Fiction, in line with legends and myths, belongs to an intriguing family of non-truths. Fiction has been in our lives from the day we were born, be it the bed time stories we are told as children, or the slightly twisted histories one might have learned about their own country at school; conveniently leaving out certain information. Despite its inherent untrue nature, fiction has the power to provide respite from the unpleasantries of reality; to support uncanny commentary about the reality of our world; to touch us deeply on an emotional level about our fears, prejudices, and biggest hopes and dreams.
As designers, it is first and foremost our duty to dare to engage in the fictitious realm and try to introduce it into reality, bringing those fears and dreams to the people, in the hope they find solace within the spaces we imagine. Within this edition we hope to provide an insight into the importance of fiction in our lives, not only as people operating within the built environment, but also as human beings. With this in mind, the theme of fiction is broadly explored in three ways: fiction as ideology; fiction as a tool to illuminate the unknown; and fiction as a mirror for reality.
What are architectural ideologies and utopias and why do we have them? Editor Frederico Ruiz strives to gain insight into these questions through conducting a series of interviews with Herman Hertzberger and Francine Houben, as well as more recent Bouwkunde graduates such as Bas Horsting on page 08. Sometimes, however, it would appear that the distance between the envisioned utopia and the hard reality of the situation is too great to make ends meet. Editor Aimee Baars explores those dreams which remained exactly that, never quite managing to touch their feet to the flat Dutch ground. These ‘never been built’ projects are featured on page 12. In our first of many to come collaborations with the The Berlage, guest writer Stef Dingen interviews David T. van Zanten about the purpose of competitions, with focus on the case of Walter Burley Griffin’s Canberra plan; an attempt to reinvent architecture on page 06.
Editor Inez Spaargaren hypothesises about the happenings of our empty faculty building and explores the places of the unoccupied on page 28 asking, "What happens when we aren’t there to witness something?" Often, there appears to be a distinction between the fictitious and the real, but sometimes it is through a tangible experience that one gains the most creative stamina as you’ll read in Christopher Clarkson’s interview with Koen Mulder and Louis Lousberg on page 16. Guest writer Amy Young once again contributes with a book review on page 26 explaining that perhaps things aren’t as complex as we make them to be; if we as architects simply accept our position as people within an ecological system we can work with it instead of against it.
We hope with this edition to have invited you to reconsider the importance of fiction in your life, and perhaps inspired you to continue dreaming.