Material Landscapes

Architecture studio Werkstatt researches bio-based building blocks

17 June till 13 August 2023

Enter the workshop of thoughts and processes. Learn how the world is changing and how architecture can make a positive contribution. The major challenge of our era is the climate crisis and that is mainly a crisis of the imagination. After all, how do we imagine how we should shape the future after our current carbon economy? In 2021, Architectenbureau Werkstatt from Eindhoven won the Jonge Maaskant Award thanks to the scope of their solutions and the strength of their design for a better future.

Werkstatt is committed to biobased materials; to the agriculture thereof and the redevelopment of the countryside to enable this; to the development of new forms of collaboration; and to the shaping and sharing of new knowledge. The fundamental question remains: what do we build with, what are our materials, where do they come from, how do they work, what do they mean to us?

New materials The origin of materials and their production chains are often invisible in our contemporary construction culture. Knowing that architecture and urban design have a negative environmental impact and that no less than two-thirds of a building's total CO2 is emitted during its construction, we have to ask ourselves: why do we still build with scarce raw materials and fossil energy at all if we know that new materials and techniques are possible, simple, modest, easy applicable and anchored in our natural surroundings? Isn't it time for a new material arsenal?

New landscapes Using natural materials creates a lasting link with the land, but also with people. By using regenerative, bio-based materials, a radical system change will manifest. New materials are good not only for the design of buildings, but the design of the agricultural system too. Reuse 10 to 15% of the agricultural acreage to grow fiber crops such as hemp or wood and you can extract all the materials required for housing needs. Nitrogen emissions are halved, CO2 is absorbed to a much greater extent, the agricultural soil is made healthier while the livestock population can shrink, and the farmer retains a dignified position in society.

New collaborations The architect must therefore be aware of material flows. Unaware, the architect often determines whether the builder and end user are exposed to harmful materials. A new, mutual respect between builder and architect therefore starts with an intimate knowledge of the entire building process and a sense of responsibility. Building is done together. A sentiment that is shared with the community: residents, designers, contractors, and consultants must together shape the dynamic in which everyone is consciously working towards the best possible future. The architect plays the key role of imaginator and instigator.

Floor Frings, Niels Groeneveld & Raoul Vleugels | Supervisor Floor van Spaendonck | Graphic identity Dennis van Eikenhorst | Spatial identity Werkstatt | Production Ilona van den Brekel | Video Sam Nemeth | Texts Werkstatt & Remco Beckers | Translation Remco Beckers | PR Myrthe Leenders | Construction Fran Hoebergen, Charlotte Koenen, Bo Oudendijk, Emanuël Riksen, Carmen Vollebergh | Special thanks to Rudi Boiten, Eddy Frings, Thomas van Schaik, bonnie tweeschemer

Opening of the Summer Programma (photos Moniek Wegdam)

Diner with Werkstatt and guest speakers Jacob Voorthuis (TU Eindhoven), Floris Alkemade (ex-Rijksbouwmeester), Ronald Schleurholtz (Cepezed) and Kornelia Dimitrova (Studio Kornelia Dimitrova)