With: Kiril Ass – Alexander Brodsky Studio, Ayzit Bostan – Artist, Emanuel Christ – Christ & Gantenbein, Johannes Ernst – Steidle Architekten, Stefan F. Höglmaier – Euroboden Gruppe, Freek Persyn – Büros 51N4E, Patrik Schumacher – Zaha Hadid Architects, Jörn Walter – former Chief Planning Director of Hamburg, Joanna Warsza – Artist, Liam Young – Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today
Alexander Brodsky Studio, Moscow
The current image of Russia we have today is mainly dark, threatening and enigmatic. Marked by stories of espionage, fake news, aggression and vodka. Is it really so one-dimensional? Architect and architectural theorist Kiril Ass paints a critical picture of the country from the inside out, with special focus on Moscow’s urban development since 1989. From the turbo capitalism of the 1990s, followed by a phase of liberalisation, to the current shift towards nationalism and contradictory ideas of old grandeur – notions of the future that ultimately revolve only around the past. Ass works as an architect in the firm of Alexander Brodsky. He also teaches at the independent Moscow School of Architecture. Together with his wife Nadya Korbut he creates immersive exhibitions for institutions such as the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and the Jewish Museum.
Artist and designer, Munich
“I am interested in the essence of things. And bands. And pop culture.” The designer and artist with Turkish roots has worked at the intersection of design and art, exhibitions and the fashion industry for many years. She not only presents her new collections at fashion shows, but also stages them as performances and installations in galleries and museums, such as the MMK in Frankfurt and the Goethe Institute in Tokyo. She focuses with her creations on quality not quantity. Nor does she cater to shopping frenzies, producing just two bag collections and one clothing collection annually, in collaboration with the bag and accessory label PB 0110. For more than four years she has taught as a professor of design at the Kassel University of the Arts. Bostan was recognised for her achievements with the IF Product Design Award and the DDC Silver Award Product Design.
© Fabian Frinzel (portrait photo)
Christ & Gantenbein, Basel
“We do architecture as it has always been done (…) but in a contemporary form.” Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein search for the theoretical and the typological, posing fundamental questions concerning space, body and matter. They sparked enthusiasm with no less than two museum extensions last year: Kunstmuseum Basel with its precise, subtly irritating (media) façade, and the magnificent Swiss National Museum in Zurich. Currently they are working on an extension of the Wallraf Richartz Museum in Cologne, as well as a number of other projects in Switzerland, France and Germany. The old Swiss heroes, Herzog & de Meuron, Peter Märkli, etc. – who were also all professors of Christ & Gantenbein – are slowly stepping down. The new ones, who are already highly acclaimed, stand ready to take their place.
© Markus Jans (portrait photo)
Steidle Architekten, Munich
Since 2005, following the unexpected death of Otto Steidle, Johannes Ernst has run the office of Steidle Architekten together with Martin Klein and Johann Spengler. As one of Munich’s major architectural firms, it focuses mainly on residential and office buildings as well as urban planning. Since 2010, Ernst has been working on the development of the Werksviertel complex around Munich’s Ostbahnhof – some have called him its “mastermind”. His vision is to build a mini metropolis here, while maintaining the location’s industrial charm and some of the historic Pfanni factory buildings. He has also made his mark on the new quarter with his own buildings, such as the Medienbrücke (Media Bridge) and Werk 3, which Ernst has described as an “urban motherfucker”.
Euroboden Gruppe, Munich
Stefan F. Höglmaier is managing director of Euroboden Gruppe, which the 42-year-old founded at the age of 24. He is one of the few developers who earn money with good architecture and not only with gross floor area. When Höglmaier is convinced of an idea, he fights to make it happen, longer than most others would, and even by legal means. He works with some of the best in the industry, including David Adjaye, David Chipperfield, Peter Haimerl and Muck Petzet. Of course, his own home is equally spectacular, being a converted bunker with its own art space on the ground floor.
© Julian Baumann (portrait photo)
Freek Persyn is a cofounder of the architectural firm 51N4E, which he runs together with Johan Anrys. His projects range from the architectural scale to visions for urban regions such as Bordeaux, Brussels and Istanbul. 51N4E doesn’t just design buildings; they make an impact that reaches far beyond the original brief. With their TID Tower in Tirana, Albania, not only did they design a new building complex, they simultaneously revived local building traditions – a knowledge that had largely been lost during the upheaval after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Of course, 51N4E has also received multiple awards. Persyn has taught at various academic institutions, such as the universities in Ghent and Mendrisio, and the Berlage Institute.
Zaha Hadid Architects, London
Patrik Schumacher has been a part of Zaha Hadid’s studio almost from the outset, having joined in 1988, and has been a partner at Zaha Hadid Architects since 2002. Pritzker Prize-winning Hadid was the driving personality of the firm and its artist; Schumacher its brain. Since her untimely death in April 2016, he has served as the firm’s sole director. Schumacher is the co-author of many spectacular projects, such as the MAXXI art museum in Rome, the central building of the BMW plant in Leipzig, Germany, and the Guangzhou Opera House. In addition to architecture he has a doctorate in philosophy, is co-director of the Design Research Laboratory at the AA in London and has taught at numerous universities, including Yale, Columbia and Harvard. He is not afraid to offend. An obsessive thinker, he coined the term “Parametricism”, and in 2010 and 2012 published his theoretical manifesto “The Autopoiesis of Architecture”.
© Matthew Joseph (portrait photo)
former Chief Planning Director of Hamburg
Jörn Walter, who has served as Hamburg’s Chief Planning Director since 1999, has experienced six different state senates. He has been notably responsible for development concepts such as “Sprung über die Elbe” (Leap Across the Elbe) for the IBA Hamburg, as well as the planning of the HafenCity district including the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, for which he strongly advocated. The planned three years of construction became ten, while the initial €75.3 million in construction costs grew to €865.65 million. Nevertheless, the spectacular new building atop the old Kaispeicher warehouse building was opened to great pomp with the Chancellor and Federal President this January. The critics have been silenced. The building is now heralded as a new landmark for the Hanseatic city. Hamburg’s tourism operators are convinced that all costs will soon have paid for themselves. Does Munich dare to realise a comparably visionary project with its new concert hall?
In 2018, she will curate “Public Art Munich”, a major international art project to be staged in Munich’s public spaces. The project addresses freedom of expression, transparency, privacy and surveillance, and will be staged as outdoor conferences with community orchestras, temporary installations and architectural pop-ups. Warsza’s key areas of interest are architecture and the public arena. Born in Warsaw, the curator developed the public program of Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, and the concept for “Kamikaze Loggia” – the Georgian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, where she used informal architecture as a reference to the lawless time following the Soviet Union’s disintegration.
Warsza is the author of numerous books. With “Stadium X: A Place That Never Was” she explored the bizarre “city within a city” that 10th-Anniversary Stadium in central Warsaw had become over the course of nearly 20 years after 1989. Built from the rubble of the destroyed houses of the Warsaw Uprising, the stadium fitting 100,000 spectators transformed into Jarmark Europa, one of the largest bazaars in Eastern Europe, where almost everything could be bought and sold, from food and clothes to smuggled cigarettes and weapons. Now a new order reigns: standing in its place since 2012 is Stadion Narodowy, the national stadium designed by GMP.
Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today,
London / Los Angeles
Beyond Star Trek, Liam Young is an architect. With his London think tank Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today, he develops scenarios for our urban future – fantastic hybrid worlds – for which he investigates and extrapolates emerging technological developments, blurring the lines between the natural and the artificial, analogue and digital. These are based on his travels to the ends of the world, which he undertakes with his nomadic research studio Unknown Fields Division. In places like Chernobyl, Area 51 and the frozen Arctic Sea he looks for “weak signals” – moments where our present condenses to offer a glimpse into the future. BBC, NBC, Wired, Time magazine, etc. are thrilled. Blueprint Magazine named Liam as one 25 people who will transform architecture.