Define and Let Go: An Interview with John Habraken

Klaske Havik, Hans Teerds

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterPopular


    The name of John Habraken wül always be associated with the distinction that he made between 'support' and 'infill' in architectural and urban development projects. In Supports: an Alternative to Mass Housing,'' he argued that it is people themselves who 'make' their surroundings, with the support making it possible for them to do this within the broad sociocultural context of society By extension, the support allows for changes in layout and use over the course of time. Fifty years later, it seems that Habralcen's message has still not lost any of its importance and his thinking is more popular than ever. Particularly with the contemporary conditions of rapid change and economic uncertainty, under which the future of an architectural or urban development project is uncertain, designers are forced to search for approaches in which the factor of time can play a role in the design. So there was every reason to speak with John Habraken himself and discuss his ideas about time, changeability and the role of the designer in the light of recent architectural and cultural developments. On a wintry December afternoon we visited Habraken at his house in Apeldoorn, a house he built for his mother in the 1950s: a low-lying bungalow in the woods, in which a structure of columns and beams pronouncedly frames the interior. It is logical to limit the distinction of support and infill to the separation between the structure, the base building, and a more or less flexible infill, but that is just a fraction of what Habraken meant by his distinction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFacing Value
    Subtitle of host publicationRadical Perspectives From The Arts
    EditorsMaaike Lauwaert, Francien van Westrenen
    ISBN (Print)978-94-92095-00-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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