While I always felt archi­tec­ture should sur­pass the purely func­tional and aes­thetic, this idea became stronger over the years. read more


Latest Posts

  1. Toxic attitude

    When Fran­cois Roche was invited to make an exhi­bi­tion and give a lec­ture at Sci-Arc, here is what he replied:


    I have no other way than to can­cel the Sci-Arc exhi­bi­tion in the Gallery (sched­uled in May 25) and the lec­ture (sched­uled the April 6 – 2011)
    The gap of point of view, and the lack of inter­est for pol­i­tics and atti­tude, reduc­ing the archi­tec­ture process to a unique design agenda can­not fit with our sce­nario of pro­duc­tion and sce­nario of speeches.

    Our works and atti­tudes are toxic, ani­mal, dan­ger­ous, regres­sive, politic and com­pu­ta­tional.
    Archi­tec­ture is mainly an affair of resis­tance and self-defense, against hypocrisies and “in”voluntary servi­tude, to quote La Boetie. It can­not be reduced to a design goal, exclu­sively ded­i­cated and trapped by tool­ing. I dis­agree on the way the knowl­edge is framed by and for pre­dictable pro­fes­sional, with­out any poten­tial to cor­rupt and desalien­ate through edu­ca­tional pro­ce­dures the “com­ing out” of neo­pla­gia­rism and neo­cop­ism, which remind me the Beaux Art symp­tom and syn­drome. I ‘m French and know per­fectly the stick­i­ness of this sliper­ring addiction.

    I just want to pre­cise that this vol­un­tary aban­don, can­not be under­stood as a “tantrum or capric­cio” against the Sci-arc stu­dents pool, but it is at the level of Sci-Arc staff arro­gances and igno­rances, which seems to shrink archi­tec­ture pur­pose to a sim­ple affair of design agenda.

    My best
    F Roche /
    PS Speak­ing and writ­ing are done, here, in my Frenchg­lish dialect / I let you the oppor­tu­nity to trans­late it in the Shake­speare “mayonnaise”.

    link to the orig­i­nal R&SIE(n)

  2. Internshi*


    Did he get enough of pay­ing you already?’ she struck me cyn­i­cally, as she always did.

    Like the time when I received a Christ­mas present from the office where I spent my sum­mer intern­ship. Con­tem­plat­ing it under the tree for a few days before Christ­mas’ Eve already filled me with sat­is­fac­tion as a sym­bol of my undoubt­edly fun­da­men­tal con­tri­bu­tion to the work of the office for that year. Unwrap­ping it, I had a rush of joy: it was a note­book by the well-known brand! My excite­ment quickly sub­sided when I noticed my mum was shak­ing her head in dis­ap­proval. Her words that time were less sar­cas­tic and, maybe because of the fes­tive atmos­phere, acquired a morally solemn tone: ‘They should be ashamed.’

    Later I did the maths and, as it turned out, my mother was right. Assum­ing that, because of my poor pro­fes­sional skills, I got paid just half the hourly wage of a newly grad­u­ate (those days they used to be paid), for my 225 hours of work I should have earned some­thing around 1000 euro. I felt ashamed too but, back then, my favourite cur­rency was ECTS. So was called the sys­tem of cred­its in use all over Europe to stan­dard­ize the amount of time nec­es­sary to suc­cess­fully com­plete any aca­d­e­mic career. Courses, lec­tures, work­shops, study trips and also intern­ships were pack­aged in cred­its each worth 25 hours of study or work.

    The 9 cred­its earned through my intern­ship looked like a great reward at the end of the sac­ri­ficed sum­mer, as they allowed me to leave for Eras­mus with the near cer­tainty of being able to get my bach­e­lor degree by the end of the aca­d­e­mic year. After just three months, I was hold­ing in my hands a (prob­a­bly recy­cled) present worth 1% of the value of the work I had done: it didn’t look so great anymore.

    This is when I resolved to never work for free again, at least for money mak­ing businesses.

  3. take action

    Result­ing from a pre­vi­ous col­lab­o­ra­tion, we found our­selves with some high qual­ity prints pro­mot­ing our very own Mul­ti­tude­Film­Fes­ti­val We then had to make a choice: Keep them rolled up along with the poster of Iggy Pop and Tom Waits hav­ing cof­fee, or stick them to the wall right in the hearth of Rotterdam´s cre­ative headquarter.

    read on…

  4. The Great Biennale

    The Great Biennale

    14th Inter­na­tional archi­tec­ture exhi­bi­tion La Bien­nale di Venezia.
    “It will be a Bien­nale of archi­tec­ture and not archi­tects”. Such a state­ment was released many times, as if to sug­gest that for this Bien­nale edi­tion the architect’s ego will be left elsewhere.

    biennale 900bis

    read on…

  5. Network



    1. Spon­ta­neous asso­ci­a­tion of per­sons united for polit­i­cal or trade union.
    2. In a party or a trade union, a group of per­sons with liaisons out­side of the party, who deal with a spe­cific topic or issue.

    read on…

  6. Exchange


    Another word that is so com­mon to us that we tend to stop ques­tion­ing its mean­ing, is exchange. We use the prin­ci­ple of exchange daily, when­ever we buy some­thing: you give me an object, and I give you the agreed upon amount of money in return. In doing so, I’ve got the object I desire, and you’ve got your­self a finan­cial com­pen­sa­tion which should be, accord­ing to clas­si­cal eco­nomic prin­ci­ples, equal to the value of the object that is now in my pos­ses­sion. ‘Noth­ing is more basic to the func­tion­ing of cap­i­tal­ist soci­ety than the ele­men­tal trans­ac­tion in which we acquire a cer­tain quan­tity of use value in return for a cer­tain sum of money’. 1 read on…

  7. Keeping up appearances

    On Wednes­day 12 Feb­ru­ary 2014, a Dutch his­to­rian involved in urban plan­ning was quoted in a pub­lic state­ment as say­ing the fol­low­ing: “By the strength of design, we can draft and draw the cities of the future. But with all stake­hold­ers involved from day one, we have much greater pub­lic sup­port”. At first read­ing, it may seem as a gen­uine attempt to get stake­hold­ers involved in his projects. In order to make cities a bet­ter place, of course. After dis­sect­ing his words more care­fully, how­ever, it becomes all too clear what ulte­rior motives he has.

    “By the strength of design, we can draft and draw the cities of the future”

    This is rather straight­for­ward, albeit a lit­tle old-fashioned: sure, design­ers have the abil­ity to make vision­ary mas­ter plans as blue­prints for a bright and shiny future. But haven’t we sort of passed that phase by now? There’s noth­ing wrong with rigid plan­ning, as Le Cor­busier under­lined in his book Air­plane: “To those who love life, I say pre­pare plans. MAKE YOUR PLANS ! …”. We all wish we could make a plan that –on paper– fixes all of society’s prob­lems and shows us the path to a bet­ter life. That’s ok. But to put that in a pub­lic press release 80 years later and con­sider it inno­v­a­tive seems a lit­tle ignorant.

    “But with all stake­hold­ers involved from day one, we have much greater pub­lic support”

    Right. This is fun: let us involve stake­hold­ers solely for rais­ing pub­lic sup­port. Of course, why bother with all those ideas –based on years of prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence– that each of the stake­hold­ers has of their own? Nui­sance! They’ve already MADE THEIR PLANS! It’s the clas­sic exam­ple of pseudo-collaborative plan­ning: pre­tend like you care, but by all means don’t engage your­self with the true com­plex­ity of spa­tial planning.

    1. Make your plan;
    2. Find any way to get it done.

    Fol­low the path of least resis­tance, espe­cially if there’s lit­tle time and money to invest in an inte­grated strategy.

    Fine, but if you take that route, do it right: force your opin­ion on oth­ers, while cred­it­ing the stake­hold­ers for their input. Van­ity with­held them from doing the lat­ter. The whole pur­pose of col­lab­o­ra­tive plan­ning is to use design as means to visu­al­ize dif­fer­ent poten­tials (final states) in order to be able to reflect on alter­na­tive strate­gies (processes) together with all stake­hold­ers involved. Plan­ning and archi­tec­ture are two dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines. In gen­eral, archi­tects don’t make good plan­ners. Those archi­tects that do make good plan­ners, are often not very inter­ested in archi­tec­ture to begin with. We’ll agree that a project draw­ing can be a visu­al­iza­tion of a future state, but plan­ning most cer­tainly is not merely the process of get­ting there.

    Wait a minute, what exactly is the role of a his­to­rian in all of this anyway?!

  8. no speed limits

    cover last

    In the last two years I have been com­mut­ing, daily, 97.6 km to work.
    That’s the dis­tance between Rot­ter­dam and Antwerp. I first cov­ered it by car even if it was impos­si­ble to get passed third gear, since in rush hours the free­way can get more crowded than a vernissage with open bar.
    Then I decided to turn to the famously effi­cient pub­lic trans­port, con­fi­dent that a respon­si­ble cit­i­zen should make use of a col­lec­tive mode of trans­port. And that’s when things went really nasty.
    Despite many years of Euro­pean Union, the sched­ule of the trains between Hol­land and Bel­gium, two coun­tries the size of a donut, is planned by peo­ple who seem to hate one another, and every­one else on those trains too.
    After the Fyra dis­as­ter, involv­ing a big draw­back for the ital­ian engi­neer­ing pride, there was only one ride every 2 hours to reach my des­ti­na­tion. And most of the time these trains were can­celled, result­ing in long and frus­trat­ing waits at the plat­form. You know your fel­low com­muters by the des­per­ate look they have when con­fronted with the fact that NO, they won’t be able to kiss good­night their kids, again.
    So, I was think­ing, is there a solu­tion to this con­gested mobil­ity? If we can’t save the com­mon man while he is at work, we can per­haps free him on his way there.

    read on…


Latest Comments


on Contact

2021-09-28 22:54:18

I think you misspelled the word "infact" on your website. If you want to keep errors off of your site we've successfully used a tool like in the past for our websites. A nice customer pointed out our mistakes so I'm just paying it forward :).


on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2017-08-06 12:09:32

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multitude- multitude

on Survey

2015-04-01 13:27:31

[…] the spon­ta­neous responses to the last ques­tion of the sur­vey car­ried out in […]

Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 18:10:56

@Colt Sievers I will be the first to agree with you on all counts. I would love to read that article. If you ever want to publish it on my blogg please do not hesitate to contact me.

Colt Sievers

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:58:10

@Conrad having worked in one of those offices that you mention, I have found your post as much provocative as naive and simplistic. I should make an entire post to explain why... will leave that for later. Thanks, anyway, to keep the discussion alive

Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:45:07

Besides my terrible diction or lack thereof this raises another issue. Should we really feel outrage or sympathy for these interns? After all the ones who can afford to take these kind of jobs are the sons and daughters of the wealthy. What this letter is, is infact symbolic capital and social significance for sale. The rich kid can buy this piece of significance for among other reasons to go to a party and say to his less affluent counterpart, "hey I work for SANAA, or DS+R or whoever. Where do you work again?" Its a status symbol, just like a porsche, or a private jet. Affordable to a selected few that can afford it.


on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:33:21

right... irony or sarcasm in non-audible communication... a class of its own.

Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 15:54:17

@slartibartfast I think you are missing my specific sense of humor as agata pointed out. :)


on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 12:15:26

@Conrad Newel You are draw­ing quite a career minded sce­nario there in your post­ing, in an imag­i­na­tive world of glam­our and star­dom. If this image is, what keeps your engine dri­ving… fine. Oth­ers might have dif­fer­ent moti­va­tions work­ing in this pro­fes­sion, than brag­ging at a party about ones ‘cool’ employer. Isn’t archi­tec­ture about social issues in the first place, rather than build­ing sky­scrap­ers in Dubai? If interns are con­tribut­ing to an offices work­force and thereby to its suc­cess, they should be com­pen­sated accord­ingly, at least to cover bare exis­ten­tial needs, such as rent and food. Sim­ple thing.

multitude- multitude

on Amplifier #0000

2015-03-23 00:27:29

[…] On Work […]