Producing the Contemporary City

24 May - 2 September 2007
PowerNotes #05
Winy Maas on The Legacy

Indesem (International Design Seminar) is a biennial workshop at the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology. Winy Maas is its curator this year, and its theme is ‘The Legacy'. Sixteen teams of students devised scenarios for the future of various sites in Rotterdam. These visions will be displayed on large billboards at these locations over the next month.

Rotterdam - Thursday 24 May


What did you want to achieve with these billboards?

I always want a great deal, but I've learned that in the Netherlands it's better not to reveal too much of your hopes. For they are dreams, and if they don't come true, it makes you extremely vulnerable. The challenge was to visualize the legacy you want to leave the world in 60 years. With the billboards, we want to show, out in the streets, what the future in a specific place might look like. That fascinates me. We zero in on the potential dangers that might arise as a result of political, social or economic changes. In the workshop, we gave the students as much leeway as possible. There are several exciting suggestions among the proposals that demonstrate how you can respond to the given conditions. A dam across the River Maas, for instance. In its analogy to the dam across the River Rotte, such a dam generates many new potentialities.

Where is the Power?

Power is a great theme. That's why I also sought a connection to the Biennale. Indesem 2007 has a two-fold connection to the theme of Power. On the one hand, through the billboard as a physical medium. With visualizations you can communicate with people, and you have power over the message you're broadcasting to the public at large. The second connection is that architects have to be able to produce images of the future in order to infiltrate the power game. With these images, we can enable people to participate in the game. That too is a form of power. Architects should talk to (Dutch Prime Minister) Balkenende more. Edi Ram said just now, at the opening of the Biennale at the Kunsthal, that the urban planner is of essential importance for communication between citizen and government and can exert significant influence in this way.



The billboard is quite an indirect way of communicating with Balkenende. Will you really reach him like this?

I'll probably have to make an appointment. But he seems to me not to share Edi Rama's view yet.


Which locations stand out for you?

Many of the locations are amazing, and a few locations unfortunately had to be cancelled, like the Central Station. We'd also preferred to have put the billboard that's hanging on the façade of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum on the construction fence here along the Museumpark. But there are also a great many locations that did come off as planned, for example in Zuid by the Essalam Mosque and at Heijplaat. And there's going to be a beautiful one in Charlois as well!


see more about the unveiling of the first billboard...


see locations... 

"Capital City is projected as a designated center within an urban formation whereby political decisions takes precedent over market-controlled economic forces." (Pier Vittorio Aureli)