Learning by Doing: A digital interview with Francien van Westrenen, Willemijn Lofvers, Tim Devos and Hans Venhuizen, the intiatiors of Stroom Den Haag’s project ‘Stadsklas’.
To end the celebrations of our 10-year anniversary with a bang, we will be holding a competition to refresh your memory and give you the opportunity to become Volume’s number one historian.
From seventeenth-century painter Claude Lorrain to the modern-day Home Owners Association (HOA), the Picturesque has come a long way. Today it appears that the ineffable charms of what Kenneth Clark described as “the most enchanting dream that has ever consoled man”, is enshrined in the rules and regulations that make up most residential developments across the United States.
‘Radical Interiority’ is a masterful piece of storytelling. It is smart, taut, engaging and propulsive. It symbolizes one of the most genuine values of Volume: to show the forces that shape our world and habitat with and without the conscience intervention of professional designers and planners; to reveal how things are made; and, to claim the utility of architectural intelligence as a mode of thought, as a splendid tool not only to operate in the world but also to explain a state of things.
The housing question is about the system, the (no) rule, and the law. Aspects of it, such as displacement, privatization, (in)equality, crisis are relevant to all of us. In response to how to deal with the question, Ada Colau mentions that we need to look at it across disciplines, nations, relations. She also gives good clues for architects, as well as for architectural education.
“Have you ever been in the Alps? To understand how a single house can stand for a nation, read Bart Lootsma’s article on the Tyrolean House. It looks vernacular, but in fact it is an invented tradition which dates back to 1900 – it simulates tradition, which works pretty well for tourism, and produces an interesting form of camouflage architecture.”
Refugee camps are, by definition, meant to be temporary. Yet in Palestine refugee camps have existed for well over half a century, and architecture plays an exceptionally symbolic role. Every stone set is a representation of permanence and undermines the refugee’s political existence as such. Within these constraints, DAAR members were asked to design a girl’s school in the Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. The architectural result is a statement about life in exile and a vision beyond the tired dialectic of temporariness and permanence.
Back closer to the turn of the decade, OMA/AMO was invited to help found Strelka, a new pedagogical initiative in Moscow that sought to erase the distinction between academic and practical knowledge. The glove seemed to fit the hand perfectly, seeing as how AMO has expanded the limits of architectural practice and application of research into ever-new territories ever since it began. Now that it’s been taken off, we invited Reinier de Graaf to reflect about what it was like to actually put the glove on. What we got back was instead a high personal mediation on gloveness and the motives behind putting them on.
Radical Pedagogies is a project of collective intelligence. In that respect it is a scholarly and pedagogical experiment in its own right that questions traditional models of academic authorial production. It delves into the largely uncharted territory of extra-large collaborative projects that source expertise from a global network of scholars – a model with a large history in the academic fields of the sciences but rarely the humanities. Radical Pedagogies seeks to present a horizontal cut through architectural education throughout the second half of the twentieth century – a history of which, or multiple histories, has yet to be written.
The 2013 film The Competition follows an employee from Jean Nouvel office, a ‘head of projects’, navigating his level on the pyramidal scheme of organizing conventional contemporary architecture offices. (1) The image of this man, suffering the pressure of the genius-boss, trying to respond to deadlines with the effort of sufficiently trained and motivated young architects working behind him, neatly draws one of the professional glass ceilings that most accredited architects can expect in their working life.