For the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Goethe-Institut has created Performing Architecture, a programme which brings the interfaces between architecture, choreography and the performing arts into focus. Picking up cues from the exhibition at the German Pavilion Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country and the Biennale’s motto Reporting from the Front, the programme transforms the urban space of Venice into a stage for artistic encounters, visions and explorations: How do we sink into the experienced and built reality of our cities? How do we encounter other people in this reality? Which values do they negotiate, which living spaces, which experiential spaces? What ideas of Heimat do they carry? Five events were created for the time of the exhibition: In Act and Tought – A Score for Six Performers, ARCH+ features #50, Culinary Lessons, The Veddel Embassy: Representing Germany and Conviviumepulum / Culinary Lessons.
How will social conditions shape the built environment in Germany? Which factors trigger urban and regional changes? The publication Speculations Transformations addresses pending spatial transformations in Germany and speculates about their consequences for Baukultur: What is it like to live in a city that no longer pays in euros but in watts? What happens, when roads are no longer used by cars? What would the consequences be, if Germany were to measure its economic success in terms of civic wellbeing? Speculations Transformations was conceived within the framework of the “Baukulturatlas Deutschland 2030/2050” research project and commissioned in 2011 by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR). With an emphasis on “thinking in alternate futures”, the book reveals the triggers and drivers of spatial developments, while identifying the societal negotiations leading to specific built environments. This involves currently conceivable futures, already manifest in the present, yet subject to highly diverse evolutions.
The Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) presents the project Home at Arsenale – a curated library, in the Pavilion of Slovenia at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition. Matevž Celik, director of MAO, appointed as curators for the presentation in Arsenale the internationally acclaimed architects and educators Aljoša Dekleva and Tina Gregori? as curators. They conceived a 1:1 spatial structure, an abstract home performing as a curated library that operates as a platform for exploring the concepts of home and dwelling during the Biennale Architettura 2016 and beyond. The project Home at Arsenale proposes the concept of home as a public curated library that opens up a platform for multiple responses on the topics of home and dwelling within the current spatial and social conditions. Challenging the private/public dichotomy within the dwelling domain the project suggests a transformation of private home into possible temporary-public home environment.
To develop a more concrete understanding of approaches to the complex expectations placed on public space, the Akademie der Künste and the Goethe-Institut teamed up to stage the 36-hour Factory of Thought Public Space: Fights and Fictions. The conference, with the curatorial advisory by BUREAU N is held as part of the exhibition DEMO:POLIS – The Right to Public Space. Given the crisis of representative democracies, participation, and civil society burnout: How can we use public space for the perspective of an enlightenment in the 21st century? Public space is intrinsically linked to the parameters of each particular culture and society and its historical changes. With worldwide migration, social conflicts, and global economic and financial interests or the emancipation from authoritarian structures, public space has been facing massive challenges over the last decades. Across the globe, it has become the scene of violent changes and fundamental paradigm shifts. Between security and surveillance, participation and commercialisation, artistic and social freedom and the demonstration of power, public space is where the future of democracy is being decided.The Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik’s spatial design facilitates concentrated thought in parallel structures for kick-off speeches and think tanks, discussions, interviews and artistic interventions, and provides room for informal exchanges in open platforms. NIGHT SHIFT, a party hosted by Making Spaces c/o NICHE Berlin and Creamcake is part of the night program.
Galerie Jochum Rodgers‘ exhibition Interiors Palazzo Scalini travels to the era of the Liberty style, where remarkable interior objects by Italian Art nouveau designer, ceramicist and visionaire Galileo Chini in collaboration with architect Carlo Spiccianl, will be on show. Chini’s fascination with cultures took him around the world, most notably to Siam, where he became inspired by Eastern aesthetics. He later incorporated these details into highly decorative furniture pieces, most notably for the joint commission with Spiccianl for the redesign of Palazzo Scalini. Upholstered leather chairs in striking red and gold are some of the works from this collaboration, which are on display for the first time in the exhibition. The parallel presentation of design innovation – Light by Stilnovo, Italy 1950-1960, documents lamps from the early production of the iconic lighting studio Stilnovo – with numerous models from the manufacturers’ 50’s and 60’s heyday.
Social, political, economic and cultural issues are increasingly being framed and contested in the public realm, and consequently city dwellers are demanding their say in the decisions affecting these public spaces. DEMO:POLIS – The Right to Public Space, the Akademie der Künste’s major spring exhibition is an ambitious inquiry into these timely issues surrounding public space. Through an exhibition format, programme of special events, interactive discussions, symposiums, and a publication DEOM:POLIS addresses the options the public has in shaping its own cities – asking questions – how can we reclaim public space and tactically use it? And how do we imbue it with new meaning? The exhibition, curated by the architect Wilfried Wang, who is the deputy director of the architecture section of the Akademie der Künste, shows spatial designs and urban planning that affects small squares to entire strips of coast. Additionally, there is documentation from demonstrations, protests and art interventions that were known to ‘safeguard’ public space, such as White American Flags by Wermke/Leinkauf. Also part of the exhibition are profiles on projects La Ventana al Mar in San Juan by Puerto Rican architect Andrés Mignucci and Sports Park Stožice in Ljubljana by Sadar + Vuga, which amongst others, are deemed extraordinary examples of negotiating Neoliberalization versus Democratization. And artists’ observations of transforming cities and the ‘future city’ also feature, as seen in the work of Michael Ruetz (Timescape) Michael Najjar (Netropolis) and Nuno Cera (Futureland). Every Tuesday the “Urban Parliament” opens a forum for debates, in which, among other aims, activists from city initiatives and visitors will prepare the “Berlin Urban Rights Charta”. During a 36-hour conference “Public Space: Fights and Fictions” from 19 to 21 May, a cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, participants from around the world will discuss the developments and threats to public space; www.adk.de/demopolis.
As the population increases so has our need to understand the architecture that caters to this – Nuno Cera is an artist known for this surveillance of urban development, and this can be seen in his multi-channel video installation Symphony of the Unknown, currently on show at the Kunstraum Botschaft, a new venue founded by the The Portuguese Embassy and the Camões Institute. Fascinated by the complexities and relationships between architectural clusters, the film captures the original visionary forces, utopian ideas and the unknown vertigo qualities of three post-war architectural complexes: Les Espaces d’Abraxas (Ricardo Bofill + Taller de Arquitectura, 1978-1983, Noisy-le-Grand, France), Barbican (Geoffry Powell, Peter Chamberlin + Christof Bon, 1965-1982, London, UK) and Quinta da Malagueira (Álvaro Siza Vieira, 1977-1998, Évora, Portugal). The work examines the history that imbues these buildings, whilst also looking at their present function and reality. Cera’s work can also be seen in DEMO:POLIS – The Right to Public Space, a major exhibition on design possibilities for public space at the Akademie der Künste.
In an extensive call for projects, DAM Deutsches Architekturmuseum has collected various examples of refugee housing projects and actual solutions that have been built in response to an acute need for housing in Europe. Since October 2015, some 35 examples have been collated – forming an ongoing comprehensive research database presented on makingheimat.de. With a particular focus on modular wooden structures, the spectrum of projects also ranges from temporary lightweight containers, comprising fitted interiors designed by architects, to low-cost long-term housing projects. Identifying the long-term sustainability of varying housing models, the database has gathered initiatives from different funding backgrounds – with efforts by citizen groups to projects backed by private benefactors in response to the continent’s existing housing shortage. The database will be open for submissions throughout the Biennale and guidelines stipulate that projects must be commissioned, in construction or already built. The launch marks the first official stage of Making Heimat: Germany, Arrival Country, the proposal for the German Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition 2016 – La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition in Venice will use findings from the database, along with journalist Doug Sanders’ thesis on ‘Arrival Cities’ (living environments within urban structures that are integral to one another, but do not intermix) in order to define the necessary conditions and housing solutions for tomorrow’s integrative urbanism.
The Kunstmuseum Basel, the world’s oldest municipal art collection, which houses over 4,000 paintings and sculptures, as well as 300,000 drawings and prints from seven decades is about to become richer in space. The main building (opened 1936) and the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart (opened 1980 and is sited in close vicinity on the banks of the Rhine) are to be complemented by the new building. The 2.740 square metre extension has been designed by renowned Basel-based architects Christ & Gantenbein and is primarily dedicated to the museum’s special exhibition programme. The extension is connected to the main building across the street by an underground passageway, and through many of its elements, it cites the rich architectural language of the main building. This is manifested in the monumental stairway with a central circular skylight, the sgraffito in the open areas of the foyer and the staircases. References to the historical building are also present in the colour qualities of the brick facade as well as the highly refined details in the materials used. Despite homage to the old building, the new extension is a standalone building with its own contemporary architectural identity. The polygonal ground plan comprises a series of well-proportioned rectangular exhibition halls. Particularly impressive are the expansive hallways (around five metres in height) that make up the basement level of the building. The new building blends harmoniously into the heterogeneous structure of Basel’s St. Alban quarter and radiates, quite literally, through the LED frieze woven into the facade, out onto the city. To coincide with the opening of the new building, the inaugural exhibition Sculpture on the Move 1946-2016 will take place. The extensive survey, curated by Bernhard Mendes Bürgi., will map the dynamic evolution of the sculptural form – from its antiquated beginnings to its contemporary context, with works by Alberto Giacometti, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra, Katharina Fritsch, Félix González-Torres and Oscar Tuazon on display.
With this year’s Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim, the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) has honoured three outstanding Swiss cultural practitioners: the curator Adelina von Fürstenberg, conceptual artist Christian Philipp Müller and architect and author Martin Steinmann. For the second time, The Prix Meret Oppenheim will run in parallel to Art Basel, together with the Swiss Art Awards 2016 exhibition. At this time, an exhibition with portraits of the winners will be on show, and a Prix Meret Oppenheim 2016 publication will also launch, which comprises interviews between Samuel Schallenberg and Adelina von Fürstenberg, Philip Ursprung and Christian Philipp Müller, and Daniel Kurz and Martin Steinmann. The Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim was initiated in 2001 to honour artistic and architectural creativity. The awards distinguish artists, architects, curators and researchers, whose methods and approaches have exerted a lasting influence on our perception and have stimulated cultural dialogue in Switzerland and beyond.