The Algorithm of Speculation
From smooth Excel sheets to greedy algorithms, financial instruments and their agents are often intangible and invisible, yet increasingly constitute the blueprint for built forms. In the first iteration of Spreadsheet Architectures, the recent €289 mn sale of the Groot Handelsgebouw will serve as point of departure to trace flows of capital, identify anonymous proprietors and unpack revenue schemes and legal constructions. The event will reflect upon their ramifications with experts and protagonists, including Ewald Engelen, Michelle Provoost and Wendy Verschoor.
Ewald Engelen is professor of financial geography at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He is a columnist for De Groene Amsterdammer and Het Parool, and recently published Ontwaak!, in which he relates the contemporary dominance of neoliberal policy to the unfolding ecological crisis, the flexibilisation of the labour market and the tax reduction on big capital.
Michelle Provoost is an architectural historian and co-founder of Crimson Architectural Historians and the Independent School for the City in Rotterdam. In 2003, she published her dissertation research on Hugh Maaskant, the architect whose buildings include the Groot Handelsgebouw in Rotterdam. Since 2008, she has also served as director of the International New Town Institute (INTI) in Almere.
Wendy Verschoor is a real estate executive with twenty years of experience working with institutional investors (such as pension funds, insurers and investment funds), asset managers, real estate developers as well as public institutions and multinationals with strategic real estate matters. Wendy holds a masters degree in Building and Real Estate Management from the Delft University of Technology and in law from Leiden University.
Financial Architectures is a long-term research project initiated in 2020 by Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Research and Development department to unpack the financial instruments and agents that increasingly denominate the value of cities. A series of investigative reports into selective case studies across the Netherlands will be presented during Thursday Night Live! events to reflect upon the findings with experts and protagonists.