In a 'long view' piece for The Calvert Journal, Owen Hatherley tackles one of the most pressing cultural questions facing many former Soviet countries: should the Ukrainian capital of Kiev (or Kyiv) erase its Soviet past or learn to live with history? For a city which saw a popular revolution against "a grotesquely wealthy elite" last year, Kiev is developing a flourishing independent cultural scene. In this article Hatherley, who has taken part in the city's 2015 art biennial, expertly narrates the city's Soviet, post-Soviet and contemporary "oligarch-funded" architecture to ask: "if Soviet Ukraine can’t be wished away, what should be conserved, and what should be rejected?"
Owen Hatherley: The Latest Architecture and News
RIBA Bookshop presents the book launch of 'REGENERATION! Conversations, Drawings, Archives & Photographs from Robin Hood Gardens' by Jessie Brennan. The publication contains Brennan’s two series of drawings Conversation Pieces and A Fall of Ordinariness and Light, among other research – including contributions by authors Owen Hatherley and Richard Martin – from Robin Hood Gardens estate in east London.
The Avery Review (AR), a new online journal dedicated to thinking about books, buildings and other architectural media, seeks to utilise the potential in the critical essay and repackage it for the digital realm. A project of the Office of Publications at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the AR's responsive website (designed by Nothing in Common) perfectly matches the exceptional quality of the content. Featuring essays from Owen Hatherley and Amale Andraos, among others, the overarching aim of the review is to "explore the broader implications of a given object of discourse" whether that be "text, film, exhibition, building, project, or urban environment."
Find out more from editors Caitlin Blanchfield and James Graham after the break.
To mark the 30th anniversary of Prince Charles' famous "Carbuncle Speech", last week the RIBA held a discussion focusing on the speech's impact on British architecture. The speech in which the prince protested the design of a proposed extension to the National Gallery has been seen by some as expanding the debate around architectural quality, but the panelists on the night disagreed with this view: Owen Hatherley said "The idea he broadened the debate is curious. He shut it down." Similarly, Charlie Luxton commented "He turned the debate from one of quality to one of style – and architecture suffered." You can read more of the panelists' views on BD Online.
In a fascinating article for the Guardian, Owen Hatherley visits Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kiev, the public square at the heart of the Ukranian revolution that ironically was designed under Stalin as a Baron Hausmann-style weapon against uprisings. Hatherley examines how elements of the public space were utilized by protesters, and how different areas of the square are now hosting a variety of political factions. You can read the full article here.
In October Phineas Harper, assistant editor of The Architectural Review, published an article about the state of architectural publishing, in which he addressed the crisis facing traditional architectural publishers and heavily criticized online platforms, particularly ArchDaily, that have “little time for critique, turning instead to reworking press releases and biased descriptions from the architects.”
Allow me to introduce myself: I am a critic and creator of original content for ArchDaily, and I would like to refute these allegations.
FAT Architecture, Crimson Architectural Historians and Owen Hatherley have been selected to curate the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale next June. The chosen team will respond to Rem Koolhaas’ theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014” with a project titled “A Clockwork Jerusalem.”
Vicky Richardson, British Council, said: "We look forward to working with FAT, Crimson and Owen Hatherley on ‘A Clockwork Jerusalem’. The Selection Committee felt their approach was both challenging and poetic, and that their work will make an important contribution to understanding modernity in British architecture."