“Utopia in a Finite World” at the Giardini

The Flanders Architecture Institute organises an interactive programme of lectures, debates and workshops that will take place in various national pavilions at the Biennale Architettura 2016 to reflect on how architecture can redefine the city. The economic climate and the idea of utopia are the main topics in these discussions.

 

Utopia in a Finite World (Interpretation of Magritte's Le château des Pyrénées)

Utopia in a Finite World (Interpretation of Magritte’s Le château des Pyrénées)

 

Christoph Grafe, director of the Flanders Architecture Institute reflects about the topics on display at Utopia in a Finite World: In architecture, Utopian visions became synonymous with large-scale planning, developed by unholy alliances of idealistic planners and opaque bureaucracies, disregarding the needs of real people.[…] New conflicts and resurfacing old ones; a growing inequality; migrations on an unprecedented scale; ecological threats and economic crises; all these phenomena are a reminder that societies need visions beyond maintaining the status quo. […] Utopian visions may have become rare, but they are perhaps more necessary than ever.


 

Practical information

“Debate and lecture series / Encounters in Optimism: Utopia in a Finite World”
August 25, 2016 – August 27, 2016
Biennale Architettura 2016 / National Pavilions,
Sestiere Castello,
30122 Venezia,
Italy

 


If the world must be thought as an interior, with limitations that become increasingly visible, Utopia can no longer be found in a faraway place, but must be located in the midst of our everyday existence. Do we not need to re-think this image, radically, as a practice rather than a place, as a spatial organization of social action? Perhaps Utopia needs architectural images that abandon the promise of a virgin land, and depart from the layered junkyard our world has become? Perhaps Utopia is no longer the creation of a visionary genius, but of the inventive bricoleur? Let us accept the finitude of our world and imagine Utopian visions that can take place within.

 

Baltic Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016

Baltic Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016

Baltic Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016

Baltic Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016

 

SCHEDULE

August 25

Imagining the Future
Darran Anderson (author of Imaginary Cities) and Adrien Verschuere (Baukunst)

“Why is there today a renewed interest in Utopia? At a time when the ethos of limits and a framework of restraint seems to place restrictions on human ambitions, is utopian thinking still relevant as a tool to imagine the future? Or does it merely represent an escape from the present?”

 

German Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016.

German Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016.

German Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016.

German Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016.

 

August 26

Architecture and Representation
Filip Dujardin, Bas Princen, Jan Kempenaers and Mark Pimlott

“What does it mean to photograph a building? And what can photography tell us about architecture which architecture cannot tell itself?”

Beauty and Judgement
Angela Deuber (ADA), Adrien Verschuere (Baukunst), Andrea Zanderigo (Baukuh, San rocco), Rowan Mackinnon-Pryde (reiach & Hall Architects, AE Foundation)

“How should we explain the collapse of the aesthetic in architecture and the broader cultural dismissal of the importance beauty and individual judgment? At a time when agendas from sustainability to community seem to take precedence, is re-invigorating the case for beauty at best a distraction or simply a utopian dream? And if the pursuit of beauty is to be reclaimed, how can aesthetic judgment go beyond the legacy of postmodernism and the dominance of personal taste and patterns of preference?”

Utopia and the Everyday
Ellis Woodman (Architecture Foundation), Éric Lapierre (EL Experience), Mark Pimlott, Bart Verschaffel (University of Ghent), Gideon Boie (BAVO research), Paul Vermeulen (De Smet Vermeulen Architecten), Christoph Grafe (Flanders Architecture Institute)

“Utopia can no longer be found in a faraway place, but must be located in the midst of our everyday existence. Perhaps Utopia needs architectural images that abandon the promise of a virgin land, and depart from the layered junkyard our world has become?”

Critical Practices
Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh (Gijs Van Vaerenbergh), Laura Muyldermans, Bart Hollanders (Eagles of Architecture), Bart Decroos

“To reconsider the idea of Utopia today, in a finite world, perhaps means to abandon this ideal dimension and to focus instead on the critical potential of Utopian visions. The utopian dimension in architecture is then not about imagining an ideal city faraway, but about a critical practice of making architecture that ‘should not’ exist according to the social order of today.”

 

Nordic Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016. Laurian Ghinitoiu

Nordic Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016. Laurian Ghinitoiu

Nordic Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016. Laurian Ghinitoiu

Nordic Pavilion © Biennale Architettura 2016. Laurian Ghinitoiu

 

August 27

The Baltic Atlas – Book Reading
Dagnija Smilga, Johan Tali and Jonas Žukauskas

“The Baltic Atlas (Sternberg Press) is the publication that accompanies the Baltic Pavilion and explores an open-ended ecology of practices – a forum on what is to come.”

Baltoscandia
Dagnija Smilga, Johan Tali, and Jonas Žukauskas (Baltic curatorial team) and James TaylorFoster

“The notion of a unified Baltoscandic geo-political region (known historically as the “NB8”) has been a concept under discussion since the 1920s. First conceptualised to promote a “utopian” BalticScandinavian union—consisting of Finland, Norway, Sweden (represented in the Nordic Pavilion, Giardini), Denmark and Iceland, with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (represented in “The Baltic Pavilion,” Palasport)—plans were dissolved by the dawn of the 21st Century.”

Architecture and Migration
Tobias Kister (Feldschneiders + Kister architects), Jan-Robert Kowaleski (WBM Housing, Berlin), Peter Cachola Schmal (DAM) and curator Oliver Elser

“Doug Saunders’ book Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping Our World has inspired a shift in perspective on immigrant districts—a shift that is also applicable to Germany with the arrival of large numbers of refugees. These events raise a series of important questions for architecture. What happens after refugee architecture? How is it being implemented? Do we face a new wave of affordable social housing?”

Building the Social
Manuel Herz (Manuel Herz Architects), Mo Smit (COCOCAN) and Gideon Boie

“This encounter with ‘embedded architects’ will focus on the spatial, urban and economic conditions of migrant communities in Bandung, Jerusalem and the Western Sahara.”

Constructing de City
Tony Fretton (Tony Fretton Architects), Ewald Engelen (University of Amsterdam), Christoph Grafe (Flanders Architecture research) and Gideon Boie

“How can we construct the city via imaginary architecture? How do fictional visions of the city impact policy and decision-making, and what does this fictionalisation mean for the everyday reality of the city and its inhabitants?”


 

News source: Flanders Architecture Institute
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