Book launch & Talk Auditorium
architect, verb: Reinier de Graaf in conversation
Leading architect and author Reinier de Graaf reads from his new book 'architect, verb. The New Language of Building' and is joined by curator Justin McGuirk to discuss the author's quest to rid contemporary architecture of the irrational, incompatible or contradictory expectations weighing on it.
Architecture, it seems, has become too important to leave to architects. No longer does it suffice to judge a building solely by its look and feel, it must be measured and certified. What remains of a discipline once it is reduced to ticking boxes of ‘excellence', 'sustainability', 'well-being', 'liveability', 'placemaking', 'creativity', 'beauty' and 'innovation'?
In 'architect, verb. The New Language of Building', De Graaf skewers the doublespeak and hot air of an industry in search of an identity in the 21st century. Who determines how to measure a ‘green building’? Why is Vancouver more 'liveable' than Vienna? How do developers get away with advertising their buildings as promoting 'well-being'? Why did Silicon Valley become so obsessed with devising 'creative' spaces or developing code that replaces architects? How much revenue can be attributed to the design of public space? Who gets to set these criteria, and what do they actually mean for the future of our homes, cities, planet?
De Graaf is a Dutch architect and writer based in Amsterdam. He is a partner in the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and co-founder of its think-tank AMO. He is also the author of 'Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession' and the novel 'The Masterplan'.
McGuirk is Chief Curator at the Design Museum and the Director of Future Observatory, a new national programme of design research supporting the green transition. In a diverse career, he has authored and edited books and magazines, founded a digital publishing imprint and curated numerous high-profile exhibitions.
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Background image: 'architect, verb. The New Language of Building' book cover illustration.