Anja Planišček in Katarina Čakš
Architecture Under Construction – open scheme, 2015
“Architecture Under Construction” is a scheme in progress, open to incorporating visitors’ suggestions. It includes projects by groups of architects and their collaborators that have resulted from the social-economic events and the financial crises in the years 2005–2015. These projects have taken place at the edges of established architectural practice, which saw a sharp crisis of production in that period; they are reactions or responses to specific processes occurring within this space during and even before the crisis. The first of the processes they have foregrounded was emptying: industrial buildings, warehouses, infrastructure facilities, business premises, blocks of flats and other urban spaces were left void of content as a result of the selling away of enterprises, privatisation, denationalisation and poor management. The second process is that of interruption: realisation of architectural and urban planning projects was disrupted as a result of ill-suited investment plans and of the financial crisis, as attested by various construction sites where work has been halted or put on hold. The third process is disappearance of public and common spaces as a consequence of the all-encompassing commercialisation of the urban space and of the privatisation of the common spaces at housing estates. The fourth process is reconstruction of identity: this is exemplified by attitudes of the professionals and of the general public towards socialist-era architecture. While a number of high-quality buildings from that time had been demolished before 2005 (several buildings designed by Savin Sever in Ljubljana and Kranj; Hotel Prisank in Kranjska gora, designed by Janez Lajovic; Pinko Tomažič Primary School in Koper, designed by Edo Mihevc), there emerged, at least in the professional circles, movements and acts calling attention to the lack of protection for such buildings, reframing them as valuable architectural heritage from that period of our history.
“Architecture Under Construction” is typified by the diversity of its manifestations (organised actions, events, installations, participatory projects etc.) and by hybrid practices, which include multidisciplinary work (collaboration of professionals from various fields), participatory practices (inclusion of various actors in the process of developing and realising projects), subversive practices, “bottom-up” planning strategies, “temporary use of space” and socially responsible forms of entrepreneurship (social enterprises). All these practices question the notion of architecture as an activity limited to constructing buildings and address social issues, temporariness, political engagement and identity.
“Architecture Under Construction” – open scheme is an attempt to establish a record of these activities and to trace the relations between them: their causes, consequences, links, conclusions. This is the first step towards an analysis of hybrid spatial practices of the last decade. Participation and suggestions by visitors of the exhibition, who can add their own ideas to the scheme, open up the possibility of enlarging the range of projects, of engaged discussions, of further analysis and assessment of projects emerging at the margins of the established architectural practice.