Hans Ibelings, University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Faculty Member. Studies History of architecture. Hans Ibelings is a Montreal-based architectural historian and critic, and the editor and publisher of The Architecture Observer. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). More Buying Choices. $ (18 Used & New offers) · Meyer En Van Schooten Architects: Ing Group Headquarters Jul 02, .

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Hans Ibelings is an architecture critic, theoretician and historian.

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Inhe founded the magazine A10, new European architecture — which until recently he ran and edited — together with Arjan Groot. He studied art history and archeology in Amsterdam. He has taught at various schools in the Netherlands and abroad, written and edited several books on contemporary architecture, including the European Architecture He is currently the editor haans The Architecture Observera multi-platform tool for architectural criticism.

It depends on the definition of the centre. Yet the margins of architecture define where the centre of the field is. When the margins move in one direction, the centre moves as well.

To understand the centre you have to understand where the margins are. I have a very simple understanding that history is about the past, criticism is about the present and theory is about the future. Criticism is the first ingredient to write the history. By doing that, finding ways to understand the past in a different way, to find new perspectives. The most interesting moments are those when you must change your frame of reference.

For example, for a long time people could look at architecture and see it as continuation of modernism, but then there was this big rupture into post-modernism. Now, there are several attempts to see it in a different way again. Moving from the individual approach of a critic to the architecture museums and centres or institutes, then those as institutions are much more difficult to change. What is the role of the architecture centres?


Hans Ibelings

These institutions are relatively new of course, in most of the Western countries hqns started to appear somewhere in the late s. They reflect a period when the cultural dimension of architecture became more and more prominent. Often things that have been there for two decades disappear. The days of presenting just a beautiful model or some drawings are, I believe, more or less over.

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Other agenda — that of activism or similar — has come to the fore. It was imposed upon the NAi at the time a right-wing minister of culture decided that all of the so-called creative industries should be in one institute. Yet it was only hanss way to save money, not driven by any real ambition.

Speaking of activism, urban design has moved away from architecture ibeings we know it. In terms of professional specialisation, where do you see urban designers sit compared to architects? The specialisation of urban planners as a separate profession is also new — at times urban design was very much informed by architectural motivation, yet today it has become remote.

There are still few architects working in this old tradition but most of the time these two are rather separate and the cultural dimension in urban design is even more difficult occasionally to see than in architecture. Many architects are having ibelinge interest in program than in form — the formal appearance of architecture is less important than programming. In the 19th century the vast growth of cities led to new needs such as interior architecture, industrial design and urban planner and these have become independent professions, eating away from parts of the work of an architect.

The role of the architect has never been stable. This is a dynamic situation not always presented in the architectural education. What will happen to those architecture graduates whose thesis projects you evaluated at the Estonian Academy of Arts? There was one project that was hardly about designing anything but rather about programming a vacant building — combining the jobs of the municipality, that of a developer and a designer together.

This project has the potential to be self-started in reality.

The architect as a strategic programmer of people, money and sites is maybe a more viable road than just designing buildings. That is interesting because this is also scalable from small-scale buildings to whole city districts. Exactly — it may concern one part of the building or a larger urban area. Compared to a single building, urban planning is more difficult in that regard due to the scale of the task, to operate as fast and to be as agile in the face of multiplicity of different interests.


Looking at what we can do and what we cannot do — prioritising means having a vision. Developing a smart scenario requires awareness, communication of the issues. Where to discuss those things?

There will always be a need and interest in the news — information and knowledge — and newspapers. What is the biggest online shop? What comes after that? One big player, then nothing. And then finally the small players. Even the bigger players have problems.

Due to globalisation, language based markets witness a reduced number of outlets. Additionally, the webzines are disturbing the market for books.

I have consciously positioned myself in a niche. In that sense, being in a niche and producing knowledge that might be accessible only to a small group of people is not so bad. Jonas Elding is a ahns and architect at Elding Oscarson architecture office in Stockholm. Their works combine experience from employments in Sweden and Japan, covering both local and international architecture, from large projects to small ones — museums, theaters, private houses, interiors, furniture, and product design.

Worldwide Quest – Hans Ibelings

Veronika Valk had a chance to pose him a few questions. Knowledge is the power: Are we on the margins here in Estonia? What is hanx role of an architecture critic then? Do you think that the merger that the NAi went through is a good one?