Posts tagged with "Andrés Jaque":

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Andrés Jaque offers an approach to “intersectional architecture”

Andrés Jaque is the founder of the New York and Madrid–based Office for Political Innovation. By exploring the expanded potential of architecture through both speculative and realized designs, the firm has received numerous accolades, including the 2015 MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program and the 2016 Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts. In 2014, Jaque’s SALES ODDITY: Milano 2 and the Politics of Direct-to-Home TV Urbanism garnered a 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale Silver Lion award. The 2011 IKEA Disobedients was the first “architectural performance” piece to enter the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. In this project, local residents were invited to hack IKEA furniture, and in doing so publicly perform their everyday private talents and determine their own lifestyles. The project suggests that not all people necessarily abide by the same normative principles or architectural dictates. Jaque is also the director of the Columbia University GSAPP postgraduate Advanced Architectural Design program.

As a member of this year’s AN Best of Design Awards jury, Jaque spoke to The Architect’s Newspaper contributor Adrian Madlener about the current state of architecture. 

The Architect’s Newspaper: What roles do architecture and urbanism play in addressing today’s global challenges?

Andrés Jaque: Architecture and urbanism have a responsibility to mediate some of the most pressing topics reshaping contemporary life: environmental degradation, mounting geopolitical tensions, and the articulation of physical and virtual worlds. There are three unavoidable facts facing society today: Climate change is forcing humanity to redefine how we engage with nature; technology is becoming increasingly autonomous, making it impossible for humanity to maintain control over its impact; and the evolving interaction society has with the offline and the online realms is blurring the distinction between what is real and what is virtual.

Attempting to set clear boundaries between these two realities requires a greater effort. Architecture plays an important role in all these issues. The field has a great capacity and responsibility in the making of facts catering to the collective sense of truth that all forces in society should now—more than ever—respect. Architecture is in the best disciplinary position it has ever been to shape the present and propose potential scenarios for the future.

AN: How can the discipline look to the past to inform the present?

AJ: As architects, we have to reflect on our practice, but also on our legacy. On one hand, we need to develop new ways to operate and respond to changing societal and environmental paradigms. On the other hand, we need to reconsider how we view our predecessors, how we understand and learn from architectural history. Just a few years ago, figures like Cedric Price, Lina Bo Bardi, the Ant Farm collective, and Frederick Kiesler were seen as marginal. Today, these unsung innovators are proving to be the best sources of information for tackling the field’s evolutionary challenges.

AN: You often say that architecture needs to incorporate knowledge from other disciplines. What are the benefits of this interdisciplinary approach?   

AJ: Architecture has the unique capacity to express different perspectives, materialities, temporalities, and scales in interventions charged with multiplicity. Whatever priorities we’re going to address, our response needs to be informed by different realities. Architecture is not an isolated practice. We have to consult other fields: science, art, technology, etcetera. In that way, the discourse around our discipline is becoming more intersectional. It’s important to understand that the design of a building or environment cannot just be accomplished with form and aesthetics alone. Different political, social, economic, and ecological implications need to be considered if a design is to be relevant. 

I defend the concept of intersectional architecture in my capacity as a practitioner and educator. My goal is to develop methodologies that can shift architecture’s interdependence on different realities into an opportunity to engage criticality and to intervene in many areas of contemporary life that are currently being disputed.

AN: Do any of your current projects exemplify the concept of intersectional architecture?

AJ: At Office for Political Innovation, we’re currently designing an experimental school. The project obliges us to simultaneously consider the daily life of its students, but also the larger context that they will occupy. On a larger scale, we’re actually structuring an ecosystem that addresses its own consumption. This aspect will also become an important resource when teaching the students about sustainability. 

We’re also currently designing a house on one of the outer islands near Corpus Christi, Texas. Our proposal offers solutions on different levels. On one hand, it’ll serve as a getaway for a Dallas-based family; on the other, it’ll collect fresh rainfall to irrigate the surrounding mangrove—an important line of defense that can combat erosion and rising sea levels. The house can accommodate the owner’s almost hedonistic desires while still ensuring the survival of its surroundings. What we’re realizing in our practice is that architecture needs to simultaneously cater to different realities within a single response. A design has the ability to address often disparate elements and perspectives.

AN: From your experience as a cocurator of 2018’s Manifesta 12 biennial in Palermo, Italy, how do you think art practice influences the way we imagine and/or create cities?

AJ: Palermo is not a city but rather a hub for the stratified relationships that tie it to distant places like sub-Saharan West Africa, Bangladesh, and the United States. These connections occur through the flow of capital and investment—that dispute the future of the city’s built environment—but also the nearby military base that foreign powers use to strike the Middle East and northern Africa. Palermo’s architecture, the dialectic between its role on a local and global level, has proved to be ineffectual in dealing with these transnational interactions.

In this scenario, architecture and art are the only disciplines that can bring heterogeneous situations together. Whether it’s the migration crisis or a personal struggle, these realities simultaneously develop on different scales. Architecture and art can mediate the evolution of these realities by introducing the values of urbanity, new forms of citizenship, and the aesthetics of inclusivity. This can only happen if such interventions take stock of what is already in place and grasp the full scope of complexity that the context might contain. To be truly impactful, the initiatives must cater to all parts rather than just the most powerful elements. An open cultural platform like the Manifesta art biennial offers architects and artists the space to test out independent action that the urgency of commercial commissions rarely provides. 

AN: How is architecture education changing?

AJ: Within the Advanced Architectural Design Program that I direct at Columbia University, students—who already have significant experience with design as a critical medium—explore new forms of practice in different contexts. They gain an analytical understanding that will allow them to intervene and apply architecture as a contemporary methodology. Various speculative exercises allow them to test out how the field could have a wider scope of influence in the future. They don’t learn a predetermined set of skills, but rather work together and with faculty to reinvent architecture as a discipline that can respond to the world’s greatest problems. 

It is crucial that they are able to translate this discursive approach when entering or reentering the profession. In our program, we’re trying to change architectural education by introducing an experimental pedagogy. Students are given the time and space to develop situated projects that address specific, real-world briefs. With its many firms, experts, advocacy agencies, and organizations, New York offers the perfect context for these investigations.

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Andrés Jaque to direct Columbia GSAPP’s advanced architectural design program

This week Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) Dean Amale Andraos broke the news that Andrés Jaque will direct the school's Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design (AAD) program, starting June 1. The program is a three-semester professional degree for those who hold a B.Arch or M.Arch. Current Director and Associate Professor Enrique Walker will cede the reigns to Jaque after a decade of directing the AAD program (Walker will continue to teach at GSAPP).

"I am thrilled for Andrés Jaque to take on the directorship of GSAPP’s Advanced Architectural Design program. He has been an important member of our faculty who is greatly admired by faculty and students alike for his unique reframing of architecture and its ability to engage the urgent issues of our time, as well as his ability to re-shape design and contemporary practice through his influential pedagogical approach,” said Dean Amale Andraos, in prepared remarks. "I’m very thankful for the rigorous vision and dedication that Enrique Walker has brought to the program during his directorship. Enrique established a strong legacy of bringing experimental approaches to research and design, and built a program that is firmly grounded in forming positions through design."

Jaque has taught at GSAPP since 2015. He is the founder of the New York- and Madrid-based studio Office for Political Innovation, which explores architecutre through built work as well as performance.

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Storefront exhibit excavates the themes of “Sex and the City”

As the 20th anniversary of the hit HBO show Sex and the City approaches, Andrés Jaque of Madrid and New York-based Office for Political Innovation in collaboration with Miguel de Guzmán of Imagen Subliminal have turned their examination of the iconic series into an architectural exhibition. Sex and the So-Called City, on view until April 3rd at New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture, displays how the iconic series remains a prescient and even seminal text on the cultural and physical evolution of New York City, perhaps the show’s most central protagonist. As a vision of the city and those who live in it, the series Sex and the City traces over half a decade of social, political, and architectural changes through its narrative of sex, romance, friendship, and fashion. On the show, which obscured as much it revealed the psychosocial, bio-political, and architectural structures of Manhattan, Jaque/Office of Political Innovation uses “lifestyle forensics” to reconstruct the complex substructure that produces urban life and the way we choose to portray it. The exhibition comprises a large multi-wall video installation, which creates a disorienting space of edited and manipulated clips from Sex and the City containing choice quotes from the show (“He gave Samantha the opportunity to combine her two greatest loves: sex and real estate”) along with an archive of objects, images, and diagrams, some of which are architectural while others are more esoteric, including movie posters, Manolo Blahniks, coffins, and fleshlights. Sex and the So-Called City delves into how the city’s representation and the lifestyles we perform produce the urban landscape. Sex and its consequences on the city are central to the exhibit. Gay pornography is displayed alongside the latest in color-morphing architectural glass, highlighting how the generic luxury condos featured in popular porn videos produce a form of libidinal real estate aspiration. The entanglement of expensive reproductive technologies with architectural technology and urban development is elucidated through text, images and products, ranging from designer dresses to egg-freezing apparatuses. By relying on the television show as its primary material, Sex and the So-Called City demonstrates how media about the city produces the city by conditioning new cultural and lifestyle visions and reproducing a mass cultural imaginary. It also exposes the ways in which visions of the city create the urban layout of New York itself. Despite its whimsical, campy starting point, Sex and the So-Called City paints an uneasy vision of the new New York. Media, sex, and architecture have colluded to create an increasingly inaccessible breed of urban citizen, an entire class of people that accesses technology to avoid pregnancy and buys specially-hued glass to make their penthouse skies even bluer. Still, for all the (valid) outcry against sanitization and unaffordability, there remains an indisputable vibrancy to living in New York. For Sex and the So-Called City, the city is a palimpsest of the desires, choices, and imaginations of New Yorkers, fictional or not. Sex and the So-Called City is on view at Storefront for Art and Architecture, at 97 Kenmare Street, New York, until April 3.
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Andrés Jaque awarded the Kiesler Prize

  The New York- and Madrid- based architect Andrés Jaque has been award the 2016 Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Prize for Architecture and Art. The Kiesler Foundation made the announcement today that the Spanish-born, Columbia University and Princeton University Professor of Architecture has been given the prize, which comes with an award of €55,000. His firm, the Office for Political Innovation, describes itself as focusing on the development of a democratically centered architecture. The firm considers objects as material actors within egalitarian societies. In 2014, Jaque won the Silver Lion of the Best Research Project at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, and in 2015, he won the Young Architect's Prize at MoMA/PS 1. At PS 1 he created the summer pavilion—called Cosmo—that was designed to serve as a portable water-filtration pant. The Prize is awarded every two years (since 1998) by the Republic of Austria and the city of Vienna. Previous winners include: Frank Gehry, Judith Barry, Cedric Price, Asymptote (Lise Anne Couture and Hani Rashid), Toyo Ito, and others. This years jury was made up of Benedetta Tagliabue, Peter Bogner, Beatriz Colomina, Hani Rashid, Ben van Berkel, Stella Rollig, and Peter Kogler. Jaques will be given his award at a ceremony a later this year.
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AN Exclusive: Andres Jaque Explains Why This Year’s YAP Winner “COSMO” Is Being Built In Spain

Each year, the MoMA/PS1 Young Architect’s Program features an exciting design by an up-and-coming architect in the courtyard for the Warm-Up series. This year Madrid- and New York–based Andres Jaque and his Office for Political Innovation will build a huge, roving sprinkler system called COSMO that will surely liven up the event. However, it is different from years past: It will be built in Spain and shipped over by boat. Why? “Architecture is no longer about sign or form,” Jaque told AN. “It is about social networks, and how materials move through those networks. Architecture is nothing if it doesn’t engage these networks.” The design for COSMO is made from off-the-rack parts that are not altered in anyway as they are assembled on site. They remain as generic as possible so that they can be reused more easily. “We are designing them so that we don’t have to cut them. If we cut them we would be minimizing their reuse potential.” This could mean making something locally, or shipping it globally. It is a rethinking of what something means to be local. Much of COSMO could be made anywhere in the world. The parts are put together with wires, which are also reusable. The novel tectonics of COSMO are derived from the new, specific ways that the generic parts are put together. When the parts are allowed to have life after architecture, they take on 2nd and 3rd lives elsewhere. “It is a new way to relate to the land,” Jaque said, “It is an alternative to consumption. We want to give things more lives. It is a different culture of materiality that we want to bring to PS1.” Irrigations systems have been a recurring theme in Jaque’s work. He sees them as one of the original and most complete, open source knowledge systems. Since the 1940s, the collective intelligence of irrigation systems have been evolving so that anyone can use the technology. This radical way of thinking about objects and their networks is something the Spanish architect has researched extensively over his career, since growing up. “My family comes from Madrid but also from Aquitaine in France. Both parts of my family had their lives divided between cities and countryside. In France I remember spending summers looking and playing with the centered pivot irrigation systems that my uncle had in his farm,” said Jaque. “I also saw the way he transformed them and exchange parts of it with his neighbors. I guest it all started with that. It was part of a neighbors-based economy.” COSMO is not the first PS1 project to give afterlife to building materials. Past winners such as SO-IL, CODA, HWKN, and Interboro Partners have used ready-made parts that can be re-used after the summer, such as scaffolding, ping-pong tables, skateboard decks, and a host of other objects. “Billion Oyster Pavilion,” one of the 2015 Figment pavilions on Governor’s Island, is specifically designed to be thrown into the New York Harbor later this summer, where it will take on new life as an oyster habitat. According to Jaque, bringing in parts from all over the world is actually better for the environment. This new, global way of producing an architecture is actually more energy-efficient and causes less emissions, due to the sheer volume of freight that a boat can handle compared to a truck. So shipping tires from Turkey is better for the environment than bringing them from somewhere in the U.S., since New York has a harbor. The team also found irrigation pyramids in Spain, where they were more easily procured. The parts are expected to arrive in New York sometime in May, and should be ready for the June 27 opening Warm-Up.
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Five finalist named for 2015 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program

MoMA PS1 has announced the five finals for the 2015 Young Architects Program pavilion for the annual Warm Up performance series. The program is considered one of the most prestigious showcases for emerging architects in North America. This year's finalists hail from New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Toronto. Andres Jaque / Office for Political Innovation of New York and Madrid, Spain. brillhart architecture from Miami. Erin Besler of Los Angeles. The Bittertang Farm of New York. Studio Benjamin Dillenburger from Toronto. The jury for the Young Architects Program included Glenn Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, Kathy Halbreich, Associate Director, The Museum of Modern Art, Peter Reed, Senior Deputy Director, Curatorial Affairs, The Museum of Modern Art, Barry Bergdoll, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, Pedro Gadanho, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art, Peter Eleey, Curator, MoMA PS1 Pippo Ciorra, Senior Curator, MAXXI Architecturra, National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI), Rome, Jeannette Plaut, Director, YAP CONSTRUCTO, and Marcelo Sarovic, Director, YAP CONSTRUCTO