In the 1970s and 1980s, a group of Dutch architects, artists and landscape architects organised meetings about architecture, nature and art in search of a new organic and ecological approach to architecture. They were inspired by, among others, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), the founder of anthroposophy, and by ideas about the unity of the arts as a design tool. The questions these architects raised fifty years ago are still relevant today. They sought new approaches to design that could respond to concerns about the environment and mankind’s lack of connection with nature.
As students of architecture at Delft University of Technology, they established the ‘Architecture and Anthroposophy’ study group, organised meetings about the integration of the arts and the relationship between man, space and nature, and placed imagination and creativity at the centre of their design practice. They were responsible for the design of free schools and biodynamic farms that were established in this period. They were among the pioneers of sustainable architecture in the Netherlands and were involved in the design and construction of the first ecological residential neighbourhoods in the Netherlands. The headquarters of the ING Group (1980-84), formerly the Nederlandsche Middenstandsbank, by Alberts and Van Huut is recognised as the great breakthrough in organic architecture in the Netherlands.
This programme fits within the Neuhaus curriculum, which promotes alternative educational models and explores the formation and distribution of more-than-human knowledge.
An ecological approach to architecture is also central to the Jaap Bakema Study Centre’s Total Space programme. The idea of a ‘total space’, formulated by architect Jaap Bakema, proposed a relational approach to man and his environment.
Using four themes – the integration of the arts, nature and ecology, senses, and participation and social ecology – the speakers at this mini symposium will address what organic architecture meant, its sources of inspiration, its consequences and its relevance today. Speakers include Max van Huut, Gerard Beijn, Peter Oterdoom, J'ørn and Lia Copijn, Frans van der Werf, Marien Faasse, Peter van de Cammen, Pieter van der Ree and Dolf van Aalderen.
This mini symposium is part of a series of events organised by Het Nieuwe Instituut that charts the history and development of organic architecture in the Netherlands and assesses its significance. This symposium will unravel and dissect the past while asking how this history can shed light on contemporary issues.
Het Nieuwe Instituut hopes to acquire works from a number of organic architects. This symposium has been organised to assess the materials on offer and how they fit within the institute’s collections remit.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam
Students, CJP, Friends and Members of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3,75
Acquisition and inventory Alberts and Van Huut archive
The acquisition and inventory of Alberts and Van Huut's archive is now completed, enriching the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut with 120 linear meters of archive. With their design for the NMB bank in Amsterdam-Zuidoost (1983), Alberts and Van Huut gained instant recognition and popularity with a wide audience. The agency represents an anthroposophic and organic approach to building, a human-centered architectural movement. A topical issue, underlining the relevance of the vision of this agency today.
Habitat: Expanding Architecture
Habitat: Expanding Architecture is a research installation which captures a key moment in the history of architecture and urban planning: the tenth CIAM conference at Dubrovnik in 1956. Here the concept 'habitat' was a central theme: a broader understanding of architecture through a new ecological approach viewing architecture less as an autonomous discipline than as part of larger, dynamic whole. Habitat is the first in a series of Total Space programme installations.