launch Bakema and the Open Society

On March 18, the Jaap Bakema Study Centre and Archis/Volume will host the presentation of the book Jaap Bakema and the Open Society, the first extensive publication on the Dutch architect Jaap Bakema, his ideas and ideals for society at large. With Dirk van den Heuvel, Brita Bakema, Arnold Reijndorp, Dick van Gameren, Frans Hooykaas, and Herman Hertzberger.

Throughout the post-WWII decades Bakema was inspired to build for a democratic and open society. His body of work, his teaching and writing, and his international presence are testimony to the vicissitudes of the welfare state and the roles played by architecture and planning in its construction.

In the midst of the ongoing neo-liberal crisis of today and its conservative cultural fall-out, these ideas on the open society have regained relevancy, in particular in light of the current debates on how to involve citizens in city building and how to create alternatives for our crumbling welfare states. Brought back from the past Bakema’s legacy functions as a mirror to remind us of the radical potential of architectural conceptualization in its commitment to societal questions.

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