How can architects and urbanists stimulate social, cultural, and economic coexistence? Open City: Designing Coexistence, the 4th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, is exploring, documenting, and designing strategies for coexistence in today's cities. The curators have selected 6 international teams of experts to work on six situations in which geographical, spatial, typological and socio-cultural conditions reveal the most pertinent qualities and potentials of Open City. The results of their work will be exhibited and discussed extensively during the 4th IABR in the NAI.
curated by Kees Christiaanse
The main exhibition at the 4th IABR, Open City: Designing Coexistence, is the product of an intense collaboration between the IABR and the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI), and represents the heart of the 4th IABR. Both organizations are working together on the scheduling and organization of the Open City Event Program, a continuous program featuring lectures, film screenings, debates, presentations, workshops, conferences, and tours, which will be held at the NAI throughout the duration of the Biennale.
George Brugmans, Director of the IABR: “Architecture is about more than just architecture alone, and the IABR and the NAI see eye to eye when it comes to this important observation." The IABR and the NAI both emphasize the need for renewed political and social engagement with the future of our cities. Both parties aim to make a contribution to achieving this goal by bringing architecture and urban development to the attention of the largest possible audience in ways that continue to vary. For Ole Bouman, Director of the NAI, this is why this partnership is “a prelude to a sustainable relationship in which the NAI can also serve as the main location for future biennales.”
The Main Exhibition: Open City: Designing Coexistence
Construction of a new bridge between the street and the main exhibition gallery started this week. When visitors arrive, they enter a dynamic public forum. A large-scale walk-through model of the Open City is being built in this area, where introductory exhibitions and public activities will be held. This Forum, with its multiplicity of events and programs, is how the curator Kees Christiaanse seeks to express the themes of Open City for visitors. The Forum also houses the bookstore, the café, a VPRO multi-media archive, and “The Hood”—a flexible cinema and workshop space. It links to the six sub-exhibitions that infiltrate the NAI: a series of studies and proposals for six contemporary urban situations, each of which sheds light on the theme Open City: Designing Coexistence, from a different perspective.
Open City Event Program
For 12 consecutive weeks, the Forum will be the arena for the Open City Event Program. The program is organized as 12 thematic “clusters” of activities featuring lectures, documentary films, workshops, conferences, book launches, guided tours and excursions, and an “Open Podium”—a platform for interdisciplinary performances, presentations, and debates hosted each week by a different local “ambassador.” The cluster-topics include both Open City sub-themes—Maakbaarheid (“Makeability”) Refuge, Reciprocity, Community, Squat, and Collective—and other subjects related to the Open City such as Connectivity, Fear, Migration, Access, and Source, about Jane Jacobs and the origins of the Open City concept.The NAI’s regular lecture schedule is integrated with the Event Program. The list of speakers includes Kees Christiaanse, Lars Lerup, Eyal Weizman, Abdou Maliq Simone, Robert Neuwirth, Saskia Sassen, and others.
In addition to the main exhibition in the NAI, two other exhibitions will be part of the 4th IABR: the school exhibition Parallel Cases//IABR@RDM at the RDM campus in Heijplaat, in the Rotterdam harbor area, in cooperation with the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design and the IHS/Erasmus University; and the Free State of Amsterdam in the former Shell cafeteria at the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam, where the City of Amsterdam, Physical Planning Department will present nine urban development firms’ visions of the future of Amsterdam. Starting on 13 September, together with the IABR, the Dutch broadcaster VPRO will present an extensive program on the city across television, radio, the Internet and in the guide entitled Urban Century. Running parallel to the 4th IABR, from the end of September to the end of December, a comprehensive Partner Program will be held in Rotterdam as well as Amsterdam.
The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) is an international urban research biennale founded in 2001 on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. It is an international event of exhibitions, conferences, lectures and other activities devoted to themes in the field of architecture and urban development. The 4th IABR will be held from September 24, 2009 to January 10, 2010 in Rotterdam, and this year’s edition will also include activities in Amsterdam. The 4th IABR’s central location is the NAI. The theme this year is Open City: Designing Coexistence and the curator is the Dutch architect and urbanist Kees Christiaanse, a professor affiliated with the ETH Zürich, and founding partner of KCAP Rotterdam. During the 4th IABR, a comprehensive program will be held at the NAI, which will include debates, lectures, theatre performances and film screenings. The director of the IABR is George Brugmans.
The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) is an architectural museum/institute in Rotterdam and fulfills the functions of Archive, Museum, Library and Cultural podium, all in one location. The NAI stores important architectural archives and collections from Dutch architects dating from 1800 to the present, and makes them accessible to the public. The institute offers facilities for research and a platform for discussion. Through exhibitions and publications, the NAI aims to inform, inspire and stimulate professionals and the general public. Since 1993, the museum has been located in a building designed by the architect Jo Coenen. Ole Bouman is the director of the NAI.
Open City: Designing Coexistence
How can architects and urbanists stimulate social, cultural, and economic coexistence? Open City: Designing Coexistence, the 4th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, is exploring, documenting, and designing strategies for coexistence in today's cities.
The Open City is an urban condition that enables diverse groups to interact peacefully, creatively, and productively. But the Open City is not a 'soup'; it is a finely tuned integration machine that encourages distinct communities and groups to settle and establish the dynamic relationships that we call urbanity.
Today, the very diversity that once activated our cities threatens to dissolve them: cities are turning into archipelagos; public infrastructures are splintering; and public spaces are being left to wither. Differences between rich and poor, conflicts among ethnic groups, and the proliferation of gated communities and security zones are some of the symptoms that point to the urgent need to re-address the idea of Open City and translate it into concrete intervention strategies.
In order to be sustained in the face of today's urban challenges, the Open City must be researched and (re)designed. This is the task of the 4th IABR.
The curators have selected six international teams of experts to work on six situations in which geographical, spatial, typological and socio-cultural conditions reveal the most pertinent qualities and potentials of Open City. The results of their work will be exhibited and discussed extensively during the 4th IABR in the NAI.
The six themes and sub-curators are:
1. Community (USA): Interboro, New York.
2. Collective (Russia): Bart Goldhoorn, Alexander Sverdlov with Anna Bronovitskaya / Project Russia.
3. Refuge (Istanbul, Beirut, Amman, Cairo, Dubai): Philipp Misselwitz and Can Altay, Istanbul.
4. Squat (Addis Ababa, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro): Jörg Stollmann and Rainer Hehl Berlin/Zurich
5. Reciprocity (Jakarta): Stephen Cairns and Daliana Suryawinata, Edinburg/Rotterdam
6.The Maakbare Samenleving/The Make-able Society (Rotterdam): Crimson Architectural Historians, Rotterdam.
Besides the main exhibition, hosted by the Netherlands Architecture Institute, programmes are being developed in other venues in Rotterdam and in Amsterdam, and with VPRO, the Dutch national broadcaster. Parallel Cases // IABR@RDM is a collaboration with the Academy for Architecture and Urban Design Rotterdam and the IHS/Erasmus University, and will show designs and research projects related to the themes Squat, Community, Refuge, Collective and Reciprocity, from international schools and universities.
Kees Christiaanse, curator
Kees Christiaanse (1953) is known as one of today's most significant practicing architects and urban designers. He was a partner at OMA Rotterdam and founded KCAP Architects & Planners in 1989, with offices in Rotterdam and Zurich. Since 2003 he has been head of the Institute for Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. He is actively involved in concrete urban projects, such as the development of docklands in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Hamburg, and is designing an "urban breeding ground" in London for the Olympic Legacy Masterplan. He is conceiving the program of this biennale with co-curator Tim Rieniets and his team in Zurich, the sub-curators mentioned above, and the IABR staff in Rotterdam directed by George Brugmans.
For further information on the 4th IABR
contact: Eveline van Engelen or Xandra Nibbeling
tel. +31 (0)10 206 00 33, e-mail: email@example.com
Differents venues, Rotterdam