12/03/ 2019 - 30/05/ 2019
The project and the exhibition Liberation-of-space opens the questions that in recent years have been imposed by the violent transformation of Skopje’s identity. In the populist aggressive building offensive called “Skopje 2014”, occupying the city center with invisible columns of ornate styrofoam facades and pompous bronze monuments, architecture and urbanism were misused for the most frivolous disposal of public space and for trapping, suppressing or denying the previous architectural achievements. The proposal of the curators Slobodan Velevski and Marija Mano Velevska and the four teams of architects gathered around the Freeing-the-Space project, which was presented in the Macedonian pavilion at the 16th International Exhibition of Architecture in Venice in 2018, organized by MSU, starts from the return and the new devising the values of the free public space in an architectural and social sense.
The Freeing-of-Space installation treats four different projects made by four teams of architects in collaboration with the curators:
The “Unpleasant Proximity” project reconceives the building of the CC SKM, i.e. the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia. Authors: Gordan Vitevski, Mila Dimitrovska, Vlado Danailov.
The “Reconnection” project shapes the space between the POŠTA (MAIN POSTOFFICE) complex. Author: Alexandra Shulevska. Collaborators: Marta Bruschi da Fonseca Gallardo and Lea Bradasevic.
The project “#Liberation #Connection #Purification #Reprogramming” treats the plateau before MNT. Authors: Dejan Ivanovski, Filip Jovanovski. Collaborators: Sanja Avramovska, Valbona Feyza, Miroslav Pejovski.
The “Destratification Skopje” project reformulated the facade and content of the NA-MA building. Authors: Marina Tornatora, Ottavio Amaro, Blagoja Bajkovski, Lucia La Giussa, Alessandro De Luca. Contributors: Cecilia Coppola, Matteo Milano, Davide Villari and Stefano Villari.
Excerpts from the introduction to the catalog by curators Marija Mano Velevska and Slobodan Velevski:
In the midst of the whirlwind of global trends and local specific conditions, Freeing-the-space tries to respond to the most controversial topic ubiquitous in the architectural, but also the overall public discourse of the Republic of Macedonia in the past few years, directly challenging the extensive construction activity of the central city core of Skopje – prosaically coded under the name Skopje 2014 (SK 2014).
The Freeing-the-space project develops a design-analytic cross-section through the current state of certain urban fragments in the central area of the city of Skopje. The framework of action envisages a review of key aspects of SC 2014 and a rethinking of its spatial effects, through autonomous architectural projects that aim to retroactively regenerate the entirety of the city collective, starting from the recording and recognition of its spatial and programmatic anchor points.
The project is based on the conviction that:
– Skopje 2014 is not a project;
– The only value of Skopje 2014 is that it exists, in a material sense;
– The professional architectural public does not give any guidelines on how, in a spatial sense, they should treat the “legacy” left behind by the process of realizing Skopje 2014;
– Facing the problems arising from spatial interventions must begin with methodologically determined procedures of contemporary architectural design such as understanding the built context, projects that act synchronously with existing and new social needs and building the modern city space as an inclusive and plural system of values.
The basic technique used by the concept called “Freeing the space” is typically architectural: creating projects that carry the idea of a space that unites, liberates and that does not currently exist. When using architecture as a tool in shaping the “choreography of everyday life”, the opportunity to correct the negative transformative effects of SK 2014 was perceived; for the city to clearly define, in a material and symbolic sense, its own valuable features of modernity, and the idea of exclusivity and spatial segregation woven into SK 2014, its pretentiousness and clumsiness to be completely detotalized. Thus, the superficiality of SK 2014, which is excluded from any meaningful content essential to architectural production, would transgress, creating an ethical relationship with the city where the performative particularities of spatiality serve the real needs of urban living in the conceptual and public sense of self-identification.
In addition to the individual projects created specifically after the call for “Freeing the space” by four teams of architects from the young generation who showed a fresh and progressive view in the holistic view suggested by the theme, other actors were involved in the city-building of Skopje: by experienced local architects who themselves were schooled and formed as young architects at the time when the modern architecture of the city was heroically created; through photographers who record its growth and change through their lens; to a series of other professionals who respond precisely and/or creatively to the complex intersection of ideas and practices inspired by the city of Skopje.
The panel discussion organized during the exhibition aims to encourage dialogue in the public and to ask for a political and social attitude regarding the issues initiated by the Freeing-the-Space project.
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