On the invitation of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi), STEALTH curated together with Saskia van Stein the Dutch Pavilion at the 11th Venice Architecture Biannual. Our response to the topic Out There: Architecture Beyond Building was triggered by the burn-down of the Faculty of Architecture in Delft (13 May, 2008). With ARCHIPHOENIX – Faculties for Architecture the Dutch Pavilion was turned into a weeklong stage for research and exploration and a debate platform focusing on faculties for architecture – in the sense of its multiple capacities, powers, capabilities – beyond building.
[five seemingly simple questions]
While on the one hand, global pressures – massive population growth, economic instabilities, limits of the resources available, just to name a few – urge architects to radically reconsider their tools, products and models of working, a growing number of practices already showcase possible directions. How could they be made to work – on a scale that answers the challenges ahead?
The project focuses on five questions to address the future of the architectural profession: why we make – beyond the profitable simplicity into the social sustainability, what we make – beyond the artifact, how we work – beyond the singular into the collaborative, for whom we make – beyond power to empowerment, and finally what it takes to make (and un-make) – beyond the sustainable: challenging the flow of resources, materials and people. These five seemingly simple, yet essential questions, if put to face challenges ahead become serious issues for discussion.
[a range of contributors]
For six days the project has taken the opportunity to engage the vast network of architects and other professionals present during the opening period of the Biannual, in a direct exchange, either as speakers, interviewers or moderators. Participants ranged from ground breaking practices like Alejandro Aravena (Elemental), Teddy Cruz, Eyal Weizman, 2012 Architects, to critical cultural observers like Lidewij Edelkoort (Design Academy Eindhoven), Allard Jolles (Dutch Government Buildings Agency), Irit Rogoff (Goldsmiths, London) and Mark Wigley (Columbia University) or design experts like John Thackara (Doors of Perception) and Mels Crouwel (Benthem & Crouwel) – and many others.
To produce the six publications on-site, architects, artists, writers and critics – Arjen Oosterman/Lilet Breddels/Christian Ernsten (Volume magazine), Jeanne van Heeswijk/Dennis Kaspor, Miguel Robels Duran, Peter Lang, Piet Vollaard – joined in the role of editors in this collaborative effort, together with graphic designer Coralie Vogelaar.
[transformative spatial setup]
STEALTH – with Saskia van Stein – also made the spatial set-up for the pavilion, which changed on a daily basis to accommodate the line of activities (a dinner, round tables, speed dates, lectures, workshop) and an on-site instantly edited video and book production unit. While the pavilion has been acting as a temporary ‘school’, the produced content aimed to become an imaginary curriculum for architecture beyond division on education and practice. The results of this dense process have been turned into an exhibition remaining during the entire Biannual duration. All the discussions and the six publications are available at: www.facultiesforarchitecture.org.
- [team ] Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen in collaboration with Saskia van Stein (NAi)
- [production coordination] Suzanne Kole, Erik Jutten and Lieke Sauren
- [editorial team ] Lilet Breddels, Christian Ernsten, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Dennis Kaspori, Peter Lang, Billy Nolan, Arjen Oosterman, Miguel Robles-Duran, Piet Vollaard and Ana Džokić, Marc Neelen, Saskia van Stein
- [book design ] Coralie Vogelaar
- [videoproduction ] Gonny Jungst, Louk van Kalmthout, David Lingerak, Vincent Vriens, Jeroen Vallenduck
- [construction team ] Xylos
- [cook ] Arjen de Leeuw
- [background ] Project made for the Dutch Pavilion at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The Dutch submission has been organised by the Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, at the invitation and with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The project engaged over 70 participants.
- [timeline ] program 9-14 september 2008, postproduction 15-21 september 2008, exhibition until 23 november 2008
- [publicity ] ArchiNed.nl (Rotterdam, september, 2008); Metropolis.com (New York, october, 2008) Journal of Architecture Education (US, spring, 2009) lectures a/o: IASPIS Stockholm (october, 2008), CCS Bard college (november, 2008), New York University (november, 2008), Madrid Abierto (february, 2009), Stacion, Prishtina (july, 2009), galerija miroslav kraljevic, Zagreb (march, 2010)