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11th Vienna Architecture Congress

Intelligent Realities. What to build on in the 21st Century?

Fri 14.11.2003 – Sun 16.11.2003

11th Vienna Architecture Congress
© Richard Davies

“It is generally conceded that a democratic society should not be in the hands of the institutions within it; it must keep an eye on these institutions and control them. How do citizens judge the proposals of the institutions that surround them, the institutions that live from their money and ruin their existences, and how do they judge these institutions for themselves? Such citizens require a yardstick of some kind and criteria. But what kind of yardstick will they choose?” According to Paul Feierabend, “in a free society a citizen uses the standards of the tradition that they belong to”, a situation to be seen in a new light in the face of the current situation in Europe.

The German theorist Ulrich Beck describes how the inability of the dominant institutions and elites to perceive this new social reality and to shape it productively is linked to the form the institutions take and the history of their development. According to Beck, they originated in a world that adhered to the guiding principles of full employment, the dominance of national state policies for domestic industry, functioning borders, and clear territorial sovereignty and identities.

The basis for discussion is a broad one in the search for new standards and criteria that stem from a tradition of modernity, a tradition that is essentially based on progress and growth. The 11th Viennese Architecture Congress is daring to enter a realm disparagingly referred to as ‘do-gooding’ and addressing the future of architecture before a backdrop of alternative concepts: From the “post-Utopian thinking” recently propounded by Gerhard Schulze in his current book Die Beste Aller Welten (2003, in German; lit. ‘The Best Of All Worlds’), to the proven credentials of the Utopian ideal of a participatory economy by the globalisation critic Michael Albert, to urban development by Blockbuster cinema.

In the question of the future of architecture the call for Utopias currently dominates the scene. Architects are demanding the construction of a new world, and they are equipped with a large number of new technological possibilities and tools. What are the existing grammatical rules, languages and concepts for “intelligent realities” today, and what strategies are being considered for these? This congress is presenting the first compilation of the disparate splintered but concrete contemporary techniques for future architecture, and reflects these within their social and economic conditions. Can architecture save the planet earth, or even just ensure the survival of mankind? We are standing on the immense plinth of the history of modernity, but what are we building on in the 21st Century? Highly qualified speakers will be taking a stance on the most varied of questions regarding the future of architecture.


Friday, November 14, 2003

6:00 pm

Dietmar Steiner

Director of the Architekturzentrum Wien
Intelligent Realities: The Background

7:00 pm

Gerhard Schulze

Sociologist, Bamberg University
Acceleration, Approach, Expedition. On the Transformation of City and Society in the 21st Century

8:00 pm

Werner Sewing

Architecture theorist, Berlin
The Future after the Avantgarde

Saturday, November 15, 2003

2:00 pm

Marco de Michelis

Architecture theorist, Venice
‘Ceci tuera cela’: Architecture books, Architecture and Architects

3:00 pm

Martin Beck

Artist, New York
half modern, half something else

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Break

4:30 pm

Vicente Guallart

Architect, Vicenza
Media, Mountains, Architecture

5:30 pm

Bernd Zabel

System engineer, former general manager of Biosphere II, Arizona
Living and working at Biosphere II

6:30 pm – 7:00 pm : Break

7:00 pm

Phil Hawes

Project director for Global Eco Village, Arizona
Building Sustainable Communities

8:00 pm

Michael Albert

Journalist and globalisation-critic, USA
Participatory Economics. Life after Capitalism

9:00 pm
Closing Discussion
Moderated by: Bart Lootsma

Sunday, November 16, 2003

2:00 pm

Peter Schmid

with Gabriela Pal Schmid, architects, Eindhoven
Realisable Utopias. Concepts for a Sustainable Architecture of the Present and the Future

3:00 pm

Marta Male-Alemany

Architect, Barcelona/Los Angeles
Digital Fabrications: Design to Manufacturing Architectural Experiments

4:00 pm

Drehli Robnik

Film theorist and critic, Vienna
Flexible in Rubble. What Can Become of the City when it is Scrutinised and Redeveloped by Blockbuster Cinema

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Break

5:30 pm

Jan Kaplicky

Future Systems, London
360 slides

6:30 pm

Kas Oosterhuis

Architect, Rotterdam
The Idiot Savant. Towards an Emotive Architecture

7:30 pm
Closing Discussion
Moderated by: Bart Lootsma

(Lectures are with simultaneous translation – German/English)


Dietmar Steiner
Born 1951, studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He works as an architecture historian, theoretician and critic. He teached at the Institute of History and Theory of Architecture at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna. He has published widely in international magazines. He has lectured about theoretical aspects of City and Architecture at many european, north- and south american institutions. He did cultural research, publications and exhibitions.
Since 1993, Dietmar Steiner is Director of the “Architekturzentrum Wien”.
From 1996 to 1999 he was responsible for architecture in the editorial staff of “domus”, Milano.
Since 1997 he is member of the advisory committee of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award
Since 1998 he is member of the ICAM Board (International Confederation of Architectural Museums).
2002 he was commissioner of the austrian contribution of the 8th International Biennale of Architecture in Venice.

Marco De Michelis

Born in 1945. Is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design at the IUAV University in Venice.
He earned his architectural degree (laurea) in 1969 at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia.
From 1970 he teaches History of Architecture at the (IUAV), Dipartimento di Storia dell’architettura in Venice, where he could collaborate widely with Manfredo Tafuri.
He is also a member of the faculty of the PhD programme in history of architecture and the responsible for the international relations of the IUAV.
He represents the IUAV in the Academic Council of the Venice International University, founded by Duke University, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, University of Munich, University of Tel Aviv, University of Venice and the IUAV.
In 2000 he has been appointed “professore ordinario” for the history of architecture at the IUAV.

A grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn allowed him to work at the Technische Universität in Berlin from 1980-1983 and at the Technische Hochschule in Munich in 1992.
1992-1993 he has been invited as a scholar at the Getty Center for the History of Arts in Santa Monica, CA.
1997-1998 he was a visiting professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg (Germany).
1999-2003 he has been appointed the “Walter-Gropius-Professor” for theory and history of architecture at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar (Germany).
He has lectured extensively both in Europe (AA London, IFA Paris, ETSAB Barcelona, TU Berlin, University of applied Arts Vienna, NAI Rotterdam, ETH Zürich, Accademia di Architettura, Mendrisio, …) and in the USA (GSD Harvard, Princeton University, UC Berkeley and Los Angeles, …).
He is an honorary member of the Heinrich-Tessenow-Society, and a member of the scientific board of the Barragán Foundation, and of the “Baubeirat” of the garden city of Hellerau.

His research has focused on certain major topics:
-Soviet Architecture and Town Planning in the 1920s and 30s (La città sovietica 1925-1937, with E. Pasini, Venice, Marsilio, 1976; URSS: La Ville, l’architecture, with J.L. Cohen and M. Tafuri, Paris, L’Equerre/Rome, Officina, 1979);
-The reform movements in German Architecture between 19th and 20th century (Case del popolo, Bruxelles, AAM/Venezia, Marsilio, 1985-1986; Bauhaus. 1919-1933, with A. Kohlmeyer, Milano, Mazzotta, 1996);
-Some mayor protagonists of modern architecture (Walter Gropius, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Leberecht Migge, Antonio Sant’Elia, Giancarlo De Carlo, Luís Barragán, Rudolf Schindler, Carlo Scarpa);
In 1991 he presentend the fruit of his major research project on the work of the German architect Heinrich Tessenow through the publication of an extensive book (Stuttgart, DVA/Milan, Electa) and an exhibition (Frankurt/M., Architecture Museum; Venice, Biennale of Architecture).
He remains still continuously attentive to the tendencies of contemporary art and architecture (Brandt & Böttcher, Milan, Electa/Berlin, Ernst & Sohn, 1994 and 1995; Atlante. Tendenze della architettura europea degli anni Novanta, Venice, Marsilio, 1996; Oswald Mathias Ungers, Milan Electa, 1998/New York Monacelli, forthcoming; several articles in some of the most influential architectural magazines on Richard Meier, Daniel Libeskind, Zvi Hecker, Sauerbruch&Hutton, Gino Valle, David Chipperfield, Koning Eizenberg).

Bernd Zabel

In 1985, Bernd Zabel joined the Biosphere 2 project in Tucson as general manager of construction for the two-acre sealed experimental system. Designed to create a living laboratory in which to study ecological processes at work in the biosphere of planet Earth, Biosphere 2 contains tropical rainforest, savannah, marsh, ocean, desert and agriculture ecosystems, as well as a sophisticated human residence and monitoring facility.
Bernd also trained as a Biosphere 2 crew candidate for five years and helped develop the aquaculture systems of Biosphere 2. In 1994, he lived sealed inside Biosphere 2 for six months as a crew member during Biosphere 2’s second mission. He served as Director of Engineering and Biospheric Operations with responsibility for all operating systems that maintain the atmosphere, living conditions, and physical structure of Biosphere 2.
In 2000 he resigned as the General Manager of Biosphere 2 to pursue independent consulting projects. He worked in Tibet to bring running water to a monastery and consulted in Inner Mongolia at a demonstration project on how to stop desertification.
Bernd is presently the systems engineer at the Garchen Buddhist Institute in Prescott Arizona, a center that can accommodate 200 people and is totally off the grid in a remote setting.

Phil Hawes

born 1932, architect, Project Director of Global Eco Village, Arizona
The Global EcoVillage Development Company (GEV) mission is the building of sustainable EcoVillage communities. GEV is putting into practice the highest principles of ecological sustainability as they are understood to-day. Limited to populations of 5,000 people, these EcoVillage communities will be located in different ecological environments around the world. GEV’s primary goal is to change the current paradigms of community planning and development through a synergy of science, education, economics, and environmental responsibility. We believe this is necessary to ensure the future viability of the world-wide human community.

Michael Albert

Born 1947, co-founder of Z-magazine, author of “Thinking Forward” (Arbeiter Ring Press), “Thought Dreams” (Arbeiter Ring Press), “Looking Forward: Participatory Economics in the 21st Century” (South End Press), “Political Economy of Participatory Economics” (Princeton University Press, both with Co-Author Robin Hahnel), and “Parecon. Life after Capitalism” (Verso, London).

Peter Schmid

architect and engineer, researcher and teacher and one of the pioneers for sustainable healthy, bio-logical and environmentally-conscious architecture, was born in Rome, once became Austrian and later Dutch. After his studies in Vienna and Salzburg, he practiced in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
Schmid received amongst other distinctions the ‘Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st Class’ and the recognition of ‘Distinguished World Citizen’ from the Institute for Global Education, USA. Recently he was decorated by a Dutch Royal Medal ‘Officer in the Orde of Oranje-Nassau’ for his international renowned work for sustainable building and for Peace-activities.

Marta Male Alemany

Barcelona, 1971
Has been a lecturer at UCLA, Woodbury University and ESARQ-UIC (Barcelona) and currently a design faculty at SCI-ARC (Los Angeles). Her studios focus on the conceptual and material opportunities that emerge from the use of digital technologies for the production of Architecture, work that has been awarded by ACADIA 02 and FAD 03. She practices as an independent architect and digital-production consultant. Her recent CAD_CAM projects include the prototypes of a seating structure for the Barcelona Forum 2004, fabrications for several interior design projects, and the ã[e]3ä solo installation at SCI-Arc Gallery. Marta Male-Alemany writes and lectures on the subject of digital fabrication, Topic which she co-chaired at this yearâs ACADIA 03 Conference.

Jan Kaplicky, Future Systems

is an architectural and design practice producing highly original work. The designs are not only architecturally innovative and visually striking, but are also pieces of highly functional equipment – inspired by both nature and technologies transferred from other industries.
The practice is recognised world-wide for consistently challenging traditional pre-conceptions of space and demonstrating environmental concern and efficiency, without the need to compromise on contemporary form. Research is a vital ingredient for the practice and a balance between experimental and real projects is kept in order to remain at the cutting-edge of the field.
Delivering design excellence, whatever the budget, is matched by the emphasis placed on the development of a close working relationship between Client, Architect and Engineers, to achieve the highest levels of functionality. Future Systems take a proactive role in leading the design team. All activities and costs are monitored throughout the tightly controlled construction process enabling completion date objectives and budgets to be kept under control. The management of projects is considered as important as the creative process and it is this commitment that gives Future Systems the confidence to pursue innovation both in design and procurement strategies.
Future Systems’ work is grounded in sound commercial principles, enabling clients to achieve a variety of business objectives such as raising their profile, enhancing their brand positioning and attracting sponsorship. Future Systems have been quoted as ‘laying down the agenda for architecture in the 21st century’.