The recently rebuilt castle in Berlin, known as "Das Schloss”, which host the Humbolt Forum, was one of the most discussed architecture in Berlin because of its political, symbolic and financial implications. The German federal government spent approximately 700 million euros to build a "fake castle" as a combination of revenge and nostalgia for the destruction of Berlin's original beauty by East Germany, while demolition one of the symbols oft the DDR, the Palast der Republik.
The Biennale hasn’t always been the kind of neutral platform it purports to be today. In the 1970s, under the direction of Carlo Ripa di Meana, it broke off into a radically politicized agenda, explicitly addressing the nationhood and politics of three be-leaguered countries: Chile, Spain, and the former USSR. As Léa-Catherine Szacka and Luca Guido write, the exhibitions were transformed into a political device, a crucial apparatus for public confrontation.
Architecture doesn’t always play the role of nation-builder. But thanks to TV, architecture is often the site where nation-building takes place. In the great domestication of television-watching following Word War Two, our living rooms have become the main receptor for a TV-led nationalism. Andrés Jaque describes its quintessential case: Italy and Berlusconi’s own development of Milano 2.
Architectural practice requires a degree of intimacy and insight into complex sets of forces. While building is architecture’s bread and butter, it’s not always the best format to make a statement. It’s sometimes not even the most appropriate language to respond to a brief. Volume spoke with Reinier de Graaf of OMA/AMO about how research and media can become a vessel for political agendas.
In light of recent political events and those to come in the United States and beyond, we've decided to dig into our archive and pull out some uncannily relevant articles. The first, originally published ten years ago in Volume #7: Power Logic (Architecture of Power, Part 3), is a reflection by Gwenda Blair on the rise of Donald Trump and cultures of salesmanship.
Berlusconi’s role in Italian and Global politics had a great influence, to the point that in 2016, during the rise to the US presidency of Donald Trump, he has been described his political ancestor. The Italian politician owns his political success to his real estate and media companies that created, with projects like Milano 2, a new visual and cultural imaginary for the country. In 2001 Luca Molinari wrote for Volume a piece right before Berlusconi was nominated prime minister for the second time after winning the elections in June.
The financial world was once dominated by gossip, speculation, research and strategically – timed trades – by people, for people. With the introduction of computers and high-speed fibre optic cables, however, the human grasp on trading is becoming evermore tenuous. Algorithms and bots are the new players on the stock market, engaging in high-frequency trading at nearly the speed of light, turning microscopic gains across a vast field into major profits. Matthew Tiessen explains how a new logic and geography is emerging from this unfathomably fast and complex practice.
For Volume #6 Inderpaul Johar wrote 'Neo-money', a piece about the shift in the architects’ role: from designers to facility managers where ‘affordably’ in the lifetime management of a building become essential for its sustainability. Is (invested) money management the most important design factor now?
'Deconstructivism' is one of the writings included in Pathways through the Jungle, a book gathering Hans van Dijk's most significant articles leading the architecture debate in the Netherlands for decades, during the years he was writing on NRC, Wonen-TABK and Archis. The book is edited by Arjen Oosterman, Bart Lootsma and Christine de Baan and published by Archis.
Sabine von Fischer speaks to Reinier de Graaf on OMA’s intentions behind the hospital of the future. In part two of this conversation we pick up talking about what writing means to de Graaf, to then return to the approach for the Hospital of the Future which takes an unexpected medicinal turn… Stay tuned for the season finale part 3!