Dutch entry to the 2014 Moscow Architectural Biennale unveiled at BK Expo

‘The almost perfect housing block’ Exhibition opened at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment Expo on December 3, 2014. Curated by TU Delft’s very own Susanne Komossa, Nicola Marzot and Jonathan de Veen, the exhibit featured a collection of 15 complex, multifaceted urban blocks designed by renowned architecture firms in the Netherlands.

The expo served as the official Dutch entry to the 4th Moscow Architecture Biennale last May.

With Urban Blocks as the Biennale’s main theme, lead curator and TU Delft alumnus Bart Goldhoorn invited the trio to work on the contribution. As a result, the team examined the way in which contemporary urban blocks can contribute to new forms of urbanity by addressing several topics at stake. Prominent designs such as the Office of Metropolitan Architecture’s ‘de Rotterdam’ building, MVRDV’s ‘Market Hall’ and Tangram Architekten’s ‘Cité’ complex were among the cases presented in the exhibit.

According to Associate Professor Nicola Marzot, categorization was the most challenging part of the project. “We succeeded in making a critical work based on collecting proposals around approach similarities,” Marzot claimed. “As a final result, you have the impression that together, they tell you a story that was unconscious to them on an individual basis.”

Being an international on the Dutch team, it appeared the Italian thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “We had a lot of fun,” Marzot shared. “For a long time, Susanne and I have been working on the long lasting tradition of the urban block. We consider it to be a very promising subject through which to investigate urban form and society transformations. Considering that we have been teaching and doing research together since 2006, we rely on the same cultural background.”

Overall, the exhibit explored a number of significant themes in relation to the urban block, which forms one of the most critical elements of the urban environment. Sustainability, congestion and hybridism, urban flexibility, and identity were among the concepts that were discussed. “We started by formulating the themes and we thought about which projects really expressed such a theme in the best way,” said Associate Professor Susanne Komossa. “I have to say, we have excellent examples. Of course, there are more good projects, but at least for these cases, we find a fantastic culture and tradition of experimentation.”

‘The almost perfect housing block’ Exhibition runs until December 12, 2014.

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