The Jaap Bakema Study Centre organized a special conference on the work of Jaap Bakema (1914-1981) and his idea to build towards an open society. Speakers included professor Tom Avermaete, professor Carola Hein (both TU Delft), professor Mark Swenarton (University of Liverpool) and Christoph Grafe, director of the Flemish Architecture Institute (VAi). The conference acted as a conclusion of the Dutch presentation for this year's Venice Biennale 'Open: A Bakema Celebration',
During the conference, the many aspects in the work of Jaap Bakema and his office Van den Broek and Bakema were highlighted. Researchers from Brasil, Germany, Italy and Macedonia, among other nationalities, took a fresh and critical look on Bakema's ideas about the open society, but also about his concept of total space, his interest in an architecture that enables a new, modern identity and emancipation of the masses, and his fascination for systems, transitions and interrelations. Another key issue in Bakema's narrative concerns the transformation of the Dutch landscape and its cities due to an all-pervasive modernization process against the background of the Cold War. Bakema's role in the international post-war avant-gardes (CIAM, Team 10, Dutch Forum), his teachings in among others Delft, St. Louis, Salzburg and Hamburg and his practice of using competitions as a tool for experiment, provocation and innovation also receive attention.
The subject of the open society was explored in more depth in presentations that reflected on the recently published books Architecture and the Welfare State (Mark Swenarton, Tom Avermaete and Dirk van den Heuvel, eds.) and People's Palaces by Christoph Grafe. The afternoon was closed with a discussion panel on future research. See here for more information about the programme Bakema and the Open Society.
Jaap Bakema Study Centre
The Jaap Bakema Study Centre is a research centre, founded by Het Nieuwe Instituut and The Delft University of Technology. Het Nieuwe Instituut manages one of the largest architecture collections in the world. Delft University of Technology is internationally recognised for its distinguished research in the architectural field. Working together allows the two organisations to profit from each other’s expertise, resources and contacts. The Jaap Bakema Study Centre is based at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, and headed by Dirk van den Heuvel, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture TU Delft.