by Ole Bouman, Anneke Abhelakh, Martine Zoeteman, and Mieke Dings
Architecture of Consequence began life as the Dutch presentation at the Sao Paolo Architecture Biennale in 2009. “Shape our country!” was the call that the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) made to its public over a six-month period. The result was a deluge of proposals, as the people of the Netherlands rose to the challenge of naming their needs: new guidelines for food production, alternative energy sources, solutions for space shortage, social cohesion, a healthy living environment and the recalibration of economic value. Formulating responses to such fundamental questions of our time is, it seems, everyone’s business.
All of the aforesaid issues converge at spatial planning and design, where real opportunities for social innovation still await. For this project, the Netherlands Architecture Institute selected 22 Dutch architecture firms with genuinely innovative ideas on these seven imperatives and the will to do something about them. The result is an agenda for the future of our living environment and a proof that designers have the creative power to make it happen. Architecture of Consequence proves that any notion that architecture should be an “expression of its time,” or should do no more than express the vanity of its commissioners, pales into insignificance when compared to its tremendous potential for resolving urgent societal problems.