CAMBRIDGE USA 2011
The Archiprix International 2011 is organised in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture + Planning. The SA+P boasts an illustrious history stretching back nearly a century and a half, providing the current students with a legacy and long tradition of pioneering excellence.
The Department of Architecture was the first such department in the nation (1865) and became a leader in introducing Modernism to America. The program in city planning was the second of its kind in the country (1932), later evolving into the current Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the longest continuous planning program in the United States. The Media Lab, the birthplace of multimedia computing (1985), has come to be known around the world as a world-class incubator of new design ideas; the Center for Real Estate established the nation's first one-year graduate program in real estate development (1984), becoming recognized worldwide as a leader in the field; and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (1967), now a thriving fellowship program, pioneered the use of technologies such as lasers, plasma sculptures, sky art and holography as tools of expression in public and environmental art.
Interview Alexander D’Hooghe
Winners / nominees
Book & dvd
World Premiere Documentary Archiprix International
Video impressions of the workshops
Interviews with participants
Who's your favourite architect?
Alexander D’Hooghe MIT Cambridge USA
May 2010 - Marina van den Bergen - photo Jan De Meue
Alexander D'Hooghe is the liaison officer between Archiprix International and the MIT, where the evaluation of the plans will take place in the autumn of 2010, and the workshops will be held in May 2011. Who is this man, what does he stand for, what makes the MIT so special, and which plans are being formulated with respect to Archiprix International?
First of all, what did you study and where?
I gained my Master's degree in Architecture at the University of Louvain (Belgium). I graduated there in 1996 with a study on the redevelopment of the Slachthuisdistrict (Slaughterhouse District) in Brussels. Then I went to Harvard (Cambridge, Mass.) in the United States to take a Master's degree in Urban Design. I graduated there in 2001, with a study on communist ideal cities or, more specifically, secret scientific settlements in Siberia. This research was a part of the Harvard project on the city, initiated by Rem Koolhaas. In 2002, I went to the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, where I taught for three years and worked on my thesis. Ultimately I defended my thesis at the MIT here in Boston in 2007.
Can you tell me, in three sentences, what your thesis is about?
The thesis is entitled The Liberal Monument: Urban Design and the Late Modern Project. The research is about an ideological and formal programme. A number of European architects who fled to the States to escape the violence of the thirties formed the starting point. From a safe home in America, they reflect on the question as to how it could go so terribly wrong in Europe and, more importantly, what could they have done from their professional position to resist the rising tide of barbarity. In this reflection, they discuss a new modern monumentality, which could serve as a counterpart to the monumentality that Hitler and Speer envisaged. On the basis of this thinking, the first post-war urban design in America arose: an urban design determined by a strongly ideological foundation. Although The Liberal Movement is a historical treatise, it has been written as a modern manifesto, it formulates terms we can currently work with.
You have your own office, ORG. Organization for Permanent Modernity. What does the name mean?
The Organization for Permanent Modernity is an overarching concept. It sketches the basic framework of the tasks and studies that could fit in there. ORG consists of two elements: the ORG design office with branches in Brussels and Boston, and the academic research platform at the MIT. The research group independently formulates the issues that we believe ought to be addressed. The co-operation with Archiprix International is accommodated in the academic section.
Could you say more about the research group?
The research group is also called the Platform for Permanent Modernity. At this moment we are performing a long-term study on Greater New York. We circle around Manhattan, as it were, and each year we chart another part of the city. Last year, for instance, that was Long Island. At the end of the project, we want to be capable of compiling a blueprint for the entire metropolitan area.
Did the Soviets inspire you?
(Laughing) New York is not crazy enough, you have to make it crazier by imposition from above.
Getting back to the MIT, how would you characterize the Master's degree programme in Architecture?
The first year and a half of the Master's programme consists of a so-called 'core programme'. It is a kind of boot camp. If students complete this successfully, they are soon capable of analysing complex spatial programmes and of producing design solutions. You don't know everything after the boot camp, but a fertile creative layer has been laid down.
Another characteristic feature of the programme is the pursuit of global practice. That is also the reason why the MIT wishes to participate in the Archiprix International project. The teaching staff come from all corners of the world, there are very few Americans. Of our Master's degree students, around half are American; of the participants in the PhD Scientific course, only twenty per cent are American.
In which way does the programme differ from other American programmes, such as those at Harvard, Cooper Union and Princeton, for example?
What distinguishes us from other programmes is the fact that we are a very small school. We admit no more than 30 to 35 Master's degree students annually. The teacher-student ratio is one to seven.
MIT has a very good reputation in two domains: we are renowned in computation (digital skills, blob architecture), and in urban planning. In addition, the MIT is experimental in the sense that the Architecture programme is not dogmatic or ideological. The programme does not have a signature that is determined by one or two super-names. The people who teach here can be characterized as free spirits. In the past, people such as Buckminister Fuller, Louis Kahn and Alvar Aalto have taught here.
How does American design education relate to education in other countries?
What I find striking in the architectural tradition here on the east coast is the autonomy that the object enjoys in relation to the programme, function, politics and context. This is expressed in a number of ways. Computation has developed very rapidly here. Research is regarded as legitimate in itself, it does not need to provide justification. And there are also the presentations. The graphic quality of the presentations is genuinely very high, but the conceptual and functional consequences are not always well-thought-out. In other words, whether or not the presentation is effective beyond its own patch is not always evident.
What are the relevant issues for designers at this moment, according to the MIT?
The last twenty years have been characterized by an optimism that, as a psychological mass condition, was nourished by the systematic surplus of capital. A certain type of architecture is associated with that period, the kind of iconic architecture that you find in China, Dubai, and also in the Netherlands. That optimistic period has now passed. Globalization was a driving force behind optimism, but is now the force behind pessimism. Instead of growth and opportunity, we now only see threats and attacks on our identity. In itself, this is not a unique condition, it is the same sort of force field that Manuel Castells described when he discussed the network society versus identity in the nineties.
What new role can architecture assume; does architecture actually have a role to play?
I am not optimistic in the sense that we shall return to the situation of ten years ago, but I am optimistic about the role of architecture and especially about its more powerful counterpart, architectural urban planning. I believe that architecture and architectural urban planning play a role in experiencing, determining and reflecting identity. And the duty of architecture and urban planning has become a substantial one exactly because the aspect of identity is going through a crisis prompted by globalization. That is what my thesis is all about: what could architecture's role have been in the European crisis in the thirties? I believe that architecture and urban planning play a major role in the radiation of optimism. The fact that architecture can be optimistic, and can produce monuments to a kind of pluralistic idea of progress, exactly at the moment when everyone is paralysed by anxiety, is an extremely strong point. Our overriding task is to attempt to give people some sort of trust in the future. In fact, we are a kind of analgesic.
Why is the MIT eager to co-operate with Archiprix?
The aims of Archiprix International may be slightly naive but they are very exciting, such as the stimulation of international exchange and the reinforcement of global co-operation and dialogue. This is exactly what the MIT also wishes to realize with its global practice.
The era of the celebrity architect has come to a close. Historically, the current age is an interesting link to the following stage, that of a global discourse on architecture. It is important to initiate a discussion on architecture in the world. A kind of global discourse is beginning to arise, it is primarily being aired on the internet, but it is still rather shallow. It is currently doomed to create superficiality. The conditions on which the discussions are based are very different: in China, there is overproduction; in Europe, everything seems to be going well; America is having to cope with dysfunctional suburbs. To carry on a discussion, the verbal exchanges have to be focused. It is important to be critical. To realize progress, a global discourse is necessary.
What is your role in the co-operation between Archiprix and MIT?
This is primarily an accommodating role. At present, I am busy writing a guide for the evaluation. I am in favour of a scholastic method of assessment. One is always biased based on where one comes from - so better to deal with it consciously. In my opinion projects should be assessed
in the light of two aspects: the internal effectiveness or logic of the project, and its eloquence. Are all the elements that are needed for the project, present within the architectural constitution of the project, with nothing more or less than strictly required?
Is anything known about the workshop themes, as yet? Is the assignment connected to a location with a specific theme, or are the workshop supervisors completely free in their formulation of the assignment? To give two examples of these extreme positions: the workshops that were held during Archiprix International 2007 were all connected to the redevelopment of a specific location in central Shanghai. In Montevideo 2009, the workshop supervisors were completely at liberty to choose the location and issue.
I believe in a tight framework, with regard to both the location and the assignment, because only then can you talk to one another about analysis, concept, proposals and suchlike. The entire workshop part still has to be thought out and elaborated, but the theme of the workshop will be related to global criticality after the crisis with optimism about architecture.
One of the challenges for Archiprix International is to involve more American schools in the project. Do you have an idea about the best way to do so?
In the USA there are around 350 architectural programmes. It will be impossible to get them all to participate, but we shall do our best. The Archiprix International concept could take root, but then probably the more formal part: prizes for the best graduation projects. Archiprix, as a Dutch initiative in which designers from all over the world enter into discussion with one another about fundamental issues, is not regarded in America as being particularly exciting. However, it is certainly necessary for the USA to enter into a more intensive dialogue with the world. People here are not happy to accept criticism from outsiders, Americans regard their country as Utopia achieved. So who is the foreigner to comment on American decisions?
Will the MIT students be aware of the Archiprix? For example, will MIT students be involved in the workshops in any way? Will there be any kind of exchange?
The workshops will take place at the end of May, beginning of June 2011. Of course, we would like to involve the MIT students, but we have to consider precisely how we could engage them. Probably, MIT students will be present as assistants in the workshops, but I would love to deploy them as hosts, so that they can inform the participants about and familiarize them with Cambridge.
The USA is very strict about admitting foreigners, especially those who do not have an EU passport. What is the MIT going to do to ensure that participants from Africa, Mexico, China and the Middle East can also take part in the workshops?
Both Yung Ho Chang, the dean of the Architecture Department at MIT, and Susan Hockfield, the chairperson of MIT, support the Archiprix International project. Unfortunately we do not have a hotline to the American Immigration Office, but we shall do everything we can. Whatever the case, participants in Archiprix International will receive a formal invitation from the MIT. The only tip I can give to people who wish to participate in the workshops is to begin as early as possible with applying for a visa.
The graduation plans selected by the various design education courses to participate in Archiprix International 2011 were assessed by an independent international jury. The jury assessment took place at the MIT, Cambridge (Mass.) 24 and 25 September 2010.
For the 2011 edition held in the United States of America Archiprix International received over 300 projects from 70 countries, a new record number. The jury Yung Ho Chang (Atelier FJCZ and former Dean of the Architecture Department of the MIT), Kapil Gupta (Serie Architects), Xiangning (Sean) Li (Tongi University and director of the Museum of Architecture Shanghai), and Ralph Nelson (LOOM), reviewed all submitted projects and nominated 24 projects for an award.
from left to right: Kapil Gupta, Ralph Nelson, Yung Ho Chang, and Xiangning Li.
The winners from left to right: Nicholas Adam Szczepaniak, Gijs Adriaansens, Simone Pizzagalli, Jonathan Enns, Ruann van der Westhuizen, Veronica Rusca, Maurizio Pizzocro, Lorenzo Trompetto, Craig Johnston, Mira Henry (w/o Molly Hunker).
Yung Ho Chang (chairman of the jury) and Winka Dubbeldam (Archiprix veteran) presenting the awards.
Out of the 24 nomined projects the jury selected 8 winners. The chairman of the jury, Yung Ho Chang announced the winners of the Award ceremony in New York in a packed Guggenheim with more than 450 guest on June 9th 2011.
According to the jury:" The winning projects are related to the DNA of recognizable architects or architectural styles, but they are another evolutionary step beyond that DNA, and stand out because of the authentic voice of the individual designers and the clear positions they take. They are all very powerful projects and go beyond style. What they have in common is poetics".
The winner of the Hunter Douglas Awards are: (in alphabetical order)
Gijs Adriaansens > Amsterdam Alphabet
Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of the built Environment, Eindhoven the Netherlands
Nicholas Adam Szczepaniak
The University of Westminster, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, London England
University of Strathclyde, Department of Architecture,Glasgow Scotland
Princeton University, School of Architecture, Princeton United States
Ruann van der Westhuizen
University of Pretoria, Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, Pretoria South Africa
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Delft the Netherlands
Molly Hunker, Mira Henry
University of California, Department of Architecture and Urban Design, Los Angeles United States
Lorenzo Trompetto, Veronica Rusca, Maurizio Pizzocro
Università di Genova, Facoltà di Architettura, Genoa Italy
Archiprix International 2011 nominees
(in alphabetical order)
Kensuke Ohtsuka - - Tokai University Department of Architecture and Building Engineering, Kanagawa Japan
Gonzalo del Val - - Universidad Europea de Madrid Escuela de Arquitectura, Madrid Spain
Giuliana Frau - university of Sassari faculty of Architecture, Alghero Italy
Thomas Cole - Fairgrounds - University of New South Wales Faculty of the Built Environment, Sydney Australia
Willem Steenkamp - - The University of the Free State Department of Architecture, Bloemfontein South Africa
Sarosh Mulla - - University of Auckland Faculty of Architecture, Property & Planning and Fine Arts, Auckland New Zealand
YoungJoon Choi - - University of Pennsylvania Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Philadelphia United States
Aya Fujimoto - - Kyoto Institute of Technology Department of Architecture and Design, Faculty of Engineering and Design, Kyoto Japan
Kristina Ishkhanova - - Moscou Architectural Institute - State Academy, Moscow Russia
Marlene Wagner - - Technische Universität Wien Fakultät für Architektur und Raumplanung, Vienna Austria
Piyas Choudhuri - - Centre for Environmental Planning & Technology CEPT University Faculty of Architecture, Ahmadabad India
Qiu Chang, Huang Zhe Xuan, Sun Sheng - - Xiamen University School of Architecture & Civil Engineering Xiamen, Fujian China
Christian Tonko - - Academy of Fine Arts Vienna Institute for Art and Architecture, Vienna Austria
Nicolás Newton, Gonzalo Parma - - Universidad de la Republica - Uruguay Facultad de Arquitectura, Montevideo Uruguay
Aezad Alam - - American University of Sharjah College of Architecture, Art and Design, Sharjah United Arab Emirates
Maciej Siuda - - Wroclaw University of Technology Faculty of Architecture, Wroclaw, Poland
The winners recieve a special designed award object and prize money.
The jury report.(.doc)
See the Archiprix International facebook page for more and other photo’s.
View all nominated projects and participants favourites of edition 2011
The participants of the Archiprix International selected their favorite projects, listed below.
Marie Luise Kister - > About the water’s force
Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen Fakultät für Architektur Aachen - Germany (23 votes)
Nicholas Adam Szczepaniak - > A Defensive Architecture
The University of Westminster School of Architecture & Built Environment London - England (20 votes)
Rodrigo García González - > ZIPIZIP
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura Madrid - Spain (19 votes)
Zhi-Sheng Chen - > Plastic (bag) Architecture
Tamkang universities College of Engineering Tamsui - Taiwan (15 votes)
Christian Tonko - > Sanatorium
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna Institute for Art and Architecture Vienna - Austria (15 votes)
Vagni Federico, Manasseri Ezequiel - > Academy of Music, Dubai
Universidad Nacional de Rosario Faculdad de Arquitectura, Planeamiento y Diseno Rosario - Argentina (14 votes)
Maciej Siuda - > XYZ Structure
Wroclaw University of Technology Faculty of Architecture Wroclaw - Poland (14 votes)
Gonzalo del Val - > Berlin NEU-Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten
Universidad Europea de Madrid Escuela de Arquitectura Madrid - Spain (14 votes)
Kensuke OHTSUKA - > Architecture from Shade
Tokai University Department of Architecture and Building Engineering Kanagawa - Japan (14 votes)
Rachel Harding - > A Crime of Passion
Royal College of Art School of Architecture & Interior London - England (13 votes)
Nicolás Newton, Gonzalo Parma - > Spa Ferrando
Universidad de la Republica - Uruguay Facultad de Arquitectura Montevideo - Uruguay (12 votes)
Dongchoul Park - > 3S+G=Regeneration
University of Seoul College of Urban Sciences - Program in Architecture Seoul - Korea, South (12 votes)
Julia Koerner - > Superhuman Enticement
University for Applied Arts Vienna Institute of Architecture Vienna - Austria (12 votes)
Ruann van der Westhuizen - > A Public Bathhouse
University of Pretoria Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology Pretoria - South Africa (12 votes)
Kiyonori Sugiyama - > Between the star and the moon
Kanagawa University Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering Yokohama - Japan (11 votes)
Andri Klausen - > Link City - Rinku リンク
Pratt Institute School of Architecture Brooklyn - United States (11 votes)
Kristina Ishkhanova - > Penal (penitentiary) Institution
Moscou Architectural Institute - State Academy Moscow - Russia (10 votes)
Simone Pizzagalli - > Spaces, Poetics and Voids
Delft University of Technology Faculty of Architecture Delft - Netherlands (10 votes)
Erick Capeleti Carbone - > The Mutant Tower
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul Departamento de Estruturas e Construção Civil Campo Grande - Brazil (10 votes)
The Archiprix exhibition with all the graduation projects that were submitted for the 2011 edition is on show until 17 August 2011 at the Architecture Department of the MIT (77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge (Mass.) building H, 4th floor). The building is open for the public 24/7.
A representative selection of the projects submitted, including the nominees and winners chosen by an independent jury, and the favourites chosen by the participants themselves, supplemented by a representative selection that offers a picture of the range of designs and the graphical distribution across all continents is published in the book Archiprix International MIT Cambridge USA 2011. The world's best graduation projects. Architecture - Urban design - Landscape. In addition, the book contains the personal data of the projects' designers.
The dvd contains: a 40 minutes documentary; 'My-favourite-architect' interviews; nine project presentations, an overview of all 303 projects that were in competition; and last but not least the guide 'How to Make Your Own Local Archiprix Exhibition'.
Archiprix International MIT Cambridge USA 2011. The world's best graduation projects. Architecture - Urban design - Landscape, edit. Henk van der Veen, designed by Antenna-Men, 010 Publishers Rotterdam 2011, English, 144 pp / 300 x 240 mm / paperback with dvd, price € 29.50 (shipping not included) , ISBN 978 90 6450 754 0.
World Premiere of the documentary Archiprix International 2011 USA (Arne Verbrugh, Christiaan van Schermbeek) at the AFFR (Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam)
Saturday Oct. 8 2011, 12.00 a.m., Lantaren/Venster Rotterdam
Imagine being selected as the best architecture graduate of your school. And then you meet all your colleagues in a one-week workshop. The assignment: redesign Manhattan. How would you get by? An amusing report from this workshop at MIT including the award ceromony of the Hunter Douglas Award for the world’s best graduation in the New York Guggenheim Museum.
After the screening of the film Archiprix International 2011 USA the debate And The Winner Is…. takes place (Saturday 8 October 13.30) and the documentaries Lost Town or Eye over Prague can be visited.
Entrance fee for ARCHIPRIX INTERNATIONAL 2011: 5 euro.
For ticket info, programme, and more see: AFFR
Also at the AFFR: My Favourite Architect, a compilation of interviews of Archiprix International participants.
During the AFFR the Archiprix International film My favourite architect (Arne Verbrugh, Christiaan van Schermbeek a.o.) will play on one of the screens in the foyer of Lantaren/Venster.
At the Archiprix International 2011 the best architecture graduates of the world are asked "What's your favorite architect, and what inspires you?" The interesting and sometimes amusing answers reveal something of timelessness and trends, the local and the global in architecture.