Many Dutch people will still recall the 'cul-de-sac', the 'conversation pit' or the combination of orange, brown and purple. But buildings such as the Centraal Beheer by Hertzberger, the Kasbah by Piet Blom and urban planning projects by Ben Loerakker and Paul de Ley are also typical of Dutch architecture of the 1970s. The NAI exhibition 'Conversation Pits and Cul-de-Sacs' shows material from the NAI's own collection which will be supplemented both with loans from architects and with art works, films and photographs from other collections. It is obvious that ideas from the period, such as the discussions about varied and flexible living and working environments, are once again current. Also this was the period with the highest volume of building construction in the twentieth century. Even the cul-de-sac and the conversation pit as models for creating community are making a return. The exhibition's designers, NL Architects, have echoed these concepts in the exhibition. They have transformed the NAI's largest gallery into a maze-like living space complete with a conversation pit.
Democracy and emancipation were key concepts in the 1970s and played an important role in architectural developments. No other decade was shaped to such an extent by conflict and contrasts as the 1970s and no other period in the history of Dutch architecture arouses so much passion, resistance and revulsion. Straight lines made way for diagonals, architects converted en masse to the pitched roof and there was a growing interest in urban issues. These developments led to typical 1970s architectural and urban-planning projects such as the Moederhuis, a women's hostel by Aldo van Eyck, the first residential area in Almere by Joop van Stigt and the 'Kyftebelt' housing project by Jan Verhoeven. These and other important projects are illustrated through drawings, photographs and models.
The exhibition is divided into a number of 'cul-de-sacs', focusing on themes such as immigration, emancipation, political activity and leisure time, providing a socio-political context for the decade's architecture and urban planning. There is also a real 'conversation pit' where visitors can watch films and recordings of fashion shows or leaf through magazines. With a living room furnished in plastics and another in the 'exotic' style of the period, the exhibition also shows interiors, the human scale and DIY (do-it-yourself).
The NAI's largest gallery is transformed into a maze-like living space complete with a conversation pit. Within this labyrinth, visitors will encounter not only the decade's most extraordinary projects, such as the Centraal Beheer building in Apeldoorn and Piet Blom's Kasbah, but also the many 'ordinary' buildings that gave the 1970s its recognizable character.
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual (Dutch/English) publication The Critical Years - Architecture and Urban Planning in the Netherlands 1968-1982, published by NAi Publishers (256 pages, €25).
The exhibition is made possible through the financial support of Dura Vermeer Groep NV, Bouwfonds Property Development B.V., Municipality of Zoetermeer, Municipality of Almere, Ymere, Woningstichting GoedeStede, Groene Stad Almere.
Outrageous! Visit the special seventies subsite!
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