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Edwin Gardner - The Toolbox and The Arena: Dutch Strategies for Expanding Architectural Practice

DEC 2010

December 1 (Wedensday) 18:00 at Contemporary Art Center (Vokiečių str. 2, Vilnius) architect from Netherlands Edwin Gardner gave a lecture "The Toolbox and The Arena: Dutch Strategies for Expanding Architectural Practice" which was organised by Architecture [news] fund with Royal Embassy of Netherlands.

Edwin Gardner is an architect and writer who works closely with the Archis Foundation and Volume magazine in exploring new definitions for architectural practice. Forms of practice that go beyond building; that employ tools from other disciplines to engage the built environment or forms of practice that employ the unique characterisitics of architectural and design intelligence in seeking new arena's for practice.

The financial crisis has made it again very clear, architecture is a depended profession. Many architects lost their jobs, saw their project portfolio shrink as well as their offices, and not by a few percent but by half or more. While other sectors of the economy are slowly recovering, the building industry is still down. A sector that is dependent on big investments, political will and the rest of the economy. Architects have always been dependent of those in power. Gaudi needed the Guell family, Aalto needed the Ahlström family and apolitical Mies flirted with the Nazi's in search for commissions. Besides the networks of power that are still important today, the real estate developers and investment funds are those in key positions, ... and they're waiting. We are 'on hold', thus a good moment to reassess the current architectural profession, and to see how the profession can regain initiative. Several Dutch architectural practices are exploring how they can take initiative, how they can operate 'unsolicited'.