2019-12-03Souper #104

Souper #104

At the end of November there was only one single guest at our supper Guus Beumer, director of Het Nieuwe Instituut, was our partner. A happy evening about the past, present and future of his organization.

Guus told us very animated how he became director of the HNI in 2015. Through the fashion companies Orson + Bodil and SO and through the cultural institutions Marres and NAiM/ Bureau Europe, he ended up in Rotterdam. He explained why and how the HNI is product is part a changed political reality since the Rutte I cabinet. With much less budget, the HNI now reaches a wider audience and at the same time the institute plays a mediating role in an economy dominated reality.

There is still dissatisfaction with (a certain generation of) architects about the disappearance of the NAi and they have difficulty with the new course. Guus is aware of criticism. But he is steadily implementing a policy based on broad network connections and operating on the basis of partnerships. The exhibition machine for a limited professional community has been replaced by a cultural knowledge platform for the benefit of various groups of stakeholders and interested parties.

That actually makes sense. A changing profession also requires a different institution. The NAi celebrated the architect as a person. As a master builder, as a visionary or as a hero of his time. No matter how nice this tradition is, it’s behind us forever. Many existing architectural firms are looking for a new role and a new business model. Young architects are already entering the practice with a more open attitude. Their reference is not an existing architectural firm, but rather a fashion company or design studio.