I’ve got the power. @ Dutch Design Week // graduation studio authority - exposition, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2015

Recent history shows that western society has developed an ambiguous attitude towards authority.
On the one hand the notion of a (democratic) constitutional state –with laws that offer rights and generate freedom – may be fostered, but on the other hand most of the obligations that go with it are smuggled away, show ‘neutralized’ or are expelled from public view. Obedience to the law, to the authorities, may be necessary, but is not expected to be expressed visually. How to shape authority seems to be a problem, as recent architecture shows us. The commonplace for democratic government buildings is architectural transparency: ‘I am not there.’ Unable to express or support the positive (freedom) and the negative (obedience) aspects of authority at the same time, most current government architecture offers us only indifference. For an enduring support of a lively society this is an avoidable situation.
In this graduation project the relationship between society and its architecture has been researched, through the development of the town hall.
The focus has been on the way authority is organized and expressed architecturally, by a) analyzing the typological, programmatic and mass composition of town halls from different periods in history and b) analyzing fiction created in the corresponding period.
Based on this the project has led to an individual design for a Dutch town hall.
Reinier Simons political and architectural analysis of the democracy of ancient Athens inspired him to make a plan for a completely new, pro-active and bottom-up political system.

Ruurd Roorda
Supervisor graduation studio authority, TU/e