不久之前，当人们谈论起日渐迫近的绝境时，总被揶揄为末日主义。然而，如今看来，这与 事实 相差无几。人们忧虑的不仅是不证自明的全球不公现象，还有人工智能对我们生活的侵蚀。地球的超载状况日益恶化，我们几乎清楚随之而来的后果。而今，地球的再生能力几乎被我们透支：气候，生物多样性，以及我们的 自然资源。
为什么 建筑 在过去几个世纪里得以作为 分寸 和 平衡 的化身，被视为世界秩序本身的象征？这一定是因为只有建筑才能够考虑到生活中的这么多因素，才能够平衡这么多人与自然的维度，才能够通过一个复合行为去创造和调解生活中的方方面面。它是最包罗万象的媒介，协调、组合、合成 几乎所有一切——而最重要的或许是，它能将意图化为现实。
据此定义，很明显地，建筑不只是一个提供服务的行业，还是 人类了解自身的方式。正因此，它存活上千年。也正因此，建筑的最佳表现是让多才多艺和无限好奇的人对它坚持不懈，希望能更多地理解它。只要有人类及其挑战，就会有建筑。所以，建筑显然过于重要，不应只是对建筑师而言。它是我们的计量表，同时是我们的计时器——我们用建筑来衡量我们的生活。从蹒跚学步的孩子在沙滩上建造一座沙堡，到垂死之人看到一缕漏进窗户的阳光……我们与建筑共生，同时也通过建筑体验生活。好的设计让你热爱生活，而 我们都应该成为设计师。
Egotecture was an exhibition at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 1997. Invited by museum director Chris Dercon, I received access to the vast collection and prepared an exhibition-essay about the last 500-year history of space concepts, intertwined with the history of human self-awareness, and their mutual influences. The exhibition was based on my doctoral thesis The Rise and Fall of the Self, which had led to two degrees in Cultural and Architectural History at the University of Amsterdam in 1990.
The exhibition was designed as a journey, beginning with the Renaissance, through half a millennium of discovering, mastering, reflecting and speculating on the idea of personal space, and eventually getting lost in it. This story was interwoven with an equally long history of the self-portrait, showing how human beings pursued the idea of a self from curiosity, through mastery, to alienation and even oblivion.
Images of the exhibition can still be recovered, but a selection of works that were on show, as well as an introductory statement, can be viewed on the project page.
The Invisible in Architecture was a project, initiated jointly with fellow architecture student Roemer van Toorn, that began as a lecture series at the TU Delft in 1987-8 and culminating in a book which appeared in London in 1994. Throughout its duration, the project was fueled by dissatisfaction with the growing icon and celebrity culture that emphasizes image over substance. The title, The Invisible in Architecture, was a call to keep paying attention to architecture’s mission to provide inspiration and be a medium for human agency to take care of our life world. The book interrogates the work of the most famous contemporary architects for its cultural depth and relevance for society. Remarkably, most of these architects are, a quarter of a century later, still famous.
RealSpace in QuickTimes (and the ensuing series of articles QuickTime in RealSpace), entailed a comprehensive project investigating the subjugation (and potential resurrection) of architecture in the wake of ubiquitous digitization. In 1996, I had curated the Dutch pavilion for the Triennale di Milano, showcasing the potential of integrating architectural craftsmanship with digital design and production techniques, as well as with digital art forms such as soundscaping and visual computer animations. An accompanying book featured a substantial essay describing the many repercussions of digital technology for an art form still completely grounded in an analogue way of thinking. Another pavilion, conceived for Cultural Capital of Europe 2001, explored the new spatial experiences in store once architecture becomes entirely information- and time-based. The project concluded that architecture was incapable of absorbing the digital and that its own inclination was to be absorbed by cyberspace itself, while limiting its status as a construction industry or “built environment”.
显然，建筑本可以传递平衡、规训生存，只是它如今已渐渐偏离这个潜能。它缺乏实质性的论述，更别提能够矫正不公的设计。此外，它也无法提供策略，无法让我们躲过无处不在又无孔不入的技术革命。最关键的是，就其当下的形式，建筑亦无法帮助我们将气候变暖限制在 1.5℃ 范围内——更别提 2℃ 的绝对红线。
建筑可以带回我们亟需的分寸感。这些建议揭示了什么？首先，数十年的工作成果——很高兴它们得以归档。但我希望它们同时表明，建筑作为我们 人类能动性 的象征，仍旧有潜力重获其本来的意义，重获其指引我们在生活中 寻获分寸感 的价值。重新与社会联系，重新作为一门学科，在实际项目中证明它的力量，并成为一台创造性和治愈性的时间机器，克服现在，寻找可能的未来——让我们不仅能存活，而且能充实地生活。
- Design Society, 2015-present
建筑 如何 能再次成为市民生活的场所和社会创新的舞台？
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Design Society began as a collaboration between the Chinese state-owned enterprise China Merchants and a major British museum, the V&A. I began working to turn this into reality in 2015. At the end of 2017 it opened as a creative ecosystem of civic, cultural and commercial activities, situated first in an iconic building, then proliferating through other projects as a design platform for general and professional audiences. By abstaining explicitly from the term museum and choosing “design society” instead, the mission was defined as never to be finished, and open for everyones participation.
- Battle for Time, 2003
我们 如何 设想出帮助我们重获生活品质的时间建筑呢？
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Strijd om Tijd (Battle for Time) was an assignment by a Dutch publisher to investigate the social consequences of the ongoing atomization of our time experience, in which people have less and less reason to encounter, understand, let alone engage with the other. Written in 2003, the essay focused mainly on technologies that allow people to define their own agendas, anticipating the imminent exacerbation of the situation by the rapid rise of mobile services that on the one hand distract from the here and now, and on the other allow people to actively bypass the other. The essay concluded with a manifesto to return to a culture of mutual acknowledgement, listing several measures, techniques and policies that would restore common ground via a deliberate synchronicity.
- Re-Set, 2010; Value Factory, 2013-2014
建筑 如何 拯救并复原隐藏的价值？
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Between 2008 and 2012 I either curated or commissioned the Dutch entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale, located in the Dutch pavilion. The three editions were dedicated to a thorough recalibration of the relevance of architecture, starting with a deep reflection on its future after a major fire at the Architecture Faculty in Delft (Archiphoenix, designed by Stealth), through an extensive unsolicited proposal to revamp and reposition the wealth of beautiful but vacant building stock (Vacant NL, designed by Raaaf), to a proposal to redesign buildings as modifiable units, using the techniques of stage design to multiply the various uses a building can have, and in so doing release architecture from its ex nihilo syndrome and find beauty in what already exists (Re-set, designed by Inside-Outside).
The Value Factory started out as the venue of the 5th Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Bi-City Biennale in 2013-14, subsequently curated into an actual “Special Culture Zone” poised to become an important place for cultural production in Shenzhen for the years to come. The actual transformation, and hence reanimation, from an old glass factory, i.e. a place of mass production, into a place for ideas, was threefold: a physical transformation to expose and amplify the unique qualities of the building and site and so showcase the power of design; temporary inhabitation by a range of global cultural institutions, to study, expand, show and leverage their work in China; and the organization of a wide range of public activities to bring the factory alive on a daily basis, including the running of a design school for the duration of the Biennale.
- Architecture of Consequence, 2010
建筑 如何 利用其在生活史中面临的最严重的危机，再一次充分地证明自己？
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Architecture of Consequence was a multiyear (2009-2012) agenda for the Netherlands Architecture Institute that claimed an inspiring role for architects by showing how their profession was ready to address the existential issues of the planet and its people: food, energy, health, space, time, social cohesion and value creation. A book, a traveling exhibition, a studio for unsolicited projects, national submissions to global biennales, and many other initiatives, embodied this program to tackle climate change and social tensions through design. The project was punctuated by another exhibition, Testify, the Consequences of Architecture, which switched the focus entirely from intentions to results.
- Unsolicited Architecture, 2007
建筑 如何 重新发掘其内在力量？
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I coined Unsolicited Architecture in the first editorial of the new magazine Volume, founded in 2005. It pointed out architecture’s ability to reclaim its autonomy, this time understood not as a free zone for disciplinary experimentation, but as an exercise to develop an ethical agenda of its own. The idea was further developed in a studio taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2007, run as an imaginary Office for Unsolicited Architecture, later renamed Unsolicited Studio. Some students who joined this office concentrated on exemplary unsolicited projects, others on the strategic and managerial aspects of such a practice. The results and the underlying manifesto were published in Volume 14. Between 2010 and 2012 the Studio continued as part of the NAi program, actively pitching strong architectural proposals for solutions to societal issues, publishing “bid books”, and arranging match-making sessions aimed at finding the right “clients” for those solutions.
- Archis/Volume, 1996-2007
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Archis, (1996–2005) was a professional journal aimed mainly at architects. Under my editorship it evolved into a cultural magazine that presented architecture as a direct reflection of unfolding history and explored its power to participate in that history. This direction was rejected by the owner, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, who wanted to terminate the magazine. Through the intervention of the Dutch parliament, and the establishment of an independent foundation, Archis was able to continue its mission to investigate the rationale and opportunities for architecture as spatial intelligence – rather than just presenting what happened in the built environment, presenting how things were made, or providing exposure to the people who designed it. In this way, Archis returned to a tradition cultivated by such predecessors as R.K. Bouwblad, Goed Wonen, Tijdschrift voor architectuur en beeldende kunsten, Wonen TA/BK At its best it queried the very raison d'être of architecture as a medium of culture, exploring the cultural motives within the architectural dimension of society.
During the past 15 years, the Archis Foundation has continued with the completely internationalized publication, now titled Volume, in collaboration with Columbia University and the architecture office OMA. In the wake of a massive disruption of architecture due to globalization, digitization, neo-liberalism and the introduction of technologies interfering with the essential features of the architectural discipline, Volume went beyond the question of “why” per se and began to explore how architecture could find new territories beyond itself. An agenda to stimulate a new self-confidence for the oldest human endeavor: creating a place on earth.
- Netherlands Architecture Institute, 2007-2012
建筑 如何 赋予自己新的使命呢？
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I was director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) between 2007 and 2013, when it was blindsided’ by a government-induced merger with two other institutions. During the NAi’s final six years, I calibrated the mission of this publicly funded institute to unequivocally embrace the idea of architecture as a response to what society needs, and in so doing, thereby re-charging the social relevance of architecture in a time of deep economic malaise. Accordingly, everything the NAi undertook in those years, exemplified this pursuit: the building became more sustainable and more intensively used. A new wing for children presented architecture as an activity for all, explicitly addressing tasks for architects. The exhibition program and collection policy were geared to the same idea, proving the point of architecture as a highly intelligent solution to complex problems. An innovation agenda aimed at inspiring architectural practice was launched, to show the degree to which architecture could directly respond to the climate emergency, public health issues, the energy transition, and other major issues of contemporary society. Additionally, the NAi launched a smart phone app to disseminate the NAi collection and support the public debate on past and future architectural quality.