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Since its founding in 2013, Het Nieuwe Instituut has developed the official participation of the Netherlands in the Venice Architecture Biennale beyond a mere presentation into a long-term discursive contribution to the field, advancing research as well as innovative approaches to some of the most pressing issues facing contemporary society in which architecture plays a role. 

The 2018 Dutch Pavilion is envisioned as a collaborative research endeavor by a national and international network. This network, which brings together the expertise of architects, designers, knowledge institutions and the private sector, will test and disseminate outcomes before, during, and beyond the exhibition timeframe and venue of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018. Het Nieuwe Instituut will announce the list of commissioned exhibitors for the Dutch Pavilion, including those selected through the Open Call, in the coming months. The curator, Rotterdam-based architect and researcher Marina Otero Verzier, head of the Research Department at Het Nieuwe Instituut, will act as the instigator and creative mediator of the multiple contributions. 

With the title WORK, BODY, LEISURE, the 2018 Dutch Pavilion addresses the spatial configurations, living conditions, and notions of the human body engendered by disruptive changes in labor ethos and conditions. The project seeks to foster new forms of creativity and responsibility within the architectural field in response to emerging technologies of automation. 

Theme of the Pavilion: From New Babylon to Rotterdam Harbour

The Netherlands is, arguably, a testing ground where the future of labor has been and continues to be reimagined. The work of architect and artist Constant Nieuwenhuys has been a particular trigger for this conversation. In Constant’s New Babylon (1956–74)an architectural paradigm of free space and leisure afforded by automation—society devotes its energy to creativity and play, and individuals can design their own environments. And yet, as Constant’s oeuvre evolved, his optimistic vision on the possibilities and pleasures of automated labor gradually gave way to a more conflicted perspective. Violence would not be eradicated by the new technological order, mobilized to satisfy society’s immediate needs; it would become, rather, an intrinsic part of its processes and aims.

“Automation is a material condition and achievable,” Constant claimed in May 1980 in a lecture at the Faculty of Architecture of TU Delft. More than thirty years later, the architecture of full automation is currently being implemented in the city of Rotterdam, from the self-managed logistical infrastructures of the port to the logic and relations that define the physical and social landscape of the city, and across agricultural clusters in the Netherlands.

Reflecting on a spectrum of theoretical viewpoints—including New Babylon’s initial proposal for a leisure-oriented society liberated from the bondage of labor; the recent techno-optimistic premise that full automation will bring increasing bounty and luxury; and the dystopian forecast of rampant, machine-abetted human unemployment and inequality—WORK, BODY, LEISURE claims that these visions are already shaping contemporary labor structures and, ultimately, our capacity to redesign them according to a different set of ethical principles.

The project builds upon “Automated Landscapes,” a long-term collaborative research initiative on the implications of automation for the built environment, launched by Het Nieuwe Instituut in 2017 and directed by its Research Department. In the Dutch Pavilion, this perspective will be in dialogue with contributions by other individuals and organizations.

In addition to historical and present-day case studies of automated landscapes in the Netherlands, the project will analyze spatial arrangements and protocols that are molded for the interaction between man and machine; will explore spaces that challenge traditional distinctions between work and leisure; will address the ways in which evolving notions of labor have categorized and defined bodies at particular moments in time; and will discuss the legal, cultural, and technical infrastructures that enable their exploitation. 

More information can be found here.

Open Call for the Extended Program of the Dutch Pavilion

The team of the 2018 Dutch Pavilion considers knowledge production in the field of architecture as a collaborative act. This Open Call seeks to engage researchers and designers in the field of architecture in the development and dissemination of innovative and critical ideas.

Eligible projects should relate to, reflect upon, and respond to the theme of the 2018 Dutch Pavilion, WORK, BODY, LEISURE. The selected proposals will be presented as part of the extended program in and around the Dutch Pavilion, in dialogue with the research developed by the network that includes the curatorial team, contributors and associated institutions working on the pavilion.

Highlighting the aim of the 2018 Dutch Pavilion to stimulate an ongoing discussion and exchange of knowledge, the Open Call also invites projects that will manifest beyond the physical space of the Dutch Pavilion. Alongside the presence in Venice, projects may take place in spaces in the Netherlands that are addressed by the theme, such as the port of Rotterdam and agricultural clusters. Similarly, project timelines may extend before and after the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018.

Applicants may respond to the theme of WORK, BODY, LEISURE in multiple ways. Among a variety of approaches, they may:

  • Address the possible spatial, political and social consequences of dramatic shifts in labor conditions, with a particular focus on automation
  • Reflect on the role of architects in the design of spatial and social configurations for a potential future in the advent of fully-automated labor
  • Set up spaces or platforms to document, visualize, and develop spatial strategies
  • Draft legal propositions
  • Create speculative or artistic interventions

Submissions to this Open Call can take many formats, including but not limited to:

  • New architectural research and intervention proposals.
  • Additional research for existing projects that have been presented previously or are still under development.
  • Projects for the dissemination of knowledge, including events, symposiums, workshops and publications.
  • Innovative institutional, or organizational collaborations with clear and communicable outcomes.

Aims of the Open Call

With this Open Call, Het Nieuwe Instituut and Creative Industries Fund NL seek to advance knowledge and support the development of a leading research platform in the fields of architecture and urban planning. The two institutions will join forces in order to maximize the potentials of the international stage that the Venice Architecture Biennale offers for the creative industries, using it as a catalyst for a long-term conversation on the relation between architecture and society.

Creative Industries Fund NL co-supports the participation in the biennial within the framework of the Grant Program for Architecture, which aims to contribute to the following objectives:

  • Reinforce the societal value of architecture from a cultural perspective
  • Promote high quality in architecture
  • Stimulate the interest in architecture in the Netherlands and abroad

The ambition of Het Nieuwe Instituut in co-organizing this Open Call is twofold:

  • To expand the geographies, audience, and legacy of the Dutch Pavilion. The Call will support the development—before, during and after the biennial, and beyond the exhibition in the pavilion by Gerrit Rietveld—of parallel platforms to conduct research, develop projects, and disseminate architectural knowledge.  
  • To foster new forms of creativity and responsibility within the architectural field that could lead to spatial, political, and social transformations in response to radical shifts in our labor ethos and conditions. A collective endeavor is pivotal in this pursuit.

Selection Process and Resources

Het Nieuwe Instituut and Creative Industries Fund NL have appointed an advisory committee that will select a series of projects to participate in the extended program of the Dutch Pavilion. For this call, a maximum budget of € 50,000, will be available, with a shared contribution by Het Nieuwe Instituut and Creative Industries Fund NL. Het Nieuwe Instituut and Creative Industries Fund NL expect to support a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 projects with a maximum amount of €25.000, per project.


The deadline for submitting proposals is Wednesday 8 November 2017 via the online application service of Creative Industries Fund NL. The application can be accessed under the section “Open Calls”, track 17AE ‘Venice Architecture Biennale #1_Expanded Program Dutch Pavilion’. In order to use the online application service of Creative Industries Fund NL, applicants must have a validated account. Please note: validating an account via the online application service can take up to one business day and can only be done during working days.

Format and Submission Requirements

The Open Call is open to individuals and teams. Applications should be written in English and submitted in a single PDF file of maximum 10MB, consisting of maximum 5 A4 sheets.

In order to be considered, proposals should include the following information:

  • a self-introduction (maximum 250 words) in which applicants articulate the relation between their proposal and their previous projects and interests. Please note that a CV or a list of previous achievements are not requested;
  • a concise description of the project, its aims and motivations, including a proposal for the location(s) and their relation to theme of the Dutch Pavilion and a proposal for the timeframe (before, during, after the Biennale) and the connection to the main event from 24 May to 30 November 2018 (maximum 1000 words);
  • relevant documentation of previous work by applicants and their collaborators, including images of the proposed project (maximum 20 images) and/or links to audio or video files (maximum 10 minutes) in the application PDF;
  • a calendar and a working methodology (maximum 250 words);
  • a description of the target group and the forms of engagement;
  • a budget, including the status of co-financing.
  • proof of registration with the KvK (Kamer van Koophandel/Chamber of Commerce), not older than 1 year, or indication that the applicants will register with the KvK if the project is selected.

In addition to the considerations described in this Open Call, all applications will be reviewed on the basis of their deep engagement with the theme of the Dutch pavilion, WORK, BODY, LEISURE; their relevance for the contemporary architecture field; and their capacity to advance relevant disciplinary and societal questions and activate multiple channels for their dissemination. Preference will be given to programs that include collaborations with individuals, institutions, and organisations in the Netherlands and abroad.


  • Concept proposals with no clear outcome or objective will not be taken into consideration by Het Nieuwe Instituut and Creative Industries Fund NL;
  • Applicants will receive a confirmation of the received application by Wednesday, 15 November 2017;
  • Het Nieuwe Instituut and Creative Industries Fund NL aim to announce the selected proposals by mid December. Selected applicants will be informed by e-mail, and selected proposals will be announced by e-mail and online;
  • Het Nieuwe Instituut and Creative Industries Fund NL will announce only the selected proposals; other applications will remain confidential.
  • In order to receive a subsidy, applicants must be registered at the KvK (Kamer van Koophandel). If applicants are not already registered at the time of application, they also have the possibility to register after the selection.
  • The grant procedure of three Open Calls offers the only opportunity to receive a grant from Creative Industries Fund NL for projects related to the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018.
  • The procedure of the Open Call is described in the subsidy regulation of Creative Industries Fund NL.


For questions about the Open Call and the application procedure, please contact: Gabriella Fiorentini, Grant Program for Architecture:

Further details and questions connected to this Open Call will be addressed by Het Nieuwe Instituut and Creative Industries Fund NL at the event Machines of Freedom on 26 October 2017, 11.00–13.00, at Temporary Art Centre Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week.