The Knight's Move: Nader Vossoughian

Thursday 20 September 2012, 8 pm
Location: Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
Entrance: € 5,- (or pay in Time/Bank Hour Notes)
Language: English
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In his lecture the American-Iranian author, curator and scholar Nader Vossoughian will describe the painful relationship between Goebbels' declaration of Total War and the universal design standards set out at the time by the German architect Ernst Neufert, the effects of which are still palpable in the built environment today.

Recently a new English translation of Ernst Neufert standard work Bauentwurfslehre was released, a book originally published in 1936. In one of the most widely-consulted books on architectural theory ever written, Neufert standardized the use of architectural standards. His Architects' Data can be applied to almost all buildings, from homes to factories and from mosques to schools. This publication had a strong appeal to the Nazi regime.

In February 1943 Joseph Goebbels delivered a speech in which he declared Total War on the allies. He asked for complete and unqualified self-sacrifice from the German people and set the stage for the passage of numerous new austerity measures, including the elimination of theaters, orchestras, newspapers, publishing houses and other institutions deemed inessential to the war effort. This also included the introduction of architectural standards. Nader Vossoughian argues that the course of architectural history was radically transformed and that its effects are still palpable in the built environment today.

Nader Vossoughian:
"My thesis is that this book illustrates the extent to which militarism and utopianism made common cause during the course of the 20th century. It shows how fascism might have shaped the face of globalism. Finally, it also allows one the opportunity to demythologize what is frequently referred to as "standardization"."

Nader Vossoughian is an inventive theorist who surprised and excited many of us with exhibitions, lectures, books and projects about a.o. Otto Neurath and the settlement movement in Vienna in the 1920s; about the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert, the ultimate example of 'gypsy urbanism'; and about the Spanish activist/architect Santiago Cirugeda. In 2008 Vossoughian curated the exhibition After Neurath: The Global Polis at Stroom Den Haag, accompanied by the book with the same title, published by NAi010 Publishers.

The Knight's Move
The Knight's Move is a series of lectures by eminent international speakers who stand out by their unusual, enlightening and inspirational visions concerning the city, urbanity, the public domain, and community. Just as the knight moves in an atypical and unusual way across the chessboard, Stroom Den Haag likewise wants to cut across all disciplines and thus stimulate rethinking the city.

Media partner of this lecture series: De Groene Amsterdammer

Season 2012 of The Knight's Move is made possible in part by the Netherlands Architecture Fund and is a collaboration with the Flemish Architecture Institute.

Archive The Knight's Move lectures

Nader Vossoughian during his lecture at Stroom
photo: Stroom Den Haag
Nader Vossoughian during his lecture at Stroom
photo: Stroom Den Haag
Nader Vossoughian during his lecture at Stroom
photo: Stroom Den Haag
Nader Vossoughian during his lecture at Stroom
photo: Stroom Den Haag
'Bauentwurfslehre' (German edition)
Architects' Data (English edition)
Otto Neurath: The Language of the Global Polis
Karl Valentin as Schwerer Reiter
photo: © Schloss Wahn
Media partner of The Knight's Move