A PLATITUDE: ”God made the world, but the Dutch made the Netherlands”


“Plans and Platitudes” is a teaching programme in which the two-dimensional aspect of architecture stands central. Foreign students wonder about the flatness of these, so aptly called, Nether-lands. They look in amazement at the ways those Nether-landers have been defying the various onslaughts of water and wind. A pressing lack of space is another complication, leading to an architecture of constraint. Urban design and the art of Fortification are its outstanding examples. Platitudes ran for a full semester in 2010 plus an ensuing editorial working group preparing the homonymous internet web site: www.platitudes.nl.
Participation in the site’s completion is still open for first and second year students.

The 2011 Spring Semester will be devoted to Plan, a thematically connected series of lectures and ensuing workshop in which the various aspects of the architectural plan, in historical, theoretical and practical context will be studied. In seven lectures and discussion groups we will deal with:
1/ The Map: Cartography and Measuring the Globe,
2/ The Plan: Academic architecture and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts,
3/ The Footprint: A Pedestrian View of Architecture,
4/ The Aleph: J L Borges and the Labyrinth,
5/ Landscape and Plan: Jan van Goyen’s View of Den Haag,
6/ Vesting: History and Theory of Invisible Architecture,
7/ The House of Winds: Various Ways to Re-think the Plan.

A field-trip to Paris, visiting the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the Musée des plans reliefs and the Palais Royal and the Passages will be included.
A three day Charette and ensuing exposition will conclude the semester.

Thomas A P Van Leeuwen

February 2011