Artists and architects redefine socialist modernism with ephemeral architecture
This project made by Paradigma Ariadné architecture studio and Technologie und das Unheimliche artist collective to the warsawianka-rewitalizacja competition aimed to redefine the biggest sport complex of Warsaw through utopistic visions build up from ephemeral structures. The purpose of the proposal was to recover the aesthetic transmissions in Easter and Central European countries after the change of the regime, and find beauty in that heuristic spatial practices what fed by the capitalist hurray optimism of free entrepreneurial spirit.
The territory of Warszawianka Sports Complex and Park is characterized by the poetry of modernist spatial visions and the untouchable, object-like composition enlarged to landscape scale. It is such a grandiose architectural formation that nature and humans could only appear as subordinated to the techno-ecological sublime. Therefore, the Warszawianka sport centre is a typical example of the late modernism that emerged after Post-World War II, in which the landscape is an ideal, while the architectural space is a plotting board of artistic autonomy. The self-musealizing aura of intangibility and atemporality is radiating from its archive blueprints and photographs. This also foreshadows the solemn possibilities of architectural mummification, of becoming a ruin. As a modernist ruin the Warszawianka is a parable both of a past, or a never existed future, and of a scene where the landscape decomposes into nature.
Between the opening of the centre and the post-socialist transition, the political, economic and natural factors shattered this artistic and engineering composition. The austere discipline triggered by the socialist shortage economy, the artistic sovereignty based upon the ahistoric and cosmic landscape visions of the post-war era have been transformed into the heteronomous aesthetic of late capitalism with its formal and material affluence. The territory has been inhabited with entrepreneurial euphory, its archaeologically unreflective microvisions tried to make habitable this “composed uninhabitability”.
The formal dominance of contingent architectural products and their randomized, collage-like formations have been settled onto the surface of the modernist ruin as “capitalist wilderness”. The “viacolor” paving stones, the beer umbrellas and the climatized shipping containers equipped with public utilities are the spatial traces of the confusion and the lack of ideas, and also of the hurray optimism of free entrepreneurial spirit. These are the heuristic spatial practices that entangle the territory and make its exoneration rather difficult.
Such nomadistic practices are the vestiges of an architectural parasitism that characterizes the post-socialist regions. These practices mask the burden of “archeological oblivion” and the absence of farsighted visions with the disoriented tactics of “permanent contingency”.
These ephemeral spatial practices, accelerated by the totality of late capitalist market economy, cannot be by-passed, just as the totality of the capitalist system cannot be circumvented. According to our opinion, these ephemeral and heuristic spatial situations are not the signs of “ aesthetic deviance”, but they are the reconfigurable traces of “productive architectural misapprehensions”.
Therefore, our intention is neither the “domestication of the wilderness”, nor the “elimination of the chaotic surface”, which would be the restitution of the modernist dream via a “pseudo-reconstruction”. The main goal of our concept is to re-arrange this heterogeneous proliferation into a “meta-architectural landscape” that is able to organize the extemporaneous rules of the present into operating infrastructural and aesthetic systems. These systems do not delete the traces of the “archeological oblivion”, but rather adapt to them.
Intelligent architectural mimicry instead of arrogant “starchitecture”.
Accordingly, the basis of our plan is to reframe and reorganize the areas of sport and recreational activities with using the elements and aesthetic codes that are dominating the territory.
Our basic architectural tools for creating the buildings, facilities and public spaces would be event tents, air-inflated structures, shipping containers, plastic-made modular traffic guidance elements, sun umbrellas, different surface materials of sports grounds, “viacolor” paving stones. In accordance with our architectural credo, these elements would be complemented with a complex re-design of the visual identity of Warszawianka area by exploiting the “corporate aesthetics” of construction companies.
OBI-Elysium and BRICOtopia.
Thus, the proliferation of nature would still prevail. But in contrast with the intention of the original designers, in our concept nature is no longer just a raw material of landscape design, but rather a determining architectural element that represents an autonomous spatial quality with its spontaneous formations. In our plans the already given artificial “glades” of sport and recreational zones would mingle with this natural context.
These “glades” would be the scenes of “new compositions” where, through contemporary architectural products, the pristine architectural and artistic visions could reembody themselves. On these “glades” large-scale infrastructural compositions would give place to the zones of consumption, sport and recreational activities.
Pedestrian traffic would be organized on the promenades made out of “viacolor” pavements that sprawl between the artificial “glades”. These pavements would be surrounded by natural compositions with bushes, trees and greenfields that will completely deprived of the very modernist notion of function.
Necromodern botanics instead of grandiose landscape architecture.
Our vision has a twofold mission: on one hand we will try to reinterpret the monumental modernist heritage of Warszawianka on an active, dialogic manner. On the other hand, we would like to reflect, both stylistically and conceptually, upon the transition from the socialist system to the market economy that characterizes the Central and Eastern European region. It seems that this transition, at least in our opinion, now can be looked in a critical distance that is also approachable from an architectural aspect.
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