W.M. Keck Lecture Hall
Intro by Eric Owen Moss
The profession of architecture has expanded and now finds itself in a position to engage with a broader series of cultural references. The architect can now refer to film, fashion, literature, philosophy, music, art etc. and as such greatly enrich the cultural side of the profession. However with such an exclusive focus, the functionality of architecture - the rational and scientific side of the profession - is sometimes forgotten. The architect today however has to increasingly optimise his or her buildings in order to make them both more affordable and more responsible. As there is still much to discover in these more pragmatic areas of the practice, I believe that in the future the profession will become increasingly oriented towards knowledge and expertise - not simply through transforming knowledge into new design techniques, but through the cross-combination of information and knowledge so that architecture and design will be replaced by what I refer to as "trained judgement."
Ben van Berkel is the co-founder and principal architect of UNStudio in Amsterdam and Shanghai. UNStudio is a network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure. Current projects include restructuring the station area of Arnhem, the Raffles City mixed-use development in Hangzhou, a dance theatre for St. Petersburg and the design and restructuring of the Harbor Ponte Parodi in Genoa. With UNStudio he realized amongst others the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, a façade and interior renovation for the Galleria Department store in Seoul and a private villa up-state New York.
Ben van Berkel has lectured and taught at many architectural schools around the world. Currently he is Professor of Conceptual Design at the Staedelschule in Frankfurt and was recently awarded the Kenzo Tange Visiting Professor's Chair at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Central to his teaching is the inclusive approach of architectural works integrating virtual and material organization and engineering constructions.