20/6 – Failed Architecture #8: Future Failures

Failed Architecture #8: Future Failures

June 20 | 20:00 hrs | Trouw, Wibautstraat 127 Amsterdam | English | 5 Euro

With a.o.: Hans Ibelings (architecture historian), Edwin Gardner (architect and critic), Frank Havermans (artist), Bastiaan Gribling (Cityscapes Gallery), Hedwig Heinsman (DUS Architects) and Bastiaan Kalmeijer (The Why Factory)

Utopian architecture has been around since mankind started designing the built environment. Especially over the past century, many imaginative utopias have been designed, all presenting better futures and suggesting that we are not living the way we ought. Famous examples are Le Corbusier’s ‘La Ville Radieuse’ and ‘Plan Voisin’, Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City and Constant’s New Babylon. These utopian designs never came into existence and always remained imaginary.

However, these visions influenced radical designs that did came into existence, mostly during the post war era. One could think of Amsterdam’s Bijlmermeer, Utrecht’s Hoog Catharijne or London’s Barbican. These plans, designed with the best intentions, have often proven not to connect to the realities they were constructed in due to changing economic, social, and political circumstances.

During Failed Architecture #8, we will address the dreams and realities associated with radical plans and the discrepancies between blueprints, manifestos and other future visions and the realities we live in. We will raise several questions about the impact and importance of visionary architecture. What can we learn from the realized and failed utopias? Can we predict how people want to live and work in the future and design accordingly? Do visionary plans have a larger chance of failure than conservative designs?

We have invited several speakers to explore the subject of utopian planning from different perspectives, looking at a history of (un)realized utopias, current developments and imagined futures.

Hans Ibelings is an architectural historian and critic. From 1989 to 2000 he was a curator at the Netherlands Architecture Institute; from 2004 to 2012 he was editor-in-chief of A10; in 2005 and 2006 he was a visiting professor at the EPFL (Lausanne). Ibelings is the author of several books includingSupermodernism: Architecture in the age of globalization and European architecture since 1890. Since 2012 he is editor of The Architecture Observer, which employs a variety of old and new media in the pursuit of architectural criticism.

Edwin Gardner is an architect by training, but primarily works as a writer, web-editor, curator and design researcher on publications, workshops, exhibitions and online publishing. He is a regular contributor to Volume magazine, collaborator of Archis and researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie. He conducts research on diagrammatic reasoning, cybernetic space, and computing culture, and how these impact the field of architecture, design and technological culture (third culture). In 2012 he co-founded Monnik, an interdisciplinary research collective working at the interface of culture, technology and consciousness.

Frank Havermans is a visual artist and designer, who shows his work in museums and public spaces around the world. Havermans makes low-tech architectural installations that are functional and/or otherwise. With simple, relatively cheap and readily available sheet material and uncomplicated tools, he creates specially designed spatial constructions in a liberating, stimulating manner – without bringing in any contractors or technicians. He makes no distinction between an autonomous work and commissions for applied design. Havermans’ long-term project TOFUD – his Temporary Office For Urban Development – examins the urban planning of cities and urban areas. In 2010, a book on his work, Architectonische constructies was brought out by NAi Publishers.

Hedwig Heinsman is architect and co-founder of DUS Architects. Hedwig’s interest lies in both utopic grand master planning and contemporary fashion and design. DUS Architects builds ‘Public Architecture’: design that consciously influences our daily life. Their Bucky Bar was listed for the esteemed Mies van der Rohe Award 2011. Recently the office won the prestigious Amsterdam Awards for the Arts 2011. In 2012 they started a collaborative project to build the world first movable pavilion that can 3D-print entire rooms of plastics was launched. The KamerMaker should be able print small interiors, measuring up to 2.4 meters x 3m x 3m.

Bastiaan Gribling is an architect, urban planner and owner of Cityscapes Gallery in Amsterdam. Cityscapes is a new gallery focussing on the interfaces of art, architecture and the city. Cityscapes considers architecture as art and the city as work of art. The gallery offers a platform for artists with different backgrounds (architects – visual artists – photographers) who share a genuine fascination for the contemporary urban environment, ranging from artists like Giny Vos andNicky Zwaan to architectural offices like MVRDV and NL Architects. In addition he also has a collection of (early) works by a.o. Rem Koolhaas/O.M.A.Lebbeus Woods and Gerrit Rietveld.

Bastiaan Kalmeijer is an architect-researcher working for The Why Factory, a joint initiative of architectural office MVRDV and the Technical University in Delft. concentrates on the production of models and visualizations for future cities. This research platform and urbanistic think-tank produces models and visualizations for the cities of the future. Projects include Vertical Village, exploring and visualizing the possibility to develop dense, vertical urban villages, and Hong Kong Fantasies, exploring the type of urbanity Hong Kong will need to change.

Check the website of TrouwAmsterdam for more info and directions.

Frank Havermans, TOFUD # Amsterdam Zuidas (Photography by Ron Zijlstra)