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Hubert Klumpner: The Latest Architecture and News

AD Interviews: Hubert Klumpner / 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture

At the opening to the 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) we took a moment to speak with Hubert Klumpner, one of the event's six curators. A professor from the ETH Zurich Swiss Institute of Technology and partner at Urban Think Tank, Klumpner, together with Alfredo Brillembourg, spearheaded the curation of "Radical Urbanism," a sub-theme of the entire Biennale's wider theme, "Re-Living the City."

"...we believe that we have enough buildings, enough construction, enough infrastructure. And it is now time to consolidate it and find the qualities within the built. This is not against future production, it is more about a consideration of what we really want in cities." - Hubert Klumpner

Read on to learn how the "Radical Urbanism" exhibition reveals what we can learn from the interventions and ad-hoc, bottom-up initiatives. Also, don't miss Klumpner and Brillembourg's essay, "The Evolution of Radical Urbanism: What Does the Future Hold for Our Cities."

The Evolution of Radical Urbanism: What Does the Future Hold for Our Cities?

Earlier today in Shenzhen the 6th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB) opened its doors to public. Under the overall theme "Re-Living the City," curators Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner of Urban Think Tank headed up the "Radical Urbanism" exhibit in the main venue. Brillembourg and Klumpner invited the exhibition participants to show how we can learn from ad-hoc and "bottom-up" initiatives for alternative urban solutions. In the following essay - originally printed in the UABB 2015 catalogue - the curators call for us to "rethink how we can operate within the city, learn from its emerging intelligence and shap[e] its outcomes to radical and tactical ends."

The notion of a radical urbanism draws us unavoidably into the realm of the political. Imagining a more equitable and sustainable future involves an implicit critique of the spatial and societal conditions produced by prevailing urban logics.[1] As such, we are not only reminded of Le Corbusier’s famous ultimatum, “architecture or revolution,” but its generational echo in Buckminster Fuller’s more catastrophic pronouncement, “utopia or oblivion.”[2] Both were zero-sum scenarios born of overt social disjuncture, whether the deprivations and tensions of the interwar period, or the escalating conflicts and ecological anxiety of the late 1960s. While the wave of experimental "post utopian" practices that emerged in the early 1970s positioned themselves explicitly in opposition to perceived failures of the modern movement, these disparate groups shared a belief – however disenchanted – with their predecessors in the idea that radical difference was possible, as well as a conviction that a break was necessary.

Buckminster Fuller's Montreal Biosphere. Image © Flickr user rodmaia licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0The Plug in City by Peter Cook of Archigram. Image © Peter Cook via Archigram ArchivesKisho Kurokawa's Nakagin Capsule Tower. Image © ArcspaceHouses built using the Walter Segal system in South London. Image © Chris Moxley+ 9