Braudels Donkey – Historians and the Mediterranean as a Political Project

Design as Politics’ professor Wouter Vanstiphout has recently contributed to Harvard’s New Geographies magazine about The Mediterranean. The article is now turned into one of our own publications. Available here, especially for you! The Mediterranean region, at the intersection of three continents, is one of the most important areas on earth–culturally, politically, and ecologically. In the article, Wouter looks through the eyes of the French historian Fernand Braudel towards recent political and financial developments, and wonders: what unites the Mediterranean? What can Braudel teach u about the region? And what about our ‘own’ European cities?

Hoog Catharijne’s Concrete Rigidity

Last month Design as Politics, together with Failed Architecture and the University of Amsterdam, organized a workshop and debate on the redevelopment of Utrecht’s central station area, and the adjacent Hoog Catharijne business and shopping centre. The workshop and debate focused on the financing models behind large-scale real estate projects and the historical roles and responsibilities of architects and planners in designing these. Our aim was to discuss Hoog Catharijne’s original and current redevelopment plans with experts, students and local stakeholders as part of the Design as Politics graduation studio ‘Follow the Money’. Jan Loerakker and Tim Verlaan of Failed… Read More

Debatavond: Track Changes

Track Changes in Sao Paulo The upcoming public event in The New Institute will bring the debate program ‘Track Changes’ – which took place during the Sao Paulo architectural biennale – back home to the Netherlands. Last November, an international group of architects, urbanists, economists, developers, politicians and architectural historians talked in Brazil about the fierce changes which society undergoes in periods of economic, political or social crisis, and about the role which architects and urbanists can play in this. The themes ‘What’s Your Crisis?’, ‘Bottom-up Is Not Enough’ and ‘We the People’ were the guidelines for these debates. ‘Bottom… Read More

Debate – The Concrete Obduracy of Hoog Catharijne

With Failed Architecture, we’re organizing a workshop on Hoog Catharijne, the iconic late 1960s business and shopping center in Utrecht, focusing on the financial models behind large real estate projects. You’re cordially invited to join the wrap-up, with student presentations and a debate about the role/responsibility of the architect. Panelists: Nanne de Ru, Wouter Vanstiphout and Tim Verlaan. The construction history of the privately initiated redevelopment scheme Hoog Catharijne, located in Utrecht’s inner city, is a classic example of how public and private actors attempted to work together in the field of urban planning during the post-war era. Ever since… Read More

Wouter Vanstiphout to comment on (De) Rotterdam

De Rotterdam by OMA. Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode Architectural Historian and Design as politics professor Wouter Vanstiphout was invited by Blueprint Magazine to comment on (De) Rotterdam — the city and the building — currently gracing the cover of their current issue (number 331). Wouter’s eloquent lament for a city that once vibrated with an untamed, gritty energy, is published here in full. In 1991 I moved to Rotterdam. At that time it still felt like an ideological choice to voluntarily attach yourself to this scar of a city, rather than self-deporting to the reservation for tourists and students that was Amsterdam…. Read More

Excursion Madrid

As part of our Follow the Money graduation studio, we asked our students to organise an excursion to Madrid and its surrounding area. To the (brief) disappointment of some, we told them we would not go there to see the capital’s great architecture and its vibrant city life (of course we couldn’t leave without experiencing some of it), but that we would mainly spend our time at the outskirts looking at the effects of the Spanish property bubble and explore the (sometimes) harsh consequences of political games and real estate speculation on the built environment. We selected Madrid as the… Read More

Wouter Vanstiphout’s office ‘Crimson’ @ X São Paulo Architecture Biennale

While political unrest and even riots reverberate through the streets of Brazil’s major cities, in São Paulo the 10th Architecture Biennial was opened on 12 October 2013. Wouter Vanstiphout’s office Crimson Architectural Historians in collaboration with The New Institute will organize the Dutch contribution, titled Track Changes. Track changes will contain conversations, presentations and encounters about the drastic changes that a society undergoes during periods of economic, political or social crises, as well as the role that architects and urban planners can play in this regard. An international group of architects, city planners, economists, architectural historians and critics will discuss… Read More

Design as Politics at the conference ‘The City and Alternative Polities’

This Thursday 10 Oct. Design as Politics will contribute at the conference ‘ The City and Alternative Polities – Inheritance, Territory and Commons construction’ in the International Contemporary Culture Centre, Tabakalera in San Sebastian, Spain. The 8-days long event is organized on the occasion of the Architecture Week. Tabakalera presents an activity that aims to reflect on the new concept of the city, to cross speeches, share theoretical and practical experiences, manifest rescue and create opportunities for critical thinking and production. Click here for more information

Lecture: Follow the Money

Click to see the lecture Last Monday, Wouter Vanstiphout gave a lecture at the TU Delft architecture faculty as part of the master education in urbanism. Just as our current graduation studio, the lecture was titled ‘Follow the Money,’ and was focused on the complex correlation between economy and architecture or urban planning. Wouter started his lecture with an explanation of the current financial crisis and its effects on architecture. From foreclosures in Las Vegas, through ghost towns in Spain and China, to the risky politics of ground development in the Netherlands, he ended his lecture with a more positive… Read More

Residential Francisco Hernando, Seseña, Spain

Last week we kicked-off our new graduation studio ‘Follow the money – Finance, Architecture and the City.’ In order to illustrate the complex entanglement between money and architecture, we showed our students a selection of case studies, amongst which the case of Residential Francisco Hernando in Seseña, a municipality in the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha, just 40 km south of Madrid. Until the late ninety nineties, the area of Seseña was mainly used by its residents for coaxing grain and corn out of the dry earth. However, in the midst of the Spanish real estate boom, when the first… Read More