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September 2019

Architectural Odyssey

53/01

Architectural Odyssey

Editorial team

Aimee Baars, Jack Oliver Petch, Jan Pruszyński, Elena Rossoni, Chun Kit 'CK' Wong

With contributions from

Sam Eadington

Cover design by

Aimee Baars

Editorial

The Odyssey, written by Homer, encompasses a series of 24 books describing the arduous 10-year travels by Odysseus, who fought in the Trojan War and then wished to return to his home, the paradise island of Ithaca.

I am unsure which was more of a struggle; Homer's writing process or the hardship his main character was put through. The latter seldom advantageous, yet always adventurous: fighting off Cyclops and tantalizing nymphs were all worth the reunion with his beloved Penelope after twenty years. Odysseus returned as a hero; thus the term ‘epos’, and our current phrase ‘epic’.

How we long to feel or be acknowledged as heroes after our final presentations. But no, most of us don’t fall in the arms of long-lost lovers and become legends. Perhaps millennia-lasting remembrance and praise are bit too far-fetched. After all, we haven’t fought an actual battle and put our lives on the line — perhaps our personal health is as far as our battle goes, our eye bags quite accurately indexing our health status.

However, every now and then I find myself at crucial crossroads in design decision making, a true inner battle; fighting myself to the depths of design desperation; talk about an arduous journey. (Well, OK. I agree, bit too much, I will tone down the drama). But in all honesty, the design process, and in a larger sense, the process of evolving from a student to an architect, is quite an undertaking. Could you speak of an 'Architectural Odyssey'?

We explored this odyssey from different perspectives. Written by our newest editorial member, CK, this issue features a personal view on the traveling architect. Aimee visited Maarten van Kesteren, a Bouwkunde alumni, at his own studio in Amsterdam. She interviewed him about finding his own signature style and setting priorities when running your own firm. Jan took a look at a survey carried out by Stylos among our faculties student's at the end of the previous academic year and wrote a piece about the many career paths architects can take.

Besides looking ahead, we also take a moment to inaugurate the new academic year: a fresh start, full of anticipation.

Enjoy the read and—if you are new—have a hell of a ride at our BK faculty!

Contents

Study Pressure at BK City

1

Architecture schools all around the world have an opinion of being very stressful work environments – the 24-hour studio culture and highly competitive peers being just part of the problem. In the previous semester Stylos, Argus, BOSS, BouT and Polis conducted a short survey among BK City students, hoping to give more insights into the issue of study pressure among our students. Could it be an actual problem at BK City as well?

Interview: Maarten van Kesteren

2

Maarten van Kesteren graduated from the Architecture track at TU Delft in 2014 and after working at several architecture firms, set up his own studio in Amsterdam. Since then he has taken up several projects, most with a landscape architectural tone to them. Currently he is working on the redesign of the Nimeto vocational school in Utrecht. I visited him in his studio on a Monday morning to ask him about his approach to architecture and how to set up your own studio.

Interview: MOR

3

MOR (Modular Office Renovation) is a Green Team formed by TU Delft students from different faculties. Two years ago, in September 2017, MOR signed up for the international Solar Decathlon 2019 competition themed Renovation, which was held this summer in Hungary. The assignment was to build an innovative house in 15 days. I spoke to Nienke Scheenart, Committee Coordinator of the project, about the experience of being part of MOR.

Exploring Possibilities

4

While meeting with my friends several weeks ago and recollecting our bachelor's degree days, I realised that not that many of them even work in the field of architecture anymore. Some stayed in somewhat similar fields, such as interior design and construction; others became graphic designers, artists, photographers, or even programmers. At first I thought that it was due to lack of jobs and/or terrible work culture in many offices (e.g. constant and unpaid over hours). However, what if that is not the case?

Unpaid Internships

5

The subject of unpaid work by students or young professionals has recently been headlining in the architectural world. Certain internationally acclaimed offices and mostly millennials seem to be divided on what is and isn’t ethical. What are the aspects of this issue and what efforts are being made to address this situation?

The Paths That We Must Walk

6

What's Your Problem?

8

What’s your problem? I bet it’s not a lack of architecture. What a stupid thing to suggest. Of course it’s not. Yet for some reason architects seem to insist that they are problem solvers. Take this snippet from the ‘Practice’ description on the website of one such architecture office in Berlin:

“All Life is problem-solving“ – Karl Popper’s famous dictum provides insight not only into our method of approaching architecture, but also into the underlying aim that drives our practice.

We understand ourselves as problem solvers, unhindered by preconceived notions of form, aesthetics, or the necessities of historic contextualism.

Artefact: My Mobile Phone

9

We all have one, we all use them increasingly more to knit our lives together, to the extent that their absence is becoming life changing. Our phones are the portals through which we focus our communication more and more each day. While there are negatives about our reliance on and our use of these devices, the positives of outweigh them given their power to inform us. I specifically refer to the iPhone in my case because not only has it revolutionised the way in which I have been able to work in my life, it was the device that fuelled the innovation in the use of glass that I have been a contributor to.

Does Architecture Really Have a Gender?

10

On the 10th of May 2019 a collection of students created a series of disruptive performances under the moniker ‘BLOB’. Through music, artefact and movement, they installed a “self-made outrageous piece of furniture as a critique to highlight the imbalanced power structure” at the university. The chair, shown right, was removed from the collection after fourteen days, but remains online.

The Bnieuws team invited BLOB to talk about the event, their views as a collective and what they hoped would be gained by their initiative.

Hello, Goodbye and Toilets, Oh My!

11

Before we bow our heads completely to the editors of Bnieuws 53, we thought we would take a moment to peek behind the curtain on a few hilarious moments while working on last year's periodical. From reviving the special, smaller format with illustrated postcards of the late Robert Venturi, we became more experimental. We even published a collection of essays that no one singular person would be able to read without the aid of Google Translate.

However, we only have the space to tell one story, the story behind perhaps the most confusing thing Bnieuws has ever attempted: #toiletwatch2k19, a complete and detailed analysis of every toilet at BK City.

Naam Maken

12

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