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astragal

After a refreshingly alcoholfree lunch, Richard Fielden showed how he and his office avoided the boredom often associated with the s-word.Next, president of the Dutch architects association Kees van der Hoeven welcomed delegates to Holland and in a delightfully literate speech offered an alternative to the sword, referring to the same ideas as 'vital architecture'.Most of the afternoon focused on Rotterdam's regeneration, though by now few were convinced that it had ever been decrepit. First Hermann Schartmann of the Ministry of Internal Affairs talked about how the Dutch government wanted to reduce bureaucracy associated with regeneration and encourage new thinking.Then the elegantly attired director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, Aaron Betsky, introduced three younger Dutch architects, plus Kees Christiansee, and former Rotterdam city planner Joost Schrijnen. In a provocative and informative discussion, the difficulties of Rotterdam's postsecond World War rebuilding and the various planning models imposed were criticised and debated.Adriaan Greuze and Winny Maas were as engaged and sceptical as Christiansee, who described how middle-class flight from the centre to family suburbs had defeated recent planning hopes. Armed with these insights, delegates then toured the city, Oud's Kiefhoek housing scheme being the favourite.The conference reconvened at the Netherlands Architecture Institute for a drinks party hosted by Betsky. A further nightlife tour favoured those with an ox-like constitution.

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