This summer, a series of debates at the Selgascano-designed Serpentine pavilion in London explored the concept of urban public space. The focus was on its relation with political dissidence, through the voices of emerging architecture practices and thinkers who consider public space the starting point to rethink the assets of our cities.
There were two lively debates, one with London-based collective Assemble and Madrid-based Zuloark on political dissidence, and the second with critic and writer Ethel Baraona Pohl, focused on architectural dissidence in the public arena.
Says architect and writer Gonzalo Herrero Delicado. the organiser and chair of the event: 'This was a great experience for advancing a more critical thinking about our public space and the role of the architect, and especially of emerging collective practices, in its governance and future definition.'
1 The Power of Many
In 2011 the Occupy movement catalysed unrest and the will for change all over the world, while north African countries experienced the upheaval and resulting political and social changes, commonly labelled the Arab Spring. Then the public space recovered its original meaning, representing a place for political dissidence, and its governance began to be one of the central topics and claims for many young European architects. This panel discussion is chaired by Gonzalo Herrero with representatives of Zuloark and Assemble, two collective practices working with architecture as a political tool to improve the city and its communities.
2 Architectural Dissidence in the Public Arena
The public space is a complex scenario that involves many different interests and actors including citizens, public administrations, private clients. All these forms of influence open the door to large uncertainties. Can architects and designers stimulate the self-organisation of citizens and facilitate social interaction within the communities through public space? Can contemporary public space provoke real structural changes in the system we live in? A lecture by architect and critic Ethel Baraona is followed by an open conversation with architect and curator Gonzalo Herrero.
These two events, with the theme Post World's End Architecture, were part of a series of features in Blueprint magazine and ongoing discussions. Watch this space for more!
You can listen to again the two talks here.