“One mould” in Madrid

Kees Kaan will give a public lecture on April 13th, 2016 at ETSAM (Madrid, Spain) - Faculty of Architecture's Aula Magna, starting from 7 PM.

Kees Kaan will illustrate KAAN Architecten’s projects starting from an enlightening retrospective on the history and the actual planning and development of the Dutch urban landscape, all about water management. Put a shovel in the ground and the hole will fill itself with water immediately.

The permanent relation with the water throughout the history has settled in the DNA of our culture. Building Dutch cities implied making or reinforcing the land, keeping it in place and making foundations in the water. There is little stable and dry land available so not only buildings are constructed but so are the streets and the canals. The section canal, street and house are inherently related and intertwined: one “mould” (synonymous of build, form, shape, structure, nature, character, quality). The houses are built out of the same bricks as the docks, streets and bridges and have similar foundations.

Public, collective and private interests are constantly negotiated in these complex constructions. In the Netherlands, the production of land or vice versa the flooding of land was and is used as a military, political and economical tool. The expression ’poldermodel’ literally refers to the habit of dealing with societal issues by compromising and finding consensus among stakeholders, this implies collaboration. It produces a strong sense of shared values and interest in the ‘common’.

If architecture is supposed to reflect shared values the question is raised what extend contemporary buildings can actually represent fundamental principles of the organizations they facilitate.


More information on dpa – ETSAM website.