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In his influential 1978 essay “Figures, Doors and Passages”, Robin Evans argued that the architectural plan describes “the nature of human relationships, since the elements whose trace it records – walls, doors, windows and stairs – are employed first to divide and then selectively to re-unite inhabited space.” Evans’s reading is intriguing because it links human relationships with something as abstract as an architectural plan, which cannot be directly experienced as a physical artefact. Yet since antiquity, the intrinsic abstraction of the architectural plan has had a profound impact on the way architecture is both understood and produced.

For this reason, the abstraction of the plan is not a timeless condition of architecture, but rather the outcome of the reifying process through which society is organised. The plan can therefore be interpreted as a concrete abstraction — an abstraction rising “in the midst of the richest possible concrete development, where one thing appears as common to many, to all", as Karl Marx described the abstraction of wealth-creating activities into a general notion of labour in the Grundrisse manuscript (1857). We can use the architectural plan as a Rosetta Stone in order to decode the most tacit social and political structures through which human life is organised within specific historical conditions. In this lecture, Aureli will discuss the history and meaning of the architectural plan through a series of canonical examples.

Read Aureli's text Life, Abstracted: Notes on the Floor Plan

Pier Vittorio Aureli

Pier Vittorio Aureli is an architect. He teaches at the Architectural Association in London and he is Visiting Professor at Yale School of Architecture. Aureli is the founder of Dogma, an architectural practice based in Brussels. His publications include The Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture Within and Against Capitalism (2008), The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture (2011), The City as a Project (2014). With Maria S. Giudici he is the co-editor of Rituals and Walls: The Architecture of Sacred Space (2016).

Collaboration with e-flux Architecture and The Berlage

This autumn Het Nieuwe Instituut launches a collaboration with e-flux Architecture and The Berlage to investigate representation within and beyond the field of architecture. Ten architects and researchers will examine representational formats used in architectural or urban design through lectures at Het Nieuwe Instituut and The Berlage and essays on e-flux Architecture’s online platform. Architecture and Representation brings to light the agency embedded in architectural tools and questions how they disseminate into the wider world. It features lectures by Peggy Deamer, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Mpho Matsipa, Hilary Sample, Joan Ockman, Samuel Stewart-Halevy, Jess Bier and more.

e-flux Architecture

e-flux Architecture is a sister publishing platform of e-flux, archive, editorial project, and enterprise founded in 2016. The news, events, exhibitions, programs, journals, books, and architecture projects produced and/or disseminated by e-flux Architecture describe strains of critical discourse surrounding contemporary architecture, culture and theory internationally. Since its inception e-flux Architecture has maintained a dynamic international program of projects and events including: Superhumanity (with Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley for the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial), Refugee Heritage (with Alessandro Petti), Accumulation (with Daniel E. Barber), and Artificial Labor (with Christoph Thun-Hohenstein and Marlies Wirth for the 2017 Vienna Biennale).

The Berlage

The Berlage is a small-scale institution hosted at the TU Delft’s Department of Architecture, with a large international network of architects and designers who teach, lecture and contribute through shared publications and exhibitions. This group of leading and emerging practitioners and scholars assures that the Berlage engages with the most recent developments in architectural practice and thinking. The Berlage programme was created to meet the challenges of globally oriented practice by expanding the range of education architects receive and by redefining the methods, instruments and approaches of research and design practice.

Thursday Bite

Before the Thursday Night you can grab a bite to eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut. At 18:30 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 or at the bar on the day itself.

19:30 – 21:00
also this evening

16:00 - 18:30 International Clinic with DutchCulture and Het Nieuwe Instituut

19:00 - 21:00 Night Shift

20:00 - 21:30 BNO IMG LAB: Cross Comix

Pop-in expo Result

Museum open until 21:00

The New Haberdashery open until 21:00


Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Standard€ 7,50
Students and Friends€ 3,75
Thursday Bite€ 7,50

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.