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Interactive Visualisation: The Correspondence Network of Jaap Bakema

presented by

Claudia Mainardi


Dirk van den Heuvel

hosted by

Nieuwe Instituut (HNI)

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Screenshot from interactive visualisation

In 1959, Jaap Bakema organised the last CIAM conference at the Kröller-Müller museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands. There it was decided to terminate the CIAM organisation. A new organisation for international exchanges was not secured as yet, although a group around Bakema was moving towards the establishment of a platform of its own, called Team 10, together with Aldo van Eyck, Alison and Peter Smithson, Georges Candilis, Shadrach Woods and others.

As an alternative to CIAM and to secure its international network of exchanges, Bakema established a correspondence network: the Post Box for the Development of the Habitat. The idea was as simple as it was effective: everybody could send in materials, designs or ideas they wished to share. Bakema would collect them and distribute them by way of a newsletter. ‘Postman Bakema’, as he signed himself, produced 18 such newsletters up to 1971. The Post Box is now an archive of those exchanges between the various international avant-gardes active during the 1960s, among them Team 10 of course , but also the Japanese metabolists such as Kenzo Tange. Others include Oskar Hansen, Yona Friedman and Hans Hollein. Topics ranged from the future direction of modern architecture and the Team 10 exchanges, to the new idea of the megastructure typology and planning policies as developed by Unesco. The Post Box correspondence archive is now part of the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

click here to open the interactive visualisation

Research: Claudia Mainardi, Fatma Tanış, Bing van der Meer
Design: Giacomo Nanni
Curator: Dirk van den Heuvel
The interactive visualisation is one of the prototypes for a Virtual CIAM Museum, a collective archive-based project of Nieuwe Instituut, the Jaap Bakema Study Centre, and TU Delft.