Everything that is, and everything that happens, by virtue of its happening, leaves evidence of its existence. Be it the lines you draw to investigate someone else’s design, or the muddy footprint you’ve left on the faculty doorsteps, you are constantly leaving a trace, and following one made by someone else. Where does it lead? And what do you leave behind? Aware of this or not, your life is one long TRACE.
Aimee Baars, Christopher Clarkson, Jan Pruszyński, Nicole van Roij, Federico Ruiz, Chun Kit 'CK' Wong
Krittika Agarwal, Tipp Bongers, Ieva Davulyte, Dorsa Ghaemi, Arvid de Haan, Dirk Hoogeveen, Paul Vermeulen
New Year's resolutions are often made to start the year afresh, imagining a 'better me' and leaving past fears, mistakes and embarrassing moments behind. However, to our disappointment, no 1st of January, no 'it's a new day tomorrow', can ever fully wipe out vivid, sometimes haunting, flashbacks and memories. They live within us, both the good and the bad and carry them around everywhere we go. Our previous actions don't only affect us, but leave traces in others, both people and spaces.
As we are progressing towards a more digitally based and controlled society, traces have become less analogue and tangible. Every day, our physical movements on the earth are transferred up high, into the clouds. However, at some point, these big data are unravelled by algorithms and, through layers and layers of infrastructure, find their way back to the world in the form of pouring asphalt to relieve congestion, planting trees to increase neighborhood liveability or genetically modified fields of produce. Digital traces once again become material, the cycle is complete. Thus, landscapes are in fact layers of traces, offering an infinite source of knowledge and inspiration.
This issue starts off with an intruiging local landscape close to home, the 'wall of fame' on the first floor of BK City. A true detective, Federico retraced its origin and symbolism in his article 'Writing on the Wall'. Head over to pages 4-8 to gain some clarity. Furthermore, within the editorial team we have been questing traces of our own. In our article 'A Decade of Bnieuws' (pages 14-18) Aimee has chronicled the past decade of Bnieuws publications. This has turned out to be as much constructive as inspirational, since we have re-introduced the "Streets of BK City", presenting opinions, thoughts and activities from students and staff in BK. You can find this month Streets of BK City on page 32: "Which object represents spolia for you?"
Spolia, another word associative to traces, which can be described as leftovers or 'spoils' of a building. The aging of buildings becomes visible through chronological inscriptions; the overlay of material traces etched by use, weather conditions, vandalism, even by war. In his article 'Traces of War' (pages 26-27) Jan discusses the roses of Sarajevo: red-resin filled craters from mortar damage which have become silent and small memorial sites of their own. In many ways material traces are imprints of the past, of memories, which through interpretation take on symbolic meaning, more than merely an ink stain on the cover of a magazine.
We wish you a memorable 2020,
The Bnieuws Editorial Team
For over a decade, the “Wall of Names” was one of the many celebratory monuments of BK. Furthermore, it represented, by action or omission, what our faculty accepted to be the paradigms of relevance, achievement and success in architecture. Now that it is gone, understanding this wall and its background might open a window for questioning the way in which we created a monument that was supposed to represent an international and diverse community and ended up normalising gender inequality and colonialism.
From the editors
Land sculpture has arguably existed for thousands of years, in which case studies such as Nazca lines (see photo) and Indian burial mounds were identified as one. These ancient augmentations of the land surface could be ceremonial, or symbolic in nature. Nevertheless, these sculptures exhibited spatial qualities inherent in architecture and landscape design, and inform us about the increasingly ambiguous distinction between them.
From the editors
A month ago, our beautiful building started becoming defaced with some slightly less beautiful TU Delft blue ‘no smoking signs’. Alas … they haven’t appeared to be as effective as whoever is responsible probably would have liked. The next move in this one-sided game of chess was to relocate the smoking pit at the East entrance, from under the sheltered entrance to out in the open between Bouwpub and the faculty building.
Our ambition to represent all the voices within BK faculty; our slogan clearly states "your voice is ours". However, achieving this can be challenging at times. In the digitized world, in which news and opinions travel rapidly and dispersed, the information we are exposed to has become fragmented and fleeting. Thus, among all the online platforms, our hard copy Bnieuws publication might seem outdated. However, if you close your eyes for a sec, instead of hearing your overheated laptop buzz or your phone beep, listen to the crinkly sound and textured feel of freshly printed paper, waiting to be read. The Bnieuws team believes there is quality to the tactility of paper that gives us a greater connection with texts. There is a sense of completeness in the information we get when reading a print media, as compared to the digital platform: merely taking a couple of minutes of your day to step away from the ever-present technology radius, concentrating on holding the magazine in your hands, the tactile engagement of flipping through, back and forth, forth and back. We believe these are necessary in-between moments to refrain from RSI wrists, square eyes and heart palpations ;)
And so, we will lovingly so stick to our hard copy publications - this calendar year at least. However, in taking this analogue path we are challenged in reaching our audiences, in reaching the future-oriented, 2020-you! In the past months, we have observed that we have yet to fully extend our reach to "all voices" in our faculty. Hence, the editorial team has been in process of reshaping Bnieuws, asking ourselves the following questions: "In which article formats do we best represent the faculty as a whole?", and in regard to the promotion and dissemination of the magazine, "Which communication channels can we use to increase our readership?" We took these questions as an opportunity to turn the Bnieuws archive upside down and dig up old issues from the years 2010-2020. This article presents the development Bnieuws Magazine has gone through, both content and format wise. Progressing and improving Bnieuws means engagement with you, our readership. Thus, our 2020 resolution is to strengthen the relation to the faculty and its daily dwellers. Join us on the journey!
Nietzsche (1876) states: “I believe, indeed, that we are all suffering from a consuming fever of history and ought at least to recognize that we are suffering from it”. In the case of Lithuania, the years 1944-1991 consisted of a period of destructive occupation; the Church was suppressed, the intelligentsia was harassed and obstructed and massive deportations were carried out to eliminate any resistance to collectivization or support of partisans. However, the evolution of thought still continued and so did the evolution of the built environment. The question is: what symbolic values should be considered while reimagining the architecture of occupation?
From the editors
During the Christmas Holidays, I was trying my best to avoidwatching dull family movies on the couch. The ones I dislike most are adventure movies with heroic protagonists,like in Indiana Jones and The Mummy. What triggers me most in these movies isthe representation of the archaeologist as a handsome, tomb-discovering acrobat.In these movies, the archaeologist is combatting and unveiling the traces ofthe past, reading landscape, object and architecture like a true detective. Asdesigners of the built environment, our interest similarly lies in the readingof traces, albeit, gratefully not receiving the status of a pop-culture hero indoing so.
January 2016, the seismic tremor made the porcelain statue tremble on the floor. As I ran down the stairs to help my grandparents, shivers ran down my back. Sadly, the worst was yet to come... Being born in the eastern end of the Himalayan seismic belt, my personal experiences have been the driving force of this research. Traces of the events that I have witnessed in the Indian city Shillong, have created an urgency to meet more rational living standards. In this article, I discuss my graduation project and how it reacts to this urgency by local traces of timber construction.
From the editors
For a large majority of the student body of TU Delft, the four-year-long siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996), is a thing they might have learned from history books. However, for the inhabitants of Sarajevo, the small red-raisin-filled craters from mortar damage are a daily reminder of their tragic past and what became the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare.
'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's contributor Nathalie de Vries chose Paul Vermeulen, who is a professor in the department of Architecture and leads Belgium based architecture office de Smet Vermeulen.
Since the beginning of the academic year, the new chair of Urban Architecture offers studios in the Architecture track. The graduation theme of this year is spolia. A term from archaeology, spolia are the left-overs or ‘spoils’ of a building, which find themselves back in a new structure. The students were asked to introduce themselves together with a personal piece of spolia. The spoils, taken to the studio by students, illustrate that every-day artefacts can change function, carry emotional narratives or transform in meaning.