5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam

The 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), Making City, opens in April 2012. ‘Making City’ examines the relation between planning, design and politics and will test in practice the active strategies that architects and urban planners can contribute to specific urban conditions by actively engaging with city making in Rotterdam, Istanbul and São Paulo.

George Brugmans, Asu Aksoy, Joachim Declerck, Henk Ovink, Kristian Koreman, Fernando de Mello Franco, Elma van Boxel

In just a few decades 80% of mankind will live in cities where more than 90% of our wealth is generated. And all that covers less than 3% of the earth’s surface. Cities are effective, they drive innovation, offer the best answer to overpopulation, and are the greenest answer we have on a planet where crisis and climate change are forcing us to find rigorous solutions. But then cities must be better managed, better designed, better organized, and better planned than they currently are. Only then can cities save us from ourselves.

With Making City, the IABR will therefore actively engage with ‘city making’ in the form of concrete projects in three cities: Rotterdam, São Paulo and Istanbul. For this, an international team of curators is engaged in a two-year research programme in these three cities. Their main goal is to redefine the role of and the relation between planning, design and politics and thereby contribute to a more effective toolbox for making the city. Open and new alliances among urban planners, scientists, businesses, developers and local administrators are the driving forces in this endeavour. It will culminate in presentations, exhibitions, lectures and debates in the three cities, after which it is the stated intent of all partners to see the projects realized.

The 5th IABR’s International Curator Team consists of Henk Ovink (Director of Spatial Planning Netherlands, Ministry of VROM), Joachim Declerck (Architecture Workroom Brussels, Belgium), Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman (ZUS, Rotterdam, Netherlands), Fernando de Mello Franco, Marta Moreira and Milton
Braga (MMBB, São Paulo, Brazil), Asu Aksoy and Ihsan Bilgin (Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey), and is chaired by George Brugmans (IABR Director).
The team of curators is working closely with design offices, universities, urban planning departments and city councils in the three cities. The three most important partners are the Berlage Institute, the IHS/Erasmus University Rotterdam and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands; SEHAB, the Department of City Planning in São Paulo, and the University of São Paulo; and the city district of Arnavutköy and Bilgi University in Istanbul.

The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) is the venue for the main exhibition. In addition, the three cities will host separate exhibitions, lectures, debates and films. The successful collaboration between the IABR and the VPRO broadcasting corporation from 2009, Urban Century, will continue in 2012. The 5th IABR will also see the release of a series of publications. In the build-up to the biennale, urban meetings will be held during 2010 and 2011 in the three cities. The meetings will feature workshops, master classes, lectures and debates.