Parallel to the exhibition The Architecture of Staged Realities, this event will delve deeper into mediation, identity and architecture. Architecture historian Léa-Catherine Szacka talks about mediated architecture, ideas and ideologies captured in a facade, and the narratives that play out in (real) architectural neighbourhoods. Architect and activist Adam Nathaniel Furman looks at the conditions of representation and how an alternative to heteronormative imagery influences the expressive facade. With a contribution by architect and planner Jaakko van 't Spijker.
Walt Disney once said that imagination was the model for reality – referring to the worlds he wanted to create. In his case, the result was a combination of the modernist desire for the creation of a total environment with the postmodernist application of a collage of familial architectural elements. Disney’s architecture is expressive. It animates and simultaneously feels safe, wondrous and familiar.
Architect and writer Anna Klingmann states in her book Brandscapes, Architecture in the Experience Economy: “The success of Disney’s project conveys people’s longing for a sense of security and the enrichment of architecture and cities with social experiences.”
Drawing on this quote, this evening attempts to understand the staging of place: storytelling with and through architecture itself. The core question becomes: For whom do we build, and who recognises themselves in our built environment? In this question, the plurality of forms of living is central: beliefs, gender, ethnic background. In what architectural environment do people feel at home? How can we imagine and build an expressive and pluralistic living environment? These questions in turn border on issues relating to style, taste, expression, authenticity, ornament, and colour, but also tactility. All of these relate to the current condition of architectural objects and urban planning.
Essay: "Main Street" and the Architecture of Illusion
In the conclusion of his 1966 book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, Robert Venturi famously proclaimed: "...is not Main Street almost all right?"Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (New York: MoMA, 1966 (reedition 2020)), 102. Venturi's statement, now a staple of late twentieth-century architecture, was intended to lend legitimacy to the chaotic and commercial scenery of the ugly and the ordinary, arguing that: "the seemingly chaotic juxtapositions of honky-tonk elements express an intriguing kind of vitality and validity, and they produce an unexpected approach to unity as well."
Storytelling, Inclusivity and Multivocality
Parallel to the exhibition The Architecture of Staged Realities, the second event in this series will delve deeper into storytelling, identity and multivocality (multiple voices). With contributions by visual artist Rachel Stella Jenkins, University of Toronto professor Nicholas Sammond, and architecture historian Lara Schrijver. The evening will be moderated by Hasna El Maroudi.