Solidarity. How do democratic spaces come into existence?

At present, architectural production seems to consist largely of acquisitions, participation in competitions, advertising measures, defence strategies against fee dumping, questioning of chamber structures, etc. Concerns and time constraints, such as those arising from competitive pressure, the need for flexibility and career imperatives, often leave little time for conceptual, reflective fundamental questions such as what we actually do and build, how, where, for whom or why?

With the annual discourse programme “Solidarity” we do not want to address “ourselves” or the working conditions of architecture, we do not want to make politics of interest, but to be in solidarity with those who differ from us: That means something quite opposed to “putting the users more in the centre”; because often those with whom architecture should be in solidarity are not visible at all as users (but also not as planners) or have no voice.

In addition to the forms of critique that accuse modernity of dogmatizing efficiency and functionality at the expense of the complexity of architecture, we are now also familiar with the critique of the unecological aspects of a standardizing rationality of modern building. If, however, resource scarcity seems to make it necessary to set priorities, then these cannot go exclusively in the direction of energy (savings) and thus a “new efficiency” unquestioned in the current architectural discussion. Rather, the question of new possibilities of a democratic spatial policy is needed, which will also and especially become visible in and out of the crisis.

The oegfa Annual Programme 2011 places solidarity with others in the foreground, even if this can mean de-solidarisation with one’s own: with the role intended for us and the fields of activity accepted by us, with projects described above and seemingly unchangeable injustices. And from the outset, possible problems and “traps” are emerging in this emphasis on solidary architecture: such as the danger of falling into a paternalistic, “caring” act of care for others, or the confusion of architecture with social work – the latter a self-misunderstanding that has to be countered by intensive questions about the forms and aesthetics of solidary architecture.

Text: Gabu Heindl, Austrian Society for Architecture

Curated Programme

Oliver Marchart – Für eine neue Heteronomieästhetik
Fr, 14.01.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Natalie Jeremijenko – On engineering biodiversity, improving environmental health and wrestling Rhinocerous Beetles
Fr, 21.01.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Jesko Fezer – Entwurfsproblem soziale Wirklichkeit
Fr, 11.03.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Wer bestimmt hier? Teilhabe-Projekte in Architektur und Städtebau
Fr, 25.03.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Urbanität, Souveränität, Solidarität
Fr, 15.04.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Pier Vittorio Aureli – Labour, City, Architecture
Fr, 06.05.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Manuel Herz – Flüchtlingslager der West-Sahara
Fr, 27.05.2011, 19:00 Uhr

STALKER – Primaveraromana; Walking for a U Turn. Common design practices for social change
Fr, 17.06.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Arno Brandlhuber – Standardfragen
Fr, 30.09.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Schule machen!
Impulsvorträge und Diskussion
Fr, 04.11.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Margit Mayer – Recht auf Stadt ohne Armut
Fr, 25.11.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Roemer van Toorn – Towards a practice of dissensus Abecedarium of theoretical reflections and projects
Fr, 02.12.2011, 19:00 Uhr

Azra Akšamija – National purification through religious architecture
Fr, 20.01.2012, 19:00 Uhr

Irina Vellay – Solidarische Ökonomie reloaded?
Fr, 23.03.2012, 19:00 Uhr

Wer plant hier? Methodencheck: Demokratie und Stadtplanung
Fr, 30.03.2012, 19:00 Uhr

Susan S. Fainstein – Spatial Justice
Vortrag und Diskussion
Do, 11.10.2012, 19:00 Uhr