Symposium + panel discussion
"New prototypes for extreme spatial configurations have emerged from informal structures in the wake of the economic deregulation and exploding mobility. Rapidly spreading informal markets on the peripheries in Europe, for instance, form urban nodes for the networks of global migration. Are these architectures of informal exchange the forced low-cost counterpart for the success of the global capital market, or is their creativity showing the way to more sustainable ecologies?
The symposium on the FWF research project 'Relational Architecture' addresses critical questions on the participation of architecture in this reconstruction of our political and economic environment, from the local scale of neighbourhoods to the dimensions of civil society in transnational regions."
This thread is a quick thread on the symposium above.
The title is particularly interesting because it poses the question of the official market and the unofficial, that is that of informal. This symposium seems explore this hidden market, this architecture, urban planning considered as informal to quote Saskia Sassen.
The comment below is a rapid comment on some interventions to come. That of Marjetica Potrc, and that of Teddy Cruz and that of Iritt Rogoff. A friend of mine will go and record these intervention so I may go back in a further (or probabilistic) post. I wanted to write a thread on this symposium just because this reminds me various reading, and architectural projects such as that of Elemental's one.
I, also, posted a version of this comment below in my facebook page.
Marjetica Potrc explained to us last year (December 2008) at EHESS in the framework of Something you should know seminar organised by Natasa Petresin-Bachelez, Elisabeth Lebovici, Patricia Falguière and Hans Ulrich Obrist, that it is important, if not urgent, to rethink the city, as practician who works in the architecture field, or artistic field, urban planning field, landscape architecture field, in relation to its users. I mean, you must work with but not for the inhabitants. This is why these "participative" architects (I usually don't use this term "participative" but simply architects) attempt to short-circuit the system by proposing an alternative modus operandi. Elemental's Housing Projects are an illustration of this new tendency of an architecture much more simple, perhaps much more open to its users. For some critics, these architects demonstrate a tendency of a return to the basics. But I feel unconfortable with this idea of "back to the basics". It is rather a will to rethink architecture to quote Teddy Cruz.
Therefore, this symposium's text reminds me aaa's research, in particular Doina Petrescu's book (co-edited with Peter Blundell Jones and Jeremy Till, with participation of Leon Krier, Anne Quierren, and Muf, to quote but a few) Architecture and Participation (unfortunately this book is not available), in which authors discuss the issue of participation as a critical tool to question the changing society where we live — rapid urbanisation, pressure on housing demand, on new infrastructures, urban environmental problems (climate changing that will particularly be more difficult (I don't find the word I wanted to use) for the developing areas than for the developed areas), etc, etc.
For Rogoff as for Cruz, and Potrc (but you must add Keller Easterling, Eyal and Inez Weizman, Celine Condorelli, Urban Think Tank, Rael San Fratello, etc, in this list) Architecture is politics and politics is architecture.
I add below the schedule of the symposium with personal and quick comments on Potrc, Rogoff and Cruz.
Peter Mörtenböck, professor of visual culture, Vienna University of Technology, welcome address and introductory speech (A)
Helge Mooshammer, FWF project manager, Vienna University of Technology, speaks on: 'Relational Architecture' (A)
Marjetica Potrč, artist and architect, speaks on: 'Catalysts of Change in Cities of Transition' (SLO) —> I've the opportunity to hear her discussing her research on cities as architect and artist and, in particularly, as a practician who attempts to rethink the practice of architecture.
4.30pm break (—> Well)
Teddy Cruz, architect and professor of public culture & urbanism, UC San Diego, speaks on: 'Radicalizing the Local: Post-Bubble Urban Strategies' (USA) —> Maybe with Marjetica Potrc and Irit Rogoff the utmost interesting interention. But it's a prediction...
18:00 c, professor of visual cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London, Goldsmiths, speaks on: 'Regional Imaginings — A Political Practice?' (GB) —> This is in fact Irit Rogoff but the websmester has probably forgotten her name. Anyway Rogoff, recently oriented her research on architecture and participation. It appears that architecture a much easier support for exchange and interaction between user and its cities. She recently takes part in various conferences, editorial projects on architecture as a political tool.
Verb Crisis (you will find interviews and texts of Teddy Cruz and Alejandro Aravena (Elemental)
I advice you to read Markus Miessen and Chantal Mouffe's conversation published in this boogazine.
Praxis, in particular the issue #10 entitled "Urban matters"
Architecture and Participation, co-edited by Peter Blundell Jones, Doina Petrescu and Jeremy Till
Did Someone say participate? An atlas of spatial practice, coedited by Markus Miessen, Shumon Basar and Hans Ulrich Obrist
The Violence of Participation, edited by Markus Miessen.