Please, accept cookies in order to load the content.

Parallel to the research Architecture of Appropriation, the State Archive for Architecture and Urban Planning has been looking at the spatial legacy and influence of squatting on the development of Dutch cities and how this can be preserved for the future. The personal archive of architect Hein de Haan and the photography archive ‘Improvised Architecture’ by British artist Dave Carr-Smith form the basis for a conversation about the preservation of documents and materials around ‘squatted architecture’.

Improvised Architecture by Dave Carr-Smith

From 1990 until 1997 and from 2006 until 2008 British artist Dave Carr-Smith researched and documented four squatted industrial buildings in Amsterdam's city centre. The result of his extensive research is entitled Improvised Architecture in Amsterdam: Industrial Squats and Collectives, a visual document of the transformation of a former grain silo, a type foundry, a warehouse and a dockers’ canteen.


The unique collection of photographs, descriptions, and drawings made by residents, give an insight in to the spatial transformation of the existing architecture and the changes made to the buildings' interior. Although the industrial spaces themselves are part of architectural history, the inventive use of space by the squatters has scarcely been documented and is therefore often invisible. Carr-Smiths’ work provides a unique image of a city that offers space for an architecture of improvisation.

Archive Hein de Haan

Het Nieuwe Instituut recently acquired the archive of Hein de Haan (1943-2015) an architect who worked regularly with squatters and who dedicated himself to the conservation of the existing city, lobying for small-scale building that combined living space, working space and other facilities. De Haan managed to rescue many old buildings and create affordable living space and studios, in collaboration with local residents. He was able to convince property owners, such as local councils and housing associations, of the need for new approaches, and lay the foundations for policies around low cost living and working space for creatives and the concept of collective-private commissioning.


De Haan’s archive comprises some 50 building files that he compiled himself, containing feasibility studies, sketches and renovation plans for squatted, often industrial complexes in Amsterdam, including the SHB port offices, Prins Hendrikkade 122, Pakhuis Wilhelmina, dock office De Oceaan, De Vergulde Koevoet, de Inktfabriek and Nieuw en Meer. A small selection of his archive can be seen in the exhibition Architecture of Appropriation.

Squatting the Archive event

In search of the history of squatting in the Netherlands and its influence on contemporary architecture, on 2 February 2017 the State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning will be squatted.


Featuring contributions by curator Hetty Berens, architect Ton Verhoeven, researcher and activist Reinier Kranendonk.

René Boer, Marina Otero Verzier and Katía Truijen in collaboration with the communities of ADM, Plantage Dok, Poortgebouw, Wijde Heisteeg 7, Landbouwbelang and Vluchtmaat
Graphic design: Maud Vervenne (publication), Jakub Straka with Sepus Noordmans (installation)
ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles]
Johannes Schwartz
Cathy Brickwood, Aurora Bertoli

This project is part of the programme track Landscape and Interior and the folder A series on the changing landscape.