Research and publication (2018-2020)
Coordinator Jaap Bakema Study Centre / c0-editor
With: Dirk van den Heuvel and Janno Martens

Habitat: Ecology Thinking in Architecture, a new look at ecological thinking and a contribution to its historiography,  is the result of research undertaken in the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning and in various international archives. The book features a fundamental rereading of classic sources like CIAM and Team 10, supplemented by lesser-known contributions from recent history and from leading designers today. Including work by Jaap Bakema, Aldo van Eyck, Alison and Peter Smithson, James Stirling, Arne Korsmo and Geir Grung, Pjotr Gonggrijp, RAAAF, Frits Palmboom and many others, the book, published by nai010, stems from research on Total Space and the exhibition Habitat Expanding Architecture, which took place at Het Nieuwe Instituut in 2018 and can now be visited online.

When the ecological term habitat was introduced in the 1950s in the avant-garde circles of CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) and Team 10, it became a subject of fierce debate. In addition to rethinking the housing issue, habitat brought a profoundly new way of looking at architecture and urbanism. Cities and buildings could no longer be seen as isolated objects, but instead were considered part of a larger whole, an environment or habitat.

In the light of climate change, ecological issues are receiving more attention today and are an important reason to reconsider the discipline of architecture. The book Habitat: Ecology Thinking in Architecture highlights some of the historical sources of the ecological views underlying the current reforms in architecture. There is a focus on the paradigmatic shift in thinking about the built environment as something that is inherently contextual and relational. This book describes the continuity, interruptions and transformations at stake and not only intensifies the current debate, but also offers suggestions for future research.

Habitat: Ecology Thinking in Architecture is largely based on fundamental research undertaken in the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning, which is managed by Het Nieuwe Instituut. Based on selections from the collection and additional material from international archives, this book presents extensive documentation of design proposals and research projects. It provides an overview of key positions since the 1950s, when the Habitat concept was first explored in an attempt to rethink the architecture and its purpose in general.

The book contains contributions by Frits Palmboom, Erik Rietveld, Hadas Steiner, Georg Vrachliotis, and Leonardo Zuccaro Marchi, combined with generous visual documentations of the work of renowned architects Aldo van Eyck, Alison and Peter Smithson, Van den Broek & Bakema, and many more.

Related publications:

Van den Heuvel, D., Martens, J., Muñoz Sanz, V., eds. (June 2020),
Habitat: Ecology Thinking in Architecture,
Rotterdam: NAI 010 Publishers. ︎︎︎︎

Van den Heuvel, D., Muñoz Sanz, V., eds.,
Total Space.
Insert in Volume #50, December 2016. ︎︎︎︎

Wallpaper image in this page: Pjotr Gonggrijp. Morphological studies of the Dutch delta landscape, 1969. Collection Het Nieuwe Instituut, GONG 3

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