Failed Architecture #3: black architecture

(Zwarte MadonnaPhoto taken from Presseurop)

FA #03: Amsterdam, The Hague, Belgrade, …

After the first edition with the American writer and urbanist Anthony M. Tung and the second edition with a panel of five speakers, who provided an international overview of cases of ‘failed architecture’, we are happy to have the following speakers as our guests during the upcoming (third) edition on Wednesday June 15th.

Arnold Reijndorp is an independent researcher at the cutting edge of urbanism/architecture and social and cultural developments in the urban field. He holds the Han Lammers Chair of Social-economic developments of new urban areas at the University of Amsterdam, and is associated with the International New Town Institute. With Maarten Hajer he published In Search of New Public Domain. Recent co-authored publications in Dutch are: Atlas of the Western Garden Cities of Amsterdam and Themed Communities: Living in a imaginated place. In his talk he will focus on the thin line between utopia and dystopia in new towns and themed communities.

Paul Groenendijk has been active as a writer specialized in (Dutch) architecture since 1984. He will talk about his encounters with a wide variety of ‘failed architecture’, focusing on his most recent book that describes the rise and fall of the Zwarte Madonna, or Black Madonna, arguably the most notorious social housing apartment block in the Netherlands. It was demolished in 2007 after years of fierce debate. The only people who protested against its demolition were a few of its inhabitants. At that point even the architect didn’t care anymore, saying: “I am glad it’s gone”.

Maja Popovic is an architect from Belgrade with an articulated interest in preservation of 20th century built heritage and the relationship between architecture, memory and storytelling. In her talk she will focus on Staro Sajmište. This was the site of Belgrade’s international fair before WWII. During the war, it was turned into a concetration camp by Germans. Today it’s mostly in ruins. The vast complex of buildings and smaller pavilions was supposed to kickstart the large scale development of New Belgrade in 1937, but during communist times the plans radically changed and Staro Sajmište became isolated and neglected. Although doomed to be forgotten it found a way to survive as a refuge for artists and outcasts. But how can you engage the public at large with this historically significant place, and how can it be rescued for generations to come?

The night is hosted by Michiel van Iersel with Tim Verlaan and Mark Minkjan.

Staro Sajmište during WWII (photo taken from Oldtajmeri)


Failed Architecture is a series of talkshows with presentations by various experts and public discussions that focus on buildings and urban environments that failed to stand the test of time and are neglected, abandoned or even vandalized or demolished, because of changing economic, social, political, cultural and/or physical circumstances.

Without a doubt the maxim ‘Failed Architecture’ raises questions. What and according to whom is architecture failed? Which criteria do we use when assessing architecture, e.g. the viewpoint of inhabitants and/or users, architects and/or planners? And how does the ‘Zeitgeist’ or ‘our’ contemporary taste and cultural differences influence our judgment of buildings and cities?

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Next Failed Architecture?
Failed Architecture will return after the summer. Check our website for updates.

De Verdieping
is the cultural fringe programme and project space of TrouwAmsterdam and is kindly supported by the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) and the Netherlands Architecture Fund (SfA).

By Michiel — Posted June 2, 2011 — 6,220 Comments

New project: opening up an ancient castle

Kasteel Duivenvoorde

Next spring and summer we will be organizing several projects at Duivenvoorde Castle, a stately museum-mansion and unique parkland (see below) near the city of The Hague. We received a request from the organization to make a contribution to their yearlong celebration of the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2010.

After long deliberations and several site visits we came to the conclusion that although Duivenvoorde offers numerous cultural and natural attractions, it is barely known outside a small circle of insiders and remains largely unknown, hidden and inaccessible to most people. This observation was shared by the organization.

We have set ourselves the task of opening up the castle and its surroundings to a wider audience. Taking the vast and rare collection of family portraits as our starting point, as a kind of Facebook or social network avant la lettre, we will use the coming months to develop our plans in order to engage (online) visitors in new ways.

Right now we are still considering several options and will consult our partners and friends for new ideas, but here are some of our initial thoughts that are open for discussion, modification and new collaborations.

  1. Duivenvoorde Digital: an immersive, interactive (online) exploration of (parts of) Duivenvoorde
  2. Duivenvoorde after Dark: an evening and night full of artistic interventions and intellectual exchange
  3. D-award: juried art competition focussing on innovative (self-)portraits in all media, old and new

In addition to these three interconnected projects, we will guide and assist the organization during the preparations of an anniversary exhibition, a series of lectures and the overall (online) communication.

We will keep you updated as our plans take shape.

Duivenvoorde Portraits

About Duivenvoorde Estate
The Duivenvoorde Estate is situated between Voorschoten and Wassenaar in one of the most densely populated areas in the world. However, the estate remains one of the few unspoiled parklands in the heart of vast urban conglomeration that stretches from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. A tree-lined driveway brings you from the main road to the manor.

The castle was first mentioned in 1226, making it one of the older castles in Holland. It is remarkable in that it was never sold; it was inherited by several different noble houses, sometimes through the matrilineal line, starting with the Van Duivenvoordes, who gave their name – at that time, Van Duvenvoirde – to the castle.

The current building dates back to the 17th (and some parts 18th) century. Duivenvoorde boasts a unique collection of family portraits, silverware, Delft earthenware and Chinese and European porcelain.

Since the 1960′s, the castle and park have been in the care of a trust and are partly open to the public. The south wing however is still inhabited; Ludolphine Emilie van Haersma Buma, Baroness Schimmelpenninck van der Oye has lived there since 2003. Her brother still lives in the castle’s garden house.

Duivenvoorde Google Maps

By Michiel — Posted October 3, 2009 — 2,229 Comments