Around 1661, Johannes Vermeer painted what has become one of the most famous city views: the View of Delft. The city of Delft is depicted from across the water of the River Schie. We see the city as a collection of brick buildings with lower and higher towers, peaking into the sky, and being reflected in the water of the river. The light looks alive: despite the clouds it is bright, setting the buildings of Delft and the riverbank in the foreground in a palpable warmth. Delft, an intermediate European city in the province of South Holland, between The Hague and Rotterdam, has featured quite prominently in Dutch city narratives, partially thanks to Vermeer’s paintings, which showed fragments of both spatial and social characteristics of the city in the sev-enteenth century. In the same period, biologist Anthoni van Leeuwenhoek experimented with lenses and built a microscope, which led to the discovery of the micro-world of cells and bacteria. The city’s small streets, the canals, the church towers and the market squares still remind us of the times of Vermeer and Van Leeuwenhoek. But Delft today, as a centre of trade, knowl-edge and art, is a very vibrant city, with the University of Technology as one of its most celebrated contemporary inhabitants. The TU Delft is recog-nized around the world for educating progressive thinkers and innovators in varied engineering fields, while its Faculty of Architecture has raised, and keeps raising, inspired generations of architects and designers. As Delft is the city where this Writing Urban Place network originated, and where many members of the network have lived, studied or lectured, or are still doing all the above, we have asked our Delft-related colleagues for their views on Delft, painting for our readers, in words, their accounts of the sociospatial characteristics of this city, their relationship with the water, their favourite urban places, their personal Views of Delft.
|Writingplace: Journal for Architecture and Literature
|Published - 2023