Studio for Unsolicited Architecture in het Auditorium. Foto: Carel van Hees
The Studio for Unsolicited Architecture is an experimental project initiated by the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) that explores ways in which architecture can play a meaningful role in resolving urgent social and design challenges. By creating alliances with other stakeholders and tabling design ideas, the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture attempts to resolve the deadlock facing many social and spatial issues. The designers’ ‘unsolicited’ idea is the starting point – the initial momentum for a project and a design solution with no client and no budget.
In the current recession, we’re facing a real estate deadlock: how can we tackle the issue of vacant premises? How can we encourage more people to take part in sports in the city? How can we use large-scale infrastructure to improve our country’s biodiversity? These are just some of the questions spatial designers have studied, and are still studying, in an effort to find innovative answers. But to arrive at effective solutions architects also need to tap into the expertise of other disciplines. The Studio for Unsolicited Architecture aims to help designers establish alliances with other stakeholders and arrive at a new, tangible proposal, together. A proposal which, based on thorough research, with a broad support base and a realistic basis, can be seen as a serious proposition. A proposal that pro-actively demonstrates ways of resolving today’s social and spatial challenges. The ultimate goal is to ensure the plans are detailed and tangible, and can actually be implemented.
First and second rounds
Three teams began the first round of the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture in the summer of 2011. They spent 6 months investigating opportunities for creating a sports ground on the Binnenrotte in Rotterdam, a ‘performative space’ that could prove a vital ingredient in re-energising the public space, and the tools involved in ‘flexible planning’ as a counterweight to the customary process which follows a pre-determined procedure. The teams presented the results of their research and the alliances they had formed in a public presentation in January 2012 at the Netherlands Architecture Institute.
In the week prior to this presentation, three new teams had begun their ‘unsolicited’ procedure. They will expand upon their proposals - research into how large-scale infrastructure can be harnessed to support ecological networks, how vacant premises in business parks can be used to create new energy landscapes, and new and improved water storage methods in an urban environment – this spring. The proposals and alliances will be presented in september 2012.
The third round of the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture will be held in autumn 2012. This round is organized by the NAI and the Netherlands Architecture Fund (SfA). Like rounds one and two, the third round will be preceded by an open call for ‘unsolicited’ project proposals. The call for submissions closes in July 2012.
The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) launched the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture at the end of 2010. In the light of the difficulties facing the architecture profession, the NAI concluded that many potentially outstanding ideas and designs were simply being disregarded, mainly because the plans’ relevance and value hasn’t been communicated clearly. With the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture, the NAI intends to provide a platform for innovative, experimental ideas and to help make the plans ‘market ready’. Three plans are selected and nurtured over a 6-month period. During this time, the designers develop and refine their project, and engage with stakeholders and market parties. The plans to be adopted are chosen from the submissions – plans and ideas initiated and defined by the designers themselves, with the underlying aim of developing projects to address urgent social and spatial issues.
The NAI entered into partnership with the Fonds BKVB (now part of the Mondriaan Fonds) for the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture in the summer of 2011. The expertise of the Fonds BKVB is effectively supports the call for submissions process, and guarantees a balanced, professional selection procedure. In addition, it also provides the teams taking part in the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture with financial support. The rounds held in autumn 2011 and spring 2012 were made possible, and jointly initiated by, the NAI and the Fonds BKVB/Mondriaan Fonds.
In the spring of 2012, the NAI and the Netherlands Architecture Fund (SfA) became partners. Both parties agreed that the SfA and NAI would co-sponsor a new round of the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture in autumn 2012. The SfA will assume the responsibilities previously undertaken by the Fonds BKVB/Mondriaan Fonds during the preceding working alliance.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment recognizes the importance of the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture, and is one of its long-standing knowledge partners. Thanks to the ministry’s support, the NAI is able to continue running the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture.
Want to find out more?
For further details about the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture, please contact Michiel Raats, project leader, Studio for Unsolicited Architecture at email@example.com
The Studio for Unsolicited Architecture is an experimental project that explores ways in which architecture can play a meaningful role in resolving urgent social and design challenges. > Read more...
In early January, the public presentation of the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture took place. Since then, three teams have started work on their research proposals. These teams were selected out of 38 proposals received and assessed in the autumn of 2011 by the advisory board of the Fonds BKVB in conjunction with the NAI. Over the months ahead, the designers will elaborate their proposals, supported by the NAI and the Mondriaan Fonds.
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An advisory board of the Fonds BKVB and the NAI have jointly selected three research proposals from the 44 projects submitted for the open call Studio for Unsolicited Architecture. The proposals will be further developed over the next few months, with the support of the NAI and the Fonds BKVB.
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The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) and the Netherlands
Architecture Fund (Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur) are
delighted to introduce the three new teams which will be elaborating
their design proposals under the wings of the Studio for Unsolicited
Architecture, Design & E-Culture from September 2012. The selection committee thought that the
questions addressed by these three proposals and the chosen research
methodologies were surprising, while responding to societal needs in a
topical and relevant manner. One feature they share in common is that
each searches for a way in which design can unite and renew the
fragmented landscape of consumers, the people faced by problems and
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A bid for flexible planning, a bid for performative spaces and a bid for a sporting ground on Rotterdam’s Binnenrotte. These were the projects presented to the public and (future) team partners on Tuesday 17 January at the NAI. The bids are the work of three teams who have been developing their research proposals over the last few months with the support of the ‘Studio for Unsolicited Architecture’. Moderator Farid Tabarki guided the audience through the different presentations.
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Starting his journey as the Dutch entry at the 9th International
Architecture Biennale of Sao Paolo the next stop for the exhibition Unsolicited Architecture was in Recife, Brazil. The exhibition was from 17 till 30 September on show in Belo Horizonte. In Unsolicited Architecture
three issues were highlighted; mobility, public space and vacancy. The
exhibition featured nine projects by architects who enter into urgent
social challenges. They seize opportunities where the established
building practice doesn't. Almost all of the presented projects are
established in cooperation between Dutch and international architects.
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