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The acquisitions policy is subject to regular review. Het Nieuwe Instituut is currently elaborating two new areas of focus: ‘Digital culture and architecture’ and ‘Diversity’. These two themes take priority in the pro-active acquisitions policy and also function as stepping stones for exploring more general questions around heritage and collections forming. The plan supplements and expands the existing acquisitions policy, Making Choices (2012) and will be ready during the course of 2018.

Digital culture and architecture

This theme is a response to the increasing importance of digitisation and born-digital archives. Developments in the realm of digital culture have greatly influenced the development of architecture. This theme encompasses the interrelationships between digital culture and spatial design from the 1970s to the present day. Subsidiary themes include the influence of digitisation on the design process (the digital design practice), on the changing role of the architect, on the interweaving of architecture and other disciplines (on new cross-disciplinary practices) and on the development of data-based design in the Netherlands. Which archives and which practices reflect these developments? The elaboration of this collecting theme provides a framework for the valuation and selection of digital archives and develops knowledge that can be put to use in the project Inrichting Digitaal archief. Within this project, research is carried out with the aim of gaining a greater insight into the composition of digital architecture archives, using the digital archive of MVRDV as a case study.

This research project has already resulted in several expert meetings, including:


The second collecting theme is diversity. The collection consists largely of archives of white, male, Western architects, many of whom belonged to the establishment. Are they the sole representatives of architecture’s cultural and creative dimensions? The question of the collection’s cultural diversity leads to new perspectives on the archive. As a historical theme, diversity includes developments in the realm of alternative forms of community since the 1960s, which have resulted in self-build and other ‘bottom-up’ practices. These have gained a new relevance in recent years yet are barely represented in the State Archive. To redress this balance, the institute initiated the research project Architecture of Appropriation and has acquired archives relating to the squatting movement, such as the archive of Hein de Haan. There is also a focus on subsidiary themes such as ‘gender’ and ‘post-colonialism’.

This theme is explored through various research projects and activities, such as the series Archive Explorations, examining subjects such as feminism, 'queer space' and squatting.