23 May 2008 – 31 August 2008
Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló / Spain
Project curated by Francesca Ferguson and Pepe Ballesteros
Reactivate!! Adapted Spaces and Minimal Interventions is a reforging of two exhibitions organized by the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel (SAM). The resulting exhibition, devised for the Espai d’ art contemporani de Castelló, brings together a compendium of international, recently-built projects emerging from very different cultural contexts. The project can be seen in two ways: on the one hand, it shows how, with minimal means and resources, architects and designers are able to transform the “most unlikely” urban spaces and buildings so as to adapt them to entirely new uses.
Resourceful designs and ventures into problematic or underused spaces of the city and its peripheries need not involve state-of-the-art materials. It is often precariousness, a situation driven by limited budgets and indeterminate settings, which inspires some of the most innovative and dynamic architectural designs.
On the other hand, the exhibition is conceptually linked to the movement known as the Situationist International. In this sense, it has its origins in the radical proclamations developed by the Situationists on transforming architecture and city spaces.
Several of the projects documented here look at the field of contemporary architecture through a reappraisal of the Situationist proclamations and the structures created in the 1960’s and 1970’s by visionary and experimental urban designers. In this respect, the exhibition gathers projects that could be seen to put into practice that which the Situationists developed as urban critique and theory.
The central tenets of Situationist theory are arranged within the exhibition so as to correspond with the more recent contemporary projects and interventions. Each of the proposals shows, in practical terms, how it may be possible to redefine the city as a site for play and appropriation, creating ‘transient micro ambiances’, as Guy Debord described the constructed situation.
Implicit in the assembled works is a critique of urban design and architectural conventions in an attempt to redefine and extend urban spaces while focusing on the shortcomings of thoroughly planned and rationalised urban environments.
We live in an age dominated by relentless development and gentrification, where urban territories are “cleaned up” meticulously in order to conform with an aesthetic of social
acceptability. In this context, the exhibition poses the question: can new architecture devise more subtle ways to interact with a given (an existing) situation? As the curator of Reactivate!! asks herself, can this “lo-tech and laissez-faire design”, coupled with the immediacy of the transient urban intervention, present feasible alternatives to the driving force of urban renewal and re-ignite public spaces with new potentialities?
PROJECTS BY: ANDRÉS JAQUE ARQUITECTOS (MADRID) / FLORES Y PRATS ARQUITECTES (BARCELONA) / FNP ARCHITEKTEN (STUTTGART) / HAWORTH TOMPKINS (LONDRES) / HIEPLER BRUNIER & ATELIER LE BALTO (BERLÍN) / IFAU MIT JESKO FEZER (BERLÍN) / INDEX ARCHITEKTEN (FRANKFURT / MAIN) / ISA STÜRM URS WOLF SA (ZURICH) / KLAUS STATTMANN (VIENA) / LEDERER RAGNARSDÓTTIR OEI (STTUTGART) / MATHIAS MÜLLER, DANIEL NIGGLI / EM2N (ZURICH) / MODULOR.BEAT (MUNSTER) / OSA-OFFICE FOR SUBVERSIVE ARCHITECTURE MIT STUDIO + 44 (LONDRES) / PRZEMO LUKASIK / MEDUSA GROUP (GLIWICE) / RECETAS URBANAS-SANTIAGO CIRUGEDA ARQUITECTOS (SEVILLA) / ECOSISTEMA URBANO (MADRID) / SPILLMANN ECHSLE ARCHITEKTEN (ZURICH).
ARCHIGRAM / CEDRIC PRICE / HANS HOLLEIN / HAUS-RUCKER-CO / KISHO KUROKAWA / REYNER BANHAM / YONA FRIEDMAN / ATELIER BOW-WOW / DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO / FLORENTIJN HOFMAN / HERI & SALLI / IAN + & MARCO GALOFARO / LACATON & VASSAL / LUCY ORTA / ELECTROLAND / MICHAEL RAKOWITZ / NL ARCHITECTS / OBSERVATORIUM / PERMANENT BREAKFAST / CARLOS MARTÍNEZ & PIPPILOTTI RIST / CHRISTOPH STEINBRENER & RAINER DEMPF / BERNARD TSCHUMI / URBAN SPACE MANAGENMENT LTD / LUDOTEK + C.A.S.I.T.A / PETER FATTINGER, VERÓNICA ORSO, MICHAEL RIEPER / COMPLIZEN PLANUNGSBÜRO / COLECTIVO ZULOARK.ORG / PPAG POPELKA PODUSCHKA ARCHITEKTEN / COLLECTIF EXYTZ / INTERBREEDING FIELD / LAURENT HAZGUI / DEANE SIMPSON & JÖRG STOLLMANN / SANTIAGO CIRUGEDA / STUDIO KAWAMURA-GANJAVIAN / SRDJAN JOVANOVIC WEISS / DIE ALTE STADTGÄRTNEREI BASEL / LEANDRO MORILLAS / EX STUDIO / ANJA HASMANN & EBRU KARACA / JULIE ANGEL / RUEDI BAUR / CITÁMBULOS.