The Jaap Bakema Study Centre organizes a special conference on the work of Jaap Bakema (1914-1981) and his idea to build towards an open society. The conference concludes the Dutch presentation for this year’s Venice Biennale ‘Open: A Bakema Celebration’, which can be visited until 23 November at the Rietveld pavilion in the Giardini of the Biennale. Scholars are invited to submit proposals for a research presentation of 20 minutes. We seek papers that take a fresh look on the architecture of Jaap Bakema and his office Van den Broek and Bakema through the lens of the various concepts as proposed by Bakema himself, the idea of building towards an open society in the first place. Other perspectives might include Bakema’s concept of total space, his interest in an architecture that enables a new, modern identity and emancipation of the masses, his notion of organization in architecture as expressed in his sketches and diagrams, his fascination for systems, transitions and interrelations and the one of the space between in its many guises.
Another key issue in Bakema’s narrative concerns the transformation of the Dutch landscape and its cities due to an all-pervasive modernization process against the background of the Cold War. Other possibly productive fields of investigation include Bakema’s role in the international post-war avant-gardes (CIAM, Team 10, Dutch Forum) and his teachings in among others Delft, St.Louis, Salzburg and Hamburg. Competitions as a tool for experiment, provocation and innovation are key in Bakema’s practice. The Van den Broek and Bakema office’s involvement in major competitions is a striking feature of a vast international practice (Hauptstadt Berlin, Tel Aviv, Skopje, Bochum University, Marl town hall etc.), which deserves more attention. Overall, we are interested in proposals that interrogate the complicated interrelations between the welfare state, the rise of a new kind of consumer society, large-scale planning and the modern architecture discourse of the period.