Valedictory Lecture by Professor Thijs Asselbergs ‘about the new architect'

News - 21 June 2023 - Communication BK

To mark the retirement of Thijs Asselbergs as professor of Architectural Engineering (AE&T), TU Delft's Faculty of Architecture is organising the 'Day of the New Architect' symposium in the Oostserre on Tuesday 4 July. At 16:00, Thijs will deliver his Valedictory Lecture 'about the new architect'. "I don't see this farewell as an end, but as a new beginning."

“As a fresh graduate I asked questions, and as a lecturer I answered them. Now, after 15 years at TU Delft’s Faculty of Architecture TU Delft, I simply want to pass on the conversation I have worked to foster over the past decade and a half. It is a conversation that has to be had, before the gap between architects and society swallows us whole. The architecture community must take responsibility and turn their island kingdom into an archipelago. Architecture does not belong to the architect alone."

The task facing the latest generation of architects

Following conversations with students, Asselbergs shares his personal view on the profession and sets out his blueprint for 'the new architect'. In 2008, just after Thijs Asselbergs was appointed professor at TU Delft, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, ushering in what came to be known as the credit crisis. The impact on the construction and architecture sectors cannot be overstated, with more than half of all architects losing their jobs or simply disappearing. Asselbergs: “What does the future of architecture look like, emerging from this turbulent history? What task faces today’s generation of architects in times of economic upheaval and climate change? And how do new architects differ from their predecessors?”

The architecture community must take responsibility and turn their island kingdom into an archipelago. Architecture does not belong to the architect alone.

The desire for innovation and collaboration

The professorship of Thijs Asselbergs testifies to the desire for innovation and collaboration. As professor of Architectural Engineering, he worked with students, lecturers and researchers to develop innovative technological solutions that serve as an integral part of architectural designs. “Looking purely at the number of homes that will have to be built and modified in the next decade, industrialised, flexible and circular building materials will be the name of the game," Asselbergs illustrates. On top of that, Asselbergs was eager to develop flexible, modifiable building systems that provided enough architectural latitude despite the necessary constraints. But his ambitions for his students stretched even further, endorsing the importance and potential of data architecture, digitisation and robotisation. At the same time, he urged the field to consider novel approaches for funding construction projects and mobility systems. "The industrialisation process of construction and integrated design is still in its infancy," Asselbergs argued.

Presentation of the first copy to the Chief Government Architect

During the symposium, the first copy of Thijs Asselbergs' book Over de nieuwe architect ("About the new architect") will be presented to Chief Government Architect Francesco Veenstra. In Over de nieuwe architect (nai010 publishers), penned by author Daan Heerma van Voss, Thijs Asselbergs harnesses his 40 years of experience as a teacher, architect and driver of architectural policy to look into the future.

More information

'Day of the new architect' is a symposium organised for and by students, employees of the faculty of Architecture and TU Delft, alumni and designers. The symposium will be moderated by Indira van 't Klooster, director of Arcam. The symposium is free to attend. The programme starts at 13:30 in the Oostserre. More information on the programme and speakers can be found here.

The book in English translation will be available for free download from July 4 via TU Delft Open access (note: link will be added here after that date.)
The Dutch version will be for sale in printed form at nai010.