Adriaan Geuze appointed curator of 2nd International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam

The board of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam has appointed Adriaan Geuze to curate the second International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. He succeeds Francine Houben, curator of the first International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, which was held in Rotterdam from 7 May to 7 July 2003.

Geuze is attached to and co-founder of West 8 urban design & landscape architecture and Surrealistic Landscape Architecture (SLA) in Rotterdam, and also teaches at Harvard University in Boston. Geuze takes up his task of programming the second Rotterdam Biennale on 1 October 2003. In addition, he will continue his design activity at West 8 without disruption.

The second International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam will focus on 'water' in relation to architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and physical planning. Water has been the decisive factor in human settlement throughout all periods and cultures. The history of architecture contains numerous cases where water has even been deployed in a euphoric manner. The question is whether modern technology, overpopulation and climate change are now disrupting the relation between humanity (settlement) and water and exposing the fragility of the systems. In the near future the struggle for and against water will become a political and social issue.

In the Netherlands the influence of water is on the rise, both literally and figuratively. The rise in sea level, reinforcement of dikes and drying-out of soil and lately of dikes call for drastic measures to be taken. The Netherlands thus finds itself on the threshold of important spatial changes. Water will exert an influence at all levels of design: in how we manage the landscape, plan the future of cities and shape our living environment. Water technology, water management and water politics have thus far been the decisive factors in how we deal with this issue. But important as these disciplines and institutions are, the chosen approach often results in one-sided and occasionally technocratic solutions to the problems at hand. Landscape architecture, urban design and planning can help create a more balanced relation with the natural water system. Architecture scarcely plays a role in this regard. The question now posed is what role the design community (architects, urban designers, and landscape architects) will be able to play when it comes researching, managing and designing with water.

The board has asked Adriaan Geuze to prepare a programme for the second Biennale on the basis of a national and international survey of the influence of water on future design tasks.