Unsolicited Architecture And Workshops At The São Paulo Bienal


The Netherlands, represented by the Netherlands Architecture institute (NAi) presents Unsolicited Architecture in line with the theme of this year’s Bienal de Arquitetura de São Paulo - Architecture and Citizenship, aiming to highlight the need for an active role for architects within society. This exhibition promotes a powerful mode of architecture: an architecture of action!

In the rapidly changing cultural and economic contexts, of the modern world, architects have been pushed to redefine their ways of operating. How can architects transform themselves from competent executors of assignments into entrepreneurs and producers? They can no longer depend on solicited work, waiting for clients to find them, but must find and even create demand and opportunities. Unsolicted architecture is about acting instead of reacting, developing new lenses to look through and new tools to work with in order to tackle today’s pressing issues.

The Dutch architect Aldo Van Eyck and Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi were among the predecessors of an ‘unsolicited architecture practice.’ They were active architects that set their own agenda, which was intrinsically connected with society’s at large. In recent years there has been an explosion of initiatives, which could all be gathered under the moniker of ‘unsolicited architecture’. Curatorial teams at the NAi and SPlab worked together to select a number of these examples in order to exchange experiences, tools and projects, as well as inspire, stimulate and unite Dutch and Brazilian architects.

In addition to the realized proposals by Raumlabor, DUS Architects, Recetas Urbanas and interventions by artist Harmen de Hoop, we present projects developed in workshops and studios organized by NAi director’s Ole Bouman, including the MIT studio on Unsolicited Architecture taught in 2007, when the term was coined. Featured are also Unsolicited workshops done in Rio de Janeiro in 2010 and Mumbai in 2011 in collaboration with Studio-X/GSAPP Columbia University’s network.

Underlying the selected projects are thematic territories to address social needs and urgent opportunities: Mobility, Public Space and Vacancy. In each of them we frame specific issues. Within Mobility, we look at how citizenship should be regarded, from simply enabling pedestrians to cross a busy street to subverting the use of big scale infrastructure to the benefit of the community. The main focus of Vacancy is the temporary and multiple occupations of empty lots and buildings, using examples such as playgrounds or street vendors’ activities. Finally, we examine strategies to re-signify Public Space for collective gathering in distinct cultural contexts and situations, from mourning to partying.

These territories are also the themes for the three proposed workshops, which will take place during the Bienal. As much as they are relevant issues worldwide, they are crucial to Sao Paulo citizens in the way we live in the city. Visitors are invited to interact with the participants in the workshops - propose ideas and pose questions through the message board, so that we together can build a collective debate and take action.

The Dutch Pavilion - Unsolicited Architecture

Exhibition Credits/Créditos Exposição:

Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi)

Supervising Curator/Curador Principal:
Ole Bouman Director/Diretor (NAi)

Jorn Konjin (NAi)
Ligia Nobre (SPlab/StudioX GSAPP Columbia University)
Maria Augusta Bueno (SPlab/StudioX GSAPP Columbia University)

Ligia Nobre (SPlab/StudioX GSAPP Columbia University)
Maria Augusta Bueno (SPlab/StudioX GSAPP Columbia University)
Penélope Rey Machado (Assistant/Assistente)

Exhibition Design/Projeto Cenográfico:
Patricia Rabbat
Penélope Rey Machado (Assistant/Assistente)

Graphic Design/Projeto Gráfico:
Tys van Santen (This One Design)
Karen Barahona (This One Design)

Workshop 1


November 4–6 2011

The workshop will investigate the relation between mobility and citizenship throught a playfull game on a fictional São Paulo. The workshop is structured around the construction of a physical modell by architects from different countries that will serve as a support to illustrate urban life throught scenes that will raise questions and wishes about living and moving in the city.

Participant teams:
2 names still to be decided / Lilith-Ronner-VanHooijdonk (NL)
Hans Vermeulen & Hedwig Heinsman / DUS architects (NL) 
Keith Kaseman + Raul Correa-Smith (NY)
Pedro Évora + Pedro Rivera (Rio)
2 names from (SP)

Workshop 2


November 11-13, 2011

The DADAtown Workshop will promote an exchange between Brazilian and Dutch architects and artists with the purpose of discussing procedures for intervention in public space and drawing up concrete proposals for the city of São Paulo. This initiative came from the evidence that an increasingly important part of contemporary artistic production acts outside of institutionalized exhibition spaces, in order to directly transform everyday reality. Such trends reaffirm an avant-garde tradition, dating back to the Dadaists and Situationists experiments, often exploring design techniques valid for the contemporary urbanism.

The workshop participants will explore and propose interventions within Ibirapuera Park and its imediate surroundings.

Workshop 3


November 18-20, 2011

What kind of other programming can be proposed for these vacant buildings to secure a multiplicity of uses and experiences downtown? How could we incorporate non-evident and local economies? Which time related strategies could be developed to promote temporary uses and occupations?

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