I started this week in Barcelona, in the midst of the massive demonstrations of the Catelonia strike. Later this week, I was cohost of the charming Jord den Hollander at the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) and I interviewed Julia Gruen, executive director of the Keith Haring foundation for the special restauration of two Keith Haring graffiti works: one at the Stedelijk, and one secret one at the Foodhallen. Furthermore I saw a touching performance of Maartje Duin about the dementia of her father and ate with very special cuttlery at an experimental gastronomic dinner at the Lloyd Hotel.
On November 4th, 2016, I was awarded the Maaskantprijs 2016 by Mayor of Rotterdam Aboutaleb. This is a bi-annual prize for a person that stimulates the debate on architecture, landscape and urban design by publications, teaching or commissioning. That day I also launched the multimedia project ‘Tracy in Nederland‘ (Tracy in the Netherlands) that I developed with multimediaproducer Submarine, artist Jan Rothuizen and podcastmakers De Kostgangers. Part of the project is the essay The Dark Side of Urban Success designed by Hamid Sallali.
Look closely at the photo below: on the far right you can just barely discern a human figure. That gives you an idea how big the new building for the Estonian National Museum is in the city of Tartu, which opened to the public last week. It’s huge: 356 meters long, 72 meters wide, and 15 meters high at the front, sloping down gradually to just over 2 at the back. One of the world’s smallest countries now has one of the world’s biggest museums, at a cost of 75 million euro’s. The only bigger cultural building in the country is the Linnahall, built by the Soviets on the occasion of the 1980 Olympic Games.
The Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016. HEYU! Urbans is part of a talkshow series of the Public Library of Amsterdam (OBA). The OBA asked me to invite and discuss the urban challenges of today with six prominent thinkers, one a month from six cities in and around the EU in the live talkshow HEYU! Urbans. Literature critic Margot Dijkgraaf invites 12 of the best European writers for HEYU! Writers. Guests include David Madden (London), Stavros Stavrides (Athens), Marten Kaevats (Tallinn), Francesc Muñoz Ramírez (Barcelona), Tuna Kuyucu (Istanbul) and the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan.
The Straits Times of Singapore wrote an article about my lecture with the title ‘Tackle floods? Create more space for water’. I gave this lecture, called ‘Water – Holland’s ‘Frenemy’, on February 18th for the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore.
The Netherlands is known for its control over water. But now that the climate is changing, the Dutch are also changing their approach towards water management. In cities more space is being created for water, the landscape is being redesigned to let water in and sometimes the dikes are even being lowered. Water is becoming a friend instead of an enemy – or better said, frenemy.
Read the article…
In Designed for the Future, Jared Green asked eighty global leaders who shape our built and natural environments the same question: what gives you hope that a sustainable future is possible? I contributed a short essay about ZUS Architects and its transformation of Het Schieblock, an abandoned office building from the sixties, into the center of the revitalized neighborhood. Read my piece below.