[PODCAST] Next Salon: Are We Over the Pop-Up?

Does the pop-up indeed fail to live up to its promise?


“Why the Pop-Up Hype Isn’t Going to Save Our Cities” is the provocative title of an article that recently appeared on the website of Failed Architecture. In the piece, the authors responded to various temporary projects in the Netherlands and elsewhere that are part of the IABR–2016 exhibition. In general, the authors are critical of the many forms of ‘bottom-up’, ‘guerrilla’ and ‘pop-up’-initiatives in cities. They believe that such projects are often incidental in nature, isolated, and too dependent on external financial support. At the same time, they tend to cover up real problems and governmental inability, and are the cheap alternatives to more structural solutions.

British architect Jack Self voiced similar criticism in his IABR–2016 Next Talk, and warned against the exploitation of bottom-up initiatives by property developers. The advent of pop-up projects by established fashion brands and hospitality businesses in vacant (retail) properties is in keeping with this trend.

During the Next Salon on 26 June, the conversation turned on whether the pop-up indeed fails to live up to its promise and is in fact may be even counterproductive. What is the social and economic value of such projects? How do they contribute to vital and inclusive neighborhoods and cities? What are their shortcomings? What can architects and others learn from existing initiatives? Are there any conceivable and desirable alternatives? Can we do without the pop-up?

Guests are René Boer (Failed Architecture), Kristian Koreman (ZUS Zones Urbaines Sensibles), Sabrina Lindemann (OpTrek Binckhorst), Tjeerd Haccou and Marthijn Pool (Space&Matter), Jeanne van Heeswijk (Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatie).

Maarten Hajer and Michiel van Iersel (IABR–2016) hosted the conversation.