Architect as a mediator; Exhibition about co-living at the Jacoba Van Beierenlaan student housing complex

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Abstract

The project explores forms of architectural practice which situate the architect as a mediator. In opposition to the Architect singular author, so present in architectural historicism, the magazines, cultural institutions, competitions, prizes and mainstream media; the project recognises the process of building as a product of innumerable human actions by policy makers, land owners, inhabitants, developers, regulators, data analysts and contractors just to name a few.

As such, temporary architecture is used to design networks of collaborations and evidence social capital, whilst the architect assumes the approach of listening rather than prescribing and contributing to the project in multiple capacities.

Taking a single architectural artefact, the Jacoba van Beierenlaan student housing complex (my house) as a centre of the investigation, research was carried out into challenges, opportunities and conflicts that exist between the institutional and social agendas of stakeholders in student housing provision in Delft.

Then, the design project became to design and build an outdoor, corona-friendly exhibition in the basketball field at the JVB. Exhibition was intended as a tool of communication making visible the qualities of communal living which are overlooked.

The design of the exhibition was primarily derived from constraints of the reality, including ongoing pandemic, small budget and limited volunteer workforce. Rented construction fences became primary building elements and the design focused on framing critical views to reveal aspects of the existing building and the inhabiting community to the visitors.

The content of the exhibition was developed collectively and arranged into two main sections: photographs from currents and former residents as well as the results of the international analytical drawing competition.