The Berlage

Courses

Spring 2021

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.

Project Global: Water

Project Global, led by Filip Geerts and Sanne van den Breemer, engages with the metropolitan condition understood as a system of systems. The metropolitan metabolism privileges a technocratic lens if it is to reveal its systemic secrets. Exhausting this technocratic understanding becomes a necessary a priori examination in order to reveal the niches where architecture is uniquely able to contribute to issues pertaining to urban resilience, or not. Contemporary calls for systemic shifts, regarding climate change and improving resilience in the face of amongst other things the effects of real such climate change—not just the mitigating actions to avert it—monopolize the contemporary relationship between architecture and the city.

Project Global deals with pairs of cities. On the one hand, a ’model’ metropolis is introduced to serve as an index for investigation, in the form of a European metropolis: Paris, Vienna, Berlin. This year, Vienna will be dealt with as a ‘model’ to introduce the thematic of water. Last year Paris was a ‘model’ to introduce the thematic of power. Vienna is understood, just as the other ‘model’ cities in last year’s and next year’s Project Global incarnations, as an intended metropolis, having gone through a well-documented transformation into a settlement paradigm that self-consciously privileges its systemic identity: the metropolis as a project, which will be indexed in a lexicon. After neutralizing all traces of eurocentrist bias, the global metropolis—this year Mexico City, last year Tokyo, and next year Johannesburg—becomes the situation to both interrogate the model in the form of an atlas and the context for the project.

The Asset Class

The six-part proseminar, taught by Reinier de Graaf with Hans Larsson and Alexandru Retegan, is posited on the notion that buildings both cost and earn money. What remains of architecture theory once we blatantly regard architecture as a function of economy? Even if seemingly absent from the architect’s radar, the need for buildings to generate financial return is a potent, yet little discussed driver of architectural form. The proseminar revisits architecture through the lens of finance, aiming to identify building types stemming from the motive to create a profitable investment. Based on their findings, students will present speculative scenarios that take this reality to the extreme.

Space, Television, and Architecture

The six-part proseminar, taught by Léa-Catherine Szacka, explores different types of television and their related spatial implication: the space of breakfast, the space of the everyday, the space of education, the space of news, the space of music, and the space of debate. While these spaces are not mutually exclusive, they represent the diversification of television, the displacement of social practices, and spatial constructions from the public and collective realm to the domestic sphere. From the street to the kitchen and from the classroom to the bedroom, the seminar  explores how television—while changing our ways of relating to the world—also impacted the public and private spaces we inhabit. Through the analysis of these different spaces of television, students examine technological advancements, notions of power, and control, and the apparition of a new global public sphere and information systems; along with notions of display and spectatorship. Student will be present a video essay on a topic of their choice, exploring questions of space and television.

Thesis Development

Following last year’s exploration of the tourism industry, the second installment of the Berlage’s three-year “Carrying Capacities” research program will examine the spatial implications of the food industry in the Netherlands and beyond. From territories to infrastructures, from objects to spaces, from harvesting to delivery, from packaging to branding, the aim of the course will be the completion of a collective architectural and urban design project on the food industry, followed by the development of individual proposals that contribute to this project. From cheeses of Gorgonzola, Münster, and Parmigiano-Reggiano to Baked Alaska, London Broil, and Peking Duck, the food industry par excellence connects objects of food to territories of trade.

Theory Design Master Class: A Journey Round My Room

Each spring the Berlage organizes a two-week master class led by a renowned architectural thinker. This year’s iteration led by Bêka & Lemoine, entitled “A Journey Round My Room,” will explore the unprecedented proximity and familiarity we have with our daily domestic environments in the wake of the successive lockdowns. Revisiting Xavier de Maistre’s eccentric 1794 novel entitled A Journey Round My Room, one of the first examples of a literature of confinement, participants investigated film as way to bring to experience, understanding, and narration of space that other kinds of representational media—such as plans, sections, elevations, or photographs—cannot.