East-CentricArch is the way Arhitext design Foundation has chosen to virtually Expose East and Central European Architecture.
The platform is a complementary way of displaying good quality architecture from EEA. Complementary, for the moment, to Arhitext magazine and Arhitext events.
How it all started:
The Arhitext Design Foundation, editor of Arhitext magazine, in partnership with the Architects Chamber from Romania, has organised between the 7 and 9 of October 2011 The International Arhitext Festival Fluencies, which has taken place in Timisoara, Romania. To prepare this Festival and most of all, the Fluencies Exhibition that was part of the Festival, the Foundation has launched in 2011 spring an open call for projects to which lots of architectural studios have answered. The projects received as an answer to the open call, as well as others, selected directly by the curatorial board, have been featured on this platform (entirely) and some of them in the exhibition and catalogue.
This was the starting point of our platform. It has been growing from this point on and will continue to do that, having up to date information about both projects and architects from EEA.
For the moment, you will find below what was the curator’s argument for the Fluencies exhibition, the idea that helped us select the exhibition and catalogue projects and also make this platform possible.
Argument from the curator of the Fluencies Exhibition 2011:
Is there an “East” any longer? Is there any use in talking about the “West”? Are the separations from the Cold War period still holding? Is it possible that precisely the imperative of integration within a politically common and, especially, within an economically globalized world, of the fluxes without barriers, caused, more than two decades ago already, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the annihilation of the Iron Curtain?
But can we give way so easily to the historical and cultural specialty of an entire area? And is it possible, by any chance, by one of those ambiguities and accent reversals, that history doesn’t cease bestirring, that the so rich and diverse specialty of the Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe represents today, after more than two decades of transition from collectivism to capitalism, a source of resistance to homogenization, of weal in poverty?
It is precisely through our stormy history that our present is more affluent in pasts than many other areas of Europe. And the pluralism of collective narrations and their scale differences does not assume the domination of some by others without fail.
At present, we’re increasingly talking, in the West especially, about a nostalgia of modernity, about the need for a post-imperial and post-colonial recursion to the project of the modernity. We are talking, however, about a prospective, and not a retrospective, nostalgia.
Modernity no longer seems able to be brought up-to-date again, nor re-launched, after its postmodern liquidation, but from the perspective and from the unmassified direction of the second, “minor”, derived, marginal, “soft”, heteromorphic modernities specific to the Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, not from that of the Western triumphant, dominant, homogenizing modernity.
Over the Western utopian rationalism, which has lead modernity atop, but also to the standstills and ruinations of the XXth century, preference appears to be given, in the discourses on the reactivation of modernity, to the readjusted humanism of an Eastern modernity, that “off-modernity” whereof Svetlana Boym was talking as a unique solution of reasonable re-modernization.
Through the Fluencies exhibition, we are inviting you to draw together, in Timisoara, in a place of all confluences, the map of the most recent tendencies, movements, and communication corridors from the “reservoir” of recent architecture from Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe.
And to think, from the perspective of a dialogue of the unconsumed, reusable modernities, of the need to recapture the scales of humanity by outlining some sensible micro-architectures, sensuous and moral, responsible and sustainable at the same time. In other words, of a new architectural humanism, of a re-architecturing of the human. (Bogdan Ghiu)
More about the Fluencies exhibition:
The Exhibition Fluencies is one in a series of exhibitions that the Arhitext Design Foundation has started with the aim of displaying the architecture from the Eastern and Central European countries not as a global architecture but rather as a particular and specific architecture; an architecture that does not necessarily bear the heavy weight of history but rather remembers it in a light contemporary perspective. It is also an architecture that draws not only upon the great buildings any architecture history book shows, but also on those less known examples of architecture. They can show the particularities of a local approach that create the nuances of a global style. We are thus continuing our research initiated 4 years ago when we decided to dedicate, each year, at least one issue of the Arhitext magazine to studying the contemporary architecture in our region. We have published issues that presented the architecture in countries like: Hungary, Serbia, Russia, Turkey, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Austria. With these past studies in mind we have decided in 2011 to choose a theme that would shed light on the particular, consistent, sometimes unnoticed, streams in the architecture of these countries.
The curatorial board of 2011 Fluencies exhibition comprised of:
Bogdan Ghiu – Romanian writer, poet and translator, has received several awards, like: in 1997 the Award of the Romanian Union of Writers for the poetry volumes Poemul cu latura de un metru (Ed. Cartea Românească, 1996) and Arta consumului (Ed. Cartea Românească, 1996), in 2003 the Award of the Romanian Union of Writers for translating Charles Baudelaire, Inima mea dezvăluită (Ed. Est, 2002) and Henri Bergson, Energia spirituală (Ed. Meridiane, 2002) and in 2004 the Order of “Cultural Merit” in rank of Knight given by the President of Romania.
Arpad Zachi – architect, editor in chief of Arhitext magazine and co-founder of the magazine, professor at the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest, practicing urban planning at Urban Design, Bucharest.
Mihai Pienescu – Romanian architect established in France, senior editor of Arhitext magazine, co-founder of the magazine, practicing architecture at Mihai PIENESCU – architecte d.f.a.b in Paris, diplomat of the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning from Bucharest.
Livia Ivanovici – architect, junior editor of Arhitext magazine, curator of two national architecture exhibitions made by Arhitext Foundation, collaborator of Studio Basar and curator Alina Serban in making the Romanian Pavilion for the 53rd edition of Art Biennale in Venice.
Malina Contu – art historian, senior editor of Arhitext magazine, associate professor at the University of Bucharest, Department of Art History and at the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest, Department of Theory, curator at the National Museum of Art of Romania, European Art Department.
Ionut Butu – architect, junior editor of Arhitext magazine, curator of Rintala-Eggertsson exhibition made by Arhitext design Foundation, editor of the book “The evolution of Bucharest”, author: arch. and urban planner Andrei Panoiu.
Sabin Bors – philosopher, junior editor of Arhitext magazine, independent researcher and textual artist living and working in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, covering aspects of contemporary philosophy, public space, architecture, politics and contemporary art, translator.
East and Central European Countries featured on the platform:
Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine.
About Arhitext design Foundation:
Arhitext design has represented, for more than 20 years, a tool for the constant screening of the Romanian cultural space and for the harmonization with the international cultural trends in the fields of architecture, art and design. Supported in its endeavors by (Romanian and foreign) architects and established theorists of these fields, Arhitext Design foundation has managed to valorize the concept of sustainable development through its projects, to encourage the critical spirit and thus to outline new tendencies and to identify present and future values. Through the projects undertaken, Arhitext design intends to achieve one of its most important goals: to initiate a process of formation and construction of a Romanian cultural context. That is why some of the most important aspects considered by the Foundation in its endeavors are inter-disciplinarity and the exchange of ideas between various related fields. The objectives the Foundation set out to achieve 20 years ago were reached one by one, Arhitext design becoming a platform for the exchange of ideas, for the observation of critical and theoretical stances which concurrently form and shape a cultural context we continually need.
About Arhitext magazine:
Arhitext, boasting a more than 20-year old tradition on the market of specialized architecture publications, is an elite cultural magazine and the most important trend-setting magazine in this field. Its emergence on the market of Romanian cultural publications meant the recovery of a less approached or known area, dealing with the current achievements in the field of architecture, urban planning, architectural and urban design, thus becoming a magazine of great interest on a national, as well as international scale. Arhitext, more than a magazine, may be regarded as a collection publication carrying theoretical weight in the field of architecture, proposing an inter-disciplinary approach to this field. The set of themes of the magazine’s issues is of great topical interest, each theme defining itself rather through the interdisciplinary analysis of the concept discussed and through a direct connection to the present reality. This approach to architecture has caused Arhitext to stand out among the other publications on the market and to become an important theoretical landmark in the analysis of current architecture.