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European Union

"Archifutures" Represents a Vital Infusion of Oxygen Into the Arena of Architectural Discourse

10:00 - 31 July, 2017

Publishing is a cultural project, first collecting and condensing ideas and then diffusing them. In the architectural sphere, it is a pursuit which has often struggled to tackle an inherent paradox: is a book, for instance, speaking to an audience entirely “in the know” or one completely fresh to the concepts, ideas, and figures which tend to envelop the discourse – often resonating like records on repeat.

Unplugging architectural publishing from its conventional realm while, at the same time, seeking to challenge existing tropes in discourse, has been made at once easier and more challenging by the dawn—and subsequent acceleration—of online publishing. Yet the book, as opposed to the magazine—printed, bound, and representing a cohesive and finite exploration of thoughts—is beginning to benefit from more innovative models of circulation, responding to the territory presently occupied by it’s ubiquitous counterpart. Archifutures, an initiative of the Future Architecture Platform, has emerged as one of the more ambitious of these projects.

Volume 2: The Studio. Image © Lena Giovanazzi Volume 2: The Studio. Image © Lena Giovanazzi Volume 1: The Museum. Image © Lena Giovanazzi Volume 3: The Site. Image © Lena Giovanazzi +13

2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award Winners Announced

06:00 - 10 April, 2017
2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award Winners Announced, via Europa Nostra
via Europa Nostra

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have unveiled the winners of the 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, which honor achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness. Out of 202 applications from 39 countries, 29 winners have been selected.

The winners of the 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards are:

The Fictive Architecture of European Banknotes Sculpted From Sugar

04:30 - 27 October, 2016
The Fictive Architecture of European Banknotes Sculpted From Sugar, © Gustav Almestâl
© Gustav Almestâl

One of the key challenges faced by the European currency union, the Euro, was that of their design. In 2002, when the banknotes entered circulation across large parts of the European Union, the imagery that they possessed had to represent a continent of cultures. The answer: to create fictitious illustrations or, as the European Central Bank states, "stylised illustrations [of windows, doorways and bridges], not images of, or from, actual constructions." In a recent exhibition architect Anna Pang, in collaboration with Johan Holkers and Rolf Stålberg, have attemped to present the "fictive architecture" of the Euro as sugar sculpture.

Martha Thorne Urges UK to Preserve International Recognition of Qualifications in Wake of Brexit

14:00 - 4 August, 2016
Martha Thorne Urges UK to Preserve International Recognition of Qualifications in Wake of Brexit, Martha Thorne. Image © IE University
Martha Thorne. Image © IE University

Martha Thorne, the Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize and dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design in Madrid, has warned of the dangers that the United Kingdom's decision to withdraw from the EU will pose to the architecture profession both in the UK and the EU. As reported by BDOnline, Thorne highlighted the mutual recognition of professional qualifications that has been established by the EU, enabling architects qualified in any EU country to practice in another EU country without being required to requalify.

Reinier de Graaf Discusses Moscow's Development and the "Major Stupidity" of Brexit

09:30 - 16 July, 2016

At the recently concluded Moscow Urban Forum, Renier de Graaf shared his opinion on a range of topics, from UK’s Brexit and the EU identity to OMA’s work in Russia, particularly in shaping the recent growth of Moscow. De Graaf is a partner at OMA and as director of the firm’s Think Tank, AMO, he produced The Image of Europe, an exhibition hoping to portray a “bold, explicit and popular” European Union. Thus, it comes as no surprise that De Graaf, along with Rem Koolhaas, is particularly outspoken about the recent events within the European Union.

It’s All in a Cup of Coffee (or, Indeed, Tea): Does Café Culture Embody the Idea of Europe?

04:45 - 23 June, 2016
It’s All in a Cup of Coffee (or, Indeed, Tea): Does Café Culture Embody the Idea of Europe?, Da Florian in Venice (2013). © Gianni Berengo Gardin. Image Courtesy of Caffe Florian
Da Florian in Venice (2013). © Gianni Berengo Gardin. Image Courtesy of Caffe Florian

Update: On June 24, 2016, 52% of eligible voters in the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. This article was published prior to the referendum announcement.

In 2003 George Steiner—a Paris-born, American, UK-based literary critic, philosopher and essayist—gave a lecture in Tilburg, a small Dutch city on the Belgian border. His talk, which he titled “The Idea of Europe,” made some waves in certain circles but, ultimately, wasn't widely discussed. Years later I found a copy of the transcript in Amsterdam’s Athenaeum[1], who had tucked it in the corner of a sunken room on a shelf devoted to "Brexit." I read it the following day while on a train to Brussels.

As I trundled across the Flemish hinterland Steiner’s words, delivered with judicious insight and a reassuring cautionary edge, served as a reminder of one irrevocable fact: that Europe is a continent “of linguistic, cultural, [and] social diversity;” a “mosaic”[2] of communities that have never been united with the same scale and ambition as that of the European Union. But before the contemporary Euro-project, came European café culture.

"There is Much More at Stake Than Simply Being In or Out" – Rem Koolhaas Speaks Out Over a Potential EU 'Brexit'

13:15 - 17 June, 2016
"There is Much More at Stake Than Simply Being In or Out" – Rem Koolhaas Speaks Out Over a Potential EU 'Brexit', EU Barcode (OMA*AMO). Image © flickr user eager. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.
EU Barcode (OMA*AMO). Image © flickr user eager. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In a recent interview with the BBCRem Koolhaas (OMA) has spoken out against the campaign seeking to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union, upon which the British people will vote in a referendum next week. Reflecting on his time spent at London's Architectural Association (AA) in the 1960s and '70s, Koolhaas fears that advocates for withdrawal may be looking at the past through rose-colored glasses.

If you look at the arguments to leave you can see this is a movement of people who want to fundamentally change England back into the way it supposedly was before.

Design Liberland: Competition Seeks to Masterplan New European Micronation

12:45 - 20 October, 2015
Design Liberland: Competition Seeks to Masterplan New European Micronation, Liberland Flag. Image © Liberland
Liberland Flag. Image © Liberland

In April, the world's "third smallest sovereign state" was established: Liberland. Established on a small patch of unclaimed land created by the border dispute between Croatia and Serbia, the new country founded on the principles of libertarianism is currently battling for international recognition - although as reported by The New York Times Magazine in August, this remains a steep uphill struggle. In spite of these challenges, the European micronation is seeking ideas through a global design competition on how to masterplan its seven-square-kilometer territory. Zaha Hadid Architects' Patrik Schumacher is one of the many experts that have been summoned to judge the proposals, of which aim to establish a "multi-stage" plan that will reflect Liberland's Libertarian and Anarcho-Capitalist values. 

"Rather than purely fantastical or artistic schemes, Liberland seeks radically creative, yet mature proposals for a fertile, high-density city-nation of the 21st century, responsive to its advanced contemporary network society," says the competition brief. 

EU Copyright Reform May Wipe Thousands of Building Images from Wikipedia

06:00 - 9 July, 2015
EU Copyright Reform May Wipe Thousands of Building Images from Wikipedia, Dancing House (Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry) censored to show the effect of restricting Freedom of Panorama in the EU. Image via Wikimedia
Dancing House (Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry) censored to show the effect of restricting Freedom of Panorama in the EU. Image via Wikimedia

The European parliament will vote today on an amendment to the EU’s copyright rules, which if passed would restrict Freedom of Panorama throughout the EU. This could result in thousands of building images being deleted from Wikipedia, and put restrictions on which photos people can upload and share online. 

Freedom of Panorama is an exception to copyright rules, allowing photographs of public spaces and buildings to be used without restriction, while protecting the rights of the architect or artist. Currently some countries in the EU have full Freedom of Panorama, while other countries have it in place only for buildings or only for non-commercial uses -- or not in place at all.