The consequences of our footprint on planet Earth are increasingly noticeable: melting ice caps, forest fires, floods and periods of drought. The situation as it is today was predicted 50 years ago by the Club of Rome, an informal group of academics, scientists, politicians, diplomats and industrialists who published The Limits to Growth in 1972. In this report, the club outlined the possible consequences of an exponential increase in population, agricultural production, resource extraction, industrial production, pollution, and the loss of biodiversity. The report caused a commotion worldwide and marked the beginning of environmental awareness.
© Dana Romina
From 22 September to 13 November 2022, the 10th Architecture Biennale – international event, platform for discourse and dialogue, and agenda-setting forum for (inter)national design practices – will open its doors in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The appointment of Saskia van Stein as president signals that the IABR will be striking out in a new direction. Decentralized collaboration models will be deployed to stimulate the integrated, intergenerational, and sustainable renewal of the profession at all levels. After all, participating in and thinking about new ways to organize our living environment is a precondition for an equitable future. The curatorial team of the 2022 edition, which will give shape and content to these new ambitions, includes the following people:
Peter Veenstra, co-founder of LOLA Landscape Architects (with Cees van der Veeken and Eric-Jan Pleijster)
PASZA Platform for Architectural Research, co-founded by Dr. Léa-Catherine Szacka senior lecturer in Architectural Studies at the University of Manchester and visiting lecturer at The Berlage, Delft University of Technology, and ETH Zurich and Dr. Ir. Véronique Patteeuw, lecturer at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et du Paysage Lille, visiting lecturer at the KU Leuven and EPFL Lausanne and academic editor of OASE.
Prof. Dr. Derk Loorbach professor of Socioeconomic Transitions, director of DRIFT, and principal investigator of the Design, Impact, Transition (DIT) platform of the Erasmus University Rotterdam
In the coming period, the curator team will set out the lines for the event and start up several transition-oriented projects; design and development trajectories that help to shape, accelerate, upscale and disseminate social change. The IABR will launch an (international) Open Call for designers to collect leading work for the upcoming exhibition. To close the gap between (social) spatial questions and developing parties, another Open Call will be issued for clients. The IABR will establish collaborations with various knowledge and educational institutes and other cultural partners.
On 15 December, Medy van der Laan will start as the new chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR). She succeeds Ed Nijpels and takes office at a time when the Architecture Biennale is developing a new vision on its role in times of major transitions around water and energy, which we as a society are facing and which also have spatial consequences.
"We are delighted with the arrival of Medy van der Laan. With her diverse career and as a supervisor at various organisations, she brings with her an important network, in addition to a great deal of political-administrative experience. With her connecting, positive personality and quick thinking, she also brings an effective combination of content and process to the IABR.
It is with great pleasure that I look back on the past years as chairman of the IABR. For years, I have realised that the added value of design research, spatial design and architecture is indispensable in order to embed and address the climate challenge we are facing. The IABR has proven to be a powerful instrument in this."
Medy van der Laan:
"My passion for architecture is both managerial and personal. How we organise our country is of great importance to prosperity and well-being. The task of building hundreds of thousands of dwellings in the coming years offers an enormous opportunity to integrate the various social and spatial transformations. This can be done by stimulating smart design solutions in spatial planning and thus making us ready and resilient for the future. Personally, I like to be inspired by good design examples at home and abroad, especially contemporary architecture and urban planning."
About Medy van der Laan
Medy van der Laan is currently chairperson of the Dutch Banking Association (NVB). Previously, she was chairperson of Energie-Nederland, the sector organisation of energy companies. After having worked as a civil servant for twelve years, she became State Secretary for Culture and Media in 2003.
The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, IABR, is a think and do tank and biennial platform for architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. IABR makes an active and concrete contribution to the changes needed for a sustainable and fair future for mankind and the planet. By connecting designers and social partners on an interdisciplinary and (inter)national level around urgent spatial issues, and by convincingly presenting promising approaches and concrete solutions, IABR actively contributes to the changes needed for a sustainable and fair future for mankind and the planet. The visionary and communicative power, the investigative and experimental approach and the knowledge and experience of the design disciplines play a central role in this.
© Adrian Kuipers
Chair of the Supervisory Board Ed Nijpels: “The Supervisory Board of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) is delighted with the accession of Yvette Govaart. As a passionate real estate professional and entrepreneur, she knows the spatial and social challenges like no other. Themes such as design, feasibility, organisation, circularity and sustainability are at the heart of her practice.”
Yvette Govaart: “My conviction is that we will only find the solutions to the major social challenges if we work together, from different disciplines. This turns out to be very complicated in practice. Not only is old thinking a major obstacle, the economic system must also change. Steering paradigms must shift. Transitional thinking and acting is a precondition for this. The design discipline plays a crucial role in this; not only with regard to the architectural and urban planning craft, but also in terms of organisation and philosophy of cooperation. Government and the private sector are searching for the right role in a changing context. Citizens are increasingly uniting and taking on social tasks. As a cultural and knowledge institute, the IABR has an important task in this arena and I look forward to contributing to it from my role as a member of the Supervisory Board.”
Yvette Govaart replaces departed board member Adri Duivesteijn, to whom the team of the International Architecture Biennale shows gratitude for his many years of commitment and dedication to the IABR.
© Moniek Wegdam
Saskia van Stein, currently head of the Critical Inquiry Lab at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, has been appointed director by the supervisory board of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) as of 1 October 2021.
In this position she succeeds George Brugmans, who has led the IABR since 2004. The supervisory board is extremely grateful to Brugmans for the way in which he has shaped and expanded the IABR over the years.
The supervisory board is delighted with the arrival of Saskia van Stein. Ed Nijpels, chairman of the board: "We are delighted with the arrival of Saskia van Stein. With her national and international experience, she is well equipped to lead the IABR to a new future.
Saskia van Stein: "I am delighted with the opportunity to use my expertise and enthusiasm to develop the IABR into the next phase. Imagination and connection will be important elements in my vision of content.
Besides growing socio-economic inequality, the climate and energy transition is the central challenge of our time; a design challenge of enormous complexity and scale. The question of a liveable future and society concerns us all. Stimulating public interest in the wealth of ideas of culture of the designing disciplines and actively involving an audience are important ingredients for the interpretation I hope to give to the policy of the IABR.