On Friday October 2 and Saturday October 3, respectively, Dutch architects Kees Kaan of KAAN Architects and Reinier de Graaf of OMA give lectures during the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Kees Kaan: Beautification
In his lecture “Beautification,” Kees Kaan will critically reflect on the contextual narrative as the driver of the architectural concept to generate a self-evident relation between city, building, construction, and detail. Kees Kaan is founder and director of KAAN Architecten, located in Rotterdam. He also co-founded Claus en Kaan Architecten which operated from 1987 until 2013.
Kaan graduated in architecture from Delft University of Technology in 1987. Examples of his work include the Netherlands Forensic Institute in The Hague, the Netherlands Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique, the Heimolen Crematorium in Sint-Niklaas, the museum of Beaux Arts in Antwerp and the Supreme Court of the Netherlands in The Hague. Kaan is design and development supervisor of the Lijnbaandistrict in Rotterdam and of the TU Delft Campus. He is also full professor of the Chair of Complex Projects at the TU Delft (Faculty of Architecture). His research focus is on large-scale projects characterizing rapid global urbanization.
Reinier de Graaf: The Century That Never Happened
In his lecture “The Century That Never Happened,” Reinier de Graaf questions the cost of not thinking in utopias anymore. The 20th century taught us that utopian thinking can have precarious consequences, wagering the fate of mankind on the uncertain outcome of grand intellectual speculations. But, if the course of history is formed by logical argumentation, what follows? Does the 21st century mark the absence of utopias? Isn’t that equally dangerous, if not more? What are the risks of realism? What ensues in the wake of an almost universal realization that what is good and what works are not necessarily the same? What are the dangers of a world that embraces a definitive divorce between what is just and what is effective?
De Graaf is partner of OMA, a Rotterdam-based architecture firm. He is responsible for building and masterplanning projects in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, including the new G-Star Headquarters in Amsterdam (completed 2014), the ‘Stadskantoor’ (City Hall) under construction in Rotterdam, the Norra Tornen residential tower in Stockholm, and the Commonwealth Institute (under construction) in London. In 2002, De Graaf became director of AMO, OMA’s think tank, and produced The Image of Europe, an exhibition illustrating the history of the European Union. He has overseen AMO’s increasing involvement in sustainability and energy planning, including Zeekracht: a strategic masterplan for the North Sea, the publication in 2010 of “Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Europe” with the European Climate Foundation, and “The Energy Report,” a global plan for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, with the WWF.
From October 3, 2015 until January 3, 2016 the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) takes place. The CAB provides a platform for groundbreaking architectural projects and spatial experiments that demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience.
Designed as a multiplatform event, CAB will facilitate radical new thought about what the built environment should be in the 21st century, continuing the city’s proud history as a landmark incubator of architectural significance. As North America’s largest international survey of contemporary architecture, it will launch in October 2015, aligning with Venice, Italy; São Paulo, Brazil; and other great cities that are invested in the conversation concerning what the world should look like.