Open: A Bakema Celebration

Open: A Bakema Celebration

Open: A Bakema Celebration. Exhibition design and graphic design by Experimental Jetset. Photo: Johannes Schwartz / Het Nieuwe Instituut.

June 13, 2014

Open: A Bakema Celebration
7 June–23 November 2014

Dutch Pavilion

Curators: Guus Beumer and Dirk van den Heuvel

Open: A Bakema Celebration
Het Nieuwe Instituut presents Open: A Bakema Celebration, a critical rethinking of the idea of the open society through the work of Jaap Bakema, at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. The shifting roles of the state and the market, the architect and the individual citizen are scrutinised in an installation that utilises a multiplicity of media: models, historical correspondence, photography, drawings, TV material and films.

Post Box for the Open Society
The exhibition includes the Post Box for the Open Society, an online platform for architects, planners, designers, architecture historians, universities, academies and social designersto share new ideas for the open society. Het Nieuwe Instituut invites everyone to contribute to the Post Box at

Open Society
Jaap Bakema (1914–1981) aimed to build toward a new, open society that was democratic, egalitarian and all-inclusive. He believed architecture should accommodate the emancipation of the masses while allowing for the self-realisation of the individual citizen. What is the relevance of such idealism today? What was the open society then? And what could it be today?

Jaap Bakema
Jaap Bakema was a partner in the Rotterdam office Van den Broek en Bakema. He and his team were responsible for some of the most monumental proposals for the Dutch welfare state, such as the monumental design for a new-town extension of Amsterdam called Plan for Pampus (1964). Other projects by the office that still inspire include the Lijnbaan shopping centre in Rotterdam (1948–1953), the Hansaviertel tower block in Berlin (1957), the town hall for Terneuzen (1963–1972) and the suburb ‘t Hool (1969–1972) in Eindhoven.

Bakema was a leading voice in the post-war avant-gardes of 20th-century architecture: CIAM and its successor Team 10. Together with Aldo van Eyck and Herman Hertzberger he was a member of the now-famous editorial board of the Dutch journal Forum in the years 1959–1963. Bakema was also an eminent professor of architecture at Delft University of Technology.

The archive of Van den Broek en Bakema, the CIAM and Team 10 archive of Bakema, and the private collection of Jaap Bakema are housed in the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut, which holds some of the finest archives of Dutch modern architecture from the 19th and 20th century.

Jaap Bakema Study Centre and curators
Open: A Bakema Celebration constitutes one of the first activities of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre, founded in October 2013 by Het Nieuwe Instituut and Delft University of Technology. 

Open is curated by Guus Beumer, director of Het Nieuwe Instituut, and Dirk van den Heuvel, associate professor of architecture at Delft University of Technology and head of Jaap Bakema Study Centre.

Design, photo essay, online platform, insert
Dutch design studio Experimental Jetset is responsible for the spatial and graphic design of the exhibition. Photographer Johannes Schwartz contributed a photo essay of Bakema’s work in Terneuzen, Nagele and Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Berlin and Marl in Germany.

The Post Box for the Open Society, an online platform for architects and designers to share new ideas for the open society, is initiated by Het Nieuwe Instituut, with editorial contributions moderated by ArchiNed. The publication that accompanies Open is available at the Dutch pavilion and will appear as an insert in the quarterly magazine Volume.

The Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has appointed Het Nieuwe Instituut as commissioner for the Dutch biennale entry. 

Exhibition and graphic design: Experimental Jetset Photo essay: Johannes Schwartz
Partners: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Italy, Delft University of Technology, Foundation Rietveld Pavilion Venice, Mecanoo architecten, J.E. Jurriaanse Stichting, NWO, ArchiNed, Volume

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June 13, 2014

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