INDESEM (International Design Seminar) is a foundation run by architecture students that organize a week-long seminar every two years. During INDESEM.19, most of us on this year's INDESEM board were still bachelor students motivated to watch all the big names of architecture speaking at the seminar and participating in the competition with international students worldwide. We were amazed by the possibilities INDESEM gives you, from talking in person with great architects to learning architectural tricks from fellow students all over the world.

Now, two years later, we are here again telling everyone to stay 1.5 meters apart and to wear facemasks wherever they go, having to organise half the event online. But apart from the turbulent year of organizing a seminar in these times, the experience and idea of INDESEM has changed. So let us explain what INDESEM is all about.

What is INDESEM actually?

Well, if you would ask us two years ago, and a lot of people would think of it this way, we would say; a seminar consisting of 80 international students learning from the best architects in the business about a relevant topic. An event where you broaden your views and skill set in architecture. After two years of working on INDESEM however, our view on this has changed. Architecture tends to be a very old fashioned world. And we are all probably studying at good universities, which we are fortunate for. But as the INDESEM.19 seminar discussed; we are all educated in the Echo Chamber of our university. Therefore, we are all a product of what our university thinks an architect should be. What Norman Foster said in his lecture at INDESEM.21 got us thinking: "The only constant is change."

The architectural world is not entirely based on facts but also on what very talented people think something should look like. Therefore people could hate or love your design because everyone has their own opinion. So if this world is based on your own opinion and not on clear facts, why do we always need to listen to our university about what we have to learn? Why can't we choose what we think is best for us? Why can't we use our fresh minds to research architecture in the way we want? Why can't we improve our education? Well, this is precisely what INDESEM strives for and what we try to achieve; we want to break the echo chamber of all universities and create a week of our international education. So this year again, we took matters into our own hands, and we created INDESEM.21: DATASCAPE.


We started the year thinking of topics that we wanted to learn more about and thought students should be more involved. We came up with DATASCAPE because studying at a technical university; you are surrounded with the most advanced technological research, where the development of Big Data is the most bespoke one. Yet we didn't have the feeling that architecture followed the technical developments happening now in the world. Or at least that we weren't being educated about it.

So we thought of dedicating this edition of INDESEM to researching what architecture now has to offer and using all the tremendous fresh minds of motivated young architects to explore Big Data possibilities for the built environment and create our education. By inviting exciting people, from whom we could learn something new.

This year experienced architects like Norman Foster, and Winy Maas told us about their experiences and knowledge on this topic. But also, smaller companies like Studio RAP gave us an insight into their work. And participating in the workshops of Rhino (hosted by it's developer McNeel) and MVRDV NEXT showed us the possibilities that are now present. But we want to tell you something that we as the INDESEM team learned in the past year. And hopefully, you will also learn in the future.

We talked to a lot of huge names in the architectural world. And at first, it's always a bit exciting to speak to them because of their reputation or inaccessibility. But in the end, architecture is again a world filled with opinions and facts only carry so far. So what we tried to achieve and let you notice is that these well-known architects are also just people with thoughts on how they think it's best. So even if they may be highly experienced and have achieved great success, they will never predict the future.

There is a reason why all these companies want to be a part of INDESEM. And that is because they realize that we are a group of motivated young students with great fresh insights on how architecture should look and as we learn a lot from them, they also learn from us. So whether you are a famous architect or a starting architecture student at INDESEM, there isn't a difference.

The INDESEM team sees it as a platform for architecture students to take matters into their own hands and strive for what they think is essential. At INDESEM, students and architects work together to see what the future has in store for us.

Thank you,
Hidde Dijkstra