Volume #16: Engineering Society
Our society seems to be locked into a position in which the user’s and voter’s choices determine how we shall live in the future. A disturbing collective urban life in a giant Big Brother House looms, a material and social world in which sensationalistic media and its commercial translation dominate. Our sense of what is real and what is quality is on the verge of collapse. The practice and education of the engineers of this society is determined by short-term effect instead of long-term social responsibility. Culture becomes little more than a market, politics its façade and the city its stage. Instead of reviving old school high modernist social engineering or claiming the need for an intellectual junta, we solicit new forms of social engineering. Where shall this lead?
Volume#16: Engineering Society
ISBN 978 90 77966 16 7
Price: € 19,50
Release: July 2008
Editor-in-chief: Arjen Oosterman
Contributing editors: Ole Bouman, Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley
Feature editor: Jeffrey Inaba
Editorial Consultants: Carlos Betancourth, Thomas Daniell, Bart Goldhoorn, Markus Miessen, Kai Vöckler
Design: Irma Boom and Sonja Haller
Publisher: Stichting Archis
Volume #16 includes contributions by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Michel Bauwens, Andrew Bullen, Lard Buurman, Roger Cremers, Aukje Dekker, Jan Willem Duyvendak, Erik Gerritsen, Dionisio González, jeroen Heester, Gabu Heindl, Jeremy Hight, Joost Janmaat, Desmond Kwame, Dick de Lange, Jeroen de Lange, Matt Lewis, Neville Mars, The Office for Social Engineering, Wouter Oostendorp, Drehli Robnik, Justus Uitermark, Jouke Sieswerda, Anoek Steketee, Bill Thompson, Urban-Think Tank, Wouter Vanstiphout, Steven Wassenaar, Eyal Weizman
Last year, Felix Madrazo and Adrien Ravon led the ‘Ego City’ research studio at The Why Factory at
TU Delft. It was one of a series of studios that explored the themes of density and desires. Ego City
focused on the individual and ways to claim and create space. In doing so, it questioned traditional
methods of using design to create a better future for all and probed the viability of post-design
Since its early days, the humanoid we call Homo sapiens has always been obsessed with gaining control.
Creating optimal conditions for its safety and comfort is the story of its life. The way Homo sapiens, aka ‘the
human’, confronted this self-imposed challenge was by design.
As recent technological advancement became more and more pervasive and sophisticated, its consequences became more dramatically evident. In this context, design takes on a new relevance, in organizing and managing spaces, individuals, relations and ultimately societies. But if this is clear, several questions have to be answered: Who is driving it, who are the participants, who are sitting around the table? Does spatial design currently have a say in this, and if not, how can it participate and intervene
The issue is literally taking shape. That is good news of course, but as the finalization is nearing, the patterns behind voluntary and involuntary choices become clearer. It means that a increasincgly clear picture is emerging of what V51 is and will be as a whole.
Our own approach to the field is also becoming evident to ourselves, witnessing a file rouge emerging between pragmatic and speculative contributions, projects and poems, images and diagrams.
If history is always written by the winners, then the exhortation to “make new history” means that there are battles to be fought and won for new histories to be written. The second edition of the Chicago Architectural Biennial, titled ‘Make New History’, borrowed its mantra-like title from Ed Ruscha and opened last week at the Chicago Cultural Center and venues across the city.