Urban By Nature — An Introduction To IABR 2014

Giraffe in Nairobi
  • On Wednesday 28 May, the sixth edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) was officially opened. The central theme of this year’s IABR is ‘Urban by Nature’, with various venues across Rotterdam featuring appealing exhibitions and events. As an official media partner we will report the most interesting projects of the IABR in the coming three months.

    “We have to get back to the balance of nature” says landscape architect Dirk Sijmons, chief curator of the IABR 2014. He states that most of the global problems have urban roots. Assuming that this is true, these problems can thus be solved by solving the problems of the city, or the complex urbanizing landscapes nowadays. IABR 2014 contains over a hundred innovative projects divided into six themes. Five of these themes together, such as ‘A Planet Cultivated’, create the main exhibition at Rotterdam’s Kunsthal. Also WWF has contributed to the IABR by showing the importance of nature conservation in an urbanizing world.

    Pure Veerkracht

    The sixth theme of the exhibition, ‘Pure Resilience’, located at the Natural History Museum, is about the ecology of the city. One could clearly smell the chemicals here, yet crucial, to preserve the many stuffed animals; a rich variation to the urban nature nowadays. Besides the sixteen-birds-per-year-eating domesticated cat there is also the ‘oyster catcher’, originally living in coastal areas, which recently moved to our city roofs.

    Urban Metabolism

    The IABR 2014 is a research-oriented biennale, focusing on the relationship between city and nature in order to understand the landscape of the city, or as Sijmons cited, “we need to learn riding this tiger”. Hereby, design plays an important role as an indirect strategy to influence the urbanizing landscape. Although the word ‘sustainability’ was not used once, this IABR is all about a sustainable urban future.

    The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2014 will be running until August 24th. Click here for more information.

    Photo Courtesy
    Photo 1: A giraffe against the skyline of Nairobi in Nairobi National Park © James Morgan WWF US
    Photo 2: Zwanennest © Natuur Historisch Museum Rotterdam
    Photo 3: Urban Metabolism © IABR 2014 – URBAN BY NATURE