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‘The big challenge for the twenty-first century is the promotion of freedom of thought. The destructive mechanism of the crisis has ensured that exuberance, radicalism and even the longing for utopia have been demolished among architects. I believe these are precisely the qualities we now need in order to innovate.’ Interview with Floris Alkemade, the Chief Government Architect, ArchiNed, 29 March 2016.

Although demands for a new, social role for architecture are growing louder, central government’s time-honoured role as a guiding force has been marginalised and new strategies are called for. 

To launch Rotterdam Architecture Month, Chief Government Architect Floris Alkemade presents his vision and agenda for the coming four years in Het Nieuwe Instituut’s auditorium. Central to his talk was the search for the social element within the architecture brief and innovation through design. 

Following his talk, Alkemade discussed his agenda with architects and critics. How can architects engage with social issues such as population decline, migration, vacant buildings and an ageing population? What role does research play in this? What are the conditions under which design can have a real influence? What does this mean for the discipline? And how can this social legitimacy be increased? 

The evening was moderated by Saskia van Stein, director of Bureau Europa. Respondents were Jann de Waal, Juliette Bekkering and Elma van Boxel.

20:00 – 22:00

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam

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.