The Architectural Project and its Foundations

The research programme ‘Architectural project’ focuses explicitly on architecture as métier, or ‘craft’ in the broadest sense of the word; a field in which making and thinking are inextricably linked. The programme regards the ‘architectural project’ as the cornerstone of architectural practice and reflection.

While in recent years, research in architecture has often implied a quest for intangible forces, the focus on architecture as ‘craft’ and ‘project’ entails a return to the memory, tools and paradigms that are at the core of the discipline. This encompasses an in-depth investigation of how architectural projects can perform at the scale of the building, the city and the territory (The Architectural Project sub-programme) as well as a study of existing approaches and perspectives, instruments and disciplinary boundaries (the Foundations subprogramme).

This research programme examines the development of modern architectural practice, focusing on the changing definitions and positions of the architect, with the goal of providing new perspectives on how we design and build today.

Societal/scientific quality and relevance of the research

The architectural project, by its very definition, incorporates a wide range of aspects (such as the material, the social, the cultural, the economic and the ecological aspect) into a concrete spatial proposal. This offers the possibility of opening up a particular perspective on societal questions in the realms of dwelling (changing housing needs caused by shifting demographics), public buildings (new educational or care models) and interiors (spaces for a multicultural society).

The research programme offers an alternative to the highly specialized and disparate perspectives on these societal concerns that are typically put forward in fields such as technology, material studies, cultural theory and real estate. The architectural project not only brings these perspectives together, but also puts forward design proposals such as new typologies, alternative material solutions and reconfigurations of spatial organization. Both perennial issues, such as sustainability, and explicitly normative questions, such as ‘How do we wish to live?’, are of central concern in the research activities.

The future

For many years this research programme has maintained a strong international reputation in the fields of design-oriented and typological research, as highlighted by the various international exhibitions, publications and keynote lectures by programme members.

‘Architectural Project and its Foundation’ proposes to regard architecture as a public matter that actively engages with its urban or territorial condition. This implies investigations into the various ways that architecture can contribute to innovative definitions of the public realm through the articulation of large interiors, public buildings, housing and complex projects.

More about this programme

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Research committee

Key books
  • Colonial Modern: Aesthetics of the Past, Rebellions for the Future 
    Tom Avermaete, Karakayali Serhat, Marion von Osten
  • The Dutch urban block and the public realm: Models, rules, ideals
    Susanne Komossa
  • Architecture, Crisis and Resuscitation: The Reproduction of Post-Fordism in Late-Twentieth-Century Architecture
    Tahl Kaminer
  • Architecture as a Craft
    Michiel Riedijk (ed.)
  • Radical Games: Popping the Bubble of 1960s Architecture
    Lara Schrijver

more books …