In the summer of 2014, Het Nieuwe Instituut inaugurated Things and Materials, one of three long-term program tracks that serve to align the exhibition and research activities of the now-merged Netherlands Architecture Institute, Premsela (the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion), and Virtueel Platform (a platform for Dutch e-culture). The program track addresses “contemporary crossovers between nature, science and creativity,” homing in on objects, craft, and materiality in particular. Once intrinsic primarily to design and cultural studies, these topics today extend to the domain of architecture too, as scholarly and exhibition emphases shift from singular practices, ideologies, and buildings to the historical lives of objects (as in the ambitious yet critiqued section of the...

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