Since 1988 our faculty, together with the European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) and later the International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF), has organized an international conference in every Olympic year. Moreover, it is an honour for us that the celebration of the ‘Saverio Muratori Centennial’ chose this year Delft University of Technology for its closing session. In all cases the theme of the conference focused on the connection between research and design. In other words: the field of tension between science, technology and art. The main theme of this conference ‘New Urban Configurations’ fits very well within this series.
Every four years the aim of the conference is to present and discuss the role and critical potential of the architectural project in the transformation process of cities and territories. By doing so, we hope to gain an overview and a comparison between different strategies in architectural design and research on a global scale, in order to target questions on urban transformations worldwide.
Urban areas have been caught up in a turbulent process of transformation over the past 50 years and settlement conditions mutate rapidly. The transformation of the traditional city, as well as modes of peripheral expansion and infrastructures comprises a new landscape for contemporary projects. At the same time, issues such as mobility, nature, water management, energy use and public space are pivotal in each case. In the age of globalization, cities and their territories can no longer be viewed as autonomous identities, but have to be understood as part of larger networks.
As Faculty of Architecture and The Built Environment we are convinced that future architectural projects all over the world are obliged to explore the sustainable development of the city and the territory. Not to copy, but to move with caution between historical knowledge and today's questions in order to envision and construct a bright future. We feel the same urgency for European, American, Asian and African cities. In our opinion such research projects should be included in schools of architecture. We see this conference as an opportunity to explore the themes involved in this kind research. In spite of all distinctive political and cultural positions in a global network, we make an appeal here today to explore together the frontiers of planning, architecture and building sciences in the near future worldwide.
We would like to thank the European Association for Architectural Education, the International Seminar on Urban Form and the Saverio Muratori Centennial for selecting the Delft University of Technology to host the conference. We hope that you had stimulating meetings and debates with all colleagues gathered here in our new ‘old building’ and are already looking forward to welcome you here again in the next Olympic year.