“Habitat: Expanding Architecture” at Het Nieuwe Instituut

Ecology is now a well-known concept in architecture and urban planning. The research installation Habitat: Expanding Architecture, on show from 19 October, highlights one of the first moments in which ecological thinking was introduced in architectural discussions: the tenth CIAM congress in Dubrovnik, 1956.


Jaap Bakema (left), Peter Smithson and Jacqueline Tyrwhitt discuss the MARS Group contribution during the CIAM conference in Dubrovnik, 1956. Photographer unknown. Collection Het Nieuwe Instituut, TTEN f5


Habitat was introduced as an alternative to the idea of the Functional City that CIAM had propagated since the 1930s. With ‘habitat’ they looked for a broader approach beyond functionalism, to do justice to local cultural identities and existing landscape and urban qualities. Architecture was no longer just about the production of shapes and objects, but also about processes of growth and change. Cities should no longer be regarded as separate collections of buildings, but as coherent, ecological systems. (more…)