management and (social) innovation /
sustainable tourism / urban questions
Doing photo essays is part of my current activities.
The photo essays are on a dedicated webpage, with more and larger format photos. Click here to visit this page (opens in new window)
Beyond Bilbao - three contemporary cultural architecture projects in Northern Spain (2022)
This photo-essay shows three contemporary cultural architecture projects in their urban context. They are located in Northern Spain, West of Bilbao; Centro Botín in Santander (first photo on the right), Centro Niemeyer in Avilés (second) and Cidade da Cultura (Gaías) in Santiago de Compostela (third). The three Spanish cities have, each in their own way, substantially invested in cultural architecture as a vehicle to positively impact city development. The three cities have involved well-known architects, Renzo Piano, Oscar Niemeyer and Peter Eisenman resp., to design remarkable buildings that attract attention and do justice to the development aims of the cities.
'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.
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 interactive museum Porta Posnania in Poznań ) and the Filharmonia in Szczecin (bottom right). Attention in the essay gos 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.).
In September 2022 an exhibition was opened at MAD Gallery of Polis University Tirana, with 45 of the Polish architecture photos.
in progress, 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.
Click here to visit the webpage with photo-essays..