Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's been an education

With the exhibition 'Radical Mix in Hanoi' coming to an end in Venice, we were sent an interesting review of the the 3 books, which were published for the exhibition series: 3 Positions in the Building Design Magazine by Samuel Penn (for more information, please visit: The exhibition is about to travel around the world over the next year.

From the article:

"I first encountered this project, commissioned by Salvatore Lacagnina of the Swiss Institute in Venice, on meeting Raphael Zuber during a visit to Switzerland last year. Considered a young architect, not yet 40, he reflects the age of all three participating guest professors whose exhibitions were held at the institute to coincide with the recent Venice Architecture Biennale. It was precisely this new emerging generation that Lacagnina was keen to showcase. Not in the usual portrayal of architectural objets d'art, but in exploring their intellectual positions by way of teaching at their respective schools.

Curatorially divided into three, beginning with a poster campaign, exhibitions displaying the student work and books explaining the research, Ludovic Balland's exquisite graphic design provides a successful homogeneity to the triptych. Although Lacagnina conceived the aspects of the projectto be read together, the books, which have attached to their front covers folded posters with bold letters "A", "B" and "C" for each teaching position, can easily be appreciated as works in their own right.


In position "C", Radical Mix, Ulrich Kirchhoff explores ways of understanding Hanoi by re-evaluating the nature of vertical urbanism. It is the most densely packed of the three as he sets about getting to grips with the human complexities of a new Asian X-City. What makes his process innovative is that he taught almost all of the course from Hong Kong where ...he runs... his practice. In the book's third section, "Communication'; he explains how two of his students, Abebe and Girona, fed up with the inadequacies of their Skype tutorial sessions, asked if they could develop a new communication matrix, which they named "Skolar". The main body of his book depicts the virtual teaching process through the development of student schemes.

There is something very refreshing about the three positions - which could lead to a much more in-depth essay on education. Suffice to say that the entire project is infused with a commitment to architecture. It was Lacagnina's ambition to explore the link between practice and teaching, one that acknowledged the importance of intellectual input, not by instrument of accreditation, which can have a corrupting influence, but rather by an understanding that education should be led directly by exceptional individuals in their own subject area."