5/31/2012

Competition: Past Forward | Think Space 2012 by guest curator Adrian Lahoud

A competition that raises a debate on the discipline of architecture: Past Forward, launched by the guest curator Adrian Lahoud of Think Space 2012:
The last three decades saw significant change across social, political, and environmental registers. The conjunction of capital flows, mass urbanization and increasingly interconnected cultural and financial networks have reshaped the way we understand, produce and discuss architecture resulting in a breathless cycle of formal and aesthetic transformations. This restless appearance of change conceals an increasingly interconnected cultural and financial networks have reshaped the way we understand, produce and discuss architecture resulting in a breathless cycle of formal and aesthetic transformations. This restless appearance of change conceals an increasing sense of inertia or perhaps even of confusion, in that an intellectual project has yet to accompany the overiding sense of technical virtuosity.
This cycle of competitions aims to hold a mirror to the discipline to reflect the changes of the last thirty years by re-visiting three competitions that radically transformed architectural culture: The Peak (1982), Yokohama Port Terminal (1994) and Blur Building (1999). All three winning entries emerged under unique conditions to take up critical positions on the predominant tendencies of the their time. Though they have radically different ambitions, these three projects continue to reverberate throughout contemporary architectural culture in some way, introducing new attitudes to the ground, surface and atmosphere.

This competition is part of a cycle launched on April 27, 2012. Deadline for entry submission is on July 17, 2012.
More: here.

Now I would like to draw your attention to this competition that I invite you to take part or, at least, to check out. Past Forward is a call-to-arms that raises a debate on architecture to reflect the changes of the last thirty years, as I wrote above. Some of you may have already read the article on this competition written by Michael Holt, Marissa Looby for Domus. If not yet and you want to participate, please read it quickly. Why this competition? and what for? Adrian Lahoud notes a lack of serious intellectual investigation from the discipline, both Michael Holt  and Marissa Looby write.
[T]he projects identified here are "points of reference" and important, conceptual innovations that signify a disparity with contemporary architectural culture. 
In a nutshell, first the title. Past Forward suggests according to Michael Holt and Marissa Looby:
[A]n inflection back towards an outmoded expression for video or audio tapes; the idea of re-runs that revisit the previously documented or heralded.
This competition, then, aims to intensify architectural discourse through the insistence of architectural design:
[T]hrough revisiting specific canonical architectural projects over the last thirty years: Zaha Hadid Architect's The Peak Leisure Club (Hong Kong, 1983); FOA's Yokohama Port Terminal (Yokohama, 1994); and Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Blur Building (Yverdon-les-Bains, 1999). 
As Holt and Looby report:
The brief for the competition is straightforward upon initial consideration: to design a project on a site of a notable, architecturally-significant building using the same competition brief as the previous winning entrant; but its subconscious layering lurks just below the surface.
Indeed, the purpose of this competition is not to provide solutions:
[T]he brief surreptitiously reveals the current conceit of the architectural profession.
and also:
Past Forward aims at highlighting a larger socio-cultural predicament; a form of noble lie, where architectural discourse and practice seems pent up on pining for attention, expunging its energies on projects that lack direction either in programmatic or problematic concerns.
It will be interesting to see what kind of result this competition will lead to. Awards announcement is announced to be in September, 2012. Let's wait and see what this competition will raise.

More: Here.
Source: Domus.

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