ERA21 #01/2015 Curating Architecture

kniha editorial

Curating Architecture

Jakub Kopec

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kniha detail

Pavilion of Glass Klatovy—PASK »

Martin Kožnar, Jiří Bíza / Atelier25 /

Built in the late 1950’s during Action Z for the purpose of a gillyflowers exhibition, the small structure in the garden of the Dr. Hostaš National Museum in Klatovy has served as a depository and workshop for many years. A subtle transformation into a modern exhibition pavilion is based on cleaning the added historical layers and walling-in the original openings, including the central entrance, which accentuates pure form of the U-shaped structure. In both gables new openings have been made; the asymmetrically placed entrance lets the exhibition flow undisturbed through the pavilion space, a large window in the opposite gable offers a generous view of the garden. The third intervention is to knock a large round skylight in the middle of the pavilion that provides dispersed top lighting. The chosen geometric concept is completed and developed by an organically shaped garden with islands of grass and seats.

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Art of Handwriting »

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Writing by hand is becoming increasingly rare in today’s modern society replete with digital technology. But technology doesn’t have to necessarily mean an end to this skill. On the contrary it might be its resurrection. An art project of the famous Serpentine Gallery’s chief curator, based on a participative model, consists of hundreds of photographs of handwritten messages of artists, writers, and architects, and his Instagram profile is followed by almost 90 000 fans. “My ideas are not interesting. I am just a medium,” Hans Ulrich Obrist says.


A Stroll Through a Fun Palace »

Hans Ulrich Obrist

The exposition was focused on two great visionaries of the 20st century—the English architect Cedric Price and the Swiss sociologist Lucius Burckhardt. The Fun Palace, the trans‑disciplinary cultural centre designed by Price, is introduced as a 21st century museum, utilizing calculated uncertainty and conscious incompleteness to produce a catalyst for invigorating change whilst always producing the harvest of the quiet eye. Burckhardt is the inventor of “strollology“, the science of going for a stroll. In his analysis of what marks an urban space, Burckhardt went far beyond the façades or architecture of the streets and squares, taking into account, for instance, the dirt in the neighbourhood or the darkness of the night. Design, he said, is invisible, and architecture must contemplate the environmental and social circumstances which by far outweigh the city resident’s visible environment. A stroll through a fun palace puts the archives of Burckhardt and Price at the centre of the show that reflect not only the common ground, but also the profound difference, between the two figures. Trolleys of original materials are constantly moved and rearranged, reflecting on the contemporary act of the curatorial selection that mediates between the 20th century institution and the 21st century future.


Exhibitionism As Inquiry? »

Tina DiCarlo

The Latin word “exhibeo”, show, not only in English associates the term display with the term expose, exhibit. Thus perceived exhibitionism finds many connections with other social disciplines responsible for the presentation of information such as media. And together with notions such as experiment, criticism, idea or identity, it has to deal with notions like economy, ethics or media image. An appropriate starting point for such reflection seems to be one of the most influential architectonic exhibitions of the last few decades, “Deconstructivist Architecture”, organized by Philip Johnson and Marc Wigley in MoMA in 1988.


Bungalow Germania »

Savvas Ciriacidis, Alex Lehnerer, Sandra Oehy

The installation responds to the Venice Biennale’s theme: “Absorbing Modernity: 1914–2014” with a question about the representativeness of architecture. Germany has experienced a century full of political and social twists and relations. Bungalow Germania explores the tension between national identity and its architectural demonstration. It joins together two buildings of national and historical importance, the German Pavilion and the Chancellor Bungalow (Kanzlerbungalow) in Bonn that represent two eras of German history, two political systems, and two architectonic languages. A 1 : 1 partial replica of the Bungalow creates an accessible spatial installation in its cross-cutting with the architecture of the Pavilion. Here the Bungalow’s materials and elements function as media that transport past political gestures and symbolic actions from Bonn to Venice. The joining of the two buildings creates a “third space” superior to the arrangement and character of the original objects. One building is viewed through the other and vice versa, one becomes the other one’s context and key.


OMA / Progress »

Maarten Gielen, Lionel Devlieger, Tristan Boniver, Renaud Haerlingen, Benjamin Lasserre, Tine Segers / Rotor /

Reinier de Graaf: „Isn’t that what every exhibition is?“ Rotor: „Yes. We had proposed a classic: a few hundred items carefully placed within a space.“

In 2011, for the prepared exhibition in Barbican, OMA invited the artistic group Rotor for cooperation, which is, in a sense, the anti-OMA. The six-month-long process of the thorough study of archives, and common discussions, surprisingly, didn’t result in a retrospective display of finished projects but in an “exhibition of exhibits” illustrating everyday work in the studio, an exhibition as an autonomous artistic gesture exposing unexpected relationships.


Curating Liberates Architecture. Interview of Jakub Kopec with Jan Tabor and Imro Vaško »

In the recently-shown documentary named DK, there was mention of a provocative sign “FUCK MEGA” with which the early deceased main character had violated an exhibition in Künstlerhaus, Vienna. This exhibition with a symptomatic subtitle Manifest of Haughtiness was curated by Jan Tabor, and the show featured among others Imro Vaško. We have talked with these two matadors of experimental architecture and exhibiting about exhibitionism and curating, how not to exhibit architecture and about experiment and the changing profession of an architect.


Here Comes the Rain Again »

Folke Köbberling, Martin Kaltwasser

As part of the revitalization of the Seseke stream, its bed and banks were supplemented with a number of art and spatial interventions. There are also three concrete and steel family houses from different eras and of different styles, scaled down in 1 : 10 proportion. These represent prototypes of family house development in the 20th century and at the same time show its end: individualized mass construction, a dream of a billion earthmen. The renovated riverbank is an artificially made image of an ideal landscape completed with housing archetypes providing a new scale to the natural setting. The second view is a contrast between romanticizing the notion of exclusive housing by the river and the permanent threat of natural disaster. No one knows when his dreams and visions will be washed away by a flood.


Kunstkolkhoz Mikulovice »

Jan Tabor

The artistic kolkhoz in Mikulovice near Znojmo was founded with the aim to create a space for exhibitions, symposiums, and interdisciplinary diffusion on the Brno—Vienna axis. The yard and the adjacent buildings of the former farm and later an agricultural cooperative, provide a stage for architects, theorists, artists, students as well as neighbors to get together over food and drink and have a chat. The architectural intention follows the remains of the existing buildings with the aim to bedim how the initial conditions have changed.


New Synagogue in Žilina »

Martin Jančok / PLURAL /

In 2011, an initiative was formed for the renovation of the Žilina neology synagogue by Peter Behrens from 1931 and its transformation into an exhibition space for contemporary art—kunsthalle. The main ambition is to establish a balanced dialogue between the unique architecture of the cultural monument and its new use. For three years the architectonic design has been developing from rather extensive occupation of the synagogue premises, through its gradual disembodiment, to the complete elimination of further permanent physical admission. The generous central space is horizontally divided into two sections. The upper section will be progressively restored to the original interior color scheme, while the monochromatic rendering of the lower section serves as a neutral background for exhibitions. An important part of the project is the architecture of exhibitions that continuously change the character of the spaces on a seasonal basis and based on a long-term curatorial program.


The Never Ending Process of Change. Interview of Barbora Šedivá with Marek Adamov, Martin Jančok and Katarína Gatialová »

Cultural manager Marek Adamov and his colleagues from Truc sphérique have been helping to establish great changes on the cultural as well as architectural map of Slovakia. They experiment, change the original purpose of buildings and give them new content, without any deliberate strategy. Besides building a cultural center Stanica in the former train station and other spaces for art in the neighborhood, the team is currently working on the reconstruction of the neology synagogue in the center of Žilina. Apart from saving a significant building, this is about a strong need to enter into its troubled story with a story of their own. Its basic features are an accent on cooperation, openness, and a will to take risks. The key figures defining its value content since the very beginning are architect Martin Jančok and curator Katarína Gatialová. For them, incompleteness is a challenge.


Grindbakken Warehouse »

Tristan Boniver, Renaud Haerlingen, Lionel Billiet, Maarten Gielen / Rotor /

A conversion of a 160-meter-long concrete structure into a multi-purpose public space is a part of the general renovation of the harbor area in Gent, Belgium that lost its face and memory a long time ago. The initiatory concept works with the memory of the construction itself that used to serve as a transfer spot for bulk materials; it keeps traces of the original use, framing them in a white paint and allowing them to tell their story.


Bunker 599 »

RAAAF, Atelier de Lyon

Bunker 599 belongs to the New Dutch Waterline, a military system in use from 1815 until 1940 protecting the cities of Muiden, Utrecht, Vreeswijk and Gorinchem by means of intentional flooding. A seemingly indestructible structure, sliced open and cut through a long wooden boardwalk, opens up its interior which is normally completely cut off from views. It became a public accessible attraction; moreover, after its completion it became a national monument. This radical intervention sheds new light on the Dutch policy concerning cultural heritage and at the same it makes people look at their surroundings in a new way.


The Installation As a Laboratory for Emerging Architecture »

Florian Kossak

Although architectural installation has a lot in common with art installation, it is a discrete category. Its historical development is lined with many milestones, such as theatrical installations of the late Renaissance as well as projects of the early-twentieth-century Russian avant-garde. Of particular relevance here was the cross-disciplinary practice of architecture and other cultural disciplines to produce experimental installations in the form of masques, stage designs, interiors, agitprop or happenings and how they ultimately led to the transformation of the urban realm and its architecture. Experimental exhibitions, anticipating the future of architecture, thus have an important role even today.


Pillow House »

Zdeněk Fránek

An experimental project dealing with architectural space demonstrates the possibilities of sophisticated technology used both in the design process and the realization itself, while a significant part of the design is artistic invention. The Pillow House is not just an architectonic object, but a real house in 1 : 1 scale with the interior space based on a concept of creating a personal living space with one’s own body.


ExoBuilding. Physiologically Driven Adaptive Architecture »

Holger Schnädelbach, Kevin Glover, Ainojie Alexander Irune / Mixed Reality Lab /

ExoBuilding is a prototype of “Adaptive Architecture”, which responds to its inhabitant’s physiological data. It has been developed in the context of the ever-increasing adaptability in architecture, driven by the availability of embedded sensing, computing and actuation. Technically, ExoBuilding allows for the continuous mapping of, for example, the heartbeat, respiration, skin temperature or conductance, and from these deduce the environment, shape, and appearance of the prototype. It represents a basic platform for research of the relationship between man and the environment that should be able to adapt to him.


Hy-Fi at MoMA PS1 »

David Benjamin / The Living /

One of the important tasks of architectonic work is the preservation and improvement of the quality of environment as the basic principle of sustainable development. The newest information of biological research is entering the discussion about society’s responsible approach to the creation of a built environment. Realized as a summer pavilion in MoMA PS1’s outdoor courtyard within the annual Young Architects Program, the experimental Hy-Fi structure is built almost exclusively from organic material—specially developed biodegradable bricks made of corn stalks and a special culture of fungus. The forty-feet-high construction doesn’t consume any energy, doesn’t produce any waste or emissions and is fully recyclable.


On Curating Architecture As Critical Practice »

Pedro Gadanho

The architectonic profession is going through a change. The conditions, in which architecture is born, are changing; its social and political relevance is changing. Writing about and curating architecture is a necessary part of its mediation towards the global audience. Curating architecture not in the sense of self-promotion or presentation of the already built and known, but in the sense of critical practice that recognizes and questions the relationship of architectural production with society and reveals tensions lying under the surface of architectural practice. The architect himself is thus learning new roles and adopting new skills, he becomes a critical mediator of architectonic production.


The Situation Room »

Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY /; Jana Winderen

Founded in 1982 in New York, Storefront for Art and Architecture is a communication platform reflecting innovative positions in architecture, art, and design. On the occasion of the launch of the World Wide Storefront program, an experimental light and sound object—The Situation Room—infilled the gallery space. An ultra-thin, self-supported, neon pink envelope is created out of boolean operations while the final form is an aggregate of twenty spheres of incremental diameters whose inherent curvature provides rigidity of the structure. The organically-shaped structure combined with specially created sound blurs the boundary of one’s perception of the known and unknown, and makes the visitors think about the qualities of matter and space.


Bloom. The Game »

Alisa Andrasek, Jose Sanchez / Bloom Games /

Bloom is an urban toy—a social game that seeks the engagement of a public. Crowd sourced design. A massive population of cells is introduced through the main “portal” of the game constructed by designers. Bloom cells are all equal; none of the pieces can do anything on its own. Only by putting together tens, hundreds, thousands of them is when the game begins. Due to the flexibility and resilience of the building cells, the “rules” of the game can be bent. It becomes impossible to forecast what you can do with such game! The final piece is a collective act of imagination, search and play. The common experience becomes a shared memory for each person attending. The energy is sourced from people’s interactions.


Non-linear Architecture »

Ján Pernecký

Architectural forms generated by digital technology are already an established phenomenon with several decades of history. Despite all the turbulent development, this approach is still based on traditional processes—searching the tools for completing the initial idea. The real transfer of creative methods to digital technologies occurs only with the switch to non‑linear production when the author becomes a regulator (curator) of selection and behavior of individual elements of the system whose autonomous interaction leads to the resulting form.


ICD/ITKE Research Pavillon 2013–2014 »

Achim Menges, Jan Knippers a kolektiv / Fakulta architektury a urbanismu, Univerzita ve Stuttgartu /

The bionic object is a part of the series of research pavilions that showcase the potential of novel design, simulation and fabrication processes. Within the project there was a parallel research of robotic fabrication methods for fiber composite structures and biological principles of natural constructions of fibers. The aim was the development of a winding technique for modular, double-layered fiber composite structures, which reduces the required formwork to a minimum while maintaining a large degree of geometric freedom. Therefore, functional principles of natural lightweight structures were analyzed and abstracted in cooperation with biologists and consequently through the development of a custom robotic fabrication method, these principles were transferred into a modular prototype pavilion.


Stigmergic Fibers »

Alexander Dolan, Jean Akanish, Ali Yerdel, Jin Shihui

The development of stigmergic fibers heads towards fabrication of fibrous aggregations suitable for material and spatial structures production. The subject of the research are methods of robotic fabrication in the form of bottom-up processes which begin from the emergent fiber aggregation in micro scale and end with a particular tool-based fabrication process. This also includes designing, testing and building up a model to guide the design protocol at the architectural scale. The result of the research is a 3D textile with minimal supporting structure requirements and sustainable production. Diversity of forms together with the environmental, thermal or conductive nature of the fibers used opens up a wide range of applications ranging from interactive building envelopes, decorative insulation, to custom made fashion. 


Archaeology of the Digital »

Greg Lynn + Kanadské architektonické centrum CCA

A research program, stretching over many years, critically explores the development and use of digital designing tools with the aim to create a collection of digital architecture. The intention is to gather, examine, catalog, and archive in the CCA collection twenty five key projects based on digital technology. Besides a series of exhibitions presenting sketches, prints, photographs or models, seminars and print publications, it also looks for a way to display, open up, and disseminate digital data of the presented projects. The current output is an innovated type of electronic publication adapted to the specifics of digital material in the form of monthly issued monographs of individual projects. Each one includes an interview of the series editor Greg Lynn with the architect of the given project, interactive presentations and videos.



Finishes and Structures of Plaster Surfaces »

Lukáš Balík, Šárka Nenadálová

The final appearance of new as well as historical objects influence the environment in which we are present on a daily basis and forms our esthetic sense. The task for architects and engineers is to create this environment and with the help of all available means to contribute to the maximum lifespan of the proposed solutions. In the case of the façade surface finishes, to achieve the required appearance, it is necessary to know both the qualities of the used material as well as the conditions in which they will be used, and last but not least the ability of the constructor to ensure the quality of execution.


International Trade Fair AMPER 2015 in Brno »

In March 24–27, the 23rd the international trade fair of electrotechnics, electronics, automation, communication, lighting, and security technologies will be held at the Brno Exhibition Center. AMPER is the biggest eletrotechnics trade fair in the CR and Slovakia, currently having more than 550 new as well as traditional exhibitors registered (as of January 31). The present development suggests that AMPER 2015 has the potential to be even more successful than the last year. Some 632 exhibitors from 20 countries were on hand.

completed project

The Administrative Object River Garden II and III in Prague-Karlín »

Jan Schindler, Ludvík Seko, Petr Ekštein / Schindler Seko architekti /; Baumschlager Hutter Partners

The new building situated alongside Rohanské nábřeží Street consists of seven floors of administrative spaces above a parterre assigned for business and services. Two underground floors serve for parking and technical facilities. The street façade stretches over a whole city block. Therefore the object is divided in two separate parts in order to follow the scale of the surrounding development.

completed project

The Administrative Building Silo Tower in Olomouc »

Blanka Zlamalová / Studio Zlamal /

The base of the object is a long unused 17‑meter‑high silo from 1936, standing near the historical center of the city, not far from the railway station Olomouc-město. The silo has been used as a pedestal for five-floor extension with office area, fixed in the height of 11th to 15th floor. The modified building is characterized by a new colonnade on the perimeter of the socle and atypically articulated windows of the extension.

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