Off the record : RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances]

With its “Off the record” section, AA gives the floor to architects through short Q&As. Today, focus on RAAAF whose co-founder, Ronald Rietveld, has agreed to answer AA’s questions.

Being an architect is….
…about exploring the world of affordances.
For RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances] every project is a build manifesto in itself. The studio operates at the crossroads of architecture, visual art and philosophy. We work within the field of the philosophy of embodied/enactive cognition on affordances, these are the possibilities for action that the environment offers. RAAAF explores these affordances, creates new ones and foregrounds unorthodox possibilities. A rich landscape of affordances can contribute to human flourishing.
Our interventions are the result of an independent attitude and research agenda, starting from our own fascinations while confronting them with urgent societal issues. To use the words of Lebbeus Woods, what interests us is “what the world would be like if we were free from conventional limits and show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules”. Showing these visions is the aim of each project.

Bunker 599, RAAAF
Bunker 599, RAAAF, Pays-Bas, 2010

My ideal commission
are typically commissions that come from the art world because these offer more freedom to explore architecture.

How I imagine my profession in twenty years?
Hard to predict. But if you want know were to go it’s good to know where you come from. Throughout history big influencers in the field of architecture were heavily influenced by other disciplines. Vitrivius was a military, Koolhaas a journalist, Gerrit Rietveld a furniture maker, etc.. Those radical changers in architecture history are actually “Architect by Accident”.
If you want to come to new visions it is in my opinion extremely important to stay independent, with an open view and not become a slave of the market. Yes, that’s difficult. Those architecture production machines we see daily on blogs don’t offer radical new perspectives on the long term, it’s mostly short term design glamour lacking interesting thoughts. It is important to have time and silence to think and experiment and finally to come up with new thinking models and built manifesto’s. More over I strongly believe in insights from outside the discipline. That’s the reason we operate on the cross roads of architecture, visual art and philosophy.

Vacant NL, RAAAF
Vacant NL, RAAAF, Biennale de Venise, 2010

My advice to a young architect
Forget about commissions, you can make great work without them because an interesting vision is much more important. The rest will follow.

What I would like to pass on to my associates
Avoid concessions.

The new-comer architect to keep an eye on
Architectural history and art history, both are much more interesting than most of contemporary architecture.

The project I would have liked to sign
Eternal freedom.

The other job I would have liked to practice

Secret operation 610, RAAAF
Secret operation 610, RAAAF, 2013

A book, an object or a work of art I particularly love
 Art is an inevitable source for life, but a man that inspires me in particular is film director David Lynch, deep, dark, fire!

A place that inspires me
Der Himmel Über Berlin, Wim Wenders.


Find out more about RAAAF here

React to this article