Th 12 Nov 09
Open City Lecture and Debate – Collective
Housing for the millions 2.0
Towards a new concept of mass housing
Theme of this Open City Lecture and Debate is Collective. The lecture will be given by Bart Goldhoorn and Alexander Sverdlov, sub-curators of the 4th IABR exhibition Collective.
On the basis of an analysis of the Post-Socialist city the curators of the Collective exhibition of the IABR have developed a new model for mass housing, that puts into question the foundations of current architectural policies. According to the curators, both credit and climate crisis require a new approach that will radically change the way architecture is produced.
In the last 20 years the real estate bubble has enabled architects to concentrate on the development of a contextual and personalized architecture. Each project is designed, reviewed, calculated, discussed, reviewed amanded and approved individually. This process is extremely time-consuming - in the Netherlands it takes up to 90 months for a project to get from the first initiative to its realization. A complete caste of civil servants, advisors, consultants, engineers and architects makes a living on the basis of this process, that in the end leads to buildings that often are remarkably similar. Not only is this process costly, by starting every project from scratch it also prevents the development of really sophisticated solutions.
Since the 1970s mass production has been an anathema in architecture. The taboo on mass production is based on the idea that this automatically leads to uniformity. However, when we look around, we see that in todays society consumers have more choice then they ever had before; the development of the global market economy has led to a situation in which any product, however specific, can find enough buyers to enable mass production.
This means that architecture should now start producing pret-a porter instead of haute couture, thus making high-quality architectural designs available for a large public. In order to enable this, just as with shoes and clothes, a standard for the sizes of lots and urban blocks should be developed. Not only will designs fit automatically in their urban envelopes, it will also enable the creation of an open market where products can compete because they are comparable. Each architect is free to develop products for this market, each consumer will have an unlimited choice of ready made designs.
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Bart Goldhoorn graduated as an architect at Delft University in 1989. In 1993 he went to Russia with a grant of the Dutch government. In 1995 he founded PROJECT RUSSIA magazine - currently the leading professional architectural journal in Russia - followed by PROJECT International in 2001 and PROJECT Baltia in 2007. Apart from his work as a critic and publisher, in 2008 he was curator of the first Moscow Architecture Biennale, that addressed the question of mass housing. Currently he is preparing the second Moscow Architecture Biennale with the title Modernization.
As an expert on the post-socialist city, in the summer of 2008 he was invited to curate the Collective theme in the IABR.
Upon graduating from the Berlage Institute in 2002 Alexander Sverdlov worked as an architect and project architect at Neutelings Riedijk, West 8 and AMO/OMA. He was local curator and contributor to the Shrinking Cities research by the German Cultural Foundation. During last years he lectured and led workshops at various schools across Europe. His latest research on urbanization of Moscow was exhibited at the Rotterdam International Biennale in 2007. Alexander Sverdlov teaches design studios at the Faculty of Architecture in Delft within the International Masters Program. In 2007 Alexander Sverdlov established SVESMI an independent design and research practice in Rotterdam. Since last year SVESMI is developing large scale housing projects in Moscow.