The Why Factory

We are facing a future full of questions – questions about the development of our cities. Especially in days of scepticism, populism and fear, we need answers of how visionary, green, fantastic, biodiverse, transparent, intimate, adaptable and emotional our future can be. The Why Factory, led by Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV tries to answer these questions with a method called design research. A method with refreshing visions that break rules and stereotypic thinking – a true combination of science and fiction.

Until July 21, a collection of works by Winy Maas students can be seen in the current exhibition at the architecture gallery in Munich. The research lab of TU Delft acts as a future world scenario making machinery. It is a platform that aims to analyse, theorize and construct future cities.

10 years of research and education led to a wide range of demands:

The wish for common sense in a world that seems to be dominated by individualism in (W)ego Cities, the advocacy for wildlife in Biodivercity, the request for openness in Porocity, the desire for amazement in We want world wonders, the push for combination of small scale densification actions in The Vertical Village and the expression of fear of the ultimately killing Absolute Leisure and many more.

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The future is coming. Are we ready?

By far not, says Winy Maas. Our current cities consist of towers and blocks that are somehow enclosed, distant, introvert and not mixed with urban life, social possibilities and ecological potentials. How can we enlarge pockets for encounters, for streams of access and communication, for enlarging zones for greenery and animals, for tunnels of cooling and refreshment, for channels and pockets of water and sanitation? What can we wonder about now since almost nothing is impossible in architecture?

Today, climate change casts a shadow of doubt on our civilisation being so self-centred. However, can ‘Green’ ideology, as we know it, embrace the whole complexity of that conflict? Can eco-city, as we know it (Masdar), be a sufficient solution? Students in collaboration with researchers of the Why Factory tried to find answers by illustrating visionary images. They looked for new intimacy between human beings and nature. They invented new cities that grow vertically, new typologies of buildings, that can disappear, or infrastructure that flies in clouds above the cities.

Let’s speculate through the eyes of architecture students and researchers about how our future cities will look like. Or, as Winy Maas would say, if curiosity makes us unique, let us enlarge our curiosity.