Nature of Hope 2024


  • Upcoming Event: July 3, 2024
    City Healing Tour
  • Upcoming Event: July 3, 2024
    Tour naar Utrecht Rijnvliet – een eetbare woonwijk
  • Upcoming Event: July 6, 2024
    Rondleiding door de curator met Janna Bystrykh
  • Upcoming Event: July 12, 2024
    Practice Place: Bodem / Leven
  • Upcoming Event: July 17, 2024
    Future Gardening ~ Speculative Botany
To Public Program

Under the title Nature of Hope, the 11th edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) examines nature, culture and hope from the perspective of architectural thought and action, as a driving force for social change. What does it take to face uncertainty about the future in a time of profound and multiple transformations – in other words, what are the building blocks we need to remain hopeful?

The IABR 2024 will take place from 29 June to 13 October 2024 and will focus on a combination of hope and nature. This choice stems from the recognition that everything begins with the Earth and that our exploitation – or rather, depletion – of the Earth, each other, and the living world is leading to multiple ecological and social crises. As humans, we can no longer place ourselves above or at a distance from nature and nor do we wish to. How can we put the knowledge and practices of spatial design at the service of the planet and all the creatures that live on it?

The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam will open at the Nieuwe Instituut on Saturday 29 June 2024 with a ceremonial program. Nature of Hope kicks off with an opening performance, after which the exhibition is free for everyone to visit. The opening will be performed by Said Kasmi, alderman for Education, Culture and Events, for the municipality of Rotterdam and Fleur Gräper-van Koolwijk, State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science. There will be music in the foyer throughout the evening and there will be various tours and activities that you can participate in. The opening symposium on Sunday 30 June will focus on the theme of this edition, Nature of Hope: on how architecture can restore the ecological balance by taking biodiversity and nature as its starting point. The Nature of Hope exhibition will be on display from the opening on Saturday 29 June until Sunday 13 October. 

Nature of Hope has three main components. In addition to the exhibition at the Nieuwe Instituut, it includes an extensive Public Program and a green network through Rotterdam to visit its so-called Botanical Monuments. Through a series of events, lectures, workshops, excursions and other activities, Nature of Hope’s Public Program of connects to various forms of existing knowledge and the practices that are transforming the very nature of the design disciplines. Some of these will take place in the Practice Place, a soft assembly space designed by Théo Demans and Clemence Seilles, where we invite the architectural community in the broadest sense to come together around transforming practice – from soil and water to working conditions, from bioregional building to new value models. Keep an eye on the agenda for the full program.

Conditions for Hope

In 2024, the IABR will focus on the design of hope – not as a naive position or a binary choice between optimism and pessimism, but as an active practice. After all, change will only land in fertile soil if it comes with the lure and hope of a new dawn. In the face of urgent systemic change, the design disciplines have an opportunity to redefine themselves. How can we consistently engage in a conscious confrontation with the realities of our field of work and our relationships, and find space in them for potential improvement and systemic change?

By focusing on the conditions for hope, the IABR 2024 will contribute to rebuilding social and knowledge infrastructures so that problematic ways of working can be abandoned and alternative ways of working strengthened. Architectural thinking as a flywheel for change!

Beyond the Makeability of the Landscape

The (Western) paradigm of ‘makeability’– social engineering – and the economization and rationalization of the political and physical landscape in the form of polderen are deeply rooted in Dutch culture and inextricably linked to exploitation, dependency, and inequality. But both our technocratic and our democratic foundations are under pressure. The dominant attitude towards nature and landscape – talking and thinking about and designing in spite of nature – has led to our current situation: overlapping crises of ecology, climate, and social relations.

It is high time for a new (design) attitude: to think and act from nature; to act integrally and collectively; to interweave the multiplicity of (cultural) perspectives, lived experiences, and forms of knowledge – including those of other life forms – and to take the promise of the possible future as a starting point.

Towards a Regenerative and Hopeful Architectural Practice

Spatial designers have a key role to play in imagining and establishing the conditions for urgent change. Many signs of this coming cultural shift are already visible. More and more natural entities, such as rivers, are gaining rights (notably in the Global South). Insurers and financial markets are making their voices heard in the climate crisis debate, taking a stand on the future they want. Architects, urban designers, landscape designers, and spatial policymakers are also increasingly focusing on integrated design solutions: from water and soil the drivers of spatial change, as described in new national policies, to working circularly and carbon positively, (re)using local materials and knowledge building.

In the run-up to the exhibition, the IABR 2024 will support these developments by focusing on exploring and transforming architectural culture and strengthening the conditions for regenerative architectural practices.In this context, the imagination is not a utopian blueprint, but a pragmatic search for what previously seemed impossible.

Curator Team

This year’s biennale edition, themed Nature of Hope, is put forward by IABR Director Saskia van Stein and curated by the IABR 2024: Nature of Hope Curator Team. The team consists of architect and researcher Janna Bystrykh, architect-researcher and philosopher Catherine Koekoek, researcher and writer Hani Salih, spatial designer and researcher Alina Paias, and designer and writer Noortje Weenink. The curator team, whose members come from different backgrounds but share a common basis in spatial design, manifests the change that is already underway.

Location: Nieuwe Instituut, Museumpark Rotterdam

The main venue of the IABR 2024 will be the Nieuwe Instituut (NI) in Rotterdam, the national museum for architecture, design, and digital culture. The IABR thus returns to the place where it took its first cultural steps 20 years ago. The IABR and the Nieuwe Instituut share a common agenda and both want the design disciplines to play a key role in interpreting and furthering the development of pressing social challenges.


Announcement Graphic Designers IABR 2024 'Nature of Hope'

Announcement Graphic Designers IABR 2024 'Nature of Hope'

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