Back in Stock: the Volume Shopping Bag!
Jeroen Beekmans

The unique Volume shopping bag is back in stock! Conceptualized by designers Daniel van der Velden and Maureen Mooren, the text was originally conceived as a T-shirt print, we couldn't resist re-publishing it now that it is again so actual. Get one of these limited edition Dutch Design icons for only €10, worldwide shipping included!

Prizing the Critique
Arjen Oosterman

The Netherlands has two new prizes, the Geert Bekaert Prize for Architecture Criticism and the Simon Mari Pruys Prize for Design Criticism. They’re promoting ‘a vibrant design culture’ by stimulating writing and reflection and awarding the prize to one critique, not to a critic. Initiated by Archined and Design Platform Rotterdam they were awarded for the first time in Amsterdam on March 20th 2014. For architecture the award went to Plain Weirdness: The Architecture of Neutelings Riedijk, a text in El Croquis by the former Director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, now Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Aaron Betsky. The Simon Mari Pruys Prize went to Sander Manse for his essay on the use of models in designing design.

Plain Weirdness: The Architecture of Neutelings Riedijk
Aaron Betsky

What is essential about the work of Neutelings Riedijk is its plain weirdness. The two aspects of this definition are essential. The use of form and materials that are familiar, simple, and sometimes even primitive grounds the strangeness, the baroque involutions, and the haunting quality that gives the work its power. These architects know how to mine the vernacular to find within it the material that both grounds us and connects us to something bigger, stranger, and older than we are. Their buildings use this basis to teeter between abstraction and reference, creating a blur that allows us to intuit forms, images and spaces that the designers only imply. Finally, Neutelings Riedijk’s buildings become stages on which we can act out the roles to which we would like to become accustomed, sometimes as masques in which both the structures and we are actors, and sometimes directly, when the buildings’ interiors become, more often than not, stages.

The 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen took ‘urban border’ as its theme. For good reason. If there is a place to study ‘border’ as condition, it is Shenzhen. Demographic, territorial, economic, political, social, and legal borders created this fifteen million city in less than thirty-five years, and drive its further development. The transformation of this ‘factory of the world’ into a post-industrial economy and society, the disappearance of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen divide in 2047, and the reconciliation of state capitalism and communist rule, are but three of the challenges Shenzhen is facing, to which its role and position in the larger-scale development of the Pearl River Delta can be added.

Mapping the Drones
Jeroen Beekmans

Earlier this month, Forensic Architecture, SITU Research, and Ben Emmerson (United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights) launched a web platform that maps out civilian casualties from drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq, as well as Israeli strikes in Gaza.

The Good Cause: On Show Until June 1st at Stroom The Hague
Jeroen Beekmans

Two weeks ago, on March 8, we celebrated the opening of The Good Cause exhibition at architecture institute Stroom in The Hague. The exhibit, that will be on show until June 1st, addresses the military, political and cultural complexity of rebuilding operations. Can architecture actively contribute to this area of tension?