But there is another way, as the exhibition ‘Critical Care’ shows using 21 current international examples, including earthquake-proof and sustainable village development in China, flood protection through traditional low-carbon building techniques in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the diverse conversion of modernist buildings in Brazil and Europe, an ecological community land trust in Puerto Rico, the revitalisation of historical irrigation systems in Spain, new concepts for public spaces and mixed city districts in Vienna, London and Nairobi. ‘Critical Care’ proves that architecture and urbanism can help revive the planet. The repair of the future has begun.
“Critical Care. Architecture for a Broken Planet”
25 April – 9 September, 2019
Museumsplatz 1, Vienna
Capitalism has resulted in a new era on earth: the Anthropocene period, also called the Capitalocene period. “[O]ur job is to make the Anthropocene as short/thin as possible and to cultivate with each other in every way imaginable”, writes the philosopher Donna Haraway. The exhibition ‘Critical Care. Architecture for a Planet in Crisis’, curated by Angelika Fitz and Elke Krasny, is an appeal for a caring architecture. The 21 case studies demon- strate that architects and urbanists do not have to follow the dictates of capital and the exploitation of resources and labour. The relationships between economy, ecology and labour are redefined in each project.
This requires new alliances, also between top-down and bottom-up. The instigators of care in architecture and urbanism also come from local administrations, NGOs, civil society, international organisations or sustainable businesses. Many fields of expertise contribute to caring architecture and urbanism, alongside the planning disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, environmental sciences, law, landscape planning, art and others besides.
Caring collaboration is always concrete. The starting point for conservation, continuation and repair of the planet in crisis is the specific local conditions. The exhibition shows this on the basis of concrete situations: flooded areas in Pakistan, lack of infrastructure for refu- gees in Jordan, continued use of modern architecture in Europe and Brazil, earthquake zones in China, informal settlements in Puerto Rico threatened by hurricanes and gentrification, floods and environmental pollution in Kenya, global developers dominating urban develop- ment in London.
The exhibition illustrates the projects with large-format pictorial narratives, models and objects. Films and short videos provide background information on the development processes and allow diverse participants to have their say. Interconnecting analytical grids allow com- parisons to be made and show connections between the case studies from several continents.
21 Examples of Care in Architecture and Urbanism for the 21st Century
The exhibition ‘Critical Care’ assembles 21 architectural and urbanist projects from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Near East, the Caribbean, the USA and Latin America, and groups them along five areas of care: Care for Water and Land, Care for Public Space, Care for Skills, Care for Repair, Care for Local Production. Each of the 21 case studies applies to concrete problems, whether in urban or rural space, and as a prototype simultaneously redefines the relationship between work, economy and ecology.