Doing photo essays is on my agenda the coming years.
'Brutal Skopje', presented during the Tirana Architecture Week 2019, is about 3 times brutal. First; brutal architecture as an architectural style developed in former Yugoslavia, with modernist spacious designs mixed with the principles of Yugoslavian modernist-brutal architecture for public buildings. Second brutalrefers to the chaotic capitalist market development after 1991, with spatial infill, new apartment buildings and glass office towers. Architectural quality was low but it did not matter much since economic exploitation of land and buildings was the main driving force. Third brutal was the lunatic attempt of the former prime minsiter Gruevski to create a new Macedonian identity based on the ‘glorious past of Macedonia’ (Skopje 2014 project). It entailed the clearance of parks and green space, the construction of new government offices, buildings for public functions (museums, etc.) in the open spaces, an monumental central square and the construction of many monuments, sculptures and new facades covering existing buildings. Photo right: Skopje university, below; main post office, below right: Skopje 2014 statue.
In progress, photo essay on Polish cultural architecture
During the last decade, Polish cities have opened museums and theatres with eye-catching architecture. The most well-known are perhaps the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. But there are many more special buildings that deserve attention, such as the Silesian Museum in Katowice (photo right), the Centre for the Meeting of Cultures in Lublin (below left), the interactive museum Porta Posnania in Poznań (below right), the Centre of Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor 'Crikoteka' in Krakow (bottom left), and (best of all I think) the Filharmonia in Szczecin (bottom right). COVID permitting, in 2022 a photo essay will be of Poland's most striking cultural architecture. Attention will go to the significance of the buildings for the city; no assessment of architectural or urban quality (that we leave to architects) but looking at the impact for city life (economy, culture, identity, etc.).
2022, photo essay on Rotterdam Katendrecht
With Paul Rabé of IHS-Erasmus University, I work on a paper New urban authenticity: the case of Katendrecht, Rotterdam. Katendrecht district is gradually inserted in the city centre, old housing has been replaced by new housing and derelict port premises such as warehouses and small industries, have been redeveloped to accommodate new functions like food , culture and retail. More than half of the population of Katendrecht now consists of new inhabitants in mainly middle- and higher-income housing. It is gentrification at work. Visitor attractions such as SS Rotterdam (a former cruise ship turned into a hotel and experience centre), Deliplein food centre, and various cultural amenities have been developed and attract local, national and international visitors.
Next to the paper, a photo essay will be made.