FUTURE GENERATION - THIS IS 2072
Exhibition as part of the Architecture Biennale Rotterdam
Co-curated with Lindsey van de Wetering
Photography by Sabine van der Vooren
Humankind possesses, at this moment in time, the strongest combination of (scientific) knowledge and (digital) tools that the world has ever known. We have everything in place to create an entirely alternative structure for human society – if only we would set out heads and hearts to planetary stewardship. Let’s build a future worth living for!
This FUTURE GENERATION exhibition showcases a group of young design practitioners who breathe the promise for a hopeful future, both in the short-term and in the long run. In five chapters, this exhibition is built up of fragments, projects, topics, and movements that will determine the architectural landscape of 2072: the year the Club of Rome oriented its prophetic publication The Limits to Growth toward. In addition to the main exhibition, IT’S ABOUT TIME, the exhibition FUTURE GENERATION showcases the best architectural graduation projects realized from 2018 to 2022 in Belgium and the Netherlands. All of the academies and universities with master’s programs in the Lowlands were invited to contribute, resulting in the submission of 75 projects by 13 institutions. The selected projects address the increasing time pressure on combating climate change in our ever-accelerating society. Together, these designers form the decisionmakers of tomorrow, the FUTURE GENERATION, THIS IS 2072, a moment when all selected projects play their part in the transition, reflecting on a hopeful and promising future.
Curators Hanna Prinssen and Lindsey van de Wetering represent a different sound, that of a generation that looks and collects. A generation that would rather gather the world together than remaking it. Even better, the material for this is at our feet, but too often it still flows like trash through our streets. The FUTURE GENERATION reverses those flows. From every nook and cranny of Rotterdam, materials were harvested and assembled into an orchard. Within this orchard everyone found a place, with reason. The FUTURE GENERATION is less judgmental! 80 trees in Rotterdam’s fertile soil. This generation brings people together to make something out of nothing. This is 2072, the collective workevent revives.
Natural processes are complex systems that interact among plants, animals, and the environment. From the catastrophic (wildfires, volcanoes, tidal waves) to the microscopic (the formation of mycorrhizal networks or our gut flora), a myriad of natural processes take place in and around us every day. Humans have impacted the natural processes, extracting the planet’s natural resources in a way that is destructive for the planetary balance. EARTHLY PROMISES demonstrates a more-than-human design approach, using natural processes as the base of design: a dive into the earth beneath us, and into the time beyond the human impact. Instead of believing we can endlessly draw from the Earth’s resources, the movement understands humanity as part of a bigger natural system to sustain the planet. In 2072 we have stopped exploiting planet Earth and are co-existing with its natural processes as EARTHLY PROMISES.
The (human) migration to metropolises has led to developments such as insufficient housing, increasing housing prices, overcrowded mobility networks, and the shrinking of villages, creating a disbalance in public life, such as in schools, parks, on the job market. Building by extending our urban fringes, which led to an endless sprawl into the landscape, was the ‘easy’ way out in the past. URBAN BIOTOPES focusses on the densification and decentralization of our inner cities— and by doing so creates the most diverse biotope that benefits us all. This not only concerns human life, but also the augmenting flora and fauna in the urban environment. Biotopes shouldn’t be isolated but linked to each other and every possible lifeform. In 2072 we’ve created cities where everything is connected; from vast built super-surfaces to small mobility connections and automated living pods, and from civic gardens to a caring metropolis of health networks. Diverse organisms live together in URBAN BIOTOPES.
Over the course of centuries, mankind has evolved into a planet full of cultures, traditions, and habits. How can the specificities and singular qualities be brought to the front within a postglobal society? LOCAL COSMOPOLITANS reconnects with the genius loci, a need to operate within the existing context, a sense of place, of connectivity and belonging. The movement understands the complex local circumstances they are challenged with. Meaningful events of today, from history, traditions, cultures, and a reappreciation of local materials has allowed this generation to move forward. In 2072 we have learned from the past, contributed to the locally important briefs, and act as LOCAL COSMOPOLITANS.
Growth is not limitless, as the Club of Rome report told us in 1972. The growth of the planetary population is resulting in a need for more food, energy, production, technology, and housing. FLOURISHING LANDSCAPES tries not only to use the available, renewable resources, but most of all to generate productive landscapes that add resources and purpose. The available space is used to create smart concepts on how to transform production landscapes into a multilayered system that moves along with the pace of nature. The movement searches for alternative locations to produce and focus not only on one outcome of production, but on successful combinations of alliances. In 2072 our supply chains are sustainable production systems that have a low impact on our spatial environment and create hybrid, stacked, and connected FLOURISHING LANDSCAPES.
For centuries the way we organize our public and private lives has been determined by how we employ different forms of governmental systems and institutes. Now, the social engagement to debate our governance system is more important than ever. SOCIAL ECOLOGIES engages with social and societal issues – sometimes in a more provocative way – by initiating dialogue about the politics of our designed environment. Questioning the architectural profession, these experts rethink their role within the future ecologies while searching beyond the traditional methodologies of design. In 2072 architects actively anticipate and co-create with communities, they initiate debates leading to innovative projects and collective knowledge networks, and shape new SOCIAL ECOLOGIES.