Visions on alternative housing

12 June till 15 August 2021

Bureau Europa looks at the historic position of women and the space they allotted themselves to express their prowess in the exhibition Love in a Mist. Female architecture stands at the core of the lecture series Madam Architect, inspired by an idea of Merel Pit. Now, we add a new exhibition, a unique collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut, exploring female friendly design.

Our built environment, like our society, is defined by conventions, attitudes and expectations. Architecture, long an almost exclusively male concern, rarely takes alternative ideas and perspectives into account. Homes were designed for families with an unerring solidity, offices were designed for men, and the male gaze has long conditioned the streetscape. In short: architecture was designed to maintain social hierarchy.

Utopian dreams One woman who has received attention nationally and internationally for her radically new starting points in the design of homes is Luzia Hartsuyker-Curjel (1926–2011), who, together with her husband, Enrico (1925-2013), influenced the Nederlandse Wederopbouw (Dutch post-war reconstruction) with alternative visions for living. This Swiss couple settled in the Netherlands in 1953.

Their utopian cityscapes are ziggurats of residential layers, where living, recreation, work and transport converge surrounded by air, space and greenery. For once, the city would adapt to the user instead of the other way around.

Female friendly design Luzia Hartsuyker’s designs also differ from the norm. Her female-friendly homes provide an equal distribution of space, in contrast to the role-affirming residential floorplan that Luzia and the women’s movement criticised. Her patio homes, such as those realised in Gouda, break open the built environment’s straightjacket, giving women the space to do as they please.

Het Nieuwe Instituut and Bureau Europa present items from the Hartsuyker’s archive, including sketches, designs, models and images of their projects, such as Biopolis and Hydrobiopolis, two idealistic housing concepts from the 1960s.

This exhibition is a pilot for the Plug & Play series that Het Nieuwe Instituut is undertaking to present their archives.

Choose and Use With Choose and Use, Het Nieuwe Instituut has a new format to make author archives from the National Archives more accessible for the cultural sector. Together with collaboration partners a selection of archival material is made that specifically connects to certain themes and current issues. That way the National Archives open up more and more for local and regional topics.

In addition to physical presentations in the museum halls, an improved digital accessibility, and a generous loaning infrastructure, the institute invests in creating networks and building collaborations. With the notion of ‘central collecting but decentral opening’, Choose and Use is an additional format with which regional and local initiatives can make use of all the material – restored or digital – from the National Archives of Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning. Read more... 

Constant 1 0 1 The radical future visions the Hartsuykers designed correspond to a trend in the 1960s when other visionaries explored future utopias, famous amongst whom is CoBrA artist Constant Nieuwenhuys. 2021 has been declared the year of Constant 1 0 1 to commemorate the 101st birthday of the artist. Bureau Europa is one of the many Dutch cultural institutions that pay tribute to the great artist and his vision of New Babylon with this exhibition. Read more... 

Curator Eline de Graaf, Het Nieuwe Instituut) | Co-curator Remco Beckers, Bureau Europa | Grafic design Lyanne Polderman | Program manager Architectuur Dichterbij Gijs Broos, Het Nieuwe Instituut | Registrar Loans Elza van den Berg, Het Nieuwe Instituut | Texts Eline de Graaf & Remco Beckers | Translation JLC Coburn | PR Yongbloed | Production Agnes Paulissen, Bureau Europa | Construction Fran Hoebergen & Charlotte Koenen, Bureau Europa 

Sounds of Biopolis MaaMoo (Ceola Tunstall-Behrens & Tjyying Liu)

Many thanks to Guus Beumer & Floor van Spaendonck

Opening of the expo Hartsuyker (Moniek Wegdam)