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.

Volume #39: Urban Border — Out Now!
Jeroen Beekmans
Volume #39: Urban Border

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?

There is an intimate relation between conflict and change. Archis’ Architecture of Peace research suggests that the ambition to create a better society on the ruins of the past comes with unforeseen effects, creating situations that are disrupting in many ways. The story of ‘the West’ coming to rescue and help other cultures isn’t positive throughout. It seems that we’re still stuck in concepts that already during WWII manifested as guiding principles. A book on the planning history during that period sheds (a relative) new light on the matter.

Volume #38 Preview
Jeroen Beekmans
Volume #38: The Shape of Law

On January 31st we launched Volume's 38th issue - The Shape of Law - with a special event at Post Office in Rotterdam. For those who haven't seen the issue yet but can't wait to get their hands on it, here's a little preview!

Shenzhen Biennale: A Photo Report
Arjen Oosterman

Last December, Volume's editorial team spent three weeks in Shenzhen for the occasion of the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture. The outcome of our stay in China will be a Shenzhen-themed issue that will be launched soon. To get you in the mood we've prepared this little photo report.

Bracket Calls for Submissions
Jeroen Beekmans

Architecture, environment and digital culture magazine Bracket asks: What are the collective projects in the public realm to act on? How have recent design projects incited political or social action? How can design catalyze a public, as well as forums for that public to act? What is the role of spatial practice to instigate or resist public actions?