housing policies and institutions, Serviço de Apoio Ambulatório Local (SAAL, Service for Local Mobile Support), that focused on promoting the right to the city through collective processes of design, construction and management. Manifesting itself differently throughout the country, SAAL was irreparably altered just a few years later due to political conflict. Since then, the fates of these architectures and their built agendas have lay uncertain. What will be the legacy of this failed proletarian utopia?
If there is a moment to test a community’s resilience, it is after disaster has struck. Such situations often show a community pulling together in a shared feeling that ‘things’ have to be done, but also ambition to be involved and participate on an individual level. Christchurch, New Zealand was no exception when the city was ruined by a series of earthquakes. Yet, it may have come as a surprise for most to see how many people felt engaged and how many (temporary) projects were being proposed and executed. Maybe less surprising was the tendency among existing structures and powers to just carry on. The self-building city was welcomed at first, or maybe just tolerated by the powers that be, provided it wasn’t in the way of business as usual. So, how fundamental a change did we actually see?
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Once upon a time ‘left’ equaled ‘collective’ and ‘right’ ‘individual’. Those were the days. Today, it looks like ‘left’ adopted a rightwing agenda in its plea for individual freedom and the right to choose. In the Netherlands, social-democrat politician Adri Duivesteijn advocated a different approach in the nation’s housing program: instead of continuing with top-down provision of the housing product by commercial developers and housing associations alike, stimulate and propagate individual house building. It seemed like swearing in church when this became political in the late 90s, but upon a closer look the policy stems from a consistent analysis of the individual’s place in society. Volume sat with former alderman, currently MP, Adri Duivesteijn to learn about the difference between the right to decide and the position to do so.
Alongside luxury developments and public displays of wealth, over half of Cairo’s urban population, a megacity of over 17 million, live in unplanned and self-built communities. Massive population shifts and a lack of governmental oversight fostered a culture of collaborative urbanism, incremental architecture and entrepreneurialism. Due to the explosive growth created in the power vacuum after the 2011 revolution, the government has formally recognized this informality and services have started being provided. How will these highly nuanced building practices be brought under the remit of planning policy and urban governance? Will they change in the process to produce new forms of urbanism, or will they be accepted and become the new official standard?