An evening of speculation about alternative strategies for the reuse and preservation of architecture. Lionel Devlieger (Rotor), Suzanne Mulder (Het Nieuwe Instituut), Neil Bingham (Victoria & Albert Museum) and Dirk van den Heuvel (Jaap Bakema Study Centre) will discuss the subject in the context of the case of the Ministry of Social Affairs building and the Robin Hood Gardens building in London.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam
Programme students & Friends of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3,75
Thursday Bite (without programme)€ 7,50
An evening in which alternative strategies for the reuse and preservation of architecture are considered. Lionel Devlieger (Rotor), Suzanne Mulder (Het Nieuwe Instituut) and Neil Bingham (Victoria & Albert Museum) address the issue with reference to two buildings that are due to be demolished: the Ministry of Social Affairs in The Hague and Robin Hood Gardens in London, part of which was recently acquired by the V&A Museum. Can these cases inspire a new approach to demolition as well as to the archiving and preservation of architecture? Hosting the evening is Dirk van den Heuvel (Jaap Bakema Study Centre).
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
The former Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in The Hague, which Herman Hertzberger started to design in 1979, was taken into use in 1990. The building is known as one of the last built examples of Dutch structuralism. Made especially for the Ministry, it was deemed unsuitable after less than 30 years. In 2016, the 70,000 m2 building was auctioned and sold to property developer MRP Development, which has made plans for its partial demolition and redevelopment.
Based on this scenario and at the invitation of Delft University of Technology’s Jaap Bakema Study Centre, Rotor organized the design studio 'Studio Rotor: Deconstruction' to study the material consequences of this demolition, among other things. After collecting information from Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Hertzberger archive and visiting the building itself, students made a quantitative analysis of the demolition as well as an assessment of which elements can be profitably reused. This resulted in an exhibition at the Ministry of Social Affairs, an adapted version of which is currently on show at Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Robin Hood Gardens
This Thursday Night also looks at the extraordinary case of Robin Hood Gardens, a residential block in East London designed by Alison and Peter Smithson in 1972. Having fallen into disrepair, in 2008 the decision was made to tear it down. This led to major international protests and a call for preservation of the building by architecture historians and architects including Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers. According to the critics, Robin Hood Gardens is an outstanding example of social housing and Brutalism. It is a project that encourages reflection on contemporary architecture and urban planning. Hence the V&A Museum’s decision this year to include part of Robin Hood Gardens in its collection. Read more in a blog by Dirk van den Heuvel.
Brussels-based architect and architecture historian Lionel Devlieger is co-founder of Rotor, a design collective that operates from Brussels. Rotor advocates a new approach to the contemporary architectural practice and critical views of design, material resources and waste using research, exhibitions, publications and conferences. At the invitation of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre, Rotor led a special studio in 2017 that focused on the dismantling of modernist and contemporary buildings due for demolition with the objective of making parts of these available for redesign and reuse.
Neil Bingham is an author, historian and curator. At present he is Curator of Contemporary Architectural Collections in the Department of Architecture, Design and Digital at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Bingham led the acquisition of the Robin Hood Gardens for the V&A Museum. Previously he was Consulting Curator of architectural drawings at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and for nearly twenty years a curator in the Royal Institute of British Architects Drawings Collection.
Art historian Suzanne Mulder works at Het Nieuwe Instituut as a heritage expert. She writes about architecture and has a variety of publications to her name including Nederlandse architectuur in 250 topstukken and Keuzes maken. She also curated various exhibitions such as Treasures of the NAI and Structuralism (Het Nieuwe Instituut). In addition, she was a guest lecturer at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture and its Reinwardt Academy. She is currently also a member of the board of the Dudok Architectuur Centrum in Hilversum.
Before the Thursday Night why not grab a bite to eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut? From 18:00 Het Nieuwe Café will serve soup with bread or a quiche with salad. Dinner vouchers are available for €7.50 up to a day before the particular Thursday Night event via the Tickets link or at the bar this evening.