Architecture after neo-liberalism: Rotterdam Study Abroad

Rem Koolhaas’s text, Junkspace, describes architecture as a by-product of modernity, as its waste. Junkspace demontrates that the core value upon which architecture had been founded, that of a professional design service, no longer matters. Beyond Junkspace, there would be nothing except economic activity. The financial crisis of 2008 changed all this. The faith in the rationality of markets collapsed and austerity now prevails. In turn a period of soul-searching has begun. Almost a decade after the crisis, no clear answers have been found to justify the existence of the profession and explain its vocation to the public. Several possibilities will be explored under broad thematic headings including the everyday, ornament, craft, nature and the social.

The seminar will be structured around two sets of presentations running in parallel. The first will take a critical stance on the themes listed above and set the terms for a discussion. The second will deepen the discussion with a detailed presentation of a building and show how responses to these themes influence the design of buildings. Most examples will be European from the recent past.