TIME: 15-17.10

VENUE: Architecture Department at Warsaw University of Technology 

15.10, 5pm, room 101, introduction, video conference with William Menking

16.10, 6pm, room 101, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss lecture "TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT. Inhabitation as Investigation"

17.10, 12pm–8pm, room 111 and 112, workshop

What are the investigations for creating new amalgamations of strategies, economies and technologies for the future of more affordable housing in Poland and New York City?
What can be the role of architecture in this investigation? The workshop in Warsaw investigated the process for establishing new housing association initiatives and research architecture that is relational to it.

We are facing a new crisis of housing for everyone. Contemporary house building sector in Poland has been almost entirely dominated by the real estate development business, pushing away housing associations whose pre-war rich heritage has been distorted by the post-war period. After 1989, housing associations started to resemble developer projects based on harsh profit rules, degenerating the idea of supplying cheap accommodation and community functions related to it.

Simultaneously, one can notice the decay of co-ops in the United States, particularly in New York City which used to be the bastion of great housing association projects in Northern America. Currently new investigations in housing strategies are being supported by the administration of Bill de Blasio, the new progressive mayor of New York. Both initiatives come with good intentions.  The elusive rules of market economy bring a challenge of avoiding the pattern leading to embattled opposites: idealism versus neoliberalism.

This workshop was held by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, architect and faculty at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, Jakub Szczęsny, architect from Warsaw known for his work included in MoMAs permanent collection, Dariusz Hyc, architect and faculty at Architecture Department at Warsaw University of Technology, Agata Twardoch, faculty at Architecture Department in Gliwice and Mikołaj Lewicki, sociologist carring out the research about morgages. Their aim was to provide an initial definition of the potential for establishing new housing association initiatives and the architecture that is related to it.

Rather than dwelling on fixed models how can our practices transgress the outdated separation between theory (the production of concepts) and action (political transformations)? Are we able to co-finance multi-family housing projects? How can the multi-family architecture of new housing associations look like? These topics opened the discussion about possible scenarios for housing development in Warsaw, New York and in other places.

On Thursday we connected with William Menking, Founder and Editor of Architect’s Newspaper in New York. He has organized, curated, and created catalogues for exhibitions on architecture for venues in the U.S. and Europe including; Archigram: Experimental Architecture 1961-1974; Superstudio Life Without Objects; and FRACOrleans: Experimental Architecture 1964-2000 and The Vienna Model on Viennese Housing: 2007-2012 for the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York City. He is also a large part of the current discussion on Housing in New York.

Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss is an architect living and working in New York. He is faculty at Columbias Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Preservation, founding principal of NAO and co-founder of School of Missing Studies (SMS). His books include Socialist Architecture: The Vanishing Act (with Armin Linke, 2012), Almost Architecture (2006), Lost Highway Expedition Photobook (ed. 2007) and Evasions of Power: On the Architecture of Adjustment (2011), Inhabiting Everyday Monuments (2014). His design experience include Villa 62 in Ordos, China (urbanism by Ai Weiwei), series of contemporary art spaces in New York and Philadelphia and research exhibitions about design futures from the past. Jovanovic Weiss has a Ph.D. from Goldsmiths Centre for Research Architecture in London. His book in the making is Architecture of Balkanization: Making of Distinct and Masters in architecture from Harvard university. Capital Cities. www.nao.nyc

Jakub Szczęsny works on the verge between architecture, art and design. He co-created Centrala, a cooperation platform from Warsaw, Poland as
a response to uncritical commercial practice in Polish architecture after 1989. He has been collaborating with Bęc Zmiana Foundation since 2008 starting, among others, Synchronicity, a yearly festival launching architectural and urban topics. Reduction, the theme of Synchronicity's fourth venue concentrated on the issue of necessity of new public housing policies in Poland. Since 2008 he has been teaching as visiting lecturer, studio critic and tutor in FAU (Sao Paulo), ASP and WAPW (Warsaw), Bezalel (Jerusalem) and New School (New York). His most notable projects so far are Public Water Purification Island, Podkowa House and Keret House, the first Polish architectural project included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Organizer: Bęc Zmiana Foundation
Partner: Architecture Department at Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw Branch of Association of Polish Architects (OW SARP)
Media Patron: Notes.Na.6.Tygodni, Urbnews.pl

The event is held within this year’s edition of the cycle SYNCHRONICITY: CONCRETUM, devoted to the concrete possibilities of imagining anew the relationships that underpin the organisation of cities. The project concentrates on HOLES IN THE WHOLE, understood in the context of curiosity and searching for spaces that exist on the margins, left intact by the dynamics of the city-enterprise. There is a conscious reference here to the title of Krzysztof Nawratek’s book, Holes in the Whole. An Introduction to Urban Revolutions (Zero Books 2012). Conceived as a critical analytical project, this edition of SYNCHRONICITY aims to draw conclusions IN CONCRETE TERMS, and to reveal the role of architects, sociologists, politicians, urban activists, officials and residents in bringing about tangible improvements to the spatial organisation and quality of life in the city.

The project is carried out by the Bęc Zmiana Foundation with the financial support of the City of Warsaw and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.