The exhibition Letters to the Mayor – Rotterdam is one of the results of a year-long collaboration on the theme of ‘City Forces’ between Het Nieuwe Instituut and Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York.
An initiative started in 2014 by Storefront for Art and Architecture, Letters to the Mayor – Rotterdam invites a select group of local and international architects to write a letter to Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam, articulating some of the pressing questions and desires that, as architects, they believe play an important role in the political dimensions and decisions that drive the making of cities and territories. Letters to the Mayor – Rotterdam questions the current dynamic, and invites local and global architects to deliver their thoughts directly to the desks of elected officials, and simultaneously into the public consciousness.
"As a civic figure, the architect has the privilege and responsibility to articulate and translate the collective aspirations of society, specifically for those not able to sit at the decision-making tables. Throughout history, architects have engaged with this responsibility and with the structures of economic, political, and cultural power in different ways and with varying degrees of success. With the rise of globalization and the homogenization of the contemporary city, the role of the architect in the political arena has often been relegated to answering questions that others have asked. While designing the next economically driven cultural-iconic-touristic object, an increasing number of architects (and with them, politicians) have forgotten the ethics that should be associated with architectural practice and the potential of design to participate in the construction of public life." Eva Franch, Chief Curator and Executive Director Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York.
Letters to the Mayor is an itinerant exhibition that has been presented in Athens, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Madrid, Mariupol, Mexico, New York, Panama City, Sao Paulo, Taipei and Taichung. It includes a series of public debates between architects, the mayor, and citizens at large, and is a forum for the discussion of the future of cities and the built environment. The project provides a multi-facetted understanding of relevant issues within local contexts, and shared concerns throughout cities around the world.
Letters to the Mayor was launched on 12 January 2018, in the presence of the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam
Tuesday — Wednesday
11.00 — 17.00
11.00 — 21.00
Friday — Sunday
11.00 — 17.00