Envisioning Free Space @De School

Had a lovely Saturday late afternoon talk envisioning Amsterdam 2050 as a city where cultural free spaces are recognized as microcosms of our wider community and vital laboratories for social-ecological innovation. Big thanks to fellow panelists and to Ricardo Silva for moderating this discussion on the importance of transforming cultural heritage into spaces of adaptation.


2022 Media Architecture Award

I have had the honor and the pleasure of chairing this years Media Architecture Awards together with Levente Szabó, Matteo Costanzo and Edwin Heathcote. Together we viewed 76 buildings, 59 plans and 29 smaller scale projects and selected the 5 nominees for all three categories. Prizes were awarded to winners last Saturday. The ceremony was held in (the packed) Urania National Film Theatre.
Congratulations and a big applause to all nominees and winners and to the organizers of this amazing event:
Janos Pasztor, Hulesh Mate & Levente Borenich

Check winners here: https://epiteszforum.hu/a-vancza-muvek-epulete-es-ratgeber-laszlo-terve-nyerte-az-idei-media-epiteszeti-dijat

Architectural Education in Times of Uncertainty’ Symposium, 2-4/11, BK, Berlage Rooms

Want to talk with us on the current challenges of architecture and how these are affecting architectural education? Join us from 2-4 November, live here in Delft for the ‘Architectural Education in Times of Uncertainty’ Symposium. The event unfolds over three days with discussions on the integration of circularity in current curricula, new types of collaboration, transitions in pedagogy and learning in extreme complexity with an amazing line up. For more information and registrations please visit our website.

New publication!

I couldn’t be prouder of my dear friend Markus Berger who -together with his colleague Kate Irvin – has compiled this amazing book I am holding in my hands right now. I am most grateful for having been entrusted to contribute with a chapter on repair and architecture. I had so much fun studying for it and writing it and I am delighted my piece found its place in this volume amongst so many interesting contributions.
Learn more about this book here

#circularity #circularbuiltenvironment #circulareconomy #repair #architecture #circulardesign

New platforms on circularity launched!

Here are the links to two new online platforms we launched recently. The first one is called ‘Circularity for Educators’ and contains a series of different types of resources that can support teaching based on the way we have currently framed this in our education. The second, is called ‘Educators for Circularity’ and is complementary to the first one. It provides with an opportunity to connect to colleagues, exchange views on topics related to circularity and/or share insights from teaching. It is also meant as tools for creating new opportunities for collaboration within a wider community of people (academics or not) who are in one way or another involved in circular ventures.

Click here for ‘Circularity for Educators’


Click here for ‘Educators for Circularity’

New publication

Look what came with the mail! Horizon2020 program SoPHIA research has been successfully concluded and the results are finally published in a special edition of “Economia della Cultura.” I am very proud of being a member in this consortium and for having contributed to this amazing endeavor.
Big thanks to my Greek colleagues and our European partners for this meaningful collaboration.

You want to read the report? Publication open access and you can download it from this page

You want to know more about SoPHIA? Then click here

#UniversitadeglistudiROMATre #NationalTechnicalUniversityofAthen #InterartsFoundation #EuropeanMuseumAcademy #DunLaoghaireInstituteofArtDesignandTechnology #EDUCULT #IRMO #SOPHIA #Horizon2020 #socialplatform #holistic #heritage #ImpactAssessment

Notes from “Meeting the Universe Halfway”

Phenomena: the primary ontological unit as in the differential patters of mattering; the ontological inseparability, or entanglement of intra-acting agencies; they are not produced in a lab and engineered by humans but through complex agential intra-actions of multiple material-discursive practices or apparatuses of bodily production.

Reality: it is composed not of things-in-themselves or things-behind-phenomena but of things-in-phenomena.

Intra-actions instead of interactions: relata do not preexist but emerge through specific intra-actions. Agential intra-actions are specific causal material enactments that may or may not involve “humans.”

Posthumanism: it marks the practice of accounting for the boundary-making practices by which the “human” and its others are differentially delineated and defined; it refuses the idea of a natural division between nature and culture.

Matter: it is neither fixed and given nor the mere end result of different processes. Matter is produced and productive, generated and generative. Matter is agentive, not a fixed essence or property of things. Mattering is differentiating, and which differences come to matter, matter in the iterative production of different differences. The world is an open process of mattering through which mattering itself acquires meaning and form through the realization of different agential possibilities. The universe is agential intra-activity in its becoming; Matter is always already an ongoing historicity; it is substance in its intra-active becoming-not a thing but a doing, a congealing of agency. Matter is a stabilizing and destabilizing process of iterative intra-activity; matter comes to matter through the iterative intra-activity of the world in its becoming.

Apparatuses: they are specific material reconfigurings of the world that do not merely emerge in time but iteratively reconfigure space-time-matter as part of the ongoing dynamism of becoming; they are not passive observing instruments; on the contrary, they are productive of (and part of) phenomena; they are discursive practices.

Discursive practices: Discourse is not what is said ; it is that which constrains and enables what can be said; they define what counts as meaningful statements; they are specific material reconfigurings through which “objects” and “subjects” are produced; they are specific material (re)configurings of the world through which the determination of boundaries, properties, and meanings is differentially enacted.

Agential Realist Ontology: it refuses representationalism in favor of a relationality between specific material (re)configurations of the world through which boundaries, properties and meanings are differentially enacted and (form?) specific material phenomena.

Knowing: is a matter of intra-acting; it entails specific practices through which the world is differentially articulated and accounted for; it entails differential responsiveness and accountability as part of a network of performances; it is not a bounded or closed practice but an ongoing performance of the world.

Εthics: it is not simply about responsible actions in relation to human experiences of the world; rather, it is a question of material entanglements and how each intra-action matters in the reconfiguring of these entanglements, that is, it is a matter of the ethical call that is embodied in the very worlding of the world.

Humans: to the extent that concepts, laboratory manipulations, observational interventions, and other human practices have a role to play, it is as part of the larger material configuration of the world. That is, the phenomena produced are not the consequences of human will or intentionality or the effects of the operations of Culture, Language, or Power. Humans do not merely assemble different apparatuses for satisfying particular knowledge projects; they themselves are part of the ongoing reconfiguring of the world (…) That is, human bodies, like all other bodies, are not entities with inherent boundaries and properties but phenomena that acquire specific boundaries and properties through the open-ended dynamics of intra-activity. Humans are part of the world-body space in its dynamic structuration.

Objectivity: (In Bohr’s account), objectivity is a matter of the unambiguous communication of the results of reproducible experiments, hereby replaced by agential separability-an agentially enacted ontological separability within the phenomenon.


Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham; London: Duke University Press.

Fresh from the press!

This paper represents our CBE Hub approach towards developing a scheme of what constitutes content for teaching circularity, how the goals for integrating it into the curricula can be formulated, and what type of pedagogy is suited to support the integration.
A big thank you to our amazing group of authors: Tillmann Klein Bob Geldermans Alexander Wandl and also to the Serbian Architecture Journal (SAJ) for the constructive review and for publishing.

Western universalism and civilization states

Western values seemed to many people living in Asia or Africa as just one alternative among many; Western values and norms still needed to be interpreted and enforced, and the most powerful nations in the West had always arrogated that task to themselves (…) universal values stood for the negation of the civilization-state and affirmed the freedom to experiment with different ways of life (…) the concept of a universal civilization helps justify Western cultural dominance of other societies and the need for those societies to ape Western practices and institutions (…) Universalism is the ideology of the West for confronting other cultures (…) lately, doubts have been growing about whether it is really necessary to imitate Western nations in order to acquire all the benefits of modern society (…) For a civilization-state, cultural ties are potentially more important than the mere legal status of citizenship (…) the defenders of the civilization-state are saying that the search for universal values is over, that all of us must accept that we speak only for ourselves and our societies (…) but if Western civilization is one of many, what stops the rest from pursuing their visions by engaging the same tools of state or military power? (…) different civilizations are universal in practice if not in aspiration; they may well compete for global power, but they all belong to a common, increasingly integrated political and economic landscape (…) The European Union is in the process of being reconfigured as a civilization-state, a political entity aggregating all those who live by a specific value system and using political tools to protect European civilization from the attacks of its enemies (…) if we have returned to a world of civilization-states, the root cause is the collapse of the concept of a world civilization

Notes from Bruno Macaes: The Attack Of The Civilization-State (June 2020), https://www.noemamag.com/the-attack-of-the-civilization-state/

A short history of doctorates

Dr. Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer was the first woman to obtain a PhD in Germany in the late 1780’s from the University of Gottingen. Marble Portrait bust of hers belongs to Jean-Antoine Houdon: Paris 1806. Photo by Andreas Praefcke (wiki)

The existence of the doctorate (the doctorate of philosophy dating back to the Renaissance) as a set of rituals and titles obtained at the end of a process for entry into dominant positions in guilds or professions, and also the acquisition of skills in the sciences (law, medicine, theology, and then natural philosophy) refers directly to the very long institutional history of universities (…) Universities were founded in the 12th century as networks of students or communities of teachers rather than institutions with a specific location, building and regulation (…) housing for the less fortunate students was what led to the creation of Unis as we know them today (…) interaction between a growing demand for administrators and professionals of the written word and the (re)discovery of knowledge through the translation of Arabic and Greek were the circumstances that set the stage for the Western universities to first take shape (…) medieval Unis drew their legitimacy from their monopoly to grant degrees, which stemmed from authorizations provided by religious (church) and state authorities, and gradually even by regional or urban authorities (…) criticism on usefulness, nature of knowledge and ways of learning and the establishment of the Academy of Sciences and of more specialized schools throughout Europe (second half of 18th century) called Unis into question (…) The history of university graduation is primarily the demonstration of the entanglement between knowledge acquisition processes and integration into the elite (…) Only a tiny fraction of students, who made up an infinitesimal part of the population, could afford to complete a doctorate (men, white, legitimate sons only) (…) French revolution devastated the Uni landscape. After that two models emerged: the French and the Prussian. In the first model, the universities did not disappear, but remained central only for the humanities, law and medicine. The latter, is not founded on personal development through individual research but on broad based exchange of knowledge (…) Last third of the 19th century was the time that universities developed distinct doctoral (PhD) degree programs.

The forms of contemporary research and higher education are the fruit of endogenous mutations such as the push for autonomy carried out by university administrations as well as exogenous pressures: transformation has been linked to the increasingly strong involvement of governments and private corporations in the definition of institutions and course content (…) Global consensus is that doctorates provide utilitarian knowledge, oriented towards entrepreneurship and industrial innovation but also service to individuals and society (…) national research management and development agencies support these efforts mainly through grants or contracts (…) In most countries, these models of doctoral, post-doctoral and research training have been developed especially in the STEM fields and disciplines (…) emergence of two principal forms of doctorates throughout Europe, North America, and in other countries: (1) the research doctorate, (which remains indispensable for academic careers) and (2) the professional doctorate (including multiple types, such as doctorates in business administration, doctorates in education, etc.), allowing access to careers outside academic institution

Notes from Jean-Claude Ruano-Borbalan’s: Doctoral education from its medieval foundations
to today’s globalisation and standardisation, European Journal of Education, DOI: 10.1111/ejed.12522

Our Summer School Video is now available!

During our Summer School sessions, our Dr. Bucky Lab, (aka Marcel Bilow) was silently circling the room with his equipment and was discretely filming our event. And now, he put together an amazing video that captures the energy in the room, while offering a comprehensive outlook of what went on in our sessions. Our first Summer School on Circularity in the Built Environment may be over, but thanks to this we will hold on to the event for much longer!

credits: Marcel Bilow

#BKTUDelft #circularityinthebuiltenvrionment #CBEHub #circularity #circulareconomy

Summer School on Circularity in the Built Environment now completed!

After months working on the ‘Scales to Aspects’ diagram, we were finally able to put it to test. From Sunday, July 10 to Tuesday, July 12 we held a Summer School on Circularity in the Built Environment here at TU Delft. We used Binckhorst as a case study, a post industrial area in the Hague currently transitioning to a residential/commercial area.

So, how can we achieve a circular transition? Is it just by using circular building products or circular building practices for the new buildings? Or do we also need to consider how pushing the industry away from the city will affect our circular goals? Where will all necessary materials come from? And what would be the role(s) of the local citizens?

The ‘Scales to Aspects’ model developed here by the CBE Hub was scrutinized by forty participants from all over the world using the input of twelve guest lecturers and the CBE Hub group; four new visions were created for a more circular transition for Binckhorst based on its specific context. In the following months we’ll study the results of what has been an amazing experience for all of us here at BK TU Delft and we’ll make sure to keep this conversation going. A big thanks to everyone who helped make this possible.

#circularity #circularbuiltenvironment @BKTUDelft #summerschool