The Instituto Cervantes and the Goethe-Institute cordially invite to a dialog by the title of “Architectus Omnibus?” which focuses on the understanding of architecture today and the increasing social responsibility of architects in the 21st century. It focuses on the transformations of a discipline that has to relocate itself between the real estate market and the claim of citizens’ participation, concetrating in Germany and Spain.
October 7 – December 15, 2015
Exhibition hall “Arqueria Nuevos Ministerios”
Paseo de la Castellana 67,
The ten projects that have been selected from the public call of Architectus Omnibus offer concrete proposals for creative solutions for contemporary social processes. These approaches are documented in an exhibition which also contains the archive Freshlatino 2. “Architectus Omnibus?” Is the title of the VI Spanish-German Cultural Summit, organized by the Goethe-Institut and the Instituto Cervantes. Within the project it was defined to make an open call for architecture offices and students to propose new answers to the needs of present society .
The announcement extends the existing platform Freshlatino2, whose philosophy is based on a Decalogue of concepts devised by Andrés Jaque. The projects were selected by a working group and were subsequently presented in the context of Architectus Omnibus? VI Hispanic-German Culture. The event was held at the Cervantes Institute in Berlin from 18 to 20 May 2015, and in it the role of the architect of the XXI century is analyzed through five debates,. The ten selected projects will be publicly presented in Berlin and Madrid in 2015.
Exhibition of the 10 projects selected:
Arquitecturas Torres Nadal: My House is Your Museum
ExposeProposePoliticise*:Derecho a la Infraestructura
Christine Bock & Ulrich Pappenberger: El principio Kotti – complicidades urbanas entre el espacio, el ser humano, el tiempo, el conocimiento y las cosas
kollektivHabitüde (ahora: ENTER THIS): U-Rangerie
Marina Fernández Ramos: Tejiendo La Calle
Pedro Pitarch: Archipiélago Lab
Sara López, Nacho Ruiz: Aprendiendo de las Cuencas
Stiftung Freizeit: La Oficina de los Deseos
TallerDE2, Gutiérrez-DelaFuente: Centro de día para niños
Todo por la Praxis: Instituto Do It Yourself
Freshlatino2 Decalogue of concepts by Andrés Jaque:
Architecture is not buildings, but situations and events that occur within them. Architecture can be created with walls and with glass, but also with tablecloths, tomatoes and sangría. To explore the way architecture can build in time and not just space is one of the concerns many of the current practices face. Our day-to-day is constructed in the same way that different things (like our bodies, chairs or the newspaper, for example) come into play as allies in the activation of a common reality. It is in this zero degree of relationships in which the most radical social innovations are possible and tests can occur with the utmost caution.
For many, nature should not be considered humankind’s food pantry. But it would also be incorrect to see material resources, and artistic, technological and historical heritages as available properties. The creation of regulatory frameworks that make symmetry possible among living beings, tangible and intangible legacies, and the physical environment, crosses all of levels of our culture as well as architecture. To understand that any individual of an ecosystem depends on a whole context of different presences, has led to asking for a right of citizenship and social pacts that recognize and grant rights to the “non-humans.”
III. To de-black box
We consume processes that we do not understand. What is the environmental cost of the energy we consume? How do the people who grow what we eat live? Daily processes that function like closed boxes, where we see what goes in and what comes out, but not what happens inside. To open the black boxes with architectures that allow us to access the reading, evaluation and decision-making has become one of the goals of contemporary architecture; an architecture that promotes the transition of a society based on consumption to one based on participation and awareness.
Architectural renderings tend to show scenes of sunny spring mornings, with different people living in quiet harmony. But the elimination of dispute can only take place in suppressed societies. To set up spaces for the discussion and confrontation of interests and sensitivities in comfortable settings, with political guarantees, has become one of the most important trends since architectural design started to rethink public space. The apparent informality of social movements like the Arab Spring or 15M or Occupy Wall Street, just shows the result of years of design innovations and “protocolarization” of practices for setting up and managing assemblies, for mediation, occupation and visibility. Participating architectures that, in most cases, innovate not only in the devices, but primarily in the production processes, in group decision-making formulas, collaboration chains, redundant innovation lines and the administration of intellectual property.
Architectural strategies to strengthen what is fragile with actions or constructions that protect that which on its own could not compete. Buildings that, instead of being at the service of the dominant powers, defy them. For example, strengthening local economies so they do not disappear with the invasion of corporate businesses, or preventing the gentrification process from displacing those with less purchasing power from the places they have lived.
VI. To laboratorize
For a long time the success of a design process was illustrated by showing how a first scribble on a bar napkin had become, just like that, a building. In this way cities have been transformed to receive the Olympics or historical areas have been modified. Within this logic, the process is correct if, in the development and construction time, nothing is added or modified from what the architect created while sitting at a bar or in his or her office. To live in architecture then consists of inhabiting the space of the fait accompli.
But architecture can also be a process of successive trials and errors. A collective experiment in which each moment is a test tube trying out what will come later. And each fragment contains the history of what was previously experienced. This is what characterizes a large part of the architecture currently being produced. An architecture that does not arise from single, quick and big actions, but from a chain of small actions. Smaller actions, but more thought out and thought out by more people. It is a strategy to reduce risk and operate cautiously, that converts each architectural object into an archive of what has already been done and a test tube of what will be done.
To construct is not the same as to build. More important that erecting new buildings is to reappropriate those that already exist. Current architecture has learned this from squatters. It sets up camp in what is available, almost without transforming it, it simply puts it to use in another way. This architecture is even made with craft supplies: adhesive tape, paint or cardboard. It has created its own aesthetic: a mixture of what is found and accumulation as its policy. But above all, it is a form of daily disobedience to the discourses the buildings hold. It is not the substitution of what we do not like for what we want, but simply neglecting it as an architectural strategy. We can do theater in the old prison, we can play in the factory.
Urban planning was born from the desire to equally distribute the benefits produced by the city. That first impulse continues to be the engine that drives many of the most interesting experiences currently taking place. To explain that these transformations generate benefits and obligations, and the way these benefits and obligations are socially distributed can raise the level of comfort and safety either for a minority group or the entire community, is the point where many contemporary architectures are operating. To find figures of design that overcome the shortcomings of urban planning without releasing the action on the collective, to recognize the order that informality contains or develop architectural procedures and devices that equitably share the available resources, are the goals of these architectures.
Human ecosystems are divided between those optimized for a single reality (like an assembly line or a highway toll) and those in which activities, generations, processes, situations and different sensitivities coexist and overlap. The second ones are environments prepared for change and to articulate the difference. They are resilient enclaves that are built with the coming together of different realities that coexist in the same space. If the metaphor for modern European architecture was the machine, the current image is the jungle.
Architecture that this platform brings together is no longer being built with new materials but with social capital. They are architectures of mutual affections, built not with bricks, but with relationships of reciprocity, dependence, affection, passion and healthy competition. It is from this coexistence of solidarity that many of these architectures depend so as to endure. To build on them is to build daily relationships, like that of grandparents who care for their grandchildren in the mornings, or mothers who take turns caring for each others children in order to work.