The Berlage Institute, postgraduate laboratory of architecture in Rotterdam, has installed a new Research Board. Until now, Alejandro Zaera Polo (director of FOA) has been the Dean of the Institute. He has been opening the Berlage to a more international field as to tutors, lecturers and new design strategies. Instead of appointing a single follower, the institute named a board of five established figures: Ben van Berkel, Winy Maas, Robert E. Somol, Elia Zenghelis and Alejandro Zaera Polo himself. Vedran Mimica (now Director of Studies) is named director and will be responsible for the management of the postgraduate program and the implementation of strategic advice provided by the Research Board. The idea is to create a new innovative platform, not so much dependent on a single person. One the one hand this model is very flexible and inspires discussion and critique, on the other hand there is the danger of loosing profile by not having a representative person, a champion. Who is responsible for what? How much time will the board members spend at the institute? Will they find a common course? I am curious to follow how this system works out. The openness of the system speaks for the flexibility of the Berlage Institute as an independent research laboratory.
Read the full press release (Source: Berlage):
“Berlage Institute sets a new course
The Berlage Institute is pleased to announce the installation of a new Research Board to set the future course of the postgraduate laboratory of architecture. This Research Board is composed of five established figures in the world of architecture and urbanism: Ben van Berkel, Winy Maas, Robert E. Somol, Alejandro Zaera Polo and Elia Zenghelis. Together they will strengthen the leading position of the Berlage Institute as a platform for innovative research and debate on architecture, urbanism and landscape. With the ending of Alejandro Zaera Polo’s term as dean, a new and diverse leadership structure is chosen to steer the content of the Berlage Institute. This change in structure is reflective of the wide-ranged research character the institute has acquired under Zaera Polo’s deanship. The Research Board is responsible for setting the general course and profile of the institute and identifying new insights and fields of research. Furthermore, the members of the Research Board will be personally engaged in one or more components of the program. In the coming years, the creation of new alliances between the Berlage Institute and leading universities, renowned and emerging professional practices and other research initiatives will expand the already international network of the institute. In particular, we aim to extend our affiliation with Dutch and European research programs in the fields of sustainability, urbanism and energy intelligent architecture and planning. The composition of the Research Board promotes innovative and experimental methods of research. Ben van Berkel is cofounder and Principal Architect of UN Studio in Amsterdam. He is presently Professor in Conceptual Design at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. Winy Maas is partner of MVRDV in Rotterdam and recently appointed Professor in Architecture and Urbanism at the Delft University of Technology. Robert E. Somol is an architecture theorist, he teaches at Princeton University and is appointed Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Alejandro Zaera Polo is partner in Foreign Office Architects in London, was Dean of the Berlage Institute from 2002-2007 and is Professor at Delft University of Technology (Berlage Chair).Elia Zenghelis is an architect and educator based in Brussels. He currently teaches at the Accademia di Archittetura in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Vedran Mimica is named Director and will be responsible for the management of the postgraduate program and the implementation of strategic advice provided by the Research Board.
Further information can be obtained from Rob Docter, General Director of the Berlage Institute, at +31-10-403 0391.”