Design as Politics

Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

20.04.12 - 07.07.12

Location: Mini Mall, Rotterdam

The exhibition Design as Politics has ended.

Architecture is politics! Why? Because cities are political. The city is the place where money, power, commerce, culture, religion and leisure meet and fight for a position.
The exhibition Design as Politics shows these fights through spectacular three-dimensional images. They show how for the construction of a beautiful urban project a whole neighbourhood has to be demolished, how bringing the Olympics to a city can lead to massive protests or how a political revolution can spoil a prestigious architectonic project.

But if Architecture is Politics, architects and urbanists are compelled to make bold decisions in their plans and designs. Design as Politics therefore offers a stage for six young designers to present a project in which they take position in the ongoing conflicts in the city: in favour, against or finding a third way to deal with large corporate institutions, self-building strategies, a motorway or the City of London to name a few.

Finally the exhibition shows the soundtrack to the urban conflict with a focus on how popular music has added colour to urban politics. From Marvin Gaye’s ‘Inner City Blues’ and The Clash’s ‘Guns of Brixton’ to the Grime music that accompanied the London riots of 2011.


In 2009, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and Delft University of Technology founded the chair of Design as Politics within the Architecture Faculty’s Urbanism department.

The exhibition ‘Design as Politics’ is hosted by the Mini Mall, a brand new collections of shops, galleries, clubs and restaurants, inside a century old railway station, the first part of the project to transform Rotterdam’s Hofbogen highline into a single 1.5-km-long urban building, a project directed by Crimson Architectural Historians that was presented in the 4th IABR: Open City.