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From its main port in Rotterdam, to its productive hinterlands of greenhouses and farms, the logic and relations that define the physical and social landscape of work and labor in the Netherlands are being redefined by machines, data and interfaces. In this event, Meiny Prins, Susan Schuppli, Stephan Petermann, Víctor Muñoz Sanz, Marina Otero Verzier and Marten Kuijpers will engage in a public conversation on the spatial implications of automation for the built environment. Arjen Oosterman will moderate the evening.
19:30 – 21:00
also this evening

18:00-19:30 Thursday Bite

18:00-19:00 BURN-OUT: The Anastasia Method

19:30-21:30 Life Hacks: Time

20:00-22:00 BNO IMG LAB: Pioniers #4

Pop-in Expo: Wendingen 100 Years

Museum free of charge from 17:00 until 21:00


Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Standard€ 7,50
Students, Friends and Members of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3,75
Thursday Bite€ 7,50

Driven by efficiency, competitiveness and policies, the architectures of logistics, agriculture and horticulture, and the spatial organization of human and non-human labor are being reconceived. As robots and smart systems take over the toil, working environments, the workers that populate them, and what they do, transform. Traditional port crane operators are now replaced by office workers seated in ergonomic control rooms and flexwork environments overseeing 24/7 the automated loading and unloading of containers. In the countryside, dairy and horticultural farmers manage ever-growing concerns through dashboards on desktop computers or smartphone apps. Sharing space with the robots, cows and temporary workers become data, and their bodies are managed as abstract components of a larger system, which can be accessed from anywhere by logging on the cloud.

In this event, moderated by Arjen Oosterman (Archis/Volume), Meiny Prins (CEO of Priva); Susan Schuppli (Director & Reader in the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London); Stephan Petermann (Countryside research studio director at Central Academy for Fine Arts for AMO); Víctor Muñoz Sanz (TU Delft), and Marina Otero Verzier and Marten Kuijpers (Het Nieuwe Instituut) will engage in a public conversation on the spatial implications of automation for the built environment, and on the position of the spatial disciplines in the transition towards automated labor. Taking recent developments in the Dutch productive hinterlands as departing point, they will reflect on how spatial disciplines could engage with these emerging conditions, and speculate on how to develop new forms of research and agency towards more desirable spatial outcomes.

The Country Side Tour

This event follows up on a tour that brought together on October 11 a select group of experts, practitioners, academics, and students of disciplines related to the built environment. This activity, aimed to explore current developments in automation and their impact in planning and architecture. Marten Kuijpers and Víctor Muñoz Sanz acted as tour guides of a journey that took the group around some of the Automated Landscapes in the vicinity of Rotterdam, including visits to automated dairy farms and greenhouses, and to the headquarters of the leading Dutch firms in farming and horticultural automation.

The tour and event have been organized in collaboration with the European Post-Master of Urbanism (EMU) of TU Delft and its fall semester studio “Automation and the Changing Landscape of Work II”, with Roberto Rocco and Víctor Muñoz Sanz as instructors.

A conversation piece on the tour by Arjen Oosterman appeared on Volume.

Automated Landscapes

This event elaborates on research that was jointly conducted at Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Faculty of Architecture at the Delft University of Technology as part of Automated Landscapes  — a long-term collaborative research initiative on the implications of automation for the built environment, launched in 2017 by Het Nieuwe Instituut, directed by its Research Department, and presented in the exhibition WORK, BODY, LEISURE in the Dutch pavilion at at the Biennale Architettura 2018. The project addresses the contemporary emergence of distinct types of spatial configurations and conditions engendered and afforded by automation, focusing on present-day case studies in the Netherlands and in the Pearl River Delta region.

European Post-Master of Urbanism

The European Post-master in Urbanism (EMU) is an advanced master degree that engages with the complexities of the design and planning of cities and landscapes, in a jointly run programme by TU Delft, KU Leuven, UPC Barcelona and Università IUAV di Venezia. All four universities adhere to the specifically European tradition that views urbanism as a collection of socially responsible disciplines, which aim to improve the living conditions of all citizens.

Thursday Bite

Before the Thursday Night you can grab a bite to eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut. At 18:00 Het Nieuwe Café will serve soup with bread or a quiche with salad. Dinner vouchers are available for € 7.50 up to a day before the particular Thursday Night event via the Tickets link.

Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.