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In fall 2017, Het Nieuwe Instituut launches a collaboration with e-flux Architecture and The Berlage that investigates the power of representation within and beyond the field of architecture. In this series, ten acclaimed architects and researchers are invited to examine a specific medium of representation used in the design, technology, or legal framing of buildings, landscapes, and urban territories. 

Their findings will be presented through lectures, delivered in Rotterdam at Het Nieuwe Instituut as part of its Thursday Night Live! public programme or in Delft at The Berlage, and essays published on e-flux Architecture’s online platform. Architecture and Representation brings to light the powers, biases, and histories embedded in the most essential formats, tools, and standards used to shape the built environment. It also questions how these tools disseminate into the wider world, determining the boundaries within which future political, economic, and infrastructural possibilities are described and visualised. The series will offer lectures and essays from Peggy Deamer, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Mpho Matsipa, Hilary Sample, Joan Ockman, Samuel Stewart-Halevy, Jess Bier and more.

Operative metaphors

Architecture and Representation assembles a wide palette of methods and techniques, from isometric drawing to computer rendering, from large-scale mapping to facial recognition, from legal contracts to building codes. These formats translate phenomena that are distant, overly small or large, invisible, temporary, beyond comprehension, or physically impossible into relatively fixed, conveniently sized, and orderly documents. Which phenomena are represented, and by what process, is thus a question of selection, erasure, and emphasis. Furthermore, those who can turn representations into operative metaphors — not only architects and engineers but also governments, banks, militaries, and scientists — are granted agency by the unique potentials of each medium. By conjuring up the image of a wall or a border as a solid, continuous, and impenetrable line, politicians can make sprawling and fluctuating landscapes perform to their will. Climate models and five-year plans give a linear narrative to dynamic forces beyond the control of any individual. Trickle-down economics and social stratification reshape complex communities of people into hierarchical structures. Collectively, the speakers and writers in the Architecture and Representation series will bring a critical lens to the architect’s toolkit, identifying strategies of coercion, subversion, and cooperation for authors, users, and viewers alike.

Lectures begin at 19.30 and a Thursday Bite is offered in Het Nieuwe Café at 18.30. Throughout the evening, visitors can also see the fall exhibitions, including Finders Keepers: (curated by MacGuffin) and The Other Architect (organised by the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal), as well as a weekly pop-in expo in the foyer.


  • Thu 19 October 2017: Pier Vittorio Aureli, “Life, Abstraction, Architecture: Notes on the Plan
  • Thu 16 November 2017: Peggy Deamer, “Contracts”
  • Thu 14 December 2017: Mpho Matsipa, “Counter-Cartographies”
  • Thu 18 January 2018: Hilary Sample, “Scale Figures”

About The Berlage

The Berlage is a small-scale institution hosted at the TU Delft’s Department of Architecture, with a large international network of architects and designers that teach, lecture, and contribute through shared publications and exhibitions. This group of leading and emerging practitioners and scholars assures that The Berlage engages with the most recent developments in architectural practice and thinking. The Berlage programme was created to meet the challenges of globally oriented practice by expanding the range of education architects receive and by redefining the methods, instruments, and approaches of research and design practice.

About e-flux Architecture

e-flux Architecture is a sister publishing platform of e-flux, archive, editorial project, and enterprise founded in 2016. The news, events, exhibitions, programs, journals, books, and architecture projects produced and/or disseminated by e-flux Architecture describe strains of critical discourse surrounding contemporary architecture, culture, and theory internationally. Since its inception e-flux Architecture has maintained a dynamic international program of projects and events including: Superhumanity (with Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley for the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial), Refugee Heritage (with Alessandro Petti), Accumulation (with Daniel E. Barber), and Artificial Labor(with Christoph Thun-Hohenstein and Marlies Wirth for the 2017 Vienna Biennale).

Delany Boutkan, Marten Kuijpers, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Setareh Noorani
Alex Walker