, Architecture

The 27 Doors of Future Architecture Rooms

Author: Lynsey Free

Visit a new digital space where leading European architecture institutions and organizations share statements about their future work and reflections on this extraordinary contemporary condition.

As the world continues to experience varying degrees of lockdown amid the COVID-19 crisis, 27 leading European architecture institutions and organizations have seized the opportunity to create an interactive, digital experience in which they can talk about their future work, reflect, and give a tour of their premises. Spectators need only open the door of each institution to embark on the cultural adventure (virtually, of course—no key needed).

Future Architecture Rooms is a collection of 27 rooms hidden behind 27 doors, which invites you to meet the artists, architecture, curators, producers, and creative directors behind these institutions. When each door is opened, the viewer is introduced to a video experience of knowledge exchange and education.

The content behind each door is hugely unique, as each institution was given full creative authority on what to share and how to share it. Each room has its own participants who communicate their chosen message to the viewer.

“Every room features a short video about the members’ interests, methods, and their teams, but also about buildings and places in which they work. These videos allow us to peek behind the scenes of some of the most interesting critical projects in Europe; to understand the people and spaces behind their institutional logos,” the concept curator of the project, Anastassia Smirnova, says in a statement.

Smirnova is the founder of SVESMI and former Strelka Institute program director.

The idea was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, an era in which we’re all spending more time indoors, enclosed in our own rooms where we live, work, and play. Even more, we’re catching glimpses of other people’s rooms through video calls—whether it’s a co-worker’s kitchen, a supervisor’s dining room, or an intern’s tiny studio apartment. It’s a new normal that is worth reflecting on, according to the team behind the project.

“The era of video conferencing has exposed our private rooms online. These days, we glimpse each other’s decorated walls or books on shelves in call after call. The fragments of these rooms become part of our own spaces, blurring the boundaries of public and private spheres, of what is tangible inside and what is immaterial elsewhere. The opportunity to peek into these unfamiliar spaces of others—and have our own projected outwards—is at once entertaining and unsettling,” says Smirnova.

She goes on to explain that the simple concept of a room—four walls, a ceiling, and a floor—has become center stage during the pandemic. “We have become hyper-aware of the materiality and dimensions of our rooms. Rooms have somehow become more important. During periods of self-isolation, it is likely a room where you while the time away. You cannot leave your room so easily anymore; it holds on to you with an unusual centripetal force—and you hold onto it.”

Room #1 is by the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. By opening the door you are transported to the rooms of Palacio Sinel de Cordes—home of the Triennale—to hear the stories and experiences of those who have had the pleasure of working and co-existing inside the beloved historic building.

Then it’s on to Room #2, the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, which invites the spectator inside the small office of the Berlin-based architecture collective c/o now, to learn their take on the 2020 Tbilisi Biennial theme “What Do We Have In Common?” This is made possible, partly, through an ever-changing background provided by Google Street View.

Behind the door #9 is the Fundació Mies van der Rohe room, which invites the viewer to learn about the stunning Barcelona Pavilion and what its day-to-day looks like in the midst of the current crisis.

Among the other early participants of the project are Design Biotop, S AM Swiss Architecture Museum, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, DAI-SAI Association of Istrian Architects, and Architektūros fondas. The rest of the rooms will open throughout the upcoming weeks.

But don’t assume the behind-the-door scene you see today is the same one you’ll see next month. The rooms, their inhabitants, and their content will change—just as they would inside any given room in a regular home or office setting. “In the coming months, the members will be able to diversify the content and curate their rooms in unique ways. The rooms will be filled with live feeds, texts, comments, open discussions, and more,” explains Anastassia Smirnova.

Spectators can expect the project’s participants to talk about any range of topics as the project progresses, including how they’re adapting to the consequences of COVID-19, how they plan on working in the coming months, and how they’re approaching the theme of the next Future Architecture Platform Open Call, Landscapes of Care.

Future Architecture Rooms is a project by Future Architecture platform (which is led by Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana), directed by architect Matevž Čelik. The graphic designer of the project is Anna Kulachek, who is also the art director of Strelka Institute.

Images: Future Architecture Rooms

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