• Architecture of Appropriation: On Squatting as Spatial Practice
    René Boer, Marina Otero Verzier, and Katía Truijen
    ADM Amsterdam, Maria Fernanda Duarte, Adeola Enigbokan, Marten Kuijpers, Jere Kuzmanić, Vereniging Poortgebouw, Johannes Schwartz, Stichting Plantage Dok, Vluchtmaat, We Are Here, and Roos van Strien
    Het Nieuwe Instituut, 2019
    Het Nieuwe Instituut-Research department

Johannes Schwartz, House at ADM, 2016, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Courtesy of the artist.

The squatting movement has played a major role in the design of the urban fabric and the domestic interior. Using spatial improvisation and radical, subversive tactics—rather than master plans or conventional design strategies—squatters have proposed alternatives to the dominant, market-oriented housing policies, arguing that the people's right to a house supersedes the right to own property. In order to acknowledge the legacy of the squatting movement, Het Nieuwe Instituut is conducting research into squatting as an architectural practice. The research has thus far manifested in an installation by design studio ZUS, with a display of historical material from, among others, the International Institute for Social History, several city archives, the personal archives of former squatters, and Het Nieuwe Instituut's own collection. Architecture of Appropriation uses the exhibition as a site for research, and collects materials for a publication around questions of vacancy, property, in order to propose alternative urban and domestic arrangements and housing policies.

Marina Otero Verzier, editor, is a Rotterdam-based architect. She is the head of the Research Department at Het Nieuwe Instituut. Previously, together with the After Belonging Agency, she was chief co-curator of the Oslo Architecture Triennale (2016), and served as director of Global Network Programming at Studio-X (New York). Otero studied architecture at TU Delft and the ETSA Madrid, where she completed her PhD in 2016. In 2013, as a Fulbright Scholar, she graduated with an MS in critical, curatorial, and conceptual practices in architecture from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Otero is coeditor of Promiscuous Encounters (GSAPP Books, 2014), Unmanned: Architecture and Security Series (dpr-barcelona, 2016), and After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay In Transit (Lars Müller Publishers, 2016). She has also co-curated exhibitions at the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale (2013) and the Istanbul Design Biennial (2014).

René Boer, editor, works as an urban and architectural researcher, writer, and activist in Amsterdam, and is managing editor at the research studio Failed Architecture, as well as part of the non-fiction team. He was critic-in-residence at the IABR in 2016 and visiting fellow at the Cairo Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences. He has been affiliated with urban social movements in Barcelona, Ramallah/Jerusalem, and Amsterdam and has written for Harvard Design Magazine, Volume, and Studio, among others. He holds a master's degree in urban studies from University College London's UrbanLab, where his thesis centered on cinematic reflections on Cairo's post-Mubarak urban transformations.

Katía Truijen, managing editor, is a media theorist based in Amsterdam. She works for Het Nieuwe Instituut as an R&D researcher in digital culture. Truijen is particularly interested in the tactical use of media technologies and the urban commons. She has published about digital culture and design for many leading cultural platforms in the Netherlands. Previously, she has taught new media theory and digital storytelling in the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Media Studies and at the Netherlands Film Academy. In 2012, she co-initiated the performance festivals Frisse Moed and Het Verval, and in 2015, co-developed the performing arts festival Club Voyage. Also in 2015, she co-curated the exhibition Souvenirs at Felix Meritis in Amsterdam.

Anastasia Kubrak, graphic designer, is an investigative designer and researcher based in Amsterdam. She graduated cum laude from Design Academy Eindhoven and is currently obtaining a Master's degree at Sandberg Instituut. In her work she focuses on social and cultural implications of emerging technologies. Her interests revolve around politics of information and protocols of communication. By proposing tangible ways to engage in complex narratives, she aims to address a broader audience in critical evaluation of existing systems.

ADM Amsterdam is a cultural free-haven in the port area of Amsterdam. Its terrain was first squatted in 1987 and is currently inhabited by about 130 people of all ages and nationalities. ADM still hosts self-organized festivals and is one of the last large live/work communities of Amsterdam.

Amal Alhaag is an Amsterdam based independent curator, cultural programmer and radio host with an interest in counter-culture, oral histories and global social issues. Her work explores these themes through short- and long-term collaborations with artists, institutions and audiences. Since 2008, her projects infuse music and art with current affairs, post-coloniality, digital anthropology and everyday anecdotes to invite, stage or examine "uncomfortable" issues, unknown stories and unwelcome audiences to write, share or compose narratives in impermanent settings.

Maria Fernanda Duarte is a Brazilian architect and interior architect currently based in Rotterdam. Founder of the online architectural guide ARQGUIA Rio, she studied architecture and urbanism in Rio de Janeiro (FAU-UFRJ) and in Berlin (TFH). Recently, she concluded her master's degree in interior architecture at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam.

Adeola Enigbokan is an artist and urbanist based in Amsterdam. Her research practice is informed by theory and methods from environmental psychology, anthropology and historical studies. She conducts research on urban experience with architects, designers, educators and other social researchers in neighborhoods of New York, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Beijing, Mexico City and Amsterdam. She holds an MPhil in anthropology and historical studies from The New School for Social Research, and a PhD in environmental psychology from the City University of New York, based on her doctoral dissertation, Archiving the City: A Guide to the Art of Urban Interventions. She has taught in the Department of Technology, Culture and Society at New York University. She currently teaches urban sociology at the undergradute and graduate level at the University of Amsterdam.

Marten Kuijpers is a Rotterdam-based architect and researcher. He studied architecture at the University of Technology in Eindhoven. He graduated with distinction with a specialization in architecture theory and history. In addition to working for several Dutch architectural practices, Kuijpers ran the lectures and debates program of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) from2010 to 2013. Since 2013, primarily through curating exhibitions and other discursive programs, Marten has developed the Landscape and Interior program within the R&D Department of Het Nieuwe Instituut. He curated the exhibitions Sicco Mansholt: A Good European (2014) and Munich 1972 (2016). He is also a member of the advisory board of the Arts & Culture Department at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the editorial team behind the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam.

Jere Kuzmanić is an architect and urbanist and member of the Poortgebouw community. He holds a double MA in architecture and urban planing from the University of Zagreb and recently from TU Delft. His focus are collective and collaborative forms of housing practices, and the history and politics of housing and architecture in Europe.

Johannes Schwartz is a photographer based in Amsterdam. Schwartz studied photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy from 1995 to 1998, and has since taught there for several years, including during a period as head of the Photography department (2004–10). His awards include the Esther Kroon Award (1998) and the Cobra Kunstprijs Amstelveen (2007). He was one of the artists who participated in Aperta/Loose Work, the official Dutch entry for the Venice Biennale (2011).

Stichting Plantage Dok is an important meeting place within Amsterdam's subculture scene. The large building complex—a former printing office built around a nineteenth-century church—was squatted in the early 1980s and again in 1998, when it was quickly legalized. Affordable studios, workshops, and a café-restaurant were created, while the enclosed church was restored to its original condition to use as a venue for cultural events.

Roos van Strien is researcher based in Amsterdam, currently obtaining a master's degree in the Arts & Culture: History of Architecture program at the Vrije Universiteit.

Vereniging Poortgebouw is a community of about thirty residents, living in the former head office of the Port of Rotterdam. The building was squatted in 1980 and legalized in 1984. Over the years, a wood workshop, photo darkroom, rehearsal space and venue, shared kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces were created. The community is organized in various working groups devoted to particular issues, such as building maintenance. Additionally, Poortgebouw hosts a giveaway shop, a weekly café, and an open stage.

The We Are Here collective a group of refugees in Amsterdam that has not (yet) received any official status in the Netherlands, but cannot return to their country of origin. Over the last years, the group has squatted more than twenty sites around the city. Vluchtmaat, a squat in a generic office space close to the Amsterdam Ring road, has been legalized. The group started a foundation and signed a contract with the owner, dividing the open-plan office space of the building into small rooms. A number of spaces are let to creative entrepreneurs, who take responsibility for the costs of using the building.

Institutional Collaborators:

The International Institute of Social History (IISH) examines how work and labor relations develop globally over time. To conduct this historical research and support other researchers, the institute collects archives and data from all over the world. Established in 1935, the IISH is one of the world's leading research institutes on social history. Since 1979, the IISH has been an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The collections, some of which concern politically sensitive materials, are the property of or have been issued on standing loan to the independent IISH Foundation.

The Piet Zwart Institute houses the international master program of the Willem de Kooning Academy at Hogeschool Rotterdam. Since 1999, it has been dedicated to promoting study and research in the fields of art, design and art education. The MA Media Design: Experimental Publishing program challenges the protocols of publishing in all its possible forms using play, fiction, and ambiguity as methods and strategies of production and presentation, in order to experiment on the threshold of what is possible, desirable, allowed, or disruptive, in this ever-expanding field.

The TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, established in 1904, has a leading role in the area of architecture education and research in the broadest sense. Some three thousand students, hundreds of researchers, lecturers and professors follow or provide education here, do research, and support work in a dynamic, distinctive, and internationally oriented environment.

TU Eindhoven, Department of the Built Environment, Architectural Urban Design and Engineering looks at how design at different scales, from the technological product to the architectural object and up to the urban assembly, can support and inform each other. The program is about finding the right fit between economic, social, political, and environmental demands.

Through its activities in the context of current developments, Het Nieuwe Instituut aims to enhance the public appreciation of the cultural and social meaning of architecture, design, and digital culture, as well as empower the interaction between the disciplines. In a world increasingly documented—and simultaneously obscured—by the speed and quantity of information in circulation, research plays a critical role in elucidating the relevance of both existing and new ideas, and the responsibility of institutions in their construction and promotion. The Research Department at Het Nieuwe Instituut desires to acknowledge and give visibility to research projects, practices, and initiatives, whose success is understood not in terms of academic citations, adherence to official formats, or profitability, but in their ability to offer departures from established modes of thinking. Grounded in the principles of design and innovation, concepts bound up with optimism as well as change and inherent conflicts, the investigations, exhibitions, and public events aim to become a motor for collective forms of knowledge and alternative forms of living. The artistic director of Het Nieuwe Instituut is Guus Beumer.