Ed van Hinte en Adriaan Beukers

Academy of Architecture 2008-2009

Machiel Spaan, head of the architecture department at the Academy of Architecture, invited Adriaan Beukers and Ed van Hinte to become AIRs at the Amsterdamw School of the Arts from January 2009. Taking ‘lightness’ as their theme, they work together with first- and second-year students at the academy on constructions based on light or limp materials.
The students make three-dimensional constructions using thin flexible materials, such as plastic, tin, textiles and paper. Using only form and combinations with each other, these materials can gain the sturdiness necessary for use in construction. This form of experimentation helps develop knowledge about construction by combining the minimum possible amount of materials, and raises awareness of how the choice of certain materials can lead to possibilities and impossibilities for form and function.

This working method is a reversal of the standard approach to design, which progresses from context and form to execution in materials and details. It produces new, light (progressive) solutions. Experimenting directly with the material without prior design yields models and samples. Comparing them and and analysing their qualities increases knowledge about the application of materials on constructions. These can then be used to build three-dimensional objects on the Academy’s courtyard, with form and texture emerging from the qualities that have been discovered in the materials used. Taking form techniques and combinations of materials as departure points leads to new perspectives on construction design. This is very much necessary in a world where builders would rather pour concrete and stack blocks than engage with the possibilities of improved light material application.
The Capita Selecta series of lectures at the Academy of architecture in February and March 2009 is also devoted to light materials and construction.

About Adriaan Beukers
Adriaan Beukers is professor at the Aerospace Engineering faculty at  TU Delft. The subject of his chair is composite materials and methods of production. He is widely recognised for the success of his innovative approach to the realisation of lightweight constructions. He has won several awards and holds several professorships, as widely afield as Belgium and Japan.

About Ed van Hinte
Ed van Hinte studied industrial design at TU Delft. He is a journalist and author working in the fields of industrial design, technology and architecture. In 1996, he won the Jan Bart Klaster Prijs award for art criticism. He co-authored Lightness and Flying Lightness with Adriaan Beukers. Following up from these publications, in 2006 Van Hinte set up Lightness Studios, an organisation dedicated to the advancement of lightweight constructions by creating model and prototype scenarios through workshops and other methods in the Netherlands and abroad.

AIR is a programme of the Art Practice and Development research group in collaboration with the institutes of the Amsterdam University of the Arts / www.air.ahk.nl.