Studio René Boer

René Boer (1986, he/him) works as a critic, curator and organizer in and beyond the fields of architecture, art, design and heritage. He is based between Amsterdam and Cairo and is a driving force behind the Failed Architecture platform. In recent years he developed a wide array of exhibitions, public programmes and research projects, often with a focus on spatial justice, urban imaginations and queer tactics. His current projects include Contemporary Commoning, an experimental exploration of the relation between art and (urban) commons; Terraforming Indonesia, a programme investigating and reimaginging large-scale land reclamations in collaboration with the ruangruapa collective; and Smooth City, a forthcoming publication on the obsession with perfection in cities worldwide.

selected projects
Architecture of Appropriation
Contemporary Commoning
Failed Architecture
Grounded Urban Practices
Post-Fossil City
Reimagining Cairo
Smooth City
Terraforming Indonesia
The Right to Build
Useful Life

The Right to Build: Self-build Between Dreams and Reality

This research project and exhibition, shown at the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture (ARCAM) in 2019 and curated in collaboration with architecture critic Mark Minkjan, examines a decade of self-building in Amsterdam and beyond. It addresses the tension between self-builders' personal desires and the collective nature of the city.

Photos: Maarten Nauw.

After decades of social individualisation, self-build now also offers the opportunity for personal expression in the field of housing. But is there still space for self-build now that the city is growing and densifying under high pressure? Do we have the right to realise our own living environment and to what extent can or should a government stimulate or regulate this type of urban development?

To stimulate the debate about the upcoming ten years of self-build, architecture firms krft, LOA and bureau SLA have been invited to develop a vision for the future of self-build. What kind of contribution can self-build offer to the 250,000 extra homes which are needed in the Amsterdam metropolitan region? Who is allowed to build what, and what kind of city should result from this?

The exhibition was developed following from an initiative by the University of Amsterdam's Centre for Urban Studies, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the University of São Paulo. Exhibition design by Atelier Tomas Dirrix and graphic design by Team Thursday.