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When the ecological term habitat was introduced in the 1950s in the avant-garde circles of CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) and Team 10, it became a subject of fierce debate. In addition to rethinking the housing issue, habitat brought a profoundly new way of looking at architecture and urbanism. Cities and buildings could no longer be seen as isolated objects, but instead were considered part of a larger whole, an environment or habitat.

In the light of climate change, ecological issues are receiving more attention today and are an important reason to reconsider the discipline of architecture. The book Habitat: Ecology Thinking in Architecture highlights some of the historical sources of the ecological views underlying the current reforms in architecture. There is a focus on the paradigmatic shift in thinking about the built environment as something that is inherently contextual and relational. This book describes the continuity, interruptions and transformations at stake and not only intensifies the current debate, but also offers suggestions for future research.

Habitat: Ecology Thinking in Architecture is largely based on fundamental research undertaken in the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning, which is managed by Het Nieuwe Instituut. Based on selections from the collection and additional material from international archives, this book presents extensive documentation of design proposals and research projects. It provides an overview of key positions since the 1950s, when the Habitat concept was first explored in an attempt to rethink the architecture and its purpose in general.

The book contains contributions by Frits Palmboom, Erik Rietveld, Hadas Steiner, Georg Vrachliotis, and Leonardo Zuccaro Marchi, combined with generous visual documentations of the work of renowned architects Aldo van Eyck, Alison and Peter Smithson, Van den Broek & Bakema, and many more.


Habitat: Ecology Thinking in Architecture
€ 39.95 | English | ISBN 978-94-6208-556-5 Also available as an e-book ISBN 978-94-6208-566-4
Editors: Dirk van den Heuvel with Janno Martens and Victor Munoz Sanz | design: Coppens Alberts | English | hardcover | 21 x 32 cm | 176 pages | illustrated (210 full colour) | nai010 publishers in conjunction with Het Nieuwe Instituut and TU Delft with material from the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning.

Information and ordering: nai010 publishers | NAi Booksellers

Virtual Exhibition Habitat: Expanding Architecture

Habitat: Expanding Architecture combines archive research with public presentations, seminars and conversations to examine numerous questions relating to ‘habitay’: what is the significance of habitat as a new ecological paradigm for architecture and planning – whether in a historical or a contemporary context? What is the significance of no longer thinking in terms of objects, form and construction, but rather in terms of processes, systems and networks?

Visit the exhibition from the comfort of your own home. The Jaap Bakema Study Centre developed this spatial model in partnership with Ardito on the basis of the exhibition held at Het Nieuwe Instituut in 2018.

Total Space

Total Space explores interdisciplinary exchanges between the fields of architecture, urban planning, anthropology and systems theory. The core premise is that architecture and urban planning can be understood as ecological systems. The point of departure becomes interactive networks, rather than discrete objects and domains. From the first propositions for networked cities and megastructures in the 1950s and 60s, up to developments such as smart cities and virtual territories today, the concept of a total, all-encompassing space remains a recurrent motif.