Friedman; people’s architecture.

on February 21st. Yona Friedman – urban designer, architect, visionary, artist – passed away at the age of 96. His ‘People’s Architecture’ was based on three preconditions: these use of inexpensive elements, easy to assemble at a do-it-yourself level, easy to disassemble and reassemble. Compare this to today’s inflexible, unsustainable housing; time to rethink our current ways and look once again at Friedman’s ever actual work.



In 2007 Anthony Vidler provided a lecture at the AA that is more than ever actual and important: ‘The Necessity of Utopia’ ; ‘utopia as a device for invention or radical intervention’.



the return of the real…………

In a very thoughtful article in DEZEEN architect/critic Aaron Betsky, reflecting on the upcoming developments in architecture and the role of the architect within, states that ‘our agenda must be to reuse, rethink, reimagine and relive our present.’ and that ‘architects will face the increasing fluidity of our society’. Although the latter – i.e. fluidity – is not a new phenomenon he is right in emphasizing  that our current hybrid society questions the often traditional attitude of many architects. Interesting is his prediction that ‘we will increasingly build in and with the earth’ where it could be (think of sea-level rise) be more logical to built above it…………what is real?

the everyday

Recovered in an antiquarian bookshop: the inaugural talk ‘the Everyday’ by Prof.Ir. John Habraken back in 1967 (!) on his acceptance of the position of Professor of Architectural Design at the Technical University of Eindhoven. Amazing to read once again – in 19 pages – his envisioning of a paradigm-shift of facilitating/designing housing by means of creating a split between structure and infill. One remark for now: “The simple truth is that the everyday cannot be created for a society but only out of that society”(trans. mp, ital.orig.) I suggest we reread this publicly, widely and act likewise, after 50 years…

living buildings

a most interesting and promising initiative in the UK where the Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria joined for a new research project: “to develop new technologies to revolutionise how buildings are constructed and how they operate”(..) Its aim is to create a new generation of ‘Living Buildings’, which are responsive to the natural environment, grown using living engineered materials, which process their own waste, reduce pollution, generate energy and support a biological environment that benefits health.”

The research started August 1st.; t.b.c……………………

Ai-Weiwei on art

although somewhat difficult where it comes to terms and mutual communication it still is an interesting interview at NEXUS-Institute: Ai-WeiWei on Art. In 3 sections: The Value of Art, the Responsibility of an Artist, How to be an artist.


‘all that is digitized must converge’

a wonderful blog-post by Michel Sacasas on Ellul’s latest book and his thoughts about the status of technology and the compensatory factors that should occur. “We have no choice but to live in a world dominated by technique,” he (i.e. Ellul, mp) explains, “but we are forced to find something providing satisfactions elsewhere and permitting us to live otherwise.” When it comes to architecture I guess there are valuable options for ‘compensation’ – man as homo faber or universalis – which to me should not be regarded as such since they are as valuable, rewarding and inescapable as ever.