Winter School 2020: Building Conversation

The Academy of Architecture has invited the artists’ collective Building Conversation, which was created on the initiative of theatre maker Lotte van den Berg and visual artist Daan 't Sas, as Artist in Residence for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Winter School 2020 has begun January 10, curated by the team from Building Conversation.

During the Winter School 2020, the Artist in Residence was set to work with first- and second-year Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture students from the Academy of Architecture. The students participated in an interdisciplinary and interactive manner in a number of performative conversations developed by Building Conversation at different locations in the centre of Amsterdam. They reflected with each other on their personal experiences and on this basis they spoke about the relationship between space and conversation, and about conversation as a space between people. 

During the Winter School, we teach our students to work, in an interdisciplinary manner and as a team, on an assignment that seeks out, or crosses, the borders of the three fields of study, and thus ensure that the designer’s own horizon is expanded. As a student at the Academy of Architecture, you will work in a broader sociocultural context. That is why training your intuition and transforming it in a limited time from an idea into an inspired product are important learning objectives of the Winter School.

Markus Appenzeller, Head of Urbanism, about his choice for this Artist in Residence: 

“A degree programme in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urbanism traditionally focuses on understanding spatial issues. The vast majority of our tools are therefore geared towards showing space, spatial relationships and the use of space in various ways. Beginning in the 1960s, but with an unprecedented dynamism in recent years, we see the three fields changing at a rapid pace: in order to be able to deal with increasingly complex living environments, challenges from society and climate change, the three design disciplines are becoming increasingly broad and specific skills and areas of expertise are becoming essential, which previously played no, or only a very small, role.

One of the most important areas of new expertise is communication – being able to explain. understanding messages, reading conversations and being able to develop narratives. Verbal communication is also therefore about working with tools from other fields and acquiring knowledge in a discipline that is not at all spatial. That is a difficult job for many students who are often visual thinkers – but an area of expertise that will be essential to architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism in the future. We want our students to be prepared for this and also be able to broadly excel in this area. That is why we have chosen to make verbal communication the subject of the following edition of the Winter School. 

By bringing in Building Conversation, we have succeeded in connecting space and communication and therefore also in making direct links between our disciplines and the new experience that are our students will undoubtedly gain in order to ultimately become better designers. Designers who are only able to give shape to what they are devising and developing with a pen and pencil, but also with words.”

On Friday, January 17, the final results of the Winter School 2020 could be seen and experienced at the Academy of Architecture.

This was the 15th Artist in Residence that we have been able to welcome thanks to the Artist in Residence programme of the Amsterdam University of the Arts. In recent years, surprising and high-profile projects and lecture series have been realised under the guidance of Artists in Residence, such as the artist and architect Alexander Brodsky, the artist and architect Sarah van Sonsbeeck, visual artist and film director Gabriel Lester and photographer Jeroen Musch. Luc Deleu was the first Artist in Residence at the Academy of Architecture in the 2004-2005 academic year.

More photos from the Winter School 2020 (made by Kris Dewitte) are on Flickr.