Closer to Architecture focuses on three heritage domains: Sustainable – Usable – Visible. Each domain or programme line contains a number of projects, briefly introduced below with a referral as soon as more information is available. In addition to these projects, there is room to develop new, future projects with a research-based and speculative character.
Design drawings – Restoration and conservation
The collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut consists largely of design drawings: roughly 1.4 million objects. Design drawings are hybrid by nature, generally composed of various materials and techniques, such as tracing paper, plastic foils and photographic reproduction techniques. The vast majority consists of drawings on tracing paper (transparent paper). This is a material that tears easily and is extremely sensitive to water damage. Most drawings suffer from damage due to mechanical stress caused by careless handling and incorrect packaging.
Van Doesburg Collection – Restoration and conservation
The Van Doesburg collection consists of 447 inventory numbers. The majority of these objects are drawings (and paintings) on tracing paper (330). A smaller part consists of photo-mechanical reproductions and photos. Because it is an important collection that is frequently used for exhibitions, it is essential that the collection is fully consultable and safe to handle. This means the objects need to have a uniform presentation format to maintain the object’s safety during handling and loan transactions. The project is outsourced to paper restorers and will be carried out on location.
Photos – Restoration and conservation
The Closer to Architecture programme enhances the preservation and accessibility of the photo collection. A large part of the photo collection is currently stored together with the paper archive. However, the photo collection requires specific conservation and restoration in terms of packing and the appropriate storage climate. Photographic material is clearly more fragile than other objects in a mainly paper collection. Due to their chemical nature, photographic images can be damaged by light, climate, harmful substances in the environment and packaging, among other things. This project initially opts for conservation, restoration and digitisation of the photo prints. More work needs to be done to identify the number and current condition of the other photographic objects (slides, negatives and glass negatives) and to decide on their conservation and restoration needs.
After restoration and conservation, the photographs and design drawings, the Van Doesburg collection included, will also be digitised (inasmuch as this hasn’t already been done) to improve consultability and, with this, enhance usability and visibility. A major advantage of digitisation is that the original material no longer needs to be physically consulted, which benefits the lifespan and quality of the collection.
Linked Open Data
For the publication and linking of heritage information, heritage institutions need to make adjustments in their own collection registration systems. The Usable work programme looks at improving access through LOD, which will enrich data and make it more easily findable for users.
The search portal primarily focuses on supporting archive research by professionals such as architects and art historians. The renewal of the current search portal will improve user friendliness and thus access to our collection. It will also enable us to conform to the LOD standard and to make our extensive digital collection available online in the form of an LOD end-point.
The Other Interface
The digital collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut is currently accessible via the Search portal. This interface is primarily aimed at (archive) researchers who are specifically looking for (parts of) archives. Many web visitors are interested in the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut but are not directly looking for something. Het Nieuwe Instituut is developing interfaces for this target group that are more focused on ‘discovering than on searching’.
The collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut and all the knowledge it contains is not currently found on the world’s most-consulted encyclopaedia. To increase the visibility and social relevance of the collection, we will make a content donation to Wikimedia Commons by making archive material available to this database without copyright restrictions. Wikipedia editors can use that content to create or supplement Wikipedia entries on architecture-related topics.
Education focuses on children and young people as the designers of the future. Everything around you has been designed and created from a design process full of experiment and choices. With education programmes we let children and young people question the world around them and shape their own ideas and choices for the world of tomorrow.