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.
We just launched Volume’s 41st issue, ‘How to Build a Nation’. In the coming weeks we’re going to publish a selection of articles, and for those who are interested how the issue looks and feels we have uploaded a preview.
For the first time, a general theme was given to the national pavilions at this year’s Architecture Biennale in Venice. They were to be historical shows, focused on the impact of modernity on a country’s architecture. What it produced was not just a global survey of twentieth century construction, but also heroic stories of nation-building. Yes, architecture can build nations. Today, we seem far from that notion. The nation-state is either giving up on itself, or exploited through tyrannical regimes. Meanwhile architects are hardly taking up the cause.
We are proud to present the first in a new series of Volume-related events at Amsterdam’s major city debate center Pakhuis de Zwijger. In post-conflict zones, can architecture go beyond bricks and mortar to help materialize peace?
We’re celebrating the release of Volume’s 40th issue by holding a party at Post Office Rotterdam on Friday 29 August at 8 PM.
After thirty-six years of internal armed conflict, Guatemala presently faces an enormous inequity in housing and land ownership. Posconflicto Laboratory emerged as a long-term research platform to uncover how tactical architecture might address this imbalance. DPR Barcelona sat down with Posconflicto Laboratory to discuss the challenges of working in such highly politicized terrain, and the agency of architecture in addressing core issues of inequity and housing rights.
Volume #40 features an extensive article by Jan Willem Petersen on the reconstruction ambitions and efforts by the various contributing countries to the UN peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.
On July 31th 2006, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) assumed command over the southern region of Afghanistan (RC-S). It signalled the beginning of a four-year mission by the Dutch armed forces, designated as lead-nation for Uruzgan; a province roughly one-third the size of the Netherlands. After taking over the US base Ripley, renaming it Kamp Holland, the Dutch forces commenced with the daunting objectives set by the international community and Dutch government in particular to deliver reconstruction and development in this remote Afghan region. What did Task Force Uruzgan (TF-U) and the embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) encounter during their mission?
Last week, on Wednesday 16 July to be precise, the opening event of ‘The Good Cause: Architecture of Peace — Divided Cities’ took place at the Architekturmuseum der TU München. At the same time, Volume’s 40th issue, Architecture of Peace Reloaded, was officially launched.