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Critical Care

Architecture for a Broken Planet

Thu 25.04.2019 – Mon 09.09.2019, daily 10:00-19:00
Aerial photograph of an area with circular structural deepenings

Colectivo 720: Unidad de Vida Articulada Orfelinato, Uva de La Imaginacíon, Medellin, Columbia, 2015
© photograph: Sergio Gómez

A planet in crisis. The earth in intensive care. Man-made environmental and social catastrophes are threatening to render the planet uninhabitable. The situation is critical and, dominated by the interests of capital, architecture and urbanism are caught up in the crisis. The exhibition 'Critical Care' shows how architecture and urbanism can contribute to repairing the future and keeping the planet and its inhabitants alive.

The exhibition ‘Critical Care’ is an appeal for a new approach, for a caring architecture and urbanism. 21 current examples from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, the USA and Latin America prove that architecture and urban development do not have to be subservient to the dictates of capital and the exploitation of resources and labour.

Several sitting children and young adults bent over plans
Kounkuey Design Initiative: Kibera Public Space Project, Nairobi, Kenya, since 2006
© Kounkuey Design Initiative, photograph: Jesús Porras
Multi-storey white apartment blocks with a crane and trees in the foreground
Lacaton & Vassal, Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin: Lacaton & Vassal, Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin: Transformation of 530 apartments, Cité du Grand Parc, Bordeaux, France, 2016
© photograph: Philippe Ruault
two one-storey mud houses with one door and one window each
Yasmeen Lari/Heritage Foundation of Pakistan: Sindh Flood Rehabilitation, Sindh Region, Pakistan, since 2010
© Heritage Foundation of Pakistan
Interior view of a hollowed out building with balconies, stairs and a tree
architecten de vylder vinck taillieu: PC Caritas, Melle, Belgium, 2016
© photograph: Filip Dujardin
A wooden terraced building in the middle of a hilly landscape
Xu Tiantian/DNA_Design and Architecture: Tofu Factory, Caizhai Village, Songyang, China, 2018
© photograph: Wang Ziling
Clay building with a circular base and small round openings
Emergency Architecture & Human Rights (EAHR): 100 classrooms for refugee children, Za’atari Village, Jordan, 2017
© photograph: Martina Bo Rubino
Swimming pool on a roof with bathing people and skyscrapers in the background
Paulo Mendes da Rocha and MMBB Architects: SESC 24 Maio, São Paulo, Brazil, 2017
© photograph: Ana Mello
Cover of a book
Angelika Fitz, Elke Krasny, Architekturzentrum Wien: Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanismus for a Broken Planet, The MIT Press
© photograph: Alexander Schuh

The relationships between economy, ecology and work are redefined in each of these projects. The instigators of this care are extraordinarily diverse groups of people: activists, lawyers, anthropologists, artists, but also city councils and companies, working together with architects and planners. Care is always concrete, the specific local conditions are the starting point, as the exhibition shows, including earthquake-proof and sustainable village development in China, flood protection through traditional low-carbon building techniques in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the diverse conversion of modernist buildings in Brazil and Europe, an ecological community land trust in Puerto Rico, the revitalisation of historical irrigation systems in Spain, new concepts for public spaces and mixed urban districts in Vienna, London and Nairobi. The exhibition ‘Critical Care’ shows how architecture and urbanism are helping to revive the planet. The repair of the future has begun.


Curators: Angelika Fitz, Elke Krasny

Exhibition architecture: the next ENTERprise

Exhibition graphics: Alexander Schuh


A book is being published by MIT Press to accompany the exhibition, ‘Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet‘, containing all 21 case studies as well as 12 essays by international authors on the topics of work, economy and ecology in architecture; edited by Angelika Fitz, Elke Krasny and Architekturzentrum Wien.

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