Every story has a beginning. That is also ours. From squats and solutions for the housing shortage to neighborhood renewal and participation to the world of tomorrow. From movement to office and from carpenters to future-proof changers. Read here how we lost our wild hair, but never our idealism.
History of a Cooperative Architects Workplace
In the early seventies of the last century, a number of young architects in Groningen put their heads together. In times of scarcity on the housing market they made a strong case for legalizing housing in the city. A few years later they start on 1 May 1976 with the Koöperatieve Architecten Werkplaats KAW. From ideals that can still be felt in the company up to the present day. How can you make affordable and quality living possible for everyone? How do you do this with full attention to social and societal developments in the technically and financially driven world of building and living?
KAW originated in a time when young people challenged the social conventions of the post-war generation. Principles of work, equality and dealing with each other were changed. Before the foundation of KAW in 1976, the young initiators experimented with cooperative methods. Carpenters and architects would renovate the city together. Hand and head would work together. Everyone, from secretary to architect, would own, have as much say and earn as much. That this was not just a company, was evident from the statute: looking after the material and immaterial interests of the members. In other words: not only ensuring that bread came to the table with the members, but also that they were happy. The activities of the young architects were twofold:
The cooperative model ultimately had insufficient basis for a sustainable and stable company vision. The architect branch continued as from 1 May 1976 as a Cooperative Architekten Werkplaats. But the original ideals have determined KAW's actions from the beginning. The social perspective of man in the harsh world of building. The focus on the right to affordable living for everyone. The intercourse at eye level. The courage to believe in your ideals and to go for it.