This collection of articles comes from a particular place, a rather unique moment in the history of the Netherlands when Dutch architecture started to be much applauded for its radical approach and innovative design when the typhoon of another modernization swept across the globe. Architects, municipalities, investors, developers, companies, institutions, politicians, inhabitants, educators, researchers, critics and alike, were all thrown into a kind of experimental condition, one being both pragmatic and geographical. It has been a journey learning about the rise of another modernity and its architectural approaches; both in terms of mapping its condition, and through the experience of discrete designed objects within its larger urban and global landscape.
The constitutive role Dutch architecture played as aesthetic practice giving form to another modernization has been organized around two different political approaches in this PhD by publication. Chapter One entitled Fresh Conservatism critically addresses how the much- celebrated Dutch movement in architecture paved the way of an upcoming Neoliberal phase of capitalism. The problem for many was not to make political architecture, on the contrary, its innovative practices — without being too conscious about the political — turned out to affirm what was later called the post-political. With Aesthetics as a Form of Politics of Chapter Two, exemplary alternative horizons of possibility are being discerned within Dutch architecture; ones that make architecture politically through their aesthetic regime. It has everything to do with how freedom can be created with constrains, how you can dance with enmeshment, can move beyond limiting adversary, and ‘dare to create lives of sustained optimal wellbeing and joy.’
Making architecture politically is about the creation of running room; a sense of polity — an aesthetic regime redistributing the sensible — that allows for a multiplication of connections and disconnections that reframe the relations between people, the world they live in, and the way they are supposed to act and behave. Such a field of possibility concerns a multiplicity of folds and gaps in the fabric of the common experience of the human and non-human that change the cartography of the perceptible, the imaginative and the feasible. As such, it allows for new modes of political construction of common objects and emancipatory possibilities of collective and private enunciation. Instead of slipping into paternalism or control, the idea of such a radical openness is characterized by indeterminacy, nuance, incommensurability, hospitality, dissensus, joy and the multitude of encounters it could generate. It is about becomings that breaks open the conventional way space is experienced, thought and distributed, one that displaces the binary dialectics of colonizer and colonized, the one against the other by introducing a third (And) that belongs to both the one and the other while opening alternative horizons.
Making architecture politically will not be without consequences, it asks us to consider another path. Many of architecture’s properties, including its history of ideas, material legacy, form of content, and forms of expression are to be reconsidered. What must be taken in consideration is under what conditions, and with respect to what forces, architecture could become active and creative, rather than reactive or nihilistic, confronting the many crises of the world today. Such an architecture of polity is as much about ideas, as the discovery, and invention of new forms making architecture politically.
By grappling with making architecture politically, finding it wanting through critical analysis, observing the exemplary and often a-political role contemporary Dutch architecture played in the 90ties and onward, it turns out the problem is not to make political architecture — all architecture is political — but how to make architecture politically.

PhD publication by Roemer van Toorn, defended at the EKA,Tallinn, Estonia, 2022, free to download
More research on Making Architecture Politically, is been undertaken at the UMA School of Architecture, Umeå University, Sweden.

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