Nadars Balloon Utrechtse Barrière, Pieter Oosterhuis, 1865

Constructing the Commons

Another Approach to Architecture and the City


Tom Avermaete | Endowed Professorship for Research in Visionary Cities | Lecture Series Winterterm 2016|17

Over the past few years, a panoply of innovative activism, scholarship and projects that focus on ‘the commons’ have gained momentum. This rapidly growing movement is based on new thinking in the domains of economy, political and social sciences, suggesting radically different ways to organize our societies. In her seminal publication Governing the Commons (1990) Nobel prize winner Elinor Ostrom put forward an idea of the commons as ‘collective action’ that challenges our understanding of politics, economy and culture. More recently Silke Helfrich and David Bollier in Die Welt der Commons (2015) have coined the commons as a matter of ‘shared resources’ that allow us to conceive our everyday life beyond the dominant discourses of market economy and state intervention. In these theories, however, there is little attention for the value of urban space as a shared resource and one of the main tangible forms in which ‘the commons’ exist in society.

>>

 

Constructing the Commons

Another Approach to Architecture and the City

Tom Avermaete | Endowed Professorship for Research in Visionary Cities | Lecture Series Winterterm 2016|17

This lecture series claims that the new conceptions of ‘the commons’ can radically alter the way that we think about the role of the architect, the character of the project and the relation between architecture and the city. The five lectures relate –for the first time— the conception of ‘the commons’ to the field of architectural design, in order to develop a new architectural theory of intervening, transforming and maintaining urban environments. Looking at the history of architecture but also studying contemporary design practices, each of the lectures will start to delineate different aspects of the commons and their relevance for the architecture-city nexus.

The lectures will alternatively look at the commons as a matter of ‘pool resources’, understood as collectively-held goods that can be used by individuals; of ‘commoners’ defined as communities of people that share resources; of ‘commoning’, referring to the social practices that create and reproduce the commons; and of ‘shared knowledge’ erasing the differentiation between the ‘expertise’ of elites and the know-how of regular citizens.

>>

 

Constructing the Commons

Another Approach to Architecture and the City

Tom Avermaete | Endowed Professorship for Research in Visionary Cities | Lecture Series Winterterm 2016|17

Together, these different perspectives will construct the outline of another approach to architecture and the city.

This series is composed of five complementary lectures that together aim to outline an architectural understanding of the character, role and operations of the commons:

1. The Commons and its Tragedy: Introducing a Notion
2. Lex Communis: The Commonality of the Discipline and the Discipline of the Common Place
3. Praxis Communis: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation
4. Res Communis: Common-Pool Resources in Architecture and Urban Design
5. The Architecture of the Commons: A New Path of Contemporary Logos and Praxis

 

 

Constructing the Commons

Another Approach to Architecture and the City


Tom Avermaete | Endowed Professorship for Research in Visionary Cities | Lecture Series Winterterm 2016|17

Tom Avermaete is full professor of architecture at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. He has a special research interest in the public realm and the architecture of the city in Western and non-Western contexts. With the chair of Methods and Analysis he focuses on the changing roles, approaches and tools of architects. His research examines precedents -design attitudes, methods and instruments- with the explicit ambition to construct a critical base of design knowledge and to influence contemporary architectural thinking and practice.

Avermaete is the author of Another Modern: the Post-War Architecture and Urbanism of Candilis-Josic-Woods (2005), The Balcony (with Koolhaas, 2014) and Casablanca -Chandigarh: Reports on Modernity (with Casciato, 2014). He is a co-editor of Architectural Positions (with Havik and Teerds, 2009),
>>

 

Constructing the Commons

Another Approach to Architecture and the City

Tom Avermaete | Endowed Professorship for Research in Visionary Cities | Lecture Series Winterterm 2016|17

Colonial Modern (with von Osten and Karakayali, 2010), Structuralism Reloaded (with Vrachliotis, 2011), Making a New World (with Heynickx, 2012), Architecture of the Welfare State (with Swenarton and Van den Heuvel, Routledge, 2014) and Casablanca-Chandigarh: Reports on Modernization (with Casciato, Park Books, 2015).

Tom Avermaete is a member of the editorial board of the peer-reviewed journals OASE Architectural Journal and the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE, until 2015) and a co-editor of the Yearbook. Architecture in the Netherlands. Avermaete is the initiator of several exhibitions, amongst others  In The Desert of Modernity (Berlin 2008, Casablanca 2009), How architects, experts, politicians, international agencies and citizens negotiate modern planning: Casablanca Chandigarh (CCA, Montreal, Canada, 2014-2015) and Lived-In. The Modern City as Performative Infrastructure (VAi/DeSingel, Antwerp, Belgium, 2015-2016).