Motivation

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

 

Latest Posts

  1. Accumulation

    accumulation

    Even though most of us engage in eco­nomic activ­i­ties on a daily basis, few of us actu­ally under­stand the system.

    Of course, since the global cri­sis we’ve seen a lot of pub­li­ca­tions on the fail­ures of cap­i­tal­ism and how we could repair, improve, and per­haps replace it. But before think­ing about what could be changed in order to improve upon the cur­rent con­di­tions, we have to under­stand how our cur­rent eco­nomic sys­tem actu­ally works.

    And while we’re all taught the neo­clas­si­cal under­stand­ing of eco­nom­ics from pri­mary school onwards, to me it seems few of us actu­ally posses the knowl­edge to crit­i­cally assess its short­com­ings. In an attempt to facil­i­tate such an assess­ment, I try to clar­ify some of the main prin­ci­ples in the cur­rent eco­nomic sys­tem. read on…

     
  2. The era of technology… or the death of architecture

    In that unbear­able, unor­ga­nized, but dra­mat­i­cally beau­ti­ful city, that is Venice, a lib­er­tine spirit hov­ers in the squares and aisles! Peo­ple feel free­dom before the claus­tro­pho­bia takes over. Par­ties, fancy dresses, some show­ing off, inaudi­ble speeches, unreach­able drinks, inac­ces­si­ble pavilions…

    What is clear to me after this Bien­nale, is just one aspect! The end of architecture!

    The Cen­tral Pavil­ion, show­ing the ele­ments of archi­tec­ture, is so redun­dant and over­whelm­ing, that dis­trib­utes an appar­ently acrit­i­cal con­tent, which is, in real­ity, the most crit­i­cal of all. It says: “we are done!” Tech­nol­ogy, com­fort, secu­rity, engi­neer­ing, sus­tain­abil­ity, all these top­ics are tak­ing over. Archi­tec­ture is a dis­ci­pline that has always strug­gled in defin­ing itself, prob­a­bly as much as phi­los­o­phy did in the past; nowa­days, archi­tec­ture is oblit­er­ated by an infi­nite array of tech­ni­cal sub­jects. Nowa­days, we are liv­ing in the time of “plas­ter­board architecture!”

    So, what all those peo­ple in Venice were really doing?! Are they con­scious of how much endan­gered is such a dis­ci­pline and pro­fes­sion?! Archi­tec­ture is no longer a rel­e­vant social mat­ter any­more; gov­ern­ments are not par­tic­i­pa­tory as in the 60s.
    600 years ago, fam­i­lies such as the Medici were using archi­tec­ture and art to express their power. Once more, right now, archi­tec­ture is becom­ing the play tool of few rich peo­ple, since all the rest that con­cerns build­ings and city plan­ning is a mere tech­ni­cal issue.
    This is what hap­pens when the curve of moder­nity starts to go downward.

    Fundamentals_-01-01

    …yes, I have been quite cynical!

     
  3. City Mall

    4129410264_e8143a167a_o

    Many Dutch cities dras­ti­cally changed and devel­oped their cen­ters from the 50s and 60s onward. In places such as Zoeter­meer, Almere, Rot­ter­dam and so on, the city cen­tre devel­oped around one main activ­ity: shop­ping. So far noth­ing new, but the impres­sive aspect is the extrav­a­gance and mon­u­men­tal­ity reached by new shop­ping roads and malls within the city’s core. In con­trast with the sobri­ety of Rot­ter­dam’ Lijn­baan devised and real­ized right after WW2, Zoeter­meer shows a new scale and image of the shop­ping. In Rot­ter­dam, a sim­i­lar attempt is rep­re­sented by OMA’s Coolsin­gel project, the ini­tial pro­posal was def­i­nitely dar­ing due to its crazy struc­ture and large scale. read on…

     
  4. It’s Alive!

    it's-alive!-10

    mul­ti­tude is irre­ducible mul­ti­plic­ity, what­ever that means. col­lec­tive.
    Born from an acute sense of dis­tress, it’s not get­ting any bet­ter.
    It speaks about Archi­tec­ture, but it also speaks about Architecture.

    read on…

     
  5. Red Light Xmas

    xmas2

    Every year I tell myself: This is the last time I go home for Christ­mas. And every year I punc­tu­ally go.
    Why don’t I like going home for Christ­mas is because it’s a full time activ­ity. Nobody rests in Christ­mas, if you are rest­ing you are not help­ing! Buy a gift, See the aunt, make a call, tie a knot, rob a bank.. it’s end­less. Christ­mas 2013, How­ever, was unique because it marked the begin­ning of a new city trend: The light­ing fes­ti­val. read on…

     
  6. A proposal for the demise of open architectural competitions

    The com­pe­ti­tion is mostly seen as a free and egal­i­tar­ian way of express­ing diverse ideas. How­ever, what often hap­pens is that open archi­tec­tural com­pe­ti­tions place stress upon the frag­ile economies of small archi­tec­tural firms.
    What is even worse is that such com­pe­ti­tions favor the exploita­tion of interns because, if the entry is unsuc­cess­ful, no reim­burse­ment is given to the participants.

    When a small prac­tice wants to enter a com­pe­ti­tion, it will have to use interns to reduce the costs of the pro­duc­tion needed for the sub­mis­sion, trig­ger­ing a sit­u­a­tion of exploita­tion when interns are forced to work up to 80 or 90 hours per week. In gen­eral, an open com­pe­ti­tion should not require too much time and effort from its par­tic­i­pants, nor should it impose intri­cate restrictions.

    Some open com­pe­ti­tions have become lottery-like events, receiv­ing thou­sands of entries.

    In addi­tion, many com­pe­ti­tions impose rules which deprive the archi­tects of any intel­lec­tual copy­right on their own sub­mis­sion. This is the ulti­mate con­tra­dic­tion, espe­cially when the archi­tect has to pay a fee to par­tic­i­pate. Too many neg­a­tive aspects are over­shad­ow­ing open com­pe­ti­tions despite the excite­ment and good will of many architects.

     

Latest Comments

94Maggie

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.

slartibartfast

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. :)

slartibartfast

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 […]

agata

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

2015-03-22 18:00:15

@Conrad is this article you wrote on unpaid interns for real or do you just have very specific sense of humour? Same with your sexist article on female architects. Hopefully you are joking :)