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Bnieuws Volume 50 Issue 02 04 October 2016 Contact Room BG.Midden.140 Julianalaan 134 2628 BL Delft Editorial Team Nadine van den Berg Arjan Boonstra Ruiying Liu Noortje Weenink


Editorial Advice Emily Parry Contributors Natalie van den Berg Marthe van Gils Grijze Ei Inadesign-Stock@DeviantArt Jamal van Kastel Atibordee Kongprepan@ Flickr Mick Morsink Stevekeiretsu@Flickr Michael Tjia


Our Buildings Shape Us




Virtual Reality Check-Up

Cover Rising Spirit by Ruiying Liu Editorial Advice Board Robert Nottrot Pierijn van der Putt Marcello Soeleman Ivan Thung Linda van Keeken Next Deadline 23st of October 12.00 Bnieuws Volume 50 Issue 03 08 November 2016 Printed by Druk. Tan Heck 1.350 copies Š All rights reserved. Although all content is treated with great care, errors may occur.

Design Is Not a Tree




Your Cup of Tea (?)


The Elusive Wind and Water



This academic year started when summer did as well. The enjoyable prospect of a cool autumn full of lectures and appointments got rudely shaken up by a presence of that big yellow ball like we hadn’t seen in months. While a lot of us were trying to catch a breath in the stuffy lecture rooms of BKCity, the fun memories of the holiday break bleached in the burning sun. Our mindsets got punched at by the hot, moist, solid Dutch air. Fortunately, new fun memories were made and although mindsets had to be adjusted, state of minds could remain untouched. We hope you’re just as excited for new adventures as we are. Exciting things are happening at the Faculty and at Bnieuws. As the dust of the new year settled down together with the (mostly) new Editorial Board, the exploration of this anniversary year could begin. To kick things off, Nadine researched the link between architecture and psychology by finding out how our environment influences our mental health. Then, in a series of interviews, Bnieuws will grab a cup of coffee with people we meet every day, but never heard the story of, hereby exploring our own faculty. Micheal talked to Manpon Manggaprouw to get to know the person behind the Copiesjop and the ever so glorious playlists to find out what his state of mind is. Meanwhile, the placing of a Starbucks machine in our faculty swept the dust right back up again. Noortje went out to find all the answers and opinions on this matter. Also, Marthe went to ARGUS to find out their state of mind and discuss their plans for the upcoming year, while Arjan went out to check-up on (and try) virtual reality and Ruiying explored the metaphorical culture at our faculty and reflected on how we can still learn from A City Is Not a Tree. So, besides your own exciting adventures, will you join us on ours? This is our invite to. Here it is: Bnieuws 02 volume 50.



To do / CLUB STROOM Het MAS, Kurious, Kleinhouse, Het Bos en Kavka presenteren één groot feest in het MAS met vijf podia, een onwaarschijnlijk uitzicht, expo’s tot in de late uurtjes en een diverse line-up van disco, funk tot house en future beats. Museum aan de Stroom / 15.10.16 / 20:00 - 04:00

Denkcafé / DE BURN-OUT GENERATIE Jongeren lijden aan stress-gerelateerde klachten die voorheen vaker voorkwamen onder veertigers. Het Denkcafé zoekt met cultuurfilosoof Maarten Coolen en arbeidssocioloog Fabian Dekker uit hoe dit komt. Arminiuskerk Rotterdam / 19.10.16 / 20:00


Lezing / REMBRANDT UIT DE PRINTER Prof. dr. ir. Jo Geraedts vertelt over de door de TU Delft 3D-gescande en geprinte schilderijen van de Hollandse meesters. In het onderzoeksproject 3D Fine Art Reproduction werkte hij samen met vier collega’s aan manieren waarop dit soort schilderijen levensecht gereproduceerd kunnen worden.

Lecture & Exhibition / SPACE EMBODIED At the beginning of the twentieth century, many artists were in search of ‘the new man’. In this period more than ever, and especially in Russian avant-garde art, the human body was the subject of artistic experimentation. During this evening of discussion and performance presentation, Het Nieuwe Instituut explores the philosophical context of the appeal and idealisation of the human body.

KIVI-gebouw / 02.10.16 / 10:00 - 16:00

Het Nieuwe Instituut / 06.10.16 / 20:00 - 22:00


Tentoonstelling / GISPEN SPECIALS Boijmans Van Beuningen viert het 100-jarig bestaan van de bekende Nederlandse meubelfabriek met een jubileumexpositie rond bijzondere en in kleine oplage gemaakte producten. De specials tonen de kwaliteit en de flexibiliteit van dit bedrijf dat de Nederlandse vormgeving wereldberoemd maakte. Boijmans / tot en met 26.02.17

Lecture / ARCHITECTURE & PHILOSOPHY Philosopher Hein van Dongen questions the ‘aesthetical experience’, and the relation between architecture and philosophy. Room B / 12.10.16 / 12:45


Exhibition / IS MY HUSBAND CALLED HENK? In this exhibition, the Austrian photographer Peter Granser literally puts Alzheimer in the picture. He tells a story about loss, about forgetting about life, but above all about dignity. With his portraits of Alzheimer patients, Grasner tries to freeze time by recording what is still there. Kunsthal / until 04.12.16


OUR BUILDINGS SHAPE US Words Nadine van den Berg

Most of us take for granted the impact architecture and the built environment has in our lives, yet nearly every moment of every day is influenced by it. But are we, as (future) architects, fully aware about the consequences of the choices we make? The environments we create influences many aspects of the daily lives of people. You are as a person constantly surrounded by spaces and they affect your mental and physical health. Bnieuws researched the influence of architecture and the built environment on the mental health of people to understand the way the built environment affects people’s mental health and how that knowledge gives us opportunities to create space where health threats can be reduced. After all, “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us” was what Winston Churchill once said. 1


What Is Mental Health? Before we can take a look at what the influence of the built environment is on mental health, we first ought to take a look at what mental health is. Mental health is our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, act, reason and handle stress. Over the course of their lives, people might experience mental health problems. This causes changes to occur in their way of thinking, emotions and behaviour. 2 According to the Mental Health Foundation, depression affects about one in twelve people, and approximately one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Around one in ten children experience mental health problems, whilst one in twelve adults is affected by depression. 450 million people world-wide have a mental health problem. 3 As The World Health Organization states, there is no health without mental health. 4 Good mental health can improve our enjoyment of life, our coping skills and relationships, our educational achievement, employment, housing and economic potential, help reduce physical health problems, ease the demand for healthcare and social care, build social capital. It can also help people to live together in a positive, productive, cost-effective and ultimately happy way. In a way, good mental health benefits everyone. 5

Environmental Psychology Environmental psychology seeks to understands how individuals interact with their environments, and how they affect our social lives and health. At the level of basic consciousness, we are unconsciously registering the environmental variables' effects on our nervous system - heat, light, noise, smells, tactile sensations and our perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. 6 All these sensations are silently registered via signals of which we are not aware. At the level of extended consciousness, we are simultaneously experiencing space as assembled by

people suffering from stress and depression, it is a reminder for us (aspiring) architects to pay more attention to the surrounding environment in order to try and protect people’s mental health. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has outlined five specific areas of opportunity to enhance physical and mental health. These include safety and social equity, sensory environments, access to nature, physical activity and environmental integrity. 8 The industry has already made some significant strides in encouraging physical activity by designing facilities that promote fitness and healthy living in people’s everyday routines. 9 However, we should


our sensory system and combining this experience with memories of places similar to the one we are in. 6 Whether people are healthy or not, is determined by their circumstances and environment. Factors such as where we live, the state of our environment, genetics, income, education level, and our relationships with friends and family all have considerable impact on health. 4 Physical and Mental Health In today’s society, cities develop a an uneven pace, often not recognizing human needs. Unsuitable urban conditions and qualities affect mental and physical health by imposing mental pressures, and can also cause disorders in social, psychological, and physical aspects of an individual. 7 This indicates that is important to pay attention to the quality of our environment, which consist of architectural works and urban spaces. Scientists have mostly been focusing on physical health, with mental health being almost neglected. 7 Architecture is a form of art which also creates the physical environment around us and has an impact on our health. With a lot of

now expand our focus to healthy design. We should increase applications of architectural design that encourage mental wellness, a concept far from mainstream in today’s society. Where the greatest opportunity for architecture to encourage the prevention and control of mental illnesses lies, is in residential and workplace environments, where most of our time is spent. 9 Architectural design is one of the many solutions that have been proven to improve mental health and well-being. In recent projects, building designs that increase natural daylighting, use colour and texture, encourage activity, and incorporate nature have led to improved satisfaction of patients and staff productivity. Increasing natural daylighting could have a positive effect by reducing stress and fatigue, promoting more positive lifestyles. 9 Effects of Architecture The architecture around ourselves can affect us in many different ways. Like how a dark space can leave you feeling cold, thereby dampening your



Depressing aesthetic or mental health friendly? Barbican Estate in London.

mood and the size and layout of a space can affect your ability to undertake certain tasks. 10 Or how you experienced the beautiful space inside a cathedral, admiring it and feeling joy in occupying it for the time being. Architects have more influence over the mental and physical health of people than one might think. Design impacts and enriches the lives of people using that certain space. We all live in buildings, work in buildings, visit buildings, and the geometry of these structures, the place where they are placed, and the shadows they cast have a large impact on the well-being of their users. 11 However, not all architects are conscientious of the way even the smallest design decision can impact people's physical and mental health. The choices all

architects make are of utter importance and should be made deliberately. It is important to understand that architecture can bring happiness, as well as unhappiness to people. 11 Architecture is more than aesthetics. Well-designed buildings need to respond to the functional needs of the occupants, and not just designs that please the observer through visual perception of its harmony, symmetry, and good proportions The arrangement of partitions, rooms, doors, windows, and hallways serves to encourage and not hinder communication and, to this extent, affects social interaction. 12 This can occur at any number of levels, and the designer is clearly in control to the degree that he plans the contact points and lanes of access where people come together. They might also, although with less assurance, decide on the

The space inside a huge cathedral like the Notre Dame in Paris can leave quite an impact.

desirability of such contact. Numerous studies show that buildings do have an impact a person’s health. And in today’s modern society, when citizens spend around 90 per cent of their time indoors, this is more important than ever. 15 Recognising this impact, the AIA has compiled key areas for architects to pay particular attention to when designing a space, for example safety, promoting social connectedness, ease of movement, and sensory stimulation. 15 Creating the ‘perfect’ space is a nearly impossible (and subjective) balancing act between form and function. This is made harder by the fact that architects do not have the luxury of creating a prototype outside of computer or scale models, and are restricted by laws and often tight budgets. But

even the most beautiful building is quite useless if it does not fulfil its function. Aesthetics are of less use when a person cannot feel content inside. Research points to more engagement between architects and the design community, and doctors and other health professionals in order to help support additional research into public health. 13 If we truly can design environments for people that are more relevant to their basic needs - our buildings will serve our users better in the future. Urban Living Urban living has a significant impact on mental health. People living in cities are 21 per cent more likely to experience an anxiety disorder, and 39 per cent more likely to develop mood disorders. Also, people who grew up in a city are twice as likely to


develop schizophrenia than those who grew up in the countryside. 14 Urban stressors also have a biological impact. A study from the Central Institute of Mental Health from the University of Heidelberg shows that living in a city was associated with greater stress responses. 14 These responses both found place in the amygdala and the cingulate cortex, which are areas linked to emotional regulation, depression and anxiety. Because of increased activation, it could have a lasting effect on both the brain’s development and its ongoing susceptibility to mental illness. 14 Layla McCay, director of the Centre for Urban

priority over cars. The well-lit estate is designed with good sight lines, which makes residents feel safe – a huge factor in mental wellbeing. If a so-called ugly building can still be positive for mental health, then apparently aesthetics does not determine everything. 14

But what happens if physical and mental health are integrated into the design? See for example the study led by the University of Sheffield, together with other academics. Their three-year study aims to promote the creation of well-designed urban green spaces to boost mental and physical health, as well as to improve it through well-designed green spaces. 15



Design and Mental Health, isolates several elements that she believes have a positive influence: access to nature or green spaces, the design of public spaces that facilitate physical activity and encourage social interaction, and living and working in spaces that feel safe. 14 Healthy Urban Environments Urban design by architects, transport designers, city planners, developers, interior designers, urban gardeners, street artists, and many others have an influence on our built environments and so indirectly on our mental health. But could particular buildings also have an effect on our mental health? The Brutalism aesthetic, for example, is considered depressing and not very positive by some people. See the Barbican Estate in London for instance. But despite its depressing aesthetic, the Barbican Estate uses many examples of the positive attributes outlined by McCay: it is full of greenery, lakes, balconies and town squares. Pedestrians are given

However, the physical environment can only determine so much. Biological and social factors are still major drivers of mental illness, whether clinical or not. Genetics, early experiences, family relationships and social settings cannot be addressed through urban design. But just as it does for physical disorders with equally complex causes, it could still play a role. 14 Neglected environments can contribute to mental illness in people. Feeling unsafe because of dilapidated neighbourhoods, abandoned shops or houses can contribute to anxiety and persistent low mood. It is also possible that social ills and lack of feeling safe in such environments may be more closely related to poor maintenance. Buildings are not always as intrinsically flawed as we might first imagine. 14 Broken lights and windows, litter and graffiti may have less to do with the physical environment itself, and more with increased crime rates and the anxiety-inducing fear of crime. Mental illness may increase once the physical environment

has deteriorated. 14 Buildings and public spaces are increasingly being analysed and with the mental well-being of people in mind. 14 Collectives and centres have been established to examine the ways urban spaces intersect with mental health. And slowly but surely, architects and policymakers are becoming more mindful of the ways their projects impact the health and happiness of citizens.

try and turn their attention not only to the technical aspects of sustainability, but also to whether a space allows people to thrive mentally, socially and physically. After all, our physical surroundings really can affect our state of mind. Sustainable building objectives should embrace human health issues as well as environmental effects. What if our health became the basis for judging every building and every public space? The sources for this article can be found on the online

With anti-stigma campaigns and increased media visibility bringing mental health to the forefront of the cultural landscape, there is a clear case for policymakers to take it into consideration when designing public space. 14 But experts believe guidelines for healthy urban environments are currently failing to take this growing awareness into consideration. Alan Penn, Dean of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London, believes that policymakers and architects are not dealing with mental health sufficiently, because the understanding of these issues is not yet mainstream in the architectural community. 14 McCay is optimistic, and believes that opportunities to improve mental health will become business as usual, and an expected component of the value of any design for buildings and public spaces. To build a sustainable city, designing spaces to promote good mental health and to support people with mental health problems is essential. 14 Health Is Not A Building Typology In the architecture and design industry, the word ‘health’ usually brings to mind hospital and clinic projects. But health is not a building typology. Health has a range of design factors that influence both our physical and mental health. When looking at new spaces and architecture, try to assess how healthy they are. Architects and city planners should

pages 36 – 37:


In conversation with

ARGUS Words Marthe van Gils

Images Lina Peng & ARGUS board

In the room of ARGUS, right behind the BK Expo, Bnieuws met with Catherine Koekoek and Inés Hemmings. These cheerful women are Chairman and Commissioner of Education of ARGUS, the Student Association of Architecture. Bnieuws is there to find out why ARGUS re-introduced the Architecture yearbook, and what the board has in mind for the coming year.


Re-invent the yearbook While the six committee members of ARGUS were working on the organisation of the Expo they realised that there were so many fascinating and inspiring designs, developed within the context of all different studios, which would go unseen and be forgotten after the semester. ‘We just had this click that we had to provide something that exposes the diversity of these projects. We wanted to make the unseen images visible, and root the forgotten projects in our memories’, says Inés Hemmings. The ARGUS Architecture Annual was born. In addition to the ARGUS Expo last year’s board decided to re-introduce the Architecture yearbook. It is not something completely new; until the year of 2008 there was a yearbook. But after the old faculty building burned down, ARGUS had to re-invent itself step-by-step. As a result there hasn’t been a yearbook for years. The main aim was to be a source of inspiration for other students, but it should also guide new students in their studio choice and provide an opportunity for inter-studio debate and the sharing of gained knowledge. The Expo committee produced the yearbook over the summer and the projects displayed are chosen by the studio teachers. ‘We asked every professor of every studio what project was remarkable and which one should be displayed’, tells Inés. In the end these were not per se the projects with the highest grades, but projects that would inspire other students most. ARGUS is also thinking about what the yearbook could be in the future. It could for example be a tool to assess a year. It would be interesting to see if

The cover of the re-introduced ARGUS Architecture Annual.

students are thinking about the same themes throughout different studios.

wants to help master students to connect with other themes related to architecture.

The Architecture Master Student Association of the faculty is dedicated to the master students of the Architecture Track, but Inés and Catherine emphasize that ARGUS is also open to other people from within and outside our Faculty. ARGUS’ members are not only students, but also professors, alumni, practitioners and other people with interest in architecture. ‘Everyone can become an ARGUS member. The interest for architecture is our starting point,’ says Catherine.

Connect people with similar interests The aim of ARGUS is to be a platform for different kinds of people and to get those people in touch with each other. ‘We are thinking about both offline and online opportunities to do that,’ says Inés. The board

Explore the peripheries of architecture This starting point does not limit them to explore the peripheries of the field. They notice that there are so many things closely related to architecture as the field has become multidisciplinary. ‘We want to show the different possibilities that you have when you are trained as an architect,’ emphasizes Catherine. Twenty years ago, the future was quite fixed for an architect, but nowadays a lot of graduates do not end up in the traditional role of an architect. ARGUS


envisions an online platform where people can get to know each other based on their interests and current projects. ‘It would be something like LinkedIn opportunity – but then only for Argus members,’ tells Catherine. The platform should connect professors, firms, students and alumni and provide insight into the interests of the different members to


automatically recommend them to each other based on common interests, strengths and origin. Apart from dreaming about an online platform, ARGUS will continue to organise offline meetings and activities. Exemplary for ARGUS’ interdisciplinary approach is the yearly ‘Night of Philosophy’. Last year’s edition dealt with the topic of Place and Placelessness, and the meaning of identity in a rapidly changing and globalizing world. There were a lot of students, but also artists and architects. ARGUS argues that the evening was not only inspiring for students, but that the speakers were inspired by the different people that were there as well. By organising activities like this, ARGUS wants to give a podium to role models for students and give insight to future possibilities.


Inés, commissioner of Education, wants to improve the communication between professors and students. She admits that it is hard to choose the right studio and that not all students are happy with their studio choice. ‘Especially international students have difficulties to enroll or have concerns about different

classes, lectures and tutors. I want to be the person they can go to,’ emphasizes Inés. Room for discussion In addition to the platform for its members, ARGUS wants to organise room for discussion. Catherine argues that the decisions taken within the Faculty have effect on the daily lives of students. In order to raise their voice students should be able to meet the people that make the decisions. ‘This is not something we, or Stylos, or the FSR, can do alone. So we want to do that together with all the associations – Praktijkvereningen - within this faculty,’ says Catherine. When we concluded the interview Bnieuws took a moment to look in the yearbooks that lay on the table. The books tell the same message as Inés and Catherine did: look around and get inspired by the many interesting people that relate to this faculty. November 23-27 ARGUS will organize a trip to the Venice Biennale. The topic of the biennale is: ‘Reporting from the front’.

The board members of ARGUS. In the center Catherine Koekoek (top) and Inés Hemmings (bottom).


Een nieuwe stap in je ontwerp


De opkomst van Virtual Reality (VR) is niet meer te missen. Twee jaar geleden was er nog praktisch niets, tegenwoordig presenteren grote bedrijven ontwikkelingen op dit gebied als hun paradepaardjes. De toepassingen op entertainment vlak blijven maar komen, maar hoe zit het met de toepassingen op de Faculteit? Toen Bnieuws vorig jaar een interview hierover deed met @HOK in samenwerking met TOI (Volume 48 edition 08: Stap in je ontwerp), stond alles nog in de kinderschoenen. De hoogste tijd dus om nu terug te gaan en opnieuw te peilen. Ditmaal ging Bnieuws in gesprek met Arno Feeke van @HOK en Arend-Jan, wie vanaf oktober officieel ontwikkelaar wordt op VR-gebied aan de Faculteit.


Wat is de grootste verandering sinds vorig jaar? De techniek is heel erg vooruit gegaan. We begonnen met de Oculus Rift, deze was al heel goed voor het herkennen van diepte en schaal. Nu hebben we de overtreffende trap: de HTC Vive. Hiermee kunnen we echt lopen in onze 3D-werelden. Ook kun je door middel van controllers op de millimeter precies interactie aangaan met deze werelden. Eén van de voordelen hiervan is dat je in principe niet meer misselijk kunt worden. Er zijn geen artificiële bewegingen meer: je kunt je vrij verplaatsen tussen twee sensoren in de kamer. De beleving van VR is dus aanzienlijk verbeterd, het is veel echter nu. Een ander verschil ten opzichte van vorig jaar, is dat er nu veel meer toepassingen zijn. Vorig jaar is er vooral veel getest. Een nieuwe en belangrijke toepassing is onderzoek. Zo is er bijvoorbeeld een onderzoek geweest naar het ervaren van ziekenhuiskamers. De proefpersonen werden wakker in kamers met verschillende afmetingen en lichtomstandigheden en moesten vervolgens kleine testjes doen, zoals, hoofdrekenen om de effecten van de kamer op de patiënt te bepalen. Ook is er afgelopen jaar een demo ontwikkeld voor Bouwkunde: de VR BKCITYLAB demo. We wilden een setting programmeren waarin je dingen kunt oppakken, schalen, draaien, stapelen, etcetera. Gewoon letterlijk ontwerpen in een digitale omgeving. We geven hiermee een beeld van wat er allemaal kan. We zijn overrompeld door de techniek, maar ook door de mensen die hier iets mee willen doen. De mensen van vormstudie zitten hiernaar te kijken, maar ook Frank Schnater van AE+T en Philomena Bluyssen van BT willen hiermee aan de slag.

Interactie aangaan met de virtuele wereld in de VR BkCityLab demo. Afbeeldingen door @HOK

Hiernaast heeft ook de decaan de VR demo geprobeerd en hij was erg enthousiast. In hoeverre is VR geïntegreerd in het onderwijs op deze faculteit? In het AR0771 keuzevak (geavanceerde, betekenisvolle en complexe visualisatie) kunnen studenten ervoor kiezen een te poster ontwerpen, maar ook hebben zij de optie tot het maken van een VR omgeving, ondersteund door TOI. Via de Unreal Engine kunnen ze hun gebouwen (of andere objecten) omzetten naar VR-objecten. Vervolgens kunnen ze daar doorheen lopen, ook gebruikmakend van geluid en muziek. Wat wij ook merken is dat veel studenten VR-componenten willen gebruiken bij het afstuderen. Het gaat dan om een onderzoek of presentatieelement. Het studiejaar is nog maar net begonnen en we hebben al vier gesprekken gehad. Het verder integreren van VR in het onderwijs is nu lastig door de nog gelimiteerde beschikbaarheid van de benodigde hardware. Wel wordt in de Bachelor soms gebruikgemaakt van Google Cardboard. Hiermee kun je punten creëren waar je om je heen kunt

kijken, maar rondlopen is hierbij niet mogelijk. Echter, voor jongerejaars zou volwaardige VR ook heel interessant zijn. Want hoe groot is je ontworpen ruimte nu eigenlijk? We hebben al vaak gehoord: ‘Oh, dat is toch kleiner dan ik had gedacht’, of ‘Oh, dit is wel een erg grote ruimte’. Hiernaast kan VR helpen bij het begrijpen van technische details. Het interpreteren van 2D-tekeningen kan in het eerste jaar lastig zijn. Het zou enorm helpen als je om je detail heen kunt lopen en uit elkaar kunt trekken. Ook vallen fouten in een ontwerp meteen op. Als je door je gebouw loopt waarvan bijvoorbeeld twee muren niet lekker op elkaar aan sluiten, dan is dat niet te missen. VR kan op deze manier veel bijdragen aan het leerproces. Ook zijn de ontwerpen op de meeste posters vaak net iets perfecter gemaakt dan ze in werkelijkheid zijn en zijn de perspectieven zo gekozen (soms zelfs is de hoek van de lens net iets wijder gemaakt) dat er niets op aan te merken valt. Met VR kan de docent (of de klant) om het gebouw heen lopen en het van alle kanten bekijken. Het ontwerp kan met VR eerlijk beoordeeld worden.



Hoe gemakkelijk is het voor de gemiddelde bouwkundestudent om gebruik te maken van VR? We denken dat het goed te doen is. Je moet even wennen aan de workflow, maar daar kunnen we bij @HOK natuurlijk altijd bij helpen. Een object omzetten naar Unreal is in principe een fluitje van een cent. Het wordt ingewikkelder als je dingen wilt programmeren. Dit is visueel programmeren, wat inhoudt dat je met lijntjes verbindingen trekt tussen componenten, net als in Grasshopper. Dit zorgt ervoor dat het voor iemand zonder kennis van programmeren toch relatief makkelijk is om erin te stappen. Qua hardware hebben we momenteel één Vive opstelling, maar we krijgen binnenkort nog twee en wij willen natuurlijk altijd helpen.

Zou TOI in de toekomst een VR-module kunnen geven? Ja, absoluut, we weten dat mensen bij TOI hier zeker in geïnteresseerd zijn. Wij van @HOK zullen dit dan op onze beurt goed kunnen ondersteunen. We denken dat VR een belangrijk component wordt in de toekomst. Dit kan ook voor je werkperiode van grote invloed zijn. Nu wordt er gevraagd om 3D modelleren, straks om VR. Het zou goed zijn als dit een vaste plaats zou krijgen in de Bachelor. Dit zou dan de vorm aan kunnen nemen van een 3D-visualisatiemodule, waarin het wordt gecombineerd met Maya en de Unreal Engine. Nu moeten studenten het zelf nog uitzoeken. Over 10 jaar moet iedereen dit zeker in het onderwijs hebben gehad.

Testritje Bnieuws kreeg de kans de voor-en-door bouwkunde ontwikkelde demo te proberen. In een hoge ruimte met veel glas stonden verschillende testjes opgesteld waaronder: een technisch detail dat je uit elkaar kon trekken, blokken waarmee je kon stapelen en schalen en een modelwoning (zie afbeeldingen). Hoe echt het is? Je zicht is niet full-HD (dit kan de hardware op dit moment nog niet aan), dus soms is het beeld ietwat korrelig, maar de handelingen die je verricht zijn uiterst accuraat. Iets oppakken geeft veel voldoening, omdat je handen in VR precies zijn waar je brein denkt dat ze zijn. Ook was het voor mij realistisch genoeg om mijn hoogtevrees boven te laten drijven. Ik stond twee verdiepingen hoog toen Arno en Arend-Jan mij vertelden van het gebouw te stappen. Meteen gingen er alarmbelletjes rinkelen en hoewel ik na enig rationaliseren doorhad dat ik nog steeds op de betonnen vloer van BK City moest staan, vond ik het moeilijk om de stap te nemen. Het fopte mijn brein dus wel degelijk.


< Screenshots uit de VR BkCityLAB demo. Images by @HOK

Wat is de toekomst van VR? Waar gaat het heen? Er zijn weinig grenzen. We hebben veel dromen. AJ: Ik denk dat in de toekomst VR zal worden geaccepteerd als een manier van onderzoeken en presenteren. Ook zal er een VR-lab zijn. Een ruimte waar je naartoe kunt gaan met je model op een USB-stick en waar je je ontwerp meteen kunt bekijken zoals het in werkelijkheid zou zijn. AF: Ook komt binnenkort de mogelijkheid om met twee personen hetzelfde model te verkennen. Je kunt hierbij de avatar van de andere persoon zien en zo samen door het model lopen.

ook samenwerken met de virtuele wereld, er worden namelijk ook grote sprongen gemaakt in Augmented Reality. Hiermee kun je een 3D-laag aan de werkelijkheid toevoegen. Je zou bijvoorbeeld in 3D pijlen en stromen over en door je ‘gewone’ maquette kunnen laten gaan. Het is weer een nieuwe stap in presenteren en visualiseren. Dit staat helaas nog in de kinderschoenen en de hardware is nog heel duur, maar dit gaat wel heel gaaf worden, ook voor het onderwijs. Meer weten of ook eens proberen? Loop dan even langs bij @HOK

VR zal echter de maquette niet gaan vervangen. Het blijft fijn om iets tastbaars te hebben. Het wordt én VR én maquettes. In de toekomst kunnen maquettes


PRINT-SHOP Tekst Michael Tjia

Geprinte posters zijn als vanzelfsprekend op Bouwkunde, net als het kleine gevoel van overwinning nadat je jouw digitale bestanden succesvol hebt geüpload. Jouw werk zit er grotendeels op, maar hoe gaat het eigenlijk verder achter de schermen? Bnieuws sprak met Manpon Manggaprouw, verantwoordelijk voor het grootste printwerk van Bouwkunde.

Wat doe jij hier? Mijn werkzaamheden hier bestaan uit het op tijd afhebben van de opdrachten die de studenten online indienen, het maken van presentatiemateriaal, hulp bij het inbinden en alle gezelligheid in dit hok.


Hoe lang doe je dat al? Ik ben hier in augustus van 2012 terechtgekomen. Hiervoor heb ik twintig jaar in de horeca gewerkt. Ik vind dat dit wel een beetje op elkaar aansluit. Dat lijkt anders wel verschillend, printen en horeca. Ik heb in de keuken gestaan. Daar komen alle bestellingen binnen en dan moet je zo snel mogelijk alles eruit zien te gooien. Dat is eigenlijk met dit precies hetzelfde: Het komt binnen en het moet er zo snel mogelijk uit. En je staat continu. De snelheid waarmee ik in de horeca werkte nam ik mee hierheen. De drukte tijdens inleverrondes hier ervaar ik als rustig. Mensen komen hier wanneer zij het druk hebben: als zij moeten presenteren, als zij een deadline moeten halen. Hoe zorg je dat het hier rustig blijft? Je weet dat die periodes eraan komen, dus daar kun je naar toe werken. Na een tijdje weet je wel ongeveer wie wie is, wie wat gaat doen, wie het eigenlijk altijd te laat opsturen—het zijn eigenlijk altijd dezelfde studenten. Wat zijn vaak gemaakte fouten? De bestelling moet wel kloppen – het type bestand, het formaat – zo niet mailen we of bellen we. Tijdens de inleverronde kan dat nog meer stress opleveren. Het is dus niet zo dat we alles gelijk doorsturen naar de printer, we kijken altijd wel even wat het is. Heel vaak wordt een verkeerd papiersoort gekozen. Dan zie je dus al dat dat het niet gaat worden. We hebben kalkpapier waar je een conferentieposter niet op zou kunnen zien. Dan wordt je hele afbeelding donker.


Op onze website kunnen studenten een reproticket aanvragen en met die kaart betalen ze daar – bij CopieSjop bij het station – dezelfde prijzen als hier. Studenten komen er daar pas achter dat ze die kaart nodig hebben, maar die kunnen ze alleen online bestellen en hier op Bouwkunde ophalen. Ik zie hier posters klaarliggen, met ontwerpen, plattegronden en renderings. Zie je daar nog wel eens iets interessants tussen? Nee. Ik moet je eerlijk zeggen dat ik daar niet naar kijk. Ik zie dan wel printfoutjes, met name bij tekst. Puntjes in plaats van letters, dat soort dingen. Voor de rest let ik er niet op.

Het is een enorme productie. Zeker tegen het einde van het semester hangt het ook boven helemaal vol. Je hebt het dan natuurlijk hartstikke druk, maar ben je wel eens boven geweest om te kijken? Ik moet je eerijk zeggen, dat in de vier jaar dat ik hier rondloop, ik niet een keer de trap ben opgegaan. Ik maak wel eens een rondje op de begane grond, maar voor de rest ben ik nog nergens geweest. De vrouw van de bieb zegt wel eens ‘Kom je een keertje boven kijken’, maar dat is er nog niet van gekomen. Ik hoor wel eens dat sinds jij hier in de print-shop bent, er fijne muziek wordt gedraaid. Kies jij dat uit? Ja. Ik heb Spotify geïnstalleerd en dat staat eigenlijk

heel de dag aan [tijdens het interview staat de afspeellijst ‘String Theory’ aan]. Muziek is alles voor mij. Muziek gebruik ik om de sfeer op dat moment te bepalen. Ik keek in het restaurant altijd naar wat voor mensen er binnenkwamen en daar probeer ik de muziek op aan te passen. En dat doe ik hier ook. Als het druk is, wordt de muziek ook drukker. En andersom? Om de studenten rustiger te houden. Die kunnen binnenkomen en losgaan. Ik kan één ding tegelijk. Ik kan één persoon tegelijk helpen. Ik zeg altijd dat het goedkomt, maar dat is iets wat ze liever niet willen horen.


Intussen loopt er een student de printshop binnen voor een paar elastiekjes. Hij groet Manpon en merkt de relaxte sfeer op. Manpon lijkt hem te herkennen. Om nog even op dat muziekverhaal terug te komen: Ik speel zelf in een band en ik oefen door te luisteren. Ik zet dan muziek op van wat we op dat moment instuderen voor een optreden. Ik heb hier ook mijn stokjes liggen—ik drum.

Dat zijn dan dit soort dingetjes die eigenlijk nergens op slaan. Maar wanneer ik ze heb, leidt dat toch een beetje af van de spanning die mensen hebben wanneer ze hier binnenlopen. Je hebt hier ook een grote schaal snoepjes met verschillende smaakjes. Is citroen populairder dan salmiak? Ja, de salmiak gaat sowieso niet hard omdat er veel buitenlandse studenten rondlopen. Als je vertelt dat het zout is, dan leggen ze het gauw terug. Of spugen ze het uit. Neem je er ook zelf wel eens één? Ja, maar dan pas ’s middags. Salmiak? Nee, ik combineer altijd framboos en citroen. Twee snoepjes tegelijk? Ja dat raad ik ook anderen aan. Het is maar wat er gehaald wordt, je hebt nog meer kleurtjes. Je legt die kleuren bijelkaar en je hebt een wereldsmaak. Manpon speelt in de band Hopper. Hun muziek is te

En wat voor muziek spelen jullie dan? Beetje jaren 70–90 pop/rock. We komen allemaal uit Delft en we spelen regelmatig in Delft. Jaren geleden in de Bouwpub, toen nog het oude Bouwkunde, speelde ik ook in een bandje. Toen hebben we daar een keertje gespeeld. Dat was nog beneden in de kelder. En hoe kwam je daar dan terecht? Wij kenden Linda van Keeken. Die kwam altijd kijken als we in de stad moesten spelen. En via haar zijn we in het oude Bouwkunde terechtgekomen. We kennen elkaar van het Delftse en nu komen we elkaar hier tegen. Wat heb je zelf voor het laatst uitgeprint? [Manpon wijst naar geplastificeerde print-outs van internetgrappen, internet memes]

beluisteren op


QUITE A COMMON STATE OF MIND Illustration Het Grijze Ei

Questioning the Criticism

YOUR CUP OF TEA (?) Words & Image Noortje Weenink

Since the beginning of the new academic year BK City has a new addition to its urban fabric. Part of the west wing was transformed into an updated coffee corner and the Faculty added a brand new Starbucks coffee machine. The transformation is part of the Food & Beverage vision of TU Delft. Instead of having a single campus-wide catering company, the TU wants to bring a broader and more varied form of catering to the campus. A noble idea, which not many people will argue against. But not everyone seems happy with how the plan is being implemented.


Living Campus – The Horeca Vision Under the name of ‘Living Campus’, TU Delft wants to create a more diverse, more international and certainly healthier supply of food and beverages on campus. On the website where the vision is described, TU Delft preludes a shift to ‘a variety of food and beverage providers spread out around campus, from unstaffed coffee corners to a grand café.’ TU Delft created an open call to the market for an addition to the existing coffee facilities. Douwe Egberts and Starbucks turned out to have the best concepts in the form of a self-service coffee corner. The idea of a self-service facility was tested in a pilot at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, and the Douwe Egberts Coffee Kitchen turned out to be a successful addition to the existing facilities. In our own faculty, the brand new Starbucks self-service machine was added to the already existing suppliers (Espressobar Sterk and the Ketelhuis). During the summer the west wing was transformed into a brand new coffee corner. The new look of the west wing is a certainly an improvement to its previous appearance. The bench with a mirrored background creates visual space, the sturdy tables are a great replacement for the round standing tables that were there before, the Tonix stools are a nice addition to the Vitra chairs, and the drawing on the ceiling is an interesting bonus for the eye. The junction of the west entrance and the west wing, and the close proximity to the concrete stairs makes the coffee corner a good place to meet, sit down and relax. It fits perfectly into the TU’s objective to create a range of different kinds of coffee places in order to meet the diverse needs of students ‘to socialise, study or just chill.’ The reactions of students and staff who are using the Starbucks machines embrace especially the practical side of the Living Campus plan. When asked why they were using the machine, their responses varied from ‘it is just practical and close to where I work/study’ and ‘I prefer not to stand in line at the Espressobar’, to ‘when I am abroad I always buy Starbucks coffee, so it is nice to have Starbucks at the Faculty as well.’ It seems like the location is chosen well, and the international approach of the TU is working. The Blame Game In contrast to the reactions of the users, the announcement of the Starbucks machine on the Faculty’s Facebook page evoked mixed, but primarily negative responses. The ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ outweigh the angry faces, but the comments on the post tell another story. Both the Faculty and the university are criticised numerously. Where students ask for local options, TU Delft focuses on internationality and a varied range. Where students ask for ‘reasonable and diverse, less meaty food instead of bringing a second overprices coffee place’, the university does exactly the opposite.


When reading the vision of the Living Campus, it is somewhat odd that the new coffee machine provoked so many students. A catering model with options for everyone, both in terms of taste and budget, is exactly what the university is aiming towards. ‘The campus has not only become much more international, but Dutch tastes have also changed. Croquette sandwiches and filter coffee no longer sufficiently satisfy the taste buds of contemporary foodies, connoisseurs and discerning consumers.’ However, the problem that many of the students have with the current supply is not just about their taste buds. It is rather about promoting a healthy and sustainable way of living. Although the aim for a bigger variety in options is charitable, one cannot help but wonder if Douwe Egberts and Starbucks really fit into the general vision of our university. Especially since there are already three coffee options at our faculty (Espressobar Sterk, Ketelhuis and the cheaper machines), was it really necessary to add a fourth option? And if so, was a multinational the way to go?


At Facebook, TU Delft and the Faculty were heavily criticised for getting into bed with a multinational such as Starbucks. Student Bob Zwanink: ‘I don’t get the fact that it has to be the big multinationals who get a place at our campus. Why no local companies? I don’t think Architecture students want to be associated with a brand like Starbucks, screwing over people in tax paradise.’ It is at least questionable that an academic institution, and in particular the TU as a promoter of sustainable innovation, creativity and independent thinking, signs a contract with ‘the devil’. Local Coffee – an Oxymoron Sharing your Starbucks cup of coffee with a misspelled name (‘Marc with a C’ spelled as ‘Cark’) has become a social media phenomenon. This makes the company an easy subject to ridicule and scorn. Since there is arguably no such thing as bad publicity, the name writing might as well be a neat marketing strategy. It was even mentioned in the Faculty’s announcement on the website of the TU: ‘You can get great coffee at this Starbucks, although you’ll have to write your own name on the cup!’ People using the machine were opting for a marker next to the machine to write their own names on their cups. The social media presence has turned sharing one’s expensive Starbucks cup into a kind of status symbol. It makes the company an easy subject to ridicule and scorn. Is this justified in any way, or is Starbucks just an easy target? Judging by the down to earth reactions of people that have been self-serving the Starbucks coffee, obviously not everyone is worried or displeased. And perhaps it is not completely fair to denounce Starbucks, and not the Douwe Egberts Coffee Kitchen at Industrial Design. Douwe Egberts hardly scores higher on (a website that ranks big brands according to sustainability), and the supposedly ‘Dutch’ company has been a daughter company of Hillshare Brands - a huge American corporation that makes billions of dollars, keeps buying small companies and gets 85% of its profit from meat products. Exploitation and sustainability, anyone?

Indeed, Starbucks is known for enjoying the advantageous tax regulations of the Netherlands and exploiting coffee farmers in Ethiopia. The company is unsustainable at best. On the other hand, the tax avoidance is completely legal – a flaw of the Dutch government rather than a flaw of the company. The exploitation of coffee farmers is far from a single scandal: on average the price of a cup of coffee is 1500 times the price that the coffee pickers receive. Coffee is by definition a product of globalisation, making ‘local coffee’ an oxymoron. So can students really ask for locality in a debate about coffee? And is the university wrong to work with a multinational to meet the wishes of international students?

‘THE UNIVERSITY AS A COMPANY MODEL INSTEAD OF THE UNIVERSITY AS A PLACE WHERE ACTUAL LEARNING HAPPENS. THE CURRICULUM IS CLOSE TO THE MENU OF ANY FAST FOOD CHAIN TOO, SO THIS IS NOT WEIRD AT ALL.’ The Company Model Although the self-service machine fits perfectly into the Living Campus-vision, it seems like the TU is compromising its mission ‘to make a significant contribution towards a sustainable society for the 21st century through world-class research and education with economic and social value.’ Because whether you like Starbucks or not, and whether you agree with its tax policy or not, the company is without question not sustainable nor socially responsible. This leaves only the economic objective. As architecture student Nima Morkoc put it on Facebook: ‘The university as a company model instead of the university as a place where actual learning happens. The curriculum is close to the menu of any fast food chain too, so this is not weird at all.’ It remains debatable if the university is at fault for operating in the neoliberal system, which is based on economic profit, exploitation and globalisation.1 Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right, but in a globalising world we can hardly blame the university for an international or multinational catering model. In any case, we – the TU, the Faculty and students alike – should remain critical about what we buy, who we cooperate with and even how we criticise. Perhaps the university did exactly what it is supposed to do: offer a base for debate and independent thinking. Aside from the worries, there is another ray of light reflecting on the dark surface of our coffee. The prices of the new Starbucks machine at our faculty are half of what they are in their restaurants. So instead of 1500%, we pay only 750% of the price they give to their coffee farmers. Phew. 1

More information: Harvey, D. (2005). A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: University Press.


Caption omni to eveniste verate verfercium voluptas.

Linda van Keeken

ARTIFACT Artifact Linda van Keeken

Mijn Artifact is de (BHV)-portofoon. Op 13 mei 2008 ging ik nietsvermoedend aan het werk in het pand van Bouwkunde aan de Berlageweg in Delft. Ik heb het pand voor het laatst aan de binnenkant gezien met een portofoon in mijn handen: deze BHV-portofoon welteverstaan. Het was het laatste middel waarmee ik communiceerde – het laatste voorwerp wat mij nog een beetje hoop gaf; het laatste stukje vertrouwen en gevoel van veiligheid.

Voor en tijdens de brand was deze portofoon mijn beste maatje. Gedurende een flink aantal angstaanjagende minuten (die uren leken te duren) was dit het middel om met mijn collega’s contact te onderhouden omtrent de steeds groter wordende ramp; om het gebouw te ontruimen en de brandweer de weg te wijzen. Het zal mij altijd bijblijven dat ik het gebouw letterlijk zag verdwijnen. Hoe fijn is het om op dat moment nog te kunnen communiceren met mensen die je vertrouwt en je zelfs nog een enigszins veilig gevoel geven? Omdat we het natuurlijk al veel te vaak over deze ramp hebben gehad, vind ik het belangrijk om nog een tweede reden geven waarom dit voorwerp mij inspireert. Communicatie is ontzettend belangrijk: wij kunnen alleen contact met elkaar hebben door communicatie. Door communicatie is het mogelijk dat we samenleven. Door communicatie kunnen we gesprekken hebben, overleggen en beslissingen nemen. En belangrijk is dat iedereen weet wat het doel is. Hoe vaak ontstaan er misverstanden door miscommunicatie? Tijdens BHV trainingen leren we duidelijk te communiceren en dit alles met behulp van dit apparaat. De ogen en oren van de BHV-ploegleider die alleen door communicatie kan ‘zien’ en ‘horen’ wat er gaande is, hetgeen soms van levensbelang kan zijn. Voor de volgende Artifact nomineer ik Machiel van Dorst, de afdelingsvoorzitter van Urbanism. < BHV-portofoon. Afmetingen: 253x54x34 mm (lxbxh).




The A+BE profession has a hoard of jargons, and on top of that our faculty is a merry mix of international cultures. Inspired by the Dutch term Poldermodel, Bnieuws set out on a cross-cultural search for metaphors in A+BE, aiming to trigger professional and cultural dialogues by exploring their sources in a wider context. This is the first article of the series ‘Cross-Cultural Search for A+BE Metaphors’.


The linguistic peculiarity of A+BE is well-evidenced by the popular jargon survey by ArchDaily.1 Beneath the phenomena is not just some designers’ language predilection, but really the unique design thinking. 30

The same perspective could be proposed for the cultural differences in design thinking—specifically, based on the metaphors in design cultures. Because humans reason and learn by metaphors 2 and analogical thinking is central to cognition. 3 Moreover, modern design has kept its intimate relation with metaphors and analogies, which are used to make sense of complex design situations 4 and to transfer precedential and cross-domain knowledge to construct solutions in new situations.5,6 And of all the metaphors and analogies designers use, some are shared like a common language that persists through history, exerting influence on design thinking, binding stakeholders together and perpetuating urban patterns. This series will extract them from native cultures and lay them out for the reader to shed light on the cultural differences in our actually-not-so-globalised profession. THE ELUSIVE WIND AND WATER

It is widely held that Fengshui is at the heart of

Chinese native A+BE culture, but less is known about its logic—which many believe to be unfounded. Moreover, the differences between western and easters languages and the fact that today it’s widely held to be superstition among the educated make the task of explaining three times more challenging. Nevertheless, for the sake of the urban patterns that endured thousands of years across that ancient land, some explaination must be attempted. Kongjian Yu addressed the cultural psychological influence that Fengshui has on the ideal spatial pattern in the Chinese mind, 7 which accounts for the environmental aesthetics but still not the logic. It’s possible that the logic in metaphors can only be understood with the logic of metaphor. —And Fengshui is born of metaphors. The flow–form Law (Before reading further, the reader is urged to forget the modern concept of urban flows for the moment.) Beneath all the seemingly unfounded rules is a profound hypothesis: the forms and flows shape each other to achieve a long-term, dynamic co-existence. This is further enfolded in the Yin & Yang philosophy—evidenced by designers’ interpretation of

Forces inhabiting the complex landscape became the source for understanding the spatial and social dynamics. Photo by Eric@Flickr.

the symbol as dynamic balance between emptiness and solidness (flows and forms). With no means to validate itself through controlled experiments, the flow-form hypothesis never could become science. But for designers who shape forms by identifying invisible restraints, this corresponds to intuition. And indeed, in mechanical engineering was articulated the Constructal Law: ‘For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that it provides easier access to the imposed currents that flow through it.’ 8, 9 Just like that, across time and space, it shares essence with Fengshui—an abstract, albeit speculative system dealing with how to pick the sweet spot in the flowscape, how to shape large forms to fit and channel flows, and even how to tweak, bind, convert and reform flows (and get away with it). Scientific studies to validate the flow-form concept are rare and obscured. One study applies computational fluid dynamics to examine the air flow in Fengshui-guided interior arrangement 10 —a possible start to deeper studies.

Metaphors for the invisible Long time ago, in a rare, history-changing vision, some early thinkers ‘saw’, through time and space, the world in a complex flowscape weaved by endless, ever-changing, violent and enduring forces. They came to the realisation of the nature of spatial phenomena: dynamic interaction between flows and forms. But back then there was no word such as ‘flow’. Nor were there any means to represent the invisible moving continuums acting on and about the solid forms; and without representations, one cannot begin to analyse their interrelations and design based on that. So they turned to their analogising faculty and compared all the invisible continuums to wind (feng) and water (shui); giving birth to the Chinese ‘flow’ concept at the same moment. These analogies bring the strange and out-of-scale items into humans’ familiar cognitive territory of experienceable concepts, which afford understanding, reasoning and communication. 11 Yet besides cognitive familiarity, it is speculated that wind and water were chosen for yet another reason. Wind stands for the dispersed, the ephemeral and


the pervasive; water stands for the shapeable, the constant and the concentrated. Embodying these two sets of qualities, they are the reference points for others on the flow spectrum, including flows of material, goods, people, wealth, etc. A trans-scalar system Based on the knowledge of the dynamics between flows and forms, designers derived a system of principles to conduct their trade ranging from town planning to garden designing. On the highest scale, planners—often also scientists and officials - would analyse the forms and flows in the landscape to decide where to fit in the town and ‘last thousands of years’ (proverb). Then they plan the town for orientation and inner structure, negotiating and shaping flows of wind, resource and products, trading, people, etc. With Fengshui as a tool, the ruling class chose their location and shaped the flows to ensure their own supreme position. 32

On a lower scale, inhabitants select and position their establishments within the combined natural and built context, based on all the flow-form principles used in the planning phase. Flow resources are good; but since flows are endless, too much resource and wealth would destroy a household. Thus most forms follow a humble and harmonious path. On the garden scale, the same designer who practice town planning uses the same principles to organise buildings, water and topology within an establishments. Heavy rainfall is to be directed or stored; artificial mountains are used to trap heat on the south side and block winter winds on the northwestern side; the auspicious influences come from the southeast—the direction of sunrise and spring winds; the house cluster should have courtyards to admit natural flows; and so on. Nowadays much is appreciated about the weird twisting paths and symbolic Zen spaces in Chinese gardens, but that is only one aspect of its full

capabilities—made possible by the metaphorical, trans-scalar and holistic system. Once more to ‘flows’ A comparison between the contemporary ‘flow’ (esp. in urban metabolism) and Fengshui seems in order. Metabolic studies focuse more on the content of the flows instead of their spatial behaviour. Metabolists could probably relate to the feeling that modern flows are so insulated by industrial chains and infrastructure that they are increasingly disembodied from space, and that most efforts to materialise flow dynamics into spatial forms fall short of true synthesis. On the other hand, without concentrated industries and intricate infrastructure networks, ancient cities are themselves shaped to conduct and process flows. Fengshui deals with the spatial dynamics of the flow— direction, strength, containability, distribution, etc. —and based on that, prescribes spatial forms. And because flows are trans-scalar, form correspondence is also enforced across scales. Is it in the Chinese design mindset? Chinese designers like aesthetic balance between the dense and the dispersed, the solid and the empty. This ‘superficiality’ to dwell on formal features probably traces back to Fengshui philosophy. Some like talking about invisible forces of good or bad influences that the design needs to respond to. Others have an obsession with the temporal behaviour of apparently stationary urban forms. - For good or bad, these symptons are a testament to the power of wind and water. Next article will feature the Dutch version of A+BE metaphors. Meanwhile, our cross-cultural search continues, and any input is valuable to us! Sources can be found on the online pages 36 - 37:


DESIGN IS NOT A TREE Words & Image Ruiying Liu

‘The living city cannot be properly contained in a receptacle which is a tree... its very life stems from the fact that it is not a tree.’ 1 — Written by C. Alexander’s in his milestone paper, A City Is Not a Tree. Now, have we learnt everything from the half-a-century-old paper?


As much as C. Alexander’s theory has spurred generations of architects, designers and planners onto the search for a humanised spatial logic, it prompted me to reflect on our daily existence in BK. Although nobody takes it for granted that any city is

comparable to a tree, the hidden tree-ish logic, stemming from the designer’s mind, still reigns in the space, the social organisation, education planning, and our very act of designing. —Allow me to slightly abuse the ‘not-a-tree’ meme and illustrate.

BK City is not a tree When you come through the grand main entrance, you are immediately confronted by a crammed space, beyond which, chaos. You deftly make a decision, turning west or east. First bifurcation. Then you guide yourself to the corridor of your department—a long, semi-private branch off the main artery—and stay there for best part of day. Second bifurcation. Of course, there are small reprieves around conjunctions—coffee machine, printers, magazine pantries, etc. But how much do local centers contribute to the overall connectedness? Granted we have the lovely orange hall with a hilltop view, the action-filled modelling hall, the mingle space cafeteria, and Bouwpub to douse a week’s edginess. But they’re all on the periphery (and none is on the west wing). 34

In fact, the arteries between east and west wings are bustling yet cold conduits—yes there are interesting display and neon lights, but given the high-paced movement how many can actually stop to interact? Honestly, this is the highway of BK City. Our City is the ‘receptacle of our life and our social processes’. 1 When the receptacle conspires against you, it’s difficult not to fall into the mental trap of the tree yourself. How often do urbanism and landscape students mingle with architecture students? How much do we know about each others’ expertise and how many try out a joint project just for fun? The faculty is not a tree Logical and economical, the tree as an organisational structure is widely applied—such as in our faculty. It’s clear enought for those who know their fascination, but difficult for others. If you are faced with the challenge of climbing onto the branches one by one, will you give up exploring the big picture?

This is the reality for the graduating students trying out speed dating with their potential mentors. As the frequency of our coodinator’s use of the phrase ‘don’t panic’ goes, we might as well have a Hitchhicker’s Guide in our pocket. (Most useful book for questions such as ‘how to find your destinations’, ‘what if you end up stranded in strange territories’, etc.) Alexander found inspiration in the fact that the simplistic tree structure doesn’t eliminate interdepartmental coorperation and ad hoc units in human organisations. 1 But for students (esp. those on the two-year tracks), there’s little interdisciplinary action to experience or to witness. For them, to what extent is the idea of inter-disciplinary collaboration just an idea? Courses are not a tree As education becomes industrialised, efficiency starts to dictate how knowledge is passed on. From q1 to q4, we are confounded, enlightened, challenged and tested by all sorts of contents from all sorts of angles, leaving an increasingly fragmented knowledge landscape in the mind. Every feedback session is a kind gesture to help us make sense of this fragmented existence, but the local loops are not making much difference on a global scale. More often than not students’ knowledge is left like dead-end branches, linked only by the tenuous trunk of our ‘designerly ways of’ persevering. A tree-shaped structure is ‘a bowl full of razor blades on edge’ where ‘life will be cut into pieces’.1 If designers translate this into education philosophy, they would say more about ‘reflecting in action, on action and on practice’ 2 —because reflection is the first step to loop the dead ends into a robust network of knowledge. Design process is not a tree Finally, look at how we set tree-like agenda for our design projects: research–analysis–conceptualisation


conceived in a tree shape—I guess it’s the ultimate design paradox we have to live with.

What led us to the illusion that design can be accomplished in such linear, one-directional process? Cognitive researches try to impart on us that it’s just the opposite - more so for expert designers. 3,4 The real process is usually 90% bumping into dead ends and the last 10% life-redeeming flare of ingenuity. Such inefficiency is inevitable given the ‘wicked’ nature of our design problems 5. Scientists solve X+3=7 deductively, but our problems are wicked like X+Y=7, which can’t be solved without creativity.

Breaking free If any profession is trained in (and to survive) semi-lattice activities, it’s the design profession. We’re not prepossessed by rigid logicality, nor are we consumed with unbound feelings. We’re on the exact right spot to own it—‘ Trust me, I’m a designer; I know trees better than trees.’ In a similiar paradox, the structure of this article is no less a very clearly defined tree. But as journalism goes,

However, ‘for the human mind, the tree is the easiest vehicle for complex thoughts’ 1; therefore, designers have to use a tree to get their messages across to stakeholders. The best works are structured in the image of a tree, with tree-shaped clarity and confidence. But this does not mean their creativity is

it’s up to you, dear reader to take up the thread and feedback with your thoughts to us, so we can complete the loop (- or, as complexity theorists call it, the feedforward loop). Sources can be found on the online page 36 - 37:


NEXT EDITION 03 Neck-deep in the fight for your professional career? Sit down with us over competition, winning and losing, and let’s try to remember the utopia we put into our work but never personally lived.


SOURCES Our Buildings Shape Us pages 06 - 11



The Churchill Centre. (2016). Retrieved from www. 2 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.) What Is Mental Health? Retrieved from www.mentalhealth. gov/basics/what-is-mental-health/ 3 Mental Health Foundation. (n.d.) Stigma and discrimination. Retrieved from uk/a-to-z/s/stigma-and-discrimination 4 Dadsetan, A. (2016). Urban planning and design can support the mental health and wellbeing of young refugees. Retrieved from 5 World Urban Campaign. (n.d.) Seeking John Snow’s Water Pump For Urban Public Mental Health. Retrieved from 6 Eberhard, J.P. (2003). How the Brain Experiences Architecture. Retrieved from brain-architecture.html 7 Ayvazian, S., Emamgholi, A., Islami, S.G. & Mohammadi, A.Z. (2011). The Impact of Quality of Environment


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Bnieuws VOLUME 50 ISSUE 02

Bnieuws 02 2016 2017