New Bouwkunde

New Bouwkunde is a radical design for a new school of architecture at Technical University of Delft. The program called for more than 2000 spaces. These were organized algorithmically and optimized for spatial efficiency. Study, project and research within a school of architecture are normally shaped by an intimate relationship of scholars and students within a tight educational community. Not at Delft where the sheer number of more than 5000 students of architecture outgrow any sense of personal scale.

The school is in fact a campus within a campus, a system of complex programmatic requirements and nested spatial hierarchies. The previous school avoided the dilemma of size vs education by creating a machine for learning, absorbing students and teachers alike, dwarfing the individuals against its multistory labyrinth and forcing them into pre-described patterns of thinking. Ironically the original concrete building collapsed after a short circuit in a coffee maker set fire in 2007. 


Resisting the idea of a single machine, New Bouwkunde is a cluster of cellular bubbles. Cells come in different types responding to programmatic requirements. The cells re-combine according to temporal and local specificities of the university environment. Studio cells, office cells, auditoriums and labs form micro clusters. Larger programmatic cells, such as libraries and restaurants attract those clusters again. Each cell constantly negotiates its position within the cluster and within the overall field. A shift in programmatic use will result in a new constellation. Each cell is equipped with a semi-translucent membrane. This membrane contains and protects the learning environment. The membrane acts as projection screen from the inside and communication device from the outside. The visual information of each cell reinforces the system. Thus the design achieves local specificity within a large cluster, bridging size and locale.


Authors: Aurel von Richthofen 

with Kaveh Arbab, Rushabh Parekh, Mohammed Nazmy


Place: Delft, The Netherlands

Year: 2008

Size: 20000 m2

Type: Competition

Client: TU Delft 

the future is a bubble - academic life inside programmatic bubbles, various scal
circle packing and genetic algorithm re-distributes bubbles according to program
opacity changes and close-up section, bubbles as projections space for inside ac
bubble swarm
fuse deposition model of the scheme
resin model

Realstadt Exhibition

New Bowkunde TU Delft model featured at Realstadt Exhibition in Tresor Berlin. Fuse-deposit cnc model in acrylic resin. Dimensions 32 cm diameter, 2,5 cm height.

Warsaw Rotunda

Warsaw Rotunda is a renovation and a tactical urban space project at once. The design takes an existing building, strips its facade and turns its inner space into an observation platform. The reversal of a closed hermetic space into an open public lantern reclaims a central place in Warsaw for the public.

Subway Sorter

The design-research leading to Subway Sorter is rooted in an ongoing interest in the representation of traffic – here in the form of public underground transportation – as a means of spatial-temporal mapping of the city. Starting from the subway system of Manhattan, this comparative study models several metropolis’ of the 21 century.

Brooklyn Smart Dots

Brooklyn Smart Dots originates in the radical re-conception of street traffic and proposes an intelligent surface of communicating luminous dots.

Beyond Rendering, TU Berlin

Aurel speaks on the topic of architectural representation on the conference Beyond Rendering organized by Daniel Lordick at TU Berlin. Architectural representation had only recently moved towards image driven representation forms. The "parametric shift" indicates a tendency towards the text, more explicitly the script.

Portfolio 2009-2013

This portfolio collects three lines of investigation explored simultaneously and mutually re-enforcing the work produced by aurelVR during 2009-2013: Research, Teaching and Practice. Research on urbanization in Oman and the Gulf marks a new field of investigation of design processes and spatial organization beyond form. Teaching expands in the same direction using digital tools to support design and research. The design part, finally, collects various projects done with aurelVR in Berlin and Oman.