Working with the 99%
“Contrary to popular belief, the Financial Crisis does not necessarily mean the decrease of architectural needs. This is particular meaningful in countries under stress such as Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal – where we are focusing this program. Without delving into the theme it is easy to predict that, in a short period of time, government measures will lead to a drastic change in the built environment all over the country, which already started. Unemployment rates, the bubble burst of the construction market and the increasing number of abandoned buildings and ruins are taking Portugal to a significant reorganization of the real estate property.”
Next Stop: Naples!
September 4, 2012
Via S. Biagio dei Librai, 39
+39 081 195 22929
Our debate in Venice will start in about 1h30m:
Join us in a lively discussion about architecture,politics and everything in between!
August 31st 2012
Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli
Zattere Dorsoduro 909/A
Tel +39 0415224077
How to get there?
Vaporetto Stop “Zattere” stopping on Vaporetto 2. (Towards S. Zaccaria)
Biennale d’Architecture, around the stops “Arsenale” and “Giardini”
Zaha Hadid installed a flashy tower but the mood at the Venice Architecture Biennale has shifted: away from starchitecture towards something quieter, more collaborative and utopian
The Venice Biennale is under way…
Austrian provocateur Wolf Prix has hit out at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale and its director David Chipperfield for failing to tackle major political themes behind architecture
Full Statement here:
Praise be to Nero’s Neptune.
The Titanic sails at dawn.
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You on?”
(Bob Dylan: “Desolation Row”, 1966)
If one did not know that the media constantly exaggerates, one could almost conclude – as the Süddeutsche Zeitung has – that the Venice Biennale of Architecture really is the world’s most important architecture exhibition.
However, I believe that the word “exhibition” is not intended to describe an exhibition in this case, rather that the notion only designates the event per se. In other words an industry meeting, like a product fair. Other critics fail to even question the purpose of the exhibition, rather they immediately conclude that the coming together, the meeting, the networking is the key aspect. That’s that!
I would like to maintain at this juncture that the meaning of the Venice Biennale of Architecture for theoretical arguments has been increasingly losing significance since its beginnings with the Strada Novissima by Paolo Portoghesi in 1980. Even the personal significance for the participants is very low when compared to the Art Biennale. So let us not deny the truth. This event is an expensive danse macabre. In a city of plunder (an exhibition of plunder) hordes of tourists (architects) roll along broken infrastructure in order to satisfy their petit bourgeois desire for education (in the case of the architects: vanity, envy, schadenfreude, suspicions). Even the glamour that the visitors are supposed to feel is staid and faked by the media for whom a star architect is like a film star.
In truth it is all hollow, arduous, exhausting, bleak and boring. It is no longer about lively discussion and criticism of topics in contemporary architecture, but rather about empty, conservative and perhaps populist shells that are charged with feigned meaning. What a great Architecture Biennale it would have been had they established forums and put out themes which would have provided a chance to look behind the scenes at the decision-making, instead of boring exhibitions. Take for example the dispute about the train station in Stuttgart. The reasons for the cost explosion for prominent buildings such as, for example, the Elbe Philharmonic Hall. The political arguments about mosques and minarets, in other words the disputes about the localisation of an idea. Why the market for single-family homes in the USA has collapsed and how power politics is conducted through settlement architecture. These topics would be worthy of discussion – not who is and who is not a star architect.
However, instead of that we face: “People Meet in Architecture” and now “Common Ground”. In other words: compromise. It cannot get any worse!
This situation conjures an image of the Venetian carnival – one can imagine all the architects in Pierrot costumes surrounded by masked critics and dancing the Dance Banale, or, even better, the architects are playing on a sinking gondola like erstwhile the orchestra on the Titanic playing their last song, while outside in the real world our leaky trade is sinking into powerlessness and irrelevance. This is because politicians and project managers, investors and bureaucrats have been deciding on our built environment for a long time now. Not the architects.
While in Russia artists are stubbornly resisting the authoritarian regime, the current director of the Architecture Biennale considers these characteristics to be obstacles for our profession and he explains in an interview that space must be taken from the genius. One would have to show him Pussy Riots in order for him to finally understand our society.
Furthermore, I consider that the Venice Biennale of Architecture needs to be reorganised.
Wolf D. Prix / COOP HIMMELB(L)AU
Venice Preview : British Pavilion
“The Key To A Thriving Creative Class? Give Artists Their Own Real Estate Developers
BY EMILY BADGER | AUGUST 9, 2012
It worked for St. Paul, Minnesota, where artists revived an old warehouse district—and got to stick around to reap the benefits of what they helped create.
The process whereby artists cycle through the rundown neighborhoods of American cities has become so entrenched it even has a dirty name: the SoHo effect. Artists venture into an area where no else will. They help make it desirable, chic even. Then, as rents go up, they’re forced to move out. Neighborhoods appreciate over time. But artist income seldom does.
“I remember that very deeply in my soul back in 1986, we felt that was unfair,” says Kelley Lindquist, who became the president of a nonprofit called Artspace in 1987. “It was insulting for people to sometimes say, ‘Oh, artists like to move, they’re bohemians!’ Who likes to be on the street and renegotiate a lease and carry all their equipment and try to create a new community and basically start all over?”
This is the lopsided social contract cities often have with artists: We count on them remake abandoned neighborhoods, but we offer no provisions for them to remain a part of what they helped create. Enter Artspace. The Twin Cities-based organization has pioneered what sounds like the ultimate niche idea: It’s a nonprofit real estate developer for artists. Its flagship project, the Northern Warehouse in the Lowertown district of St. Paul, Minnesota, has been housing artists for more than 20 years in the heart of a neighborhood that’s undergone vast transformation. Today, as widespread civic enthusiasm for “creative” projects has begun to spawn skepticism, the Northern Warehouse may be one of the clearest case studies of the role of artists in rejuvenating decayed neighborhoods—and sticking around afterward.
The city of Minneapolis’ arts commission founded Artspace in 1979 to help connect local artists to affordable space in the city’s warehouse district. But the same artists kept coming back, priced out of their homes and studios, in need of yet another space. When Lindquist took over a decade later, the local arts community began to focus instead on the only permanent solution: They needed to control the buildings. Since then, Artspace has completed 30 live/work developments in 21 U.S. cities, with two more opening this fall, two more under construction, and another dozen in the pipeline.
Lindquist recalls that in the ‘80s, four other organizations—in Seattle, San Francisco, Washington and New York—were toying with a concept similar to Artspace’s (at the time, the five had been given a grant by the Apple Foundation to network with each other). Artspace is the only one of those original five that has survived to this day.
“I do honestly think that there is a prairie spirit here,” Lindquist says, laughing. He sometimes thinks about why this idea got off the ground in Minnesota when it didn’t elsewhere. “Living in Minnesota is pretty rough,” he says. “There can be easily six months of the year that would seem pretty hard to live in and intolerable to a lot of people. But I think it forced those of us here to try harder, and to be a little more experimental, a little more risk-taking on how do we keep our culture vibrant?
Artspace has intertwined missions serving artists and small arts organizations and leveraging the properties that house them for “creative placemaking.” In its most literal sense, the term refers to building communities around arts and cultural activities. But “creative placemaking” has also become shorthand for the more ambitious—and harder to measure—idea that the arts can also lead to economic development. Over the last decade, many cities have fallen in love with the idea that if they can just lure artists and other creative types, economic vitality will follow. The tricky part is proving that an influx of artists actually causes everything that comes afterward: the higher property values, the new restaurants, the middle-class families.
“In a lot of ways, I think Lowertown is perhaps the most cut-and-dried example you’ll ever get of artists who really created a tipping point,” says Laura Zabel, the executive director of Springboard for the Arts, a long-running tenant of the Northern Warehouse. “Because there was such a vacuum here before.”
Via: Fast Company