Students and professors from Wuppertal, Milan, Malmö and Belgium design pop-up installation at the Venice Architecture Biennale
As part of the Biennale Sessions and a Summer School organised by AGT (Architektur Geschichte Theorie) Wuppertal, students and staff from the universities in Milan (Politecnico di Milano), Hasselt (Belgium) and Malmö (Sweden) worked from 27 August to 1 September on an investigation of hidden public spaces in the lagoon city. The theme of Typologies of Forgotten Landscapes, developed by Prof. Dr. Christoph Grafe and Kornelia Dimitrova, was an invitation to approach the occasionally invisible urban spaces that to this day escape the onslaught of mass tourism and represent free spaces for public and semi-public life in Venice. As part of their ‘field work’, students and lecturers explored the inner and outer margins of the city and drew poetic, precise and atmospheric drawings of them. The drawings and a logbook of the explorations resulted in a small, fascinating picture of an unknown and perhaps forgotten Venice and the material for an installation that was made accessible to the public at the end of the Summer School in the Arsenale as part of the Architecture Biennale.
With the Summer School 2018, the AGT is continuing a small tradition: for the second time, it has invited students and professors of architecture to gather in Venice as part of the Biennale Sessions. After the successful Summer School this year, the partners are now considering a concept for the next Biennale in 2020.
Die Architektur von Ludwig Leo - Exkursion (West-) Berlin
Der Berliner Architekt Ludwig Leo (1924-2012) ist eine Faszinationsfigur. Der lokalen Architektenschaft längst bekannt, tragen die 2015 erschienene englischsprachige Publikation und Ausstellung in London über sein Oeuvre dazu bei, dass in internationalen Kreisen sein jahrzehntelanger Ruf als Geheimtipp zum Teil etwas beigelegt wird. Innerhalb eines AT- Seminars liegt die Chance der Auseinandersetzung mit den biographischen Zusammenhängen seiner Person darin, dass Leos gesamtes architektonisches Werk praktisch in einer einzigen Stadt vorzufinden ist. Eine der wenigen Ausnahmen bildet seine Tätigkeit im Rahmen eines Wettbewerbs in Bielefeld. Die überschaubare Anzahl von neun gebauten Projekten ist in erstaunlicher Weise als ein Kaleidoskop der gesellschaftlichen Einflüsse vor dem Hintergrund des Lebens und Arbeitens im ummauerten West-Berlin der 60er und 70er Jahre zu lesen und zeugt von Leos tiefer Auseinandersetzung mit architektonischen, ästhetischen, ideellen und politischen Produktionsbedingungen.
Utopia in a Finite World - Venice Biennale Summer school
Utopia in a Finite World is an international student workshop, which took place in Venice, 22-25 August, 2016. Eight groups elaborated pieces that reveal their position on what utopia can mean nowadays. The outcome was a pop-up exhibition throughout Giardini, with material ranging from temporary, interactive installations and games, to performances and interventions in and between the national pavilions.
In the last century the belief in Utopia took a major blow. Promises of a radically new and better society brought human disasters on an unprecedented scale. The notion Utopia shared the fate of the grand narratives of the faith systems of the modern world: it seemed for ever discredited, at best superfluous and made obsolete by the ‘end of history’, at worst dangerous and responsible for decades of human suffering. In the context of architecture, Utopian visions became synonymous with large-scale planning without concern for the needs of real people and an unholy alliance of idealistic planners and omnipotent bureaucracies.
The projection of Utopia into the distance made sense in a conception of the world as limitless. It is no longer tenable if we accept that the world has become essentially finite. If the world must be thought as an interior, with boundaries that become more and more visible, Utopia can no longer be found in a far-away land, but must be located in the midst of our everyday existence. Do we not need to re-think its image, radically, as a practice rather than as a place, as a social situation situated in space. Perhaps Utopia is not an island, but a table surrounded by people, or a garden, or a room? Perhaps Utopia requires architectural images that depart not from the virgin land but from the layered junkyard that the world has become? Perhaps Utopia is no longer the creation of the visionary genius, but of the inventive bricoleur?
The workshop proceeded with the participation of students and tutors from universities in North-West Europe, namely TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, University of Hasselt, University of Antwerpen, University of Gent, KU Leuven, University of Liège, Gdansk University of Technology, Bartlett (UCL), and Bergische Universität Wuppertal.
Excursion Urban architectures in Paris: Passages, Perret and Pouillon
In August 2015 a group of students went to Paris on an excursion organised by the Leerstuhl. Together with Christoph Grafe the participants explored the interior landscapes of the nineteenth century arcades, the exquisite urban buildings of Auguste Perret en the post-war ensembles of Fernand Pouillon.