UNSTUDIO - Knowledge Matters - Book Show book info

Publication details

  • Price €29
  • Publisher Frame Publishers
  • Language English
  • Written by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos
  • Graphic Design by Proxi Design (Rein Steger)
  • Print details 250 x 220 mm
 / 400 pages / full colour / soft cover

  • ISBN 978-94-91727-98-6


Knowledge Matters

Written by Ben van Berkel & Caroline Bos and published by Frame Publishers, Knowledge Matters is an exploration into a more agile form of practice - one that is scalable, relevant and opens conversations about the future of the discipline in the context of today’s knowledge sharing society. It does so by critically engaging the expanded set of demands now placed upon the profession – reframing these demands as the latent potentials of performative architecture in the 21st century. These potentials are explored, realised and speculated upon through the book’s 11 ‘Knowledge Tools’, with projects often appearing more than once and in various guises.

Predicated on the belief that architecture’s inherently contextual quality provides ideal grounding through which to organise increasingly vast and accessible forms of knowledge into distinct and engaged entities, Knowledge Matters recasts architecture as the conduit through which the passive reception of knowledge is reimagined as the active production of it.

“Knowledge Matters as far as we absorb, engage and transform it – to serve us, in our effort to expand our imagination and our grasp of the future expansions of the profession.”

Ben van Berkel & Caroline Bos

Q&A with Ben van Berkel

Why did you produce this book?

BEN VAN BERKEL: Because we build a lot, we increasingly get asked – not only from clients but also from the academic world – about how we innovate as an office and how we share our knowledge. People are much less interested in the image of architecture than they were a few years ago. That’s really quite a radical shift. We introduced the knowledge platforms to the studio because we wanted to promote what’s called ‘disruptive innovation’ within our office and, as a result, we have seen that the platforms stimulate our employees to a large extent. Architects now want to work with us, not because of the name UNStudio, but because of these platforms. They not only provide a basis for research but also for internal education. They work like incubators, where ideas can cross-pollinate and shape the things we make. People can rotate within the platforms in order to learn and specialise.

How does this different way of working reflect in the buildings you produce?

Our buildings are not only about architecture anymore. After more than 25 years of experience, we know how to design a building well and which spatial effects we can achieve. When a client comes to us, we now talk about their way of working, and what they want to achieve within their organisation. For many companies, health has now become an important goal, which I think has even eclipsed sustainability as a topic. In the Education Executive & Tax Offices in Groningen, which we completed in 2011, we have proven that with a particular type of installation, we can decrease employee sick leave by 15 to 20 per cent, because of the knowledge we gained by working with various specialists on hospital designs. From working on operation rooms, we learned that you should ventilate section by section rather than per floor, and we have applied that insight to the design of office buildings. That's just a small example, but it shows that the invisible side of architecture is becoming increasingly important.

Knowledge Matters is laid out around the same topics as theknowledge platforms in UNStudio. How did you go about making the book?

Our buildings are not only about architecture anymore. After more than 25 years of experience, we know how to design a building well and which spatial effects we can achieve. When a client comes to us, we now talk about their way of working, and what they want to achieve within their organisation. For many companies, health has now become an important goal, which I think has even eclipsed sustainability as a topic. In the Education Executive & Tax Offices in Groningen, which we completed in 2011, we have proven that with a particular type of installation, we can decrease employee sick leave by 15 to 20 per cent, because of the knowledge we gained by working with various specialists on hospital designs. From working on operation rooms, we learned that you should ventilate section by section rather than per floor, and we have applied that insight to the design of office buildings. That's just a small example, but it shows that the invisible side of architecture is becoming increasingly important.

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Companion App - Spaces of Flow

The interactive book app Spaces of Flow – Arnhem Central Station is a free complementary publication to Knowledge Matters. The first in a planned series of digital publications with a focus on the future of mobility, Spaces of Flow elaborates on the application and production of knowledge in the design and development of Arnhem Central Station. For the first installment, we zoom in on this extensive and complex project, illustrating how the synthesis of external and internal expertise from a network of collaborators and stakeholders created a flow of knowledge that became essential to the success of the project.



The Spaces of Flow app features drawings, diagrams, photographs, videos, audio commentary, animations and a detailed timeline narrating the history of Arnhem Central Station.

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