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The Learn'd

Kaan Architecten

Be human first, and a learn'd after.

"The Learn'd", a short film directed by Victor Vroegindeweij (The Office for Nonfiction Storytelling, Hazazah Pictures), narrates the engaging dialogue between light and space within KAAN Architecten's Education Center. The Dutch architects' intervention transformed an abandoned external atrium into the new enlightened central hall at the medical faculty of the Erasmus University (Rotterdam).

The beautiful words of Walt Whitman's poem "When I heard the learn'd astronomer" (from "Leaves of Grass") inspired the striking imaginary of Vroegindeweij's short movie and its investigation of the complex relationship that lies between objective knowledge and subjective human experiences. The need to explore reality rather than exclusively abstract science, to "be human first, and a learn'd after", as the video author says, is symbolically represented by the desperate chase of two young figures, running and hiding themselves in the empty temple of knowledge designed by KAAN Architects. The author aims to interpret the architects' vision of a medical university's library as an oasis of human contact within the cold "medical city", as Rotterdam's academic hospital Erasmus MC is usually called, a post-war concrete jungle and a dense urban complex designed in 1965 by Arie Hagoort in collaboration with Jean Prouvé.

And still, the building's structure predominates the overall narration of the movie, while human movements remain mostly in the peripheral side of the video frames, slowly becoming a discrete presence that seem to redesign and reaffirm the sharp geometric shape of the wide white architectural elements.


Author: Victor Vroegindeweij
Architect: Kaan Architecten
Mentioned project: Education Center Erasmus MC (2013)
Project location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Production: The Office for Nonfiction Storytelling
Music: Diederik Ipenburg
Photography: Mick van Dantzig

The Netherlands 2015
Duration: 2'35''

Produced on the occasion of the shortlist nomination of KAAN Architecten's Education Center for the EU Prize - Mies van der Rohe Award 2015. Exhibited at the MUHBA Oliva Artés (Barcelona, 2015). Selected for the Architecture & Design Film Festival (New York, 2015), the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (Rotterdam, 2015), the Milano Design Film Festival (Milan, 2015).