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Project Baltia No.19. Hollandisms | Project Baltia magazine

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Project Baltia No.19

Hollandisms

Uitgever:Project Baltia

  • Paperback
  • Engels, Russisch
  • 136 pagina's
  • 12 jul. 2013

The formal reason for devoting this issue of our magazine to the ‘Dutch presence’ in the architecture of the Baltic region is that this is the Year of the Netherlands in Russia. Architecture, though, is in itself a very Dutch art. As Bart Goldhoorn, one of the most important transmitters of the Dutch influence to Russia, says on p. 26, the combination of idealism and pragmatism which is the mark of the architectural profession is also a native characteristic of the inhabitants of this ‘handmade’ country. The Dutch school of architecture has always been strong, but its impact became universal and all-pervasive in the 1990s and early 2000s, during the period which saw the rise of the ‘Superdutch’ (to use the term coined by Hans Ibelings). It was at this point that Rem Koolhaas, the ‘Le Corbusier of our time’, stretched himself to his full superhuman height. Koolhaas’ radical projects and paradoxical texts model and at the same time describe the reality of our age, exerting a truly hypnotic influence on our contemporaries.

Vladimir Frolov - editor of Project Baltia

The formal reason for devoting this issue of our magazine to the ‘Dutch presence’ in the architecture of the Baltic region is that this is the Year of the Netherlands in Russia. Architecture, though, is in itself a very Dutch art. As Bart Goldhoorn, one of the most important transmitters of the Dutch influence to Russia, says on p. 26, the combination of idealism and pragmatism which is the mark of the architectural profession is also a native characteristic of the inhabitants of this ‘handmade’ country. The Dutch school of architecture has always been strong, but its impact became universal and all-pervasive in the 1990s and early 2000s, during the period which saw the rise of the ‘Superdutch’ (to use the term coined by Hans Ibelings). It was at this point that Rem Koolhaas, the ‘Le Corbusier of our time’, stretched himself to his full superhuman height. Koolhaas’ radical projects and paradoxical texts model and at the same time describe the reality of our age, exerting a truly hypnotic influence on our contemporaries.

When working on this issue of Project Baltia, we came to the conclusion that the ‘super’ element in Dutch architecture derives from the fact that its leader has a direct relation to the spirit of the Avant-garde – in all its fullness and unwillingness to compromise. This is why in the works of Koolhaas and OMA we see refractions of the most diverse Avant-garde ideas, each of which was generated by a specific ‘titan’ – Mondrian (p. 30), Leonidov (p. 36), Duchamp (p. 46), or Melnikov (p. 54). In its turn Koolhaas’ passionate leadership has inevitably led to the emergence of an entire pleiad of adepts (first in Holland, then in other countries too). As the investigation carried out by Project Baltia and RHIZOME group (p. 30) shows, of particular significance for the Baltic region is the Danish firm BIG; BIG has passed the baton to ALA (Finland), which is likewise now becoming successful on an international scale. The Estonians have also created their own ‘Hollandism’, even venturing further than their teachers in their formal radicalism (p. 32). The problem that arises when we consider experiments of this kind is self-evident: in following the superDutch trend, architects risk losing touch with the roots of their own local schools. However, this is a danger to which Dutch architecture is itself not immune: having become global, it inevitably now finds its identity being dissipated. The further the wave moves from the epicentre in both space and time, the less energy it has. This is why, when putting together this issue, we decided not merely to review the consequences that Superdutch has had for our region – through the prism of the two principal crutches of the ‘Dutch method’, Concept (p. 45) and Shape (p. 53) – but also to devote a separate section (NEXT, p. 73) to the present state of designer thought in the Netherlands (this is thought whose influence is yet to make itself properly felt). Our interview with Guus Beumer, director of the recently founded New Institute (p. 80), makes it clear that the change of orientation towards social issues and contemporary art described by Hans Ibelings (p. 74) and Yaroslav Misonzhnikov (p. 85) is a temporary phenomenon – a mere catching of breath. There can be no doubt that the Avant-garde will arm itself with (paradoxical) innovations such as the 3D printer, draw hybrid designer/users into its ranks, and once more head off towards the New, using Dutch soil as its kicking off point yet again. At the same time we should not discount the creators of ‘Hollandisms’ in our region. It cannot be ruled out that their number includes those who are even now gathering their strength for a gigantic leap forwards. After all, the spirit breathes where’er it wishes.

Vladimir Frolov - editor of Project Baltia

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