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PROGRAMME PARTNER
 

City of Zagreb
City Office for Physical Planning, Construction, Communal Affairs and Traffic


 

Faculty of Architecture
University of Zagreb


 

City Acupuncture


 

Oris - House of Architecture


 

SUPPORTED BY

 

City of Zagreb
City Office for Culture, Education and Sport


 

Republic of Croatia
Ministry of Culture


THE COMPETITIVE HYPOTHESIS


Venue: Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, USA

Exhibition: January 22 - February 15, 2013

Venue: Lauba, People and Art House, Zagreb, CROATIA
Exhibtion Opening: February 22 - March 12, 2013

Through four curated spaces within the gallery, Think Space: The Competitive Hypothesis,
presented major architectural competitions produced within the past few years, objects
from competitions used to gain competitive advantages, dioramas of image
fragments sourced from a selection of recent urban design renderings, and short
texts and self portraits of some of the unknown minds of significant competition
winners -interns.
 
Think Space: The Competitive Hypothesis highlighted the double meanings
inherent in the 'competition': on one hand referring to the competition as a
procurement mechanism for projects, on the other referring to an ethos or disposition
that permeates work practice. This exhibition turned to both of these possibilities in
order to continue an investigation into architectures present condition.
 
After its New York premiere, the exhibition was on display at Lauba, People and Art House in Zagreb, Croatia, with further venues and openings to be announced. 
 
Exhibition reviews in the media:

Domus
Architectural Review
Boom and leisure
Thejuicesqueezer
Quaderns

EXHIBITION: THE COMPETITIVE HYPOTHESIS

Think Space and Storefront for Art and Architecture Present:

An exhibition examining the politics behind the architecture competition

Exhibition Opening: January 22, 2013, 7 PM EST

Exhibition: January 22 - February 15, 2013

Through four curated spaces within the gallery, The Competitive Hypothesis, presented major architectural competitions produced within the past few years, objects from competitions used to gain competitive advantages, dioramas of image fragments sourced from a selection of recent urban design renderings, and short texts and self portraits of some of the unknown minds of significant competition winners (ie. interns). The Competitive Hypothesis  highlighted the double meanings inherent in the 'competition': on one hand referring to the competition as a procurement mechanism for projects, on the other referring to an ethos or disposition that permeates work practice. This exhibition turned to both of these possibilities in order to continue an investigation into architecture's present condition.  READ MORE


 

More information at www.storefrontnews.org.

Storefront for Art and Architecture
97 Kenmare Street
10012 New York, NY
Tel. 212.431.5795
Fax 212.431.5755

This exhibition was organized in partnership with the Zagreb Society of Architects and funded in part by Graham Foundation, Croatian Ministry of Culture and ACO Croatia. Additional support for Storefront for Art in Architecture's exhibitions and programs are made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Peter T. Joseph Foundation; by its Board of Directors, members and individuals.

            

             

MORE ABOUT THE EXHIBITION


Think Space: The Competitive Hypothesis

The culture of competition within architecture is a wholly naturalized phenomenon permeated by the apparent inevitability of capitalism. Within a condition of economic insecurity precarious work conditions become a norm rather than an exception forcing an endless opportunism and the continual cultivation of our productive capacities. Competition, when applied to social bonds acts like a solvent dissolving a collective possibility.

The Think Space Past Forward competition cycle set out to explore the idea of the competition as a historical index, looking to the somewhat strange category of recent history for clues as to the state of contemporary architecture. It was hoped that re-reading history might reveal a specific orientation within the present. It is clear however, that the arrested state we currently inhabit cannot be detached from the conditions of production that make it operative. In this sense the idea of ‘competition’ should acquire a double meaning, on one hand referring to the competition as a procurement mechanism for projects, on the other referring to an ethos or disposition that permeates work practice. This exhibition turns to both of these possibilities in order to continue an investigation into architectures present condition.

Competition can be understood to manifest numerous tendencies within practice. Our starting point is to make a distinction between two types of practices, two parallel trades in either material or symbolic capital. Representing the former are the top 100 hundred or so design and engineering conglomerates whose names you will never recognize. Like dark matter, they make up most of the known universe but exist wholly outside of disciplinary consciousness and its discursive structures. In a somewhat Faustian bargain, for architecture to be monopolized on such a scale it has to vanish first.

On the other hand, there is the remaining 0.5% of symbolically relevant practices that trade in the circulation of ideas or images (or what amounts to the same thing). Because invention, innovation and originality must always attempt to extract the maximum of change from the minimum of means, the workspace of the 1% become increasingly precarious, opportunistic and flexible — often leading to a sub-standardization of work conditions for employees and the expansion of internship as a form of cheap labour. Within the millions of misshapen blue foam models, the time and energy of a reserve army of workers is fossilized.

The Competitive Hypothesis is an exhibition in four parts:

SF1. THE DAVID CARD

Carmelo Rodríguez Cedillo and Daniel Fernández Pascual

Resorting to clues, lies, feints, forgeries, scams, ploys and other forms of deception, in order to gain competitive advantage, competitors often break the pact of anonymity upon which many competitions are based.

At the 1976 Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition on the theme ‘House for a Superstar,’ Adolfo Natalini of Superstudio greeted competition judge Arata Isozaki in a most unfamiliar way, leaving a personal postcard with an image of Michelangelo’s David in his palm. Three months later during the judging of the anonymous competition, one of the entries proposed an egg encasing a golden statue of David orbiting the earth and floating eternally in space. Piero Frassinelli from Superstudio won the third prize.

z z z zz 
*courtesy of Naho Kubota

SF2. THE HABITAT OF HOMO OECONOMICUS

Ross Exo Adams and Ivonne Santoyo Orozco

By the latter half of the twentieth century, the influential American economist, Gary Becker, had taken neoliberal, free market ideology to its logical conclusion, offering forth a new politico-economic model which would only take shape decades later. Like his predecessors, Becker too centered his economic program on the figure of the homo oeconomicus. However, unlike others before him, Becker would begin by radically reconceptualizing this subject: For him, homo oeconomicus was someone who unquestionably accepts ‘reality’, embracing it as the totality of his or her given circumstances.

Becker realized that economic calculations could not be based solely on an individual’s rational behavior, but must also account for his or her irrational behavior. By including all manner of conduct, Becker suggested that economic projections should therefore account for external stimuli which pre-condition behavior itself. In other words, Becker’s new form of neoliberal policy would expand its domain to account for the mediation between personal interests and the composition of the external, affective environment in which homo oeconomicus dwells. For the entrance of homo oeconomicus, a new world would have to be constructed, a world that would foster an economy of interests.

The majority of today’s architectural practices are required to intervene on both fronts, addressing the needs of large scale real estate development while idealizing them around the construct of the sensually aware, desiring individual. In order to keep up with these demands, architectural practices have sought to mediate this relation through a campaign of visual techniques. Beyond evoking certain identifiable trends in design, the imagery which has systematically colonized the entire architectural repertoire reveals much more about the external coordinates in which architecture operates today. Often eluding a clear subject or figure, such images instead depict spaces captured in the casual glance of a kind of super-subject who exists at once in the privileged, everydayness of its gaze as well as outside the image and in the immersive grasp it purports to place in the space beyond the image. Figurelessness and interchangeability are the very basis on which homo oeconomicus’ constructs its individuality.

Lush greenery, and bathed in warm, late afternoon sunlight; ‘vibrant’ streetscapes, crowded with families, tourists and young lovers; skewed perspectives that reveal the naturally curving layout of active frontage; aerial views at sunrise with fresh mist captured in the texture of a new-yet-familiar planned district; the integration of local ‘culture’ within the appropriate interpretations of what already exists—this is the construction of ‘place’, which has been rolled out across the planet by the anonymous firms of a multi-billion dollar industry today. Place is the vibrant, perpetual summer of homo oeconomicus, the verdant immersiveness of an ecology of interests.


*courtesy of Naho Kubota

SF3. THINK SPACE: PAST FORWARD

Ana Dana Beroš and Adrian Lahoud

In architecture, as in many other things, the right project can make the wrong entrance, resting until archivists retrieve it from obscurity. In architecture as in comedy, timing is almost everything. Only rarely do certain projects manage to build their own time, retroactively shaping their own history and that of others. The three projects selected for Think Space this year: The Peak, Yokohama Port Terminal and Blur Building are examples of this, each managing the rather difficult challenge of posing a new problem to the field and leaving that field transformed in its wake. In turn, the explicit question this competition posed to its entrants was where to stand in relation to these singular moments of transformation.

George Kubler once said that “the moment of actuality slips too fast by the slow, coarse net of our senses.” He was wondering about time and how to understand a material culture when one is still partially immersed within it. That question animated Think Space 2012. Some saw this as a platform to think architecture by thinking about architectural history. Others took the competition as an invitation to try to forget history and make another equally uncertain leap. It was imagined as a way of thinking the present through a strange concept, that of ‘recent history’. Difficult because it’s almost gone though not yet departed (or contemporary), neither fully past nor fully present.

PRESENTED WORKS AND AUTHORS:

THE PEAK LEISURE CLUB
Hong Kong, Competition 1983
by Zaha Hadid

PAST FORWARD 2012 PEAK COMPETITION
Peak Eye / Horatiu Valcu, Austria; Daniel Reist, Austria / Recurs(H)ive II / Marco Vanucci, Italy; Mirco Bianchini, Italy / Peak on Peak / Anna Neimark, USA; Andrew Attwood, USA / Construction of Situations / Alfonso C Medina, USA; Mauricio Kuri, Mexico; Oscar Gonzalez, Mexico; Alina Castaneda, Mexico; Alexandra Levian, USA / 9x9: A Study in Inductive Design / Juenan Wu, USA; Renee Kwok, Hong Kong/

YOKOHAMA PORT TERMINAL
Yokohama, Japan, Competition 1994—95, Completion 2002
by Foreign Office Architects

PAST FORWARD 2012 YOKOHAMA PORT TERMINAL COMPETITION
Upon Arrival: Mediating Cultural Connections through an Adaptation of Japanese Gardens / Marissa Tirone, USA; Greg Bencivengo, USA / Yokohama Terminal: enabling for the living / Jorge Suro, Mexico / Yokohama Competition / Jakša Kalajžić, Croatia / Real Virtuality / Tomislav Katić, Croatia / InterEmbrace / Matthew E. Messner, USA; Lulwah Alzaid, Kuwait; Adrianne Joergensen, USA; Evgeniya Plotnikova, Russian Federation / The Above, The Below and The City: Ferry Terminal for Yokohama, Japan / David Edwards, United Kingdom /

BLUR BUILDING
Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, Competition 1999, Completion 2002
by Charles Renfro & Ricardo Scofidio

PAST FORWARD 2012 BLUR COMPETITION
The Cloud as an Archive / Andrei Olaru, Romania; Anna Gulinska, Poland; Elena Romagnoli, Italy; Pablo Roman, Spain / Chaak / Joshua M. Taron, Canada; Adam Onulov, Canada; Michael McGie, Canada / Landship / Gautier Duthoit, France / Prehistoric Periscope / Leonardo Zuccaro Marchi, Italy / Freeze/Melt / Eyal Weizman, United Kingdom / The Field / Fosco Lucarelli, France; Mariabruna Fabrizi, Italy; Léa-Catherine Szacka, France / Noise / Nenad Simić, Serbia; Ana Cogoljević, Serbia; Boris Ignjatović, Serbia; Aleksandar Joksimović, Serbia; Darko Kadvanj, Serbia; Marko Matejić, Serbia; Jelena Nikolić, Serbia; Edin Omanović, Serbia; Nikola Zamurović, Serbia /


*courtesy of Naho Kubota

SF4. MIND the GAP

Davide Sacconi

Image after image, comment after comment, tweet after tweet, architectural discourse is getting fast and light. Like money moving at optic-fiber speed.Global architecture offices are frantically organizing the future, advocating originality, identity and uniqueness in their visions. Buildings, like prehistoric creatures, are slow and clumsy. They oppose a natural resistance to the acceleration imposed to our life by financial capitalism, despite the achievements of digital design and Chinese construction speed. Coffee after coffee, day after night, model after model, the anonymous army of architecture interns are called to cope with that gap, to bridge the “geologic fault” between the speed of information and the slowness of construction, between education and work. Interns bring the essential mix of knowledge, cultural difference, social skills, and curiosity for the unstable trends of life, strong motivation, intimacy, rapid adaptability to new technologies and capability to tirelessly perform.

Interns are the backbone of post-fordist society, a black economy of anonymous pioneers living by the same competitive, individualistic and cynical logic of “everybody else is doing it so I have to”.


*courtesy of Naho Kubota

ABOUT THE CURATORIAL TEAM

Adrian Lahoud is Director of the M.Arch Urban Design and Reader at Bartlett School of Architecture UCL and lecturer at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths. Adrian has also taught at the Architectural Association London, University of Technology Sydney and the Angewandte Vienna. Currently, his research focuses on ideas of scale within spatial practice and pedagogy. He forms one third of the curatorial collective ‘N’ and has been exhibited internationally, most recently at the Gwanju Design Biennale.

Ana Dana Beroš is an architect, activist and educator at ARCHIsquad - group for the Architecture of Conscience, editor at Oris magazine and Program Coordinator of Think Space. She was head designer of studio ‘Dva Plus’ creative department in Zagreb focusing on architectural competitions, where she won a couple of first prizes in open competitions, among which stands Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition Merit Award by juror Jun Aoki. She graduated at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Zagreb; during her studies she gained architectural expertise in Finland, Brazil and Croatia.

Kata Gašpar, curatorial assistant, is an architect and urban planner with Masters degree obtained from the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture in 2011. Through her studies, she spent a year studying Art History and French Language and Literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies, hence the later inclination towards exploring links between architectural past, present and future. Her professional experience consistently follows previously noted inclination, confirmed with three years of working experience in the Croatian Conservation Institute. Since November 2011 she is an organizing assistant at the Zagreb Society of Architects, parallely working as an architect at MM Josic Architecture.

Carmelo Rodríguez Cedillo is an ETSAM Architect and PhD candidate at ETSAM [Madrid], where he is preparing a thesis entitled, “Archaeology of the Future.” Currently, he works as an Assistant Professor of a Specialized Courses at ETSAM, including “Temporary Installations.” In 2006, he co-founded PKMN [pacman], an architecture collective based in Madrid (www.pkmn.es), focusing on research into technology-typology-construction (applied to consolidated urban contexts, local memory and contemporary cultures), exploring new architectural fields connecting citizens, identity, pedagogy, communication, game, action and cities. He blogs at www.arqueologiadelfuturo.blogspot.com

Daniel Fernández Pascual (Spain, 1984) is an architect, urban designer and researcher. He graduated in architecture at Madrid ETSAM. He also holds a dual MA Science of Urban Design from the Technische Universität Berlin and Tongji University Shanghai. Currently, he is a La Caixa fellow at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London, where he is conducting his MPhil/PhD research on Speculation, Sovereignty and Territorial Boundaries concerning the Spanish Real Estate crisis. He is a member of the curatorial team of TICK Journal, run by the Institut Für Raumexperimente Berlin. Since 2012, he has run a series of site-specific ‘geopolitical cooking/lectures’, which have already taken place at Berlin Performing Politics Festival, dOCUMENTA(13), The Bartlett and Departure Foundation in London. He runs www.deconcrete.org.

Ross Exo Adams is a writer, architect and educator. His work has been published in various journals such as Radical Philosophy, Log, Critical Quarterly, Project Russia among other publications. Previously he worked as an architect and urban designer in offices such as MVRDV, Foster & Partners, Arup and Productora-DF. He has taught at the Architectural Association, the Berlage Institute, Brighton University and at the Bartlett School of Architecture where he is currently a Teaching Fellow in the MArch Urban Design program. Ross is a Ph.D. candidate at the London Consortium examining the concept of circulation in relation to urbanization. He holds the 2011 LKE Ozolins Studentship awarded by the RIBA.

Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco is an architect and urban designer. She has collaborated with Foster & Partners and Ove-Arup, Wiel-Arets, and Fernando-Romero, among others. She has been a recipient of several grants, most recently, a Collection Research Grant from the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal. Her work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and published in a variety of media. She has held teaching positions at the Architectural Association and at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at the Architectural Association in London. Her research work focuses on understanding the category of magnificence as a fundamental and longstanding feature of western power.

Davide Sacconi studied Architecture at the Universitŕ degli Studi di Roma Tre where he graduated with honors in 2006. In 2004 he founded Tspoon, a research-based office that has been awarded in several national and international competitions for architecture, landscape, urban design and editorial projects. In 2011 he completed his post- graduate research at the Berlage Institute of Rotterdam, where he focused on territorial and large scale projects in different cultural and geographical context, such as Los Angeles, Beijing, Moscow and Athens. His final thesis project, developed at the Berlage Institute within a studio lead by Elia Zenghelis and Pier Vittorio Aureli has been recently published in Domus. In 2010 he had the opportunity to teach at the Strelka Institute of Moscow and in 2012 he worked at MVRDV (Rotterdam) on several urban design and large scale architectural projects. He’s currently teaching at Bartlett School of Architecture in the postgraduate Master Urban Design, investigating the Mediterranean as hypothesis for the development of a radical contemporary Urban and Architecture Theory.

About the Exhibition Designer
Amanda Clarke 
is an architect and designer in the fields of Film and Art. Graduating with an M.Arch from the University of Technology Sydney, and B.A in Fine Arts from Sydney University, she spent many years working in Film Set design and Art direction. Operating through cross-disciplinary design practice, she pursues an intensive engagement with the temporary, sensorial and social qualities of space and a fresh consideration of Architecture. Her architectural concept designs have been featured in Monument and AD publications, 2009 and 2010. In 2010 she was awarded the Byera Hadley Travelling scholarship for research into spatial experience and Narrative in Architecture, conducted at the Venice Architecture Biennale, and select studios Berlin and London. In 2012 she assisted the ‘Formations’ exhibition team at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Currently, she works as a Designer in the award winning Architecture practice Bates Smart, based in Sydney.

About the Graphic Designer
Rafaela Dražić 
is a visual communication designer that mainly uses graphic design as a tool for creating and spreading contents from cultural and nongovernmental organizations working on a wide range of projects; from big to small scale and self-initiated. After graduating (MA Visual Communication Design), she did her internship at Barnbrook Design Studio in London (2005/2006), and then worked as teaching assistant at Department of Visual Communication Design, University of Split (2007–2009). In 2009 she enrolled in her doctoral studies at Fine Arts Academy University of Warsaw where she was lecturing occasionally and graduated in 2012. She has won several professional awards (Magdalena – international creative communication festival (Slovenia 2003 and 2009), Croatian Designers Society (2006), New Visual Artist, Print Magazine (New York 2011), Rookie – independent artist’s book project (Poland, 2012). www.rafaeladrazic.net