Pier Vittorio Aureli, one of the most important European architects of the current scene, visited ESARQ School of Architecture under ESARQ Forums last Monday, the 9th of March. An architect and theorist, Pier Vittorio Aureli is responsible for the PhD Program “City as a Project” at the Berlage Institute, where he also obtained a PhD in Architecture. His projects, researches, writings, and teaching focus on the relationship between architectural form, political theory, and urban history. He is the author of publications including “The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture” (2011) and “The Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture Within and Against Capitalism ” (2008) and “Less is Enough: On Architecture and Asceticism” (2013).
For Pier Vittorio Aureli, the return of “austerity chic” is a perversion of what ought to be a meaningful way of life. Charting the rise of asceticism in early Christianity and its institutionalisation with the medieval monasteries, Aureli examines how the basic unit of reclusive life – the monk’s cell – becomes the foundation of private property. And from there, he argues, it all starts to go wrong. By late capitalism, asceticism has been utterly aestheticised. It manifests itself as monasteries inspired by Calvin Klein stores, in the monkish lifestyle of Steve Jobs and Apple’s aura of restraint. Amid all the hypocrisy, it must still be possible to reprise the idea of “less” as a radical alternative, as the first step to living the life examined.
Aureli studied at the Istituto di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV), before obtaining his PhD from the Delft University of Technology. He teaches at the Architectural Association and has taught at Columbia University, the Barcelona Institute of Architecture, and Delft University of Technology.
Together with Martino Tattara, Aureli is the co-founder of DOGMA, working from the beginning of its activities on the relationship between architecture and the city by focusing mostly on urban design and large-scale projects. Parallel to the design projects, the members of Dogma have intensely engaged with teaching, writing, and research, activities that have been an integral part of the office’s engagement with architecture. Dogma is also active in offering consultancies to municipalities and agencies concerned with urban planning and architectural issues. Dogma’s work has been widely published and exhibited. In 2006 they received the Yakov Chernikov Prize, and in 2005 Dogma shared a first prize at an international competition for a new administrative city for 500,000 inhabitants in Korea. In 2013, on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Dogma. 11 Projects’ the first monograph on the work of the office was published by the AA Publications.
Currently, they are developing a researching project on domestic architecture, “Living / Working”, in which the conference was focused. ESARQ FORUMS is an annual series of lectures organized by the School of Architecture at the International University of Catalonia (ESARQ-UIC) where prestigious architects, national and international, will share their vision of architecture and the profession throughtheir own work. On this occasion, under the title “A Matter of Things,” the director of the cycle, Jorge Vidal, suggests exploring the architect’s work in the urban context.
Probably the most famous project by DOGMA is the utopian project “Stop City”, a sort of manifesto which sets a theoretical base for most of their work. It is a critique of the condition of the contemporary city, as well as a glimpse into an imagined, radical future. The essay is available here.
The cycle, “A Matter of Things”, will be directed by Jorge Vidal, who will lead the debate on the work of architects in the urban context. To expand on his vision, Vidal said, “Everything we work on is a question of ‘things’. Relationships or contradictions are established between them and it is this set of relationships, exhibited in a particular place and at a particular moment in time, that comprise what we know as ‘architecture’. We are calling for an architecture of relationships, an architecture that is open; we want to move away from the concept of ‘objects’ and towards the concept of ‘atmosphere’. We want an architecture that establishes its presence by acknowledging the qualities of the shared surroundings in order to enrich the permanence of perception. Architecture should be a meeting point and a space for discovery; there should be a process of understanding in which the commitment of people and the condition of architecture can be found behind every project.”
The Foros ESARQ Cycle is both a subject designed to encourage debate on the reality of architecture and a series of conferences that are open to the public. The different viewpoints it presents allow students to formulate their own understanding of the concept of architecture.
The 2015 Foros ESARQ will run from February to May and feature the following speakers:
- Francesc Muñoz: Monday, 9 February 2015
- Raphael Zuber: Monday, 16 February 2015
- Maio: Monday, 23 February 2015
- Dogma: Monday, 9 March 2015
- Ted’A: Monday, 23 March 2015
- Piovene Fabi: Monday, 13 April 2015
- Bosshard Vaquer: Monday, 27 April
- Vylder Vink Taillieu: Wednesday, 6 May 2015
All the conferences will be held at 7 p.m. in the main lecture hall at the ESARQ School of Architecture (C/Immaculada 22, Barcelona).
All the images by DOGMA. All rights reserved.
Cover image of “Ramones. Proposal for Taichung Gateway Park, 2011” by DOGMA