Ludo Groen is a doctoral candidate in the history and theory of architecture (gta) at ETH Zürich, while practicing architecture from his eponymous studio. His built work includes multiple houses, interiors, and exhibitions. In 2021, he started his doctoral research into the subterranean architecture of banking in Switzerland between 1951 and 1980. Between 2018 and 2021, Ludo has been a researcher at The Berlage at Delft University of Technology and Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch institute for architecture, design, and digital culture. At The Berlage he was involved in the organisation of lectures, master classes, teaching, and various book projects. At Het Nieuwe Instituut, he contributed to the research projects Automated Landscapes and Financial Architectures, and worked on various exhibitions including co-curating MVRDVHNI: The Living Archive of a Studio. Ludo holds a master degree in architecture from Delft University of Technology and a post-master degree from The Berlage.


MVRDVHNI: The Living Archive of a Studio
Het Nieuwe Instituut
November, 2021

The exhibition displays the MVRDV archive as a living entity in office spaces, rather than in museum galleries. As a working environment, the office is the place where ideas and projects move fluidly back and forth between present, past, and future. Comprising their first 400 projects, the MVRDV archive was acquired in 2015 by the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning at Het Nieuwe Instituut. It stretches across 76 metres of shelves and includes drawings, sketches, models, correspondence, photographs, and magazines – but also 3.62 TB of digital data. All have stories to tell. For this exhibition, we invited some of the less visible collaborators of MVRDV to share their recollections. From clients and engineers to former employees and interns, these recorded oral histories will join the archive and, thus, the writing of the firm's history.

Home of Capital
Het Nieuwe Instituut
July, 2021

Every day, the Instagram account Funda Makeovers shares a home whose market value is significantly boosted with the help of a few aesthetic interventions. Using the hashtag #ziedepotentie (‘see the potential’), it presents before and after images of apartments, floors and houses that have been posted twice within a year on Funda, the Netherlands' largest real estate platform. Stripped-down interiors undergo a restyling featuring herringbone parquet, steel window frames, and, ideally, black taps. These makeovers can be considered part of the phenomenon of 'house flipping', a popular practice among private investors. They buy dilapidated houses, renovate them using their magic box of stylistic products, and then sell them on immediately at a substantial profit. Funda Makeovers exposes a phenomenon in which the home is above all a home for capital.

Global investment firms are using an arcane financial formula to make huge profits flipping properties in local markets, as recently illustrated in the case of Rotterdam's Groot Handelsgebouw. This article unpacks the building’s financial architectures.

Link to article

In the rationally ordered Dutch landscape, machines mirror the human dream of relentlessness. Out of sight, in the often unnoticeable and inaccessible fringes of cities, these meticulously designed automated landscapes constitute the epicenter of labor transformation. Yet, despite the apparent absence of human bodies—marketed as eliminating risks, unions, and failure—none of these operations and landscapes turn out to be exclusively automatic. In fact, all are dependent on the contingent interference of humans and other species.

Link to article
*with Marten Kuijpers. Photos by Johannes Schwartz.

Automated Landscapes:
Time, Cycles, Automata

Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism Architecture in Shenzhen
December, 2020

This contribution argues that self-operating machines have been part of life in China since ancient times—from anthropomorphic automata to water-driven clocks and puppet theatres. A five-channel video installation by Juan Arturo García conceptualises a Shenzhen-based factory as a clock—driven by global capital rather than nature —reflecting on the coalescence of human, non-human, and more-than-human time cycles of contemporary automation. 
*with Marten Kuijpers, Marina Otero Verzier, and Merve Bedir. Video by Juan Arturo Garcia. Photos by Zhou Rhui.