March 20, 2019 - The Berlage - Documenting the Colonial Archive
e-flux Architecture
March 20, 2019
March 20, 2019

The Berlage

Hans Lüning, Plan for Satellite City Kebajoran near Jakarta, Indonesia, 1950. Courtesy of State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning, Het Nieuwe Instituut.


Documenting the Colonial Archive
The Berlage Theory Master Class led by Felicity D. Scott

The Berlage
Julianalaan 134
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology
2628 BL Delft
The Netherlands
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The Berlage is pleased to announce that renowned architectural historian and theorist Felicity D. Scott will lead its upcoming theory master class, entitled “Documenting the Colonial Archive.” Participants will advance the proposition that architects are experts at working with documents, in many media and to various ends. The master class will address intentional and unintended documents, as found in official and unofficial archives of Dutch colonial administration, as well as in Dutch newsreels and propaganda films, buildings, infrastructures, and other environments and media, both historical and contemporary. The two-week program will be complemented by guest lectures and archive visits, culminating in a public event at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

Architects do not, strictly speaking, make buildings; they interpret, create, and mobilize a range of documents, recognizing their complex and unstable mode of functioning and their capacity to institute new imaginaries to impact the future. The master class will put  architectural expertise to work as a means of revisiting the histories and ongoing legacies of Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia.

Working closely with Felicity D. Scott, along with other invited guests such as Stefano Graziani, Robin Hartanto Honggare, and Mark Wasiuta, participants will visit a range of archives within the Netherlands, including the National Archives of the Netherlands in the Hague, the State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum. Participants will identify key documents or counter-documents, asking themselves what else to do with and through these documents. They will interrogate the unstable relation between architecture and documents, creating critical documentaries in a range of creative formats—exhibitions, critical exposés, films, podcasts, interviews, artist’s talks, atlases, drawings, performances—through which to critique or counter “imperial dispositions.” The aim of the master class will be to advance new political claims about Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia by testing counter-practices that might help re-script future imaginaries to more democratic ends.  

Felicity D. Scott is Professor of Architecture, Director of the PhD program in Architecture, and Co-Director of the program in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Her scholarship  focuses on articulating genealogies of political and theoretical engagement with questions of techno-scientific, environmental, and geopolitical transformation within modern and contemporary architecture, art, and media, as well as upon the discourses, institutions and social movements that have shaped and defined these disciplines, sometimes evidently, sometimes less so. She is the author of Architecture or Techno-Utopia: Politics After ModernismOutlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counter-Insurgency, and Disorientations: Bernard Rudofsky in the Empire of Signs.

Master classes at the Berlage
Master classes are a unique feature of the Berlage. Twice a year students and young professionals work with world-renowned architects, designers, and thinkers to analyze a chosen subject relevant to contemporary issues in the built environment and are encouraged to experiment with alternative forms of representation and dissemination. Recent master classes have been led by Assemble, Beatriz Colomina, Reinier de Graaf, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Hideyuki Nakayama, and Madelon Vriesendorp.

About the Berlage
Founded in 1990 as the Berlage Institute, the Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design, located in Delft, educates architects in a highly collaborative and experimental setting, characterized by independent study with guidance and input from and exchange with leading and emerging designers and scholars. Since 2012, students have benefitted from the world-class facilities of TU Delft, as well as close exchange with its academic staff and students.

Dates: Monday, May 6 to Thursday, May 16, 2019

Place: The Berlage, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology

The master class is open to a limited number of participants. Interested applicants can submit a motivation statement, CV, and abbreviated portfolio by Sunday, April 14 to

More information

The Berlage
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