If you are planning to visit the Lisbon Architecture Triennale this autumn, make sure you don’t miss the exhibition Planning for Protest – exploring both the social and the architectural definitions of protest by taking a closer look at how public spaces shape both the physical and psychological backdrop of these public events.
Organised by Ben Allen, James Bae, Ricardo Gomes, Shannon Harvey and Adam Michaels, 12 architectural offices in 12 cities across the globe have examined the role of architecture in shaping, defining, or limiting the flow of protest within their respective cities. Each contributor rendered eight drawings exploring a proposal for their city, focused on a specific intervention or urban planning scale. Varying from historical studies to proposals for a radical reshaping of space for public discourse, Planning for Protest is an ongoing documentation of how the physical world around us both limits and can be transcended by the people at any given time.
Contributors: Antonas Office (Athens); Studio Miessen (Berlin); studioBasar (Bucharest); Cluster (Cairo); Culturstruction (Dublin); Superpool (Istanbul); ateliermob (Lisbon); public works with Isaac Marrero-Guillamón (London); Ecosistema Urbano (Madrid); Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss / NAO (New York); PioveneFabi with 2A+P/A (Rome); and Vapor 324 (São Paulo).
The exhibition will open September 12th, 2013 in the Praça da Figueira in Lisbon, and will remain open daily through the duration of the Triennale, closing December 15, 2013. Support a crowd-funded publication of planning for protest here
In October 2012, Wouter Vanstiphout traveled to Czech Republic to give a lecture at Brno University, as part of the lecture series ‘Contesting Space / Architecture as a Social Practice’ about architecture and city-making as an inherently political issue and architecture as a social practice.
Wouter talked about New Towns and about Riots under the title ‘The Banality of Good.‘ Watch it here.
For the past few days, the citizens of Istanbul have been protesting against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park – one of the few remaining green areas in the center of Istanbul. According to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) under leadership of Erdogan, the park has to be demolished for a large shopping mall and the reconstruction of military barracks under the ‘Lost Heritage Recreation Project, which was established to reproduce the Ottoman identity in the city.
Hundreds of people have gathered in the park, design by the French architect Henri Prost, which was constructed in the 1940’s after demolition of military barracks, that used to belong to the Ottoman Empire. The real conflict, however, is more profound than only the preservation of the park. It is an outburst of society against the government’s mega-construction projects, and the undemocratic, top down policies neglecting citizens’ influence in the city and the destruction of their own ‘Urban memory’
Edogan seems insensitive to the protests and declared that demolition will take place and the project will be realized, no matter what. He has sent his police forces to the camp, using water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protestors. After a few days of protest – which meanwhile spread throughout the country – there seems to be some perspective for preservation of the park. A court in Istanbul recently ordered the suspension of the construction project, and the police has retracted from the square. Time will tell if the park remains untouched, or if the ‘historical’ barracks will arise. One thing is for sure: people will remember Gezi Park as the place where Istanbulians from all ages and various political backgrounds fought together to protect their urban environment.
This text is written in collaboration with our PHD candidate Melodi Oz who studies the Political Destruction and Reproduction of Urban Memory in Contemporary Istanbul.
From May 22nd until June 13th, the Design as Politics exhibition which was developed within the framework of the 5th IABR: Making city, will be shown on various locations within the TU Delft, faculty of Architecture. Pass by if you’re around!
Design as Politics
Architecture is politics. Why? Because the city is politics. The city is the place where money, power, business, culture, religion and leisure come together, each fighting for primacy. The exhibition ‘Design as Politics’ shows these fights through spectacular three-dimensional images. They show how an entire district was sacrificed for a beautiful project, how bringing the Olympics to a city can lead to social unrest and how political revolutions can throw a wrench in the works of great architectural projects.
But if architecture is politics, then architects and urbanists must make careful choices in their design and planning. Students within the Design as Politics design studios are therefore challenged to take a clear position in the ongoing urban conflict. The exhibition shows a selection of these projects.
Finally, the exhibition plays the soundtrack of the urban conflict, focusing on how popmusic has always chosen a side concerning the politics of the city. These examples range from Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues, to The Clash’s Guns of Brixton to the Grime music that accompanied the 2011 London riots.
The Design as Politics exhibition is supported by the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), TU Delft, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the City of Rotterdam, Crimson Architectural Historians, and de Hofbogen B.V.
A few weeks ago, Wouter Vanstiphout was asked to speak for ‘Strelka Talks’ – a cool new initiative by the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, for which they invite speakers from various field for a 30 minute video talk on “critically important topics concerning contemporary cities and urban development.”
Wouters gave a talk under the name “Damn the Masters’ Plan!”, based on our blame the architect lecture series where he analyses the complex correlation between certain types of urban development and the deeply rooted discontent of the citizens. Check it out!
The Strelka Talks are curated by Anastassia Smirnova and will eventually all become available to the general public on their Vimeo Channel.