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40

One of the reasons I like being an architectural critic is that it enables me to postpone my opinion. I see, hear or read something, and sleep on it before I have to formulate what I think of it. I always admire people who are instantly opinionated, but I fear that, like instant coffee, those opinions are often very soluble. This crossed my mind ...

 

41

What makes the cities of the former Socialist countries of Central Europe so attractive? For me it is that they reflect two kinds of optimism. On the one hand, there is the optimism of the efforts and achievements of recent generations to bring about change. Nearly 25 years after the transition process began in Central and Eastern Europe, many new ...

 

42

While a building can usually take care of itself, the culture of architecture needs a conversation. In theory the digital age is paradisiacal for conversations: everybody has access to a variety of media to articulate an opinion. This has certainly many upsides. Architecture's discourse is, at least in theory, more inclusive than ever before. Anyon ...

 

43

After a century of unparalleled building activity there are not only more buildings than ever, but also more buildings than ever waiting for a new lease of life. Depreciated office buildings, former factories, out-of-date elderly homes, hospitals divested during mergers: there are many examples, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, of buildings whose ...

 

44

The essence of transformations is the essence of architecture itself: to build upon what's already there, not only metaphorically but also literally. This principle has a very long history, in Europe going back to at least the reuse of Roman building parts (spolia). Sometimes it even led to the transformation of complete buildings, such as the Dioc ...

 

45

A new design for a building is usually expected to offer a perfect match between means and goals, but when an existing building is given a new lease of life, there is much more latitude to combine form and program in a less deterministic way. In transformation projects it is not only much more acceptable to have a certain incongruity, but the imper ...