As a new year surprises us yet again, and deadlines start piling up, we find ourselves re-evaluating old habits in yearly tradition of flaw-searching. The small things which, if only we could let go off, would allow us to become the best possible version of ourselves. We set huge milestones which, this time for sure, will turn our life upside down - for the better! But at that time of self-imposed pressure, maybe we should stop letting go of our old habits, and instead let go of the judgment altogether? Take a deep, affirming breath and dive into the pages of this January edition.
Tuyen Le, Saartje Nibbering, Zuza Sliwinska, Emilie Stecher, Maja Liro, Sem Verwey
Romea Muryń, Kevin Lai, Abhijeet Chandel, Alessandro Rognoni
After the most opulent time of the year – a new opportunity arises. In the time of reflection, around the new year, we tend to reimagine ourselves. It’s supposedly a moment in which we should inhale deeply and take a break in order to start anew, with a fresh mind, relieved from all the things that are holding us back. At the turn of this new year, we also had to let go of our very engaged and long-term editors Jonas and Oliwia. We wish you all the best for your graduation and the future paths of your lives!
If you’re letting go of something it often means you will gain something new! At times it’s a new habit, but in our case it’s two new creative writers who welcome the first issue of the year with their articles circulating around the search of identity. Sem takes us on a walk through the changing streets of Rotterdam, bringing attention to both the subtle and sudden traces of its residents (p.5). From the urban scale we zoom in to the core of architectural practice – finding your own passion and methodology within the multitude of possibilities explored by Maja and Saartje in their interview with Romea Muryń (p.10).
From the search of identity we move on to the matter of beauty. Saartje invites us to let go of control and the need to understand in order to experience true astonishment through our emotions (p.16). Rather than finding an end-goal to this quest for beauty-searching, Tuyen aims to uncover the naked beauty in human species as well as the built environment (p.18). Further on, Kevin suggests that we let go of the apparent enemies of architecture, learning to take our time exploring subjects we care about (p.22). The theme of time distance and appreciating the slow process of mastering skills also appears in Zuza’s article, assuring us that we’re all doing just fine in the long run (p.26).
As we let go of the hardships of 2022, check out the new things appearing on the horizon of 2023 in our BNIEUWD section. Did you hear about the newest exhibition in the Eye Filmmuseum (p.2)? If the delivery of your project rests too heavily on your mind, treat yourself to a visual journey through the complex, layered culture of Central Asia. If you would rather curl up under a blanket in the comfort of your own home, perhaps you might find yourself looking for a good book recommendation. Abhijeet Chandel suggests we spend some time exploring the reasons behind the differences in power, technology and development among human societies through the eyes of Jared Diamond (p.30).
With the end of the semester approaching, don’t let go of your project just yet, as it all will be over soon enough.
From the editors
5 - 9
A story about three brief moments on a quay and a door that is slightly opened.
From the editors
10 - 15
"It’s dangerous, isn’t it? When you start, it’s very difficult to stop, it becomes easy." says Romea as we ask her about the topic of letting go, "The longest I survived at an office was 3 years." she laughs at the memory, "I was quite privileged to start working at BIG when it was only 20 people. I was always asked what I would like to work on, sometimes changing the project every few months. And yet after 3 years I still couldn’t find myself excited anymore about coming to the office every day. That was the moment when I understood that most offices have templates. And I decided to take a break.''
From the editors
16 - 17
What happens when we encounter something so massive that our thoughts cease to operate, and we just don't get it all? Panic. We become agitated. Our minds go utterly blank. Yet, this is a feeling that may be incredibly pleasurable at the same time. To step outside of our headspace and just wonder for a moment.
From the editors
18 - 21
These words were inspired by the recent screening of Ruben Ostlund’s Triangle of Sadness, a social satire film about the gaudy relationship between wealth and beauty, involving an influencer couple, an ultra-luxurious yacht and a chaotic montage of rich people spewing out fluids from their bodies. The overt graphic of multi-millionaires throwing up has shattered their well-polised facade, and at this most vulnerable moment in their lives, they really are just people… and it was beautiful to see that. The matter of beauty spans beyond our body to architecture, mimicking each other's lexicon of ratio, symmetry, proportion, and beauty. In the 1900s, Adolf Loos and Adolf Koch dedicated their life's work to uncover the naked beauty in human species and the built environment. Instead of finding an end-goal to this beauty-searching quest, this is about the journey they took to reaffirm the flawless wonder of the “bodies”.
22 - 26
"It is a great pity that there should be so many distinct enemies at work for the destruction of literature, and that they should so often be allowed to work out their sad end. Looked at rightly, the possession of any old book is a sacred trust, which a conscientious owner or guardian would as soon think of ignoring as a parent would of neglecting his child. An old book, whatever its subject or internal merits, is truly a portion of the national history; we may imitate it and print it in fac simile, but we can never exactly reproduce it ; and as an historical document it should be carefully preserved."
- Blades, William, and University of Virginia, 1880, The Enemies of Book
From the editors
27 - 29
This article is dedicated to those who look in the mirror and wonder what peeks back at them from between their eyebrows. It comes in many sizes: sulky S, miserable M, or last-ditch L – a crack getting deeper with each doubtful thought, each seemingly definite battle between me and "them"- aka rest of the world. Below I share a personal reflection about expectations we set for ourselves as midnight strikes on New Year’s Eve and how to let go of that (futile) pressure. I hope you will look at it with humour but also with a hint of seriousness.
What are you reading right now?
30 - 31
Guns, Germs, and Steel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by geographer Jared Diamond that examines the causes of disparities in power, technology, and progress across human nations. In the book, Diamond makes the case that cultures in regions with plenty of resources and favourable climates were better equipped to improve their political, economic, and technological systems than those in less favourable conditions.