17th Architecture Biennale: Austria dedicated itself to “platform urbanism” in Venice

Scientists Peter Mortenboeck and Helge Mooshammer are responsible for the Austrian pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale 2020. The directors of the “Center for Global Architecture” based at the Vienna University of Technology plan together with the “most likely” team “Platform Austria” (sic!), which deals with the potential of the future and its architecture.

This decision was made by the Minister of Culture Gernot Blumel (ÖVP) on Wednesday at a press conference. The basis of the concept is the term “Platform Urbanism”, which is dedicated to the effects of the spread of revolutionary technologies on urban space. A platform for thinking and debating the social changes created by platforms such as Facebook, AirBnB or Uber will therefore be created in the pavilion in the Giardini. As part of the six-day “residency”, experts will blog on site about their views on future potential in architecture and urban planning. This part of the exhibition is created live, so to speak, on an internet platform where you can access the knowledge acquired in this way outside the Giardini.

At the same time, an “Instagram-like” projection is taking place in the pavilion with attached pictures of all the invited guests on the topic of discussion “We like it” – which will also be written as an inscription on the facade, as can be seen from the rendering presented today. In the back part of the pavilion in the courtyard, a zone for relaxation and meetings will be created, and in the exhibition spaces themselves, world examples of platform urbanism will be presented. “The project is new, experimental and takes on one of the most important topics of our time,” says Blümel. “It will stimulate architectural discourse – and thus capture the essence of the idea of ​​the Biennale.”

“Very difficult to understand”

“We are the users of these platforms, which we ourselves produce with our own content,” says Peter Mörtenböck. Carpooling, e-scooters or delivery services would also shape the urban landscape and change how we operate. “The subject is very difficult to grasp,” admitted Helge Mooshammer. After all, during the industrial revolution there were numerous visible architectural changes such as railway stations and factories: “Only a smartphone as a fetish is not an aesthetic spectacle”, says the scientist. The effects of these “cultural networks”, as well as architectural techniques, such as how the urban space itself can become a platform, will now be negotiated in Venice. With its exhibition architecture, the “most likely” team should ensure that the overarching theme of platform urbanism as a typical combination of work and pleasure is also visible – and usable.

The duo’s project emerged from the selection process, which was carried out for the first time, in which 39 projects were submitted. Jury – composed of last year’s commissioner Verena Konrad, a journalist about architecture Matthew Boecklan architect Ernest J Fuchs such as Andrew Ruby as director of the Architekturmuseum Basel – after compiling a long list of six projects, he finally concentrated on three submissions, which were then discussed together with the Minister of Culture. “Platform Austria” finally won the race. The budget of 450,000 euros remains the same as before, of course they hope for further funds from sponsors. The tender for administrative responsibility, which in the future will operate separately from the artistic and architectural realization, was won by the section that was already in charge of the creation of the Austrian pavilion at the previous Biennale of Architecture.

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