During the second spring semester, students articulate the common language defined in the previous term by focusing on the impact of societal, environmental, and economic determinants on contemporary architecture and urban design.
Societies, Environments, and Economies
Teaching team: Sanne van den Breemer, Juan Benavides, Benjamin Groothuijse, and Salomon Frausto
The Logistics of Milk and Timber
Project Global, engages with logistics, and the way this shapes the environment. Urged by recent disruptions in global supply chains and related tendencies towards deglobalization, it aims to explore contemporary shifts in the global production and distribution networks. The project bases its investigation in the European Union, and the current Core Network Corridors it has defined to strengthen its internal market. Focusing each year on one corridor, it explores regional roles within cross-national supply chains, and the ways these are affected by policy and planning. Students will look at chains from raw materials to manufactured products—located fully or partially within the territories of study—and all the storage, transportation, transhipment and material handling facilities along the way from the site of production (or extraction) to the consumer. They will study rail, road, sea and air transportation routes, and the intermodal hubs that connect them. From the targets and strategies for the reduction of transport related carbon emissions, to strategic autonomy policies and the reshoring of production, the work will engage with contemporary developments that affect the logistics landscape and its spaces. Exploring the design questions that follow from these developments, students will ultimately project a set of architectural projects that address the future of the infrastructure, buildings and objects that form part of our logistics environment.
Proseminar Part 1
Led by Vanessa Grossman, with the participation of Jean-Louis Cohen
Architecture, Nature, and the Americas: The Work of Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Current debates on the built environment in relation to the Anthropocene narrative as a new geological era have triggered calls in the global North for “No New Buildings,” the denunciation of a “Carbon Modernity” and “toxic urbanisms.” These cries demand a critical assessment of globalization, sovereignty, modernization, and modernism, particularly in relation to what we now call global South, which is one of the last refuges of biodiversity on the planet in the era of climate change, and where millions remain homeless and lack access to the most basic infrastructure. The concept of the Anthropocene poses crucial questions of accountability and equity: Latin American and African countries have contributed very little to the present environmental crisis. These tendencies translate into an indistinctive calling into question of building techniques, materials, and technologies such as reinforced concrete, and other achievements of modernization and modern architecture, as if they were widespread in all parts of the world.
Proseminar Part 2
Led by Amy Thomas with Ollie Palmer
Using an intersectional approach, this seminarasks: to what extent gender roles have been articulated inoffice design since 1950, and how has this affected workplaceparity? Through the analysis of texts and films,the seminar explores how technology, work cultures andmanagement theory, interconnect with design standardsand norms in furniture, spatial planning, and architecture,and the ways in which these universalisms reinforcedgendered divisions of labour. It also examines howembedded cultures of discrimination in both the designfield and the corporate world resulted in the underrepresentationof women on both sides the design-commissioningprocess: offices were largely designed by men, for men.
The Berlage Sessions
A seven-part seminar series
Buildings for Money
This spring’s series, entitled “Buildings for Money,” looks at the architecture associated with the storing, trading, management, digitization, gambling, and centralization of money. Topics will include the history of the Bank of England, the competition for a new commodity exchange in Amsterdam, the commissioning of the headquarters of one of the largest banking and financial services institutions in the world, the post-war development of London’s financial center, amongst other topics.
Theory Master Class
Led by Alice Bucknell, with contributions by Lawrence Lek, Sahej Rahal, and Elvia Wilk.
Ways of Worlding
Each spring the Berlage organizes a two-week master class led by a renowned architectural thinker. This year’s iteration is entitled ”Ways of Worlding" will be led by Alice Bucknell with contributions by Lawrence Lek, Sahej Rahal, and Elvia Wilk. What is a world and how is it made? How can the creative and critical practice of worldbuilding help us imagine alternative visions for the present and future worlds to come? In this two-week-long masterclass, North American artist and writer Alice Bucknell will introduce participants to multiple narrative and aesthetic strategies for making worlds, traversing architecture, ecology, technology, philosophy, magic, game engines, and collaborations with artificial intelligence. The two weeks will be complemented by a series of public lectures and will conclude with a public event and exhibition on Friday, April 21.
Project NL is the Berlage’s long-standing design-research project that seeks to examine global phenomena in the Netherlands in order to gain a more precise understanding of their local spatial consequences. Through a series of exercises designed to equip them with skills, instruments, and methodologies (required to thrive at the Berlage), students will look at the design of the Dutch river landscape and the shifting perspective from agriculture to ecology, from rationalization to renaturalization. Working with an open source digital platform to relate map
The six-part proseminar “Voices of the Recent Past” led by Léa-Catherine Szacka will focus on conversations and oral history as methodological and research tools. In architecture, the period spanning the mid-1960s to the early 1990s is generally characterised by an intense production of discourse. The proseminar will trace the production of these discourses by unveiling evidences and listening to the voices of its protagonists.
The six-part proseminar “Strategies in Architectural Thinking” taught by Olaf Gipser is framed by the hypothesis that architecture is predominantly a form of cultural reflection and expression that ultimately addresses the most profound assumptions and questions concerning human existence.
During the Research Colloquium, led by Salomon Frausto, students will examine the relation between form and content in architectural discourse. Through a series of workshops with leading and emerging scholars, graphic designers, filmmakers, and editors, students will get introduced to the Berlage’s Manuel of Style, Working Set, and other ways of working that will be used in the curriculum. Complementary, Stephan Petermann will lead a workshop on architectural criticism, where students will learn how to review a building, book, object, play, movie, exhibition, or biennale. The result will ultimately contribute to a forthcoming edition of the magazine Volume.
The Berlage Sessions is a thematic seven-part seminar series focusing on scholarly research and critical approaches to the history and theory of architecture and urban design. This fall’s series, entitled “Architecture’s Transpositions,” explores the transfers between two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality, from sixteen-century abstracted geometries to twentieth-first-century augmented realities. Topics will include the digitization of maps, the creation of digital replicas of landscapes, the modeling of multisensory extended reality experiences, the framing and photographing of buildings, and imagined histories of architectural drawings and models.