Non-fiction’s Michiel van Iersel will be co-hosting a public debate during the Skopje Architecture Week on Friday June 3 in the Macedonian capital. Earlier this year Non-fiction initiated Failed Architecture, a blog and series of public debates at De Verdieping in Amsterdam that focus on buildings and urban environments that have failed to stand the test of time and are currently neglected, abandoned or even vandalized or demolished, because of changing economic, social, political and/or physical circumstances. Through our efforts we hope to save some of these ruins from oblivion.
We got in touch with the Skopje Architecture Week through Ljubo Georgiev, architect and speaker at the last Failed Architecture event in Amsterdam. In his role as curator of the next Sofia Architecture Week in Bulgaria in November 2011, Ljubo was invited by the organization in Skopje to contribute to this annual event. Given the current debate on the legacy and future of Modernist architecture in the Macedonian capital, he proposed to organize a Failed Architecture event with the aim to re-energize the local discussion and introduce new and effective perspectives on how to deal with building that have become a burden.
The debate is called “Creativity against destruction: How creative entrepreneurs can save our buildings” and will focus on the potential of temporary and creative use of (vacant) buildings for sustainable urban and cultural development. We would like to reflect on possible strategies and practical tools that help ‘creative entrepreneurs’ to establish culturally and economically viable cultural venues that become a force to be reckoned with by local politicians, real estate developers and the public at large.
In short: how can creative individuals and initiatives become sustainable urban players and how can underutilized and undervalued spaces be re-activated through artistic and creative means? And on a more fundamental level: how can we, creative producers and mediators, re-imagine and re-appropriate our built environment and how can we prevent certain types of buildings from being neglected, abandoned or even demolished?
The meeting consists of juxtaposing opinions of 3 speakers on the question ‘How/Can creative entrepreneurs save and re-activate our built environment?’
The speakers will give short presentations, which will then be followed by a public debate. The list of speakers is not confirmed yet, but will consist of various local and international experts and Failed Architecture’s co-founder Michiel van Iersel. The discussion will be led by Ljubo Georgiev (partner at de+ge architects in Rotterdam, the Netherlands).
For more information and tickets visit the Skopje Architecture Week website.
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. The city developed rapidly after World War II, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake. In 1991 it became the capital centre of independent Macedonia. A major international relief effort saw the city rebuilt quickly, though much of its old neo-classical charm was lost in the process.
The new master plan of the city was created by the then leading Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. International financial aid poured into Skopje in order to help rebuild the city. As a result came the many modern (at the time) brutalist structures of the 1960s, that can still be seen today, such as the central post office building and the National Bank.