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Habitat: Expanding Architecture is a research installation which captures a key moment in the history of architecture and urban planning: the tenth CIAM conference at Dubrovnik in 1956. Here the concept 'habitat' was a central theme: a broader understanding of architecture through a new ecological approach viewing architecture less as an autonomous discipline than as part of larger, dynamic whole. Habitat is the first in a series of Total Space programme installations.

Ecological approaches

The CIAM material from the 1950s has been supplemented with more recent work to illustrate how ecological and theoretical approaches to architecture have since been interpreted in different ways: the studies on the relations between settlements and landscape formations of Pjotr Gonggrijp, the transformative interpretation of the Dutch delta landscape by Frits Palmboom, the ecological interventions by planner and activist Joost Váhl, and the discussions surrounding the Tanthof district in Delft, designed by Van den Broek and Bakema together with the Tanthof working group. Some projects from the 1980s are also shown, such as the  Nieuw Nederland (New Netherlands) exhibition and the 'Tapijtmetropool' (‘Patchwork Metropolis’) research by Willem Jan Neutelings.

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Habitat: Expanding Architecture combines archive research with public presentations. It incorporates an intensive programme of seminars and conversations with international guests, students, historians, architects and planners. The installation is arranged as a platform to examine numerous questions relating to 'habitat': 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?

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