Architecture, thinking, debate, international, cooperation, innovation, landscape, citizenship, investigation, biennial, interpretation, heritage, housing, meeting point, sustainability, design, urbanism, boundaries...
The mission of the Basque Country Architecture Institute is to bring architecture closer to citizenship, to socially generate the taste for architecture in the broader sense of cultural and civic enjoyment.
Encouraging thinking and debate between architecture, urbanism, landscape and design. Creating knowledge and facilitating the access to both larger audiences and specialists of the field.
Promoting contemporary Basque architecture at an international level. The Institute will open his doors in 2019 and will be managed in an open way in order to embrace diverse non-profit entities which have as a goal investigation, dissemination and promotion of architecture and also developing synergies with institutions of great tradition in Euskadi related with architecture such as The Official College of Architects and The Superior Technical School of Architecture of Basque Country University.
Tabula Non Rasa
Over millennia, architecture has embodied the notion of constant change. Most buildings from architectural history no longer exist today in their original form but have been relentlessly transformed over time. In this way they have been able to outlast epochs and to fulfil successive changing functions, for which they were not originally planned. Thus palaces turned into residential buildings, churches into indoor swimming pools and coliseums into urban neighborhoods. Modernism largely broke with this tradition: It declared the old city as obsolete and called for a clean slate of the extant to build the city of tomorrow without any precedence of the past.
After WWII this tabula rasa concept became the dominant model of progress of late modern architecture worldwide. Since then the half-life of architecture has been rapidly decreasing for decades. It is becoming more and more common for a building to be simply torn down, to be replaced with a new one whenever its function or ownership structure changes.
However, criticism of this spatial throwaway culture is growing appreciably. An ever increasing number of architects are once again investigating buildings' transformability. In their spatial and functional reinterpretation, they are discovering very distinct poetic potential and scope for experimentation because transformation can take on a wide range of different forms. There are no defined paths, no identical starting points and, in many cases, no clear basis in the building regulations either, so the approach that conversion requires the architects to take is often completely different to that required for new construction.
For this exhibition we chose three projects which expose this architectural empathy with the extant in three different scales: a house (AGPS architects with Jenny Rodenhouse), the neighborhood (Lacaton & Vassal, Druot, Hutin) and the city (ETH MAS Urban Design). They all depart from the notion that you never start from nothing, because there is always something preceding your intervention. In that sense, architecture can never be entirely new, but is always a transformation of something else.
Ilka & Andreas Ruby
Housing the Basque Country
Housing the Basque Country presents the results of the Basque Government’s housing policy from 1981, when competences in housing were transferred to the Region, to the present day. The exhibition aims to succinctly and harmoniously present the various narratives hinging around public housing given that this area is undoubtedly one of those that encompasses the greatest array of social issues, from politics to architecture, from economics to production, from sociology to history and legal affairs. It naturally places those living in these homes at its centre. Certainly, as it affects not only the way we understand homes, but also the way homes are obtained and produced, the way cities are generated, and, in short, the way in which wealth, progress and well-being are generated, public housing condenses society’s most important issues.
The exhibition includes thirty designs illustrating the development of public housing during the 1981 – 2018 period. The designs were chosen based on criteria such as design date, geographical distribution, location in both capital cities and small towns, architects and technical experts involved, type of development, the interest in terms of the typology and urban development, aesthetics, construction and sociology.
In parallel, the exhibition includes photography aiming to portray the social dimension and urban environment in the housing selected. Through photographs in different formats, the aim is to understand the urban activity that the designs on exhibit configure. Its spirit focuses on a realistic narration of the lives rooted in this type of residential settings.
Finally, the exhibition uses a conceptual construction to recreate both basic and the abstract elements of contemporary domestic spaces, that is, both the container and content in tangible and intangible terms, such as privacy and comfort.
Asier Santas Torres
Luis Suárez Mansilla
Thursday to Sunday
11:30 – 14:30
16:30 – 20:00