September 30, 2010

Preservation: OMA/AMO at the Venice Biennale 2010.

OMA/AMO exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2010

The following text is from the panels of OMA/AMO’s preservation exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010:

"Architects - we who change the world - have been oblivious or hostile to the manifestations of preservation. Since 1980, in Protoghesis's "Presence of the Past", there has been almost no attention paid to preservation in successive architecture Biennales.
"Bad taste or bad ideology? The intolerance of our generation has been breathtaking: if the same criteria that eliminated Berlin's "Palast der repbulik" had been applied to the past, for instance the Romans, we would have no history left..."

"[...] The world needs a new system mediating between preservation and development. Could there be the equivalent of carbon trading in modernization? Could one modernizing nation 'pay' another nation not to change? Could backwardness become a resource, like Costa Rica's rain-forest? Should China save Venice? [...]"

"The march of preservation necessitates the development of a theory of its opposite: not what to keep, but what to give up, what to erase and abandon. A system of phased demolition, for instance, would drop the unconvincing pretence of permanence for contemporary architecture, built under different economic and material assumptions. [...]"
"Recently declared UNESCO sites, increase in tourism. Portrait of a vicious circle: in each instance, the bestowal of heritage status triggers a drastic increase in tourism, and inevitably development, which then threatens heritage. Some of the oldest parts of the world become the newest.."

"[...] Embedded in huge waves of development, which seem to transform the planet at an ever-accelerating speed, there is another kind of transformation at work: the area of the world declared immutable through various regimes of preservation is growing exponentially. A huge section of our world (about 12%) is now off limits, submitted to regimes we don't know, have not thought through, cannot influence. At its moment of surreptitious apotheosis, preservation does not quite know what to do with its new empire. [...]"
 "The architecture of the 1960s, 70s and 80s - in this case Kurokawa's Capsule Tower - is vulnerable from two sides. The first is physical decay. In this enthusiasm for new materials and new processes, Kurokawa's structure is as fragile as the sum of his mererials' half-life..."

" [...] After thinkers like Ruskin and Viollet-Le-Duc, the arrogance of the modernists made the preservationist look like a futile, irrelevant figure. The current moment has almost no idea how to negotiate the coexistence of radical change and radical stasis that is our future. [...]"