building & iot

What does living together mean;
part 2, Empty Spaces?

In desperate search for some data yesterday I stumbled upon a working document by Council’s Rob v.Kranenburg dated April 2009 for a proposed conference on Hybrid Living. That same morning a Dutch real-estate company announced that in the Netherlands 6,5 million m2. office-space is empty; which is 14% of the total amount.
Rob referred to the Walter Gropius Manifesto of 1919: “let us together desire, conceive and create the new building of the future, which will combine everything – architecture and sculpture and painting – in a single form”.
Some 50 years later it was the Dutch artist Constant who created New Babylon; a chain of ‘cities’, raised from ground-level, based on the premise that man did not have to work anymore and could spend his/her life according to Huizinga’s Homo Ludens creative principles. A structure, spread out across the country, where each individual could create his/her own environment. The social and economic conditions for this project were – at that time – never realised.
Let’s make a creative jump of uncertain distance but with considerable imaginative power.
Now, again 50 years later, we might have the fundamentals for a revival of the principles of both Gropius and Constant. What if we could embed the ‘structure’ of the Internet of Things – our interface – together with all imagination and technology possible, to create one’s own environment in the existing structures now empty.

We would thus create adaptive information spaces in, what David Brin calls, a Transparant Society.
We might even be able to connect these various structures over the country, thus re-creating Constant’s vision as a basis for what Gropius meant in his days and what is nowadays imaginable and possible and perhaps even necessary.
After all, an amount of space like this can be made ‘connectable’ somehow, somewhere, sometimes.

Martin Pot
Jan. 5th, 2011


photograph: courtesy the Hague Municipal Museum