Venice Biennale 2012: Strelka Institute to host discussions on shaping tomorrow's cities

Venice Biennale 2012: Strelka Institute to host discussions on shaping tomorrow's cities
Courtesy of the Strelka Institute

Russia’s leading creative think tank, Strelka Institute, is hosting a series of discussions with preeminent voices in architecture and urban design in the pre-opening days of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. Inspired by the Biennale’s theme of Common Ground, the conversations will focus on how architecture and design can drive the physical, social and economic regeneration of urban environments. Using Russian cities as a starting point, the talks will explore wider issues in urban design around global metropoles. Featured speakers include OMA’s Reinier de Graaf, Teddy Cruz, Stefano Boeri, and more.

The discussions will take place on August 27 and 28 at the Strelka Palazzo. All events are free to attend, but space is limited. Please email to reserve a seat.

Strelka Palazzo Program:

MONDAY, AUGUST 27th 3pm – 4.30pm Discussion: Urban Editing in Russia and Brazil Speakers: Stefano Boeri, Anastassia Smirnova, Maria Teresa Diniz, Francisca Insulza, Kuba Snopek

The urban fabric of Russia and Brazil is complex. Densely populated, low-income microrayons and favelas abound. These vast suburban areas comprise poorly built, outdated housing that is not always suitable for modern living. However, due to the high numbers of inhabitants and the energies that they have developed, these spaces cannot simply be ignored or erased.

Instead they must be subjected to urban editing: gradual development to improve the quality of life for residents. It is crucial that we find solutions to reinvigorate these often neglected, marginal urban spaces.

Specialists in architecture and urban design from Russia, Italy and Brazil, will come together to discuss how we can re-think the purpose of microrayons and favelas, and aid their regeneration in a time of global economic and environmental crisis.

TUESDAY AUGUST 28th: 10am – 11am Education at Strelka – Breakfast Discussion: Microrayons vs favelas

Microrayons vs. Favelas - Courtesy of the Strelka Institute

Strelka Institute offers a unique, free to attend, nine month postgraduate programme in English with a special focus on the city. The course takes a holistic approach to architecture, media and design. It welcomes students from all around the world and from disciplines as diverse as architecture, design, economics, psychology and social anthropology.

The course fosters collaboration, reflection and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange through a combination of studio work, lectures, seminars, workshops and meetings with luminaries of urban design, creative thinkers, government administrators, community leaders and entrepreneurs. Whatever your background, if you are interested in shaping tomorrow’s cities, come along for a casual breakfast at Strelka Palazzo and learn more about this unique opportunity from Strelka Institute’s director Varvara Melnikova and director of education Anna Krasinskaya.

Farshid Moussavi, Michael Schindhelm and Rem Koolhaas discussing Strelka student projects

11.30am -12.30pm Discussion: Above and Beyond Speakers: Eyal and Ines Weizman, Teddy Cruz, Justin McGuirk
Continuing the Strelka Press ebook series, three authors discuss their forthcoming essays.

Farshid Moussavi, Michael Schindhelm and Rem Koolhaas discussing Strelka student projects. - Courtesy of the Strelka Institute

Above: In Before and After, Eyal and Ines Weizman examine how satellite images are increasingly used to determine historical and political readings of the city. Whether depicting bomb-damaged cities or nuclear reactors in Iran, before and after images shot from space capture outcomes but never the events themselves. As this remote evidence takes precedence over human witnesses on the ground, it falls to architecture to tell the story.

Beyond: In Where Is Our Collective Imagination? Teddy Cruz introduces an evolving idea of the architect as an activist engaged in local politics. Prepared to take a more entrepreneurial stance, this new figure seeks to expand the market and regulatory loopholes to act as a developer in the interests of the community.

The authors will briefly present their ideas and then engage in a discussion about how their work places architecture in increasingly political territory.

1pm – 2.30pm Discussion: Big Moscow Speakers: Reinier de Graaf, Laura Baird

The four main districts of Moscow. - Courtesy of the Strelka Institute

A talk about the Big Moscow Agglomeration Project – a tender led by OMA, Strelka Consulting, Project Meganom and Siemens for the incorporation of a new Federal District to the Southwest of Moscow.

There is something paradoxical about the idea of ‘expanding’ Moscow. In many senses, the city is far larger than the territory defined on maps, and more populous than censuses substantiate. Accordingly, the Big Moscow Agglomeration Project is less about planning for new urban expansion, and more about planning retrospective development for the organic expansion that has already occurred.

Reinier de Graaf and Laura Baird from OMA will discuss the consortium’s vision for the integration of Moscow’s existing territories into a coherent and symbiotic whole.

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Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "Venice Biennale 2012: Strelka Institute to host discussions on shaping tomorrow's cities" 24 Aug 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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