It has been a while since Dutch architecture has needed a make-over. You can also read the autumn 2005 issue of OASE (link) titled: After the Party:
Half-consciously, but not explicitly, the ‘young’ Dutch architecture [of the 90ies – ed.] reflected the silent consensus of the enlightened neo-liberalism of the period. Conflicts of interest were not resolved, but laconically presented. The complications of building and the shoddy standards of the industries involved were not avoided, but displayed with hardly disguised pleasure. Whereas earlier generations of architects had tried to find balances between vested and public interests, or – in the ‘critical’ 1970s had formulated alternatives to the dominant culture, the SuperDutch architecture was pragmatic, self-confident and frighteningly contemporary. The provocative statement was an important style figure, but its direction remained unclear.
Four years of economic decline and a succession of populist and Christian-conservative politics have brought the post-ideological party of the 1990s to an end. Debates on immigration and the common values of a secularised society have acquired a sharp edge; appeals against political and other ‘elites’ have become commonplace statements on the hymn sheets of a new class of rulers who emerged from the populist revolt that transformed the country, like others in Western Europe, after the millennium. The privatisation of the public sphere – a process that started in the economic crisis in the 1980s and continued without much protest – has accelerated. Cutting subsidies for cultural institutions and wilfully dismantling the system of regional planning, this new regime offers a clear vision of a society that has shaken off what was left of the arrangements of post-war collective planning and cultural politics, replacing it with the disciplinary force of the market.
So Dutch architecture will presumably join the rest of the technology world with a symposium scheduled for November, launching this new theme: Architecture 2.0? Clearly it stems from the O’Reilly Media term Web 2.0 – which is now passé. So Architecture is trying one more time to jump on the bandwagon of a hype, but unfortunately arriving late. The website announcing the conference is very Web 1.0, too: a static, non-community oriented and non-database driven site for starters. But more importantly – will the conference address these issues – communities, communication, bottom-up planning structures, open-source architecture?
The conference participants is a nice list of NL Architectuur 1.0 favs: Wiel Arets, Ben van Berkel, Francine Houben, Rem Koolhaas, Winy Maas and Willem Jan Neutelings. The moderator is Ole Bouman, while Ivo Opstelten and Mels Crouwel will also make opening and closing comments respectively. This raises the question then, who is the next generation of Dutch architects, or foreign architects operating in the Netherlands? Or is architecture version 2.0 the same architects as 1.0 but with some new tricks?
With the subtitle, The Destiny of Architecture, and almost no explanation of the theme, we don’t really know what to expect, other than many grand ideas, perhaps great, perhaps not. But if you’re up for a conference, hopefully you have 350 euros (excl. BTW) to burn, because this is an expensive one. Otherwise, if you’re student, it’s nearly free at 20 euros (incl. BTW).