Dirk Sijmons, renowned landscape architect and former Governmental Advisor on Landscape, has been appointed curator of the next edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. The 6th IABR has the working title URBAN by NATURE and opens in May 2014.
The sixth edition will focus on the ‘natural’ character of the city as human biotope. By examining the metabolism of the urban organism, IABR–2014 explores the relationship between city and nature whilst also reflecting on city as nature. The city as nature, as a metabolism, not only comprises the built environment, but the broader context: the landscape that is the material condition for our urban society.
Today, when the feverish pace of urbanisation has radically altered the relationship between the city and the world, the IABR is convinced that now is the time to consider the city from the vantage point of landscape architecture. City making will need to take account of the multi-dimensional complexities and cross-dependencies within the infrastructures of water management, food production and waste processing, energy production and distribution, infrastructure, heat islands and data flows. By developing cutting-edge visions of the complex ecology that is the city we will be able more effectively to manage the adaptation, growth and shrinkage of the urban regions and megacities that will soon house 80% of the world’s population.
Dirk Sijmons has a clear and compelling vision of the theme: "Looking at the city through the lens of landscape architecture allows us a clear view of the situation. There is just one course of action available to us: if we are to resolve the world’s ecological problems we first need to resolve the problems facing our cities. And the only way we can reach these solutions is by naming and researching them in terms of the metabolism of the city."
With URBAN by NATURE the IABR builds directly on one of the three large projects of the 5th IABR: Making City. In Istanbul, the IABR and the Municipality of Arnavutköy are presently working with Architecture Workroom Brussels, 51N4E and H+N+S Landscape Architects on a radical, new strategy to bring two opposing forces in the area - ecology and explosive urbanization - into a mutually beneficial balance. The pilot projects will be realized in 2014.
Another large project of the 5th IABR, Test Site Rotterdam, and the collaboration with ZUS will also be continued, and will concentrate on the sustainability of the urban ecology of the Rotterdam Central District and the vital corridor connecting the area with Rotterdam North.
IABR director George Brugmans: "With the appointment of Dirk Sijmons the IABR unites unique expertise and international experience where the disciplines of urbanization, landscape and infrastructure intersect. Recognized as a world-wide authority in his field, Sijmons will join forces with the IABR in seeking innovative visions and responses to the symbiotic relationship between city and nature."
Dirk Sijmons (1949) studied Architecture at Delft University of Technology and is one of the three founders of H+N+S Landscape Architects. Dirk Sijmons was awarded the Rotterdam-Maaskant Prize in 2002. In 2004, Dirk Sijmons was appointed Governmental Advisor on Landscape by the Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries. In 2007, he received the prestigious Edgar Doncker prize in the category of ‘true Dutch culture’. In addition to his work for H+N+S, Sijmons is currently Professor of Landscape Architecture at Delft University of Technology.