JUNE 15, 2011 18.30 – 20.00


Game Urbanism deals with the culture of spatial planning. Hans Venhuizen advances a broad understanding of culture that encompasses cultural history, heritage, architecture and art, as well as the culture of the current residents of a region and the idiosyncrasy of a place. In his search for a more specific identity for cities and areas, Venhuizen links the worlds of culture and space to each other in different ways. In this, his focus is always on the culture of spatial planning itself, and the game is his most important instrument. The relation between playfulness and seriousness is a key feature in all of Venhuizen’s projects. The game is capable of involving participants in an assignment on an equal basis. Moreover, it simplifies complex situations, reveals the wishes and interests of those involved, and provides pleasure in uncertain processes of change.

Venhuizen’s talk will explore the idea that, not too long ago, geographical conditions and available building materials determined the architecture of a particular place. Decisive factors for the appearance and size of a structure were where you could build and whether you built with wood, stone, marble or dung. Cultural historians and tourist associations still celebrate these original dynamics that once shaped our built environment. “In reality, however, such dynamics have long become folklore. After all, we are now able to build anything we want anywhere, and we no longer celebrate our brilliant mastery over the limitations of place but, rather, celebrate the endless possibilities. The geographical location of two-thirds of the Netherlands below sea level, the rivers that crisscross the country, and the soggy soil have ensured that Dutch urban design and architecture enjoy a long tradition of managing water. But this long tradition has not been able to prevent the fact that in the Netherlands, too, the real limitations of particular places scarcely play any role in the creation of an exceptional urban landscape.”

A short selection of Hans Venhuizen’s projects include Game Urbanism publication, 2010; “GastGastgeber,” Ruhr Area Germany, 2010; “The Making Of” concept development game for several clients, 2001-2011; “Parquetry landscape,” Almere, NL, 2009; “Des Beemsters,” NL, 2005-2010; “Doing as if” playground, Hilversum, NL, 2006; “Amphibious Living” competition/publication, 2000. Hans Venhuizen is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

SALT is collaborating with Bureau Venhuizen on the project “The Making Of Beyoğlu,” which will open in September 2011 at SALT Beyoğlu.