Be it the primordial ocean, the caves we once used as shelter or the womb of our mother, we are in a journey that will unavoidably take us far from where we departed. Nostalgia for what we used to call home might overwhelm us, or perhaps in this EXODUS we might find what we were missing.
Aimee Baars, Christopher Clarkson, Nicole van Roij, Federico Ruiz, Chun Kit 'CK' Wong
Amy Young, Lucas Di Gioia, Aikaterina Myserli. Jan Rothuizen, Dorsa Ghaemi, Francien Fons, Jolt Wiersma, Sun Ah Hwang, Leeke Reinders
At time of writing the Netherlands has just entered a period of so-called 'lock down' to slow down the expansion of the Corona virus which can result in the illness Covid-19. Unexpectedly so, the Exodus theme couldn't have been published at a 'better' time. 'Exodus' simply means a mass departure of people. The current measures taken by the Dutch government have trickled down to our very own Bouwkunde faculty, which has strongly requested students and staff to work from home.
Since the installment of these measures the faculty has been abandoned - a mass departure has taken place. The otherwise bustling model hall, the continuous chatter in the orange hall, the fragmented sounds of struggling printers and coffee machines have all been muted to an eerie silence. Aside from a solitary figure roaming the hallway, it reminds of the scene from Sleeping Beauty - as if the building has been put to sleep.
Despite this madness, the show must go on. As Bnieuws is a physical magazine, distributed around the faculty building, we are impelled to hop on the digital train and work with the channels that are available to connect us to you. The fact that you are now reading this editorial means that in some way we have reached out to you: mission accomplished! So, what can you expect from this issue? We offer you a diverse collection of 'exodus' interpretations and subjects related to departure, abandonment, refuge, memories and nostalgia to the past. Head over to page 15 for a critical insight in Brasilia, a city which was entitled the '1000 days project', the mass planning scheme for a new Brazilian city; perhaps not a space of departure, but definitely an urban development which a embodies mass movement of people. On page 9, our contributor Amy Young takes a political approach towards the possible impact of the Brexit on the British architectural discipline. Our own editor Christopher introduces his personal documentary series on abandoned chairs (page 6) - what could their stories be? While Christopher is intrigued by chairs, editor CK explores his fascination for small-scale thresholds in this poem 'When a door becomes a window' on page 11.
An exodus implies a mass, large scale event, capable of changing national (infra)structures, as we are currently experiencing in most countries around the world. Even though such an event appears abstract at first - hence the initial Dutch laconic and naive responses - at some point it hits us personally. This leaves us at multiple unprecedented crossroads. Do we consider the Corona virus a nuisance, a road block in the way of our daily routine? Or are we able to translate isolation into a productive pursuit of objectives that have been locked away for far too long? We cheer the latter. We hope that you all stay safe and healthy, reflect and embrace the inventiveness that these weeks at home demand!
What do we, the urbanists of BK, miss from our hometowns? Do those absences, mediated by the exodus that has brought us to Deft, inform our work? After asking some questions to my first-year colleagues at the MSc in Urbanism, it was soon evident how, after the necessary and much deserved mention of food and friends, a whole variety of nostalgias and memories unfolded. The following is a brief overview of them, and the role they play in what we do.
From the editors
The humble chair, couch, or stool, represents a place of rest. That place where you can be still. It invites you to cease your endless departure and stay a while. Much like a house, it beckons to you:
"Come, you have travelled far, be at ease, breathe, relax."
The humble chair, couch, or stool, however, can take on an interestingly sinister character when one stops to ask - why is it empty? Where did the people go? What have these 'normal' objects witnessed, and what memories do they carry in the folds of their faux leather, the screws in their wood, and the hair in their wheels?
There is an underlying relationship between politics and the practice of architecture. Politics influences culture, economics, trade, ideals, business and current affairs, and each of these in turn has an effect on proposed design solutions. One of the most dramatic political events in Europe in the last decade is Brexit, the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The analysis of what Brexit means for British Architecture is still in its infancy but is a conversation necessary in order to forecast the changes in the industry over the next decade.
From the editors
What makes a door a door, and a window a window? Can a door become a window, and vice versa? Could it be an architectural element that offers the premise of the dichotomy of in/out, enter/exit, here/there?
The twin cinema poetic form was invented and first written by poet Yeow Kai Chai. Poems in this form are written in two columns. The poems could be read across the two columns, and in isolation. The poetic form results in a pendulum between broken and unbroken fragments, a metaphorical limbo.
In using the twin cinema form, an exploration of the idea of thresholds; the division and bridging is at once apparent both in the poem and the subject. When reading the poem itself, one would encounter that the distinction between a door and a window is as defined as it is subtle, all at the same time.
Firstly a disclaimer; for those who might find themselves innocently (or not) misinformed on South American geography, Rio de Janeiro has not been Brazil’s capital since 1960. Having said that, I must first talk of Rio de Janeiro to understand the wishes for the existence of Brasilia.
It is the spring semester again, which means a lot of students are rounding up their bachelor's degrees and face the difficult question: what to do next? Perhaps a gap year or an internship? To directly continue the MSc program students have to choose between one of the five tracks. This decision might be super clear for some students, but can be an obstacle for others. In this article I ask three master students, who've each changed to a different track, to talk about their decisions, doubts and impressions of their past and current track.
Is writing for the war in Syria still relevant? Given that refugee flows have been regulated to a certain extent, the war doesn’t make the latest news and headlines anymore. However, it is salutary to remember that waves of refugees still try to find their way in the EU; on this basis, this thesis aims at shifting our attention from a war zone to an emerging diaspora- and thus, to new reception and absorption models.
From the editors
Worldwide, there are more than 50 million refugees. Despite the temporary architecture of most refugee camps, most refugees are forced to 'live' there for years. When taking into account the mass populations which inhabit these camps - some have reached a population of 150,000 people - one might even speak of an urban form. So, the question of this article arises: "When does a space of 'exodus', a mass departure or refuge, become a destination?"
Last year, The University of Nottingham invited a group of students from our faculty to participate in the celebration and acknowledgement the 100th anniversary of the Addison Act by planning a week-long symposium and design charrette in association with Nottingham City Homes.
Streets of BK CIty is a reoccuring article covering an event, activity or BK street-question. This time we cover the paper making workshop that was organised by students in collaboration with ARGUS. The goal was simple: to share the craft of making paper. Buying beautiful papers for your model or research booklet is fancy but often expensive! So what if you knew how to recycle paper and make your own paper, perhaps even with some sparkling terrazzo or concrete pattern. The workshop lasted three hours and after some frustrating try-outs most students produced 1 or 2 pieces of paper. We hope more students will feel inspired to share their DIY -knowledge through workshops in BK!
‘Artefact’ is a recurring two-page spread, which features a beloved object presented by one of the BK City staff members. Every month, the author passes on the ‘Artefact’contributorship to the next. Last month Paul Vermeulen nominated anthropologist Leeke Reinders, who explores the intersections between fieldwork, visual research and architectural/urban design in the chair of Urban Architecture.