On July 5, the book ‘Post Piraeus’ will be launched at a festive gathering in ‘Pakhuis De Zwijger’ in Amsterdam. In 1994, the housing block ‘Piraeus’ was completed to the design of Hans Kollhoff and Christian Rapp. It was a blow. It took two German architects to demonstrate that a design did not need to be at odds with the Dutch construction culture. Piraeus must be taken as a pivotal point in modern history, after which the thinking on the production of buildings and city were newly charged. In the two decades after that, Dutch architecture flourished in an unprecedented way. A cultural infrastructure was conceived and also dismantled again. In hindsight it must be noted that cultural policies have not been successfully connected to something like a day to day construction culture. Architecture as a cultural force seemed to be something that could be imposed on construction culture and was advocated by specialists at great distance from that practice. In 2017, it is crystal clear that architects cannot rely on cultural experts and must show themselves what their unique skills are and how they can be in effective in practice. This situation formed the occasion for 10 architects to come together. The time of great ideas is over. Without a manifesto or a principle statement they started to work, departing from a shared interest in current construction practice in the city of today. We met, discussed the work Hans Kollhoff, though and made visual interpretations of his work. We wrote pieces on the relevance of Kollhoff’s work to themes present in our own work. The practical value of design was always our starting point. We don’t regard design as an autonomous action against ‘culture’, but as labour which is embedded in a broader construction culture of development, building, design, talking and writing. The result is a collection of drawn and written insights with the title ‘Post Piraeus’. Realising that we, as architects, must take initiatives ourselves to propagate our ideas, we approached the magazine De Architect, who were happy to publish and distribute our book. ‘Post Piraeus’ appears in Dutch and English. (Text above by Hans van der Heijden)

Post Piraeus can be ordered here: De Architect