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Manner or Method: the Tools of the Architect Reconsidered by Michiel Riedij...

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Het Nieuwe Instituut

Museumpark 25

3015 CB Rotterdam

Netherlands

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From Vitruvius and Villard de Honnecourt up till BIM, the art of architectural design has been propelled by an ongoing process of division of labor within the building industry. In his lecture, Michiel Riedijk will investigate what this process implies for both practice and education in architecture. This lecture is the second keynote of the fifth thematic conference of the European Architecture History Network, The Tools of the Architect, organized by the Jaap Bakema Study Centre for its Fourth Annual Conference in collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU Delft.

Michiel Riedijk

Michiel Riedijk studied architecture at the TU Delft from 1983 until 1989. He worked with Julliette Bekkering from 1989 until 1991. In 1992 he founded Neutelings Riedijk Architects with Willem Jan Neutelings. In September 2007 Michiel was appointed as The Chair of Architectural Composition and Public Building at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. The chair’s education and research focuses on buildings of a public nature that have an important impact on the urban setting, the region or society. The primary focus of this chair is the question of how to define the public nature of a building and its relationship to the public space. In addition, the structure and composition of a design as well as the architectural and tectonic expression also play a crucial role.

Michiel Riedijk regularly lectures at universities, conferences and cultural institutions worldwide. He taught at the TU Eindhoven, the Academies of Architecture in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Maastricht, and the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam. In 2002, he was a guest professor at the RWTH Aachen. Neutelings Riedijk Architects' work partakes of sculptural, often anthropomorphic qualities and playfulness of form while maintaining a clear rationality in program and context. Key projects include the Museum Aan de Stroom or MAS in Antwerp, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum, Culturehouse Rozet in Arnhem, and Culturehouse Eemhuis in Amersfoort. The work of Neutelings Riedijk Architects has been widely published and exhibitioned, and has won a variety of international awards and nominations.

The Tools of the Architect

Architects have for their activities of drawing, writing and building always depended upon the potential of particular tools –ranging from practical instruments such as straight edges, French curves, compasses, rulers and pencils to conceptual tools such as working drawings, collages, photographic surveys, infographics, diagrams, casts and mass models.

As technologies advanced the toolbox of architects has changed and expanded. Today architects have an extraordinary array of sophisticated tools at their disposal but also rely on many of the same tools as their 18th and 19th century peers. Working drawings, pencils and tracing paper continue to appear in the designer’s studio while their role and potential is being redefined.

Time and time again, architects have engaged with new tools. The quest to find the most appropriate and adequate tools to articulate, test and communicate design ideas has never ended, and in this pursuit architects have appropriated tools from other disciplines, such as art, historiography, sociology, philosophy, computer sciences and engineering. Out of this perspective the tools of the architect have become a field of intense exploration of the encounter of architecture with other disciplinary perspectives.

Inventions and innovations of tools throughout history have not only provided better answers to questions of analyzing and representing the built environment, but they have also pointed to new ways of conceiving and intervening. Ellipsographs made it possible to precisely draw an elliptical space in the 19th century and computer-aided drafting software has allowed for a new conception and construction of complex geometries in the 20th and 21st century. New tools have continuously affected the imagination, character and qualities of architectural projects.

This conference wants to focus on the changing practical and conceptual tools of the architect and their effect on the logos and praxis of architecture. The conference will be structured along three thematic lines:

  • The Instruments of the Architect (i.e. the apparata and equipment of the architect)
  • The Tools of Analysis (i.e. the devices to study architecture and the built environment in general)
  • The Tools of Intervention (i.e. the devices to intervene in the built environment)

More information on the conference and the programme in the conference website.

Annual Conference Series of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre

Each year the Jaap Bakema Study Centre organizes an annual conference to bring together scholars and practitioners around a special subject that is related to the ongoing research at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft and the collections of Het Nieuwe Instituut.

The last edition of the conference was devoted to the architectural drawing and the current developments in the fields of digital media and archives: ‘Between Paper and Pixels, Transmedial Traffic in Architectural Drawing’, with a keynote by the British architect Will Alsop . In 2015 the annual conference dealt with the topic of exhibition making and architectural research: ‘Research on Display, The Architectural Exhibition as a Motor for Knowledge Production’ with the keynote deliverd by Maarten Gielen of the Brussels office of Rotor. The first annual conference ‘Bakema and the Open Society’ was held at the conclusion of the Dutch presentation at the Venice Biennale, which presented to the work of Jaap Bakema and his ideas on architecture, the welfare state and the open society.

European Architectural History Network

Established in 2005, the European Architectural History Network supports research and education by providing a public forum for the exchange and dissemination of knowledge of the histories of architecture. Based in Europe, it is open to architectural historians and scholars in allied fields from all countries.

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Het Nieuwe Instituut

Museumpark 25

3015 CB Rotterdam

Netherlands

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