Exhibition: Transarchitectures 02 + 03
Curators: Michel Vienne and Odile Fillion

7/98 Michel Vienne Architecture & Prospective / Reseach center-Bruxelles
TransArchitectures (01) (02) (03)

After TransArchitectures 01 was presented at IMAGINA in March 1997 and TransArchitectures 02, TransArchitectures 03, a new itinerant exhibition has been opened at the AEDES gallery in Berlin and prefigures the news networks, the virtual communities and the town. This new urbanity is made possible thanks to new communications and the setting of the site www.archi.org that is working interactive with the catalogue of the exhibition TransArchitectures (02 + 03). TransArchitectures 01 simply aspired to inform about the existence of a not well known international trend whose interest is the conceptual research and the mutations of architecture in relation to the new numerical technologies and more particularly about the virtual architecture. TransArchitectures 02 was an itinerant exhibition and this had the advantage to let people know about proceedings with more ground from the use of numeric in these new approaches.

On the one hand, telepresence offers the human being numerous new usual behaviours : "to be" at a place without being there physically. (1) Prefigured by the telephone and the television, telepresence allows to be interactive, to see, to hear, to handle things that do not exist, to go over areas and be convinced that it is true and that one and the other are present.

On the other hand, the telecommunications allow us to be potentially gifted with ubiquity and to conceive free areas : companies settle with the same assets in uniform territories, citizens work essentially at home while making use of high performance telecommunication systems.

Within the frame of human transactions, a new competition comes into sight between physical presence and telepresence. (2) The virtual world does not take the place of the physical world but we have at our disposal an alternative whose consequences influence town structuring.

Virtual city or real town ?
The global will be a chance for the local ? :
the telecommunications induce new urbanities.

Some people prophesy of a life to come in a uniform electronic universe, suburbs consisting of similar areas ; others think that we will rather try to settle in areas with high cultural and aesthetic added value. Towns which have this real value will cope the best in the long term. We will assist to the creation of a new model of local community, more dense, organised around the pedestrian and not the car.

On the other hand, areas menaced with the technological revolution are the poorest culturally and socially and have only their simple comfort to offer but this should urge us to create areas, where one likes to live in and which are more interesting . In an urban district, several centres will develop and the existence of a good telecommunication network will become as fundamental for a town as the existence of a good transportation network. This will then constitute a huge structural change. We will then assist to a progressive drop out of the classical scheme of commuting, that is to say mass daily journeys between sparse suburbs and very dense business centres.

The architect Richard Rogers (3) considers the development of an architecture that expresses and celebrates the speeding up of social, technical, political and economic changes; an architecture consisting of permanence and transformation where you can find town vitality and economic dynamics and where the evolution and the connection of functions are reflected.

Architects and town-planners have to imagine new prototypes of spatial organisation and living conditions integrating the new technologies. The towns in the future will no longer be divided in ghettos, devoted to a single activity. Life, culture, work, trade, education, leisure will overlap, sheltered by continuous, varying and unsteady structures.

Buildings, towns and citizens will constitute an inivisible organism, sheltered by a frame-structure perfectly adapted and in constant changes.

The invention of an architecture that assumes the new technologies, implies the breaking off with the platonic idea of a static world expressed in a perfect final product to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken away, a concept that has dominated architecture from its beginning. But the philosopher Thierry Paquot asks how "does one live" in a virtual area ? Man only exists in the eyes of his beholder, whose unfamiliarity ensures the humanity of their relationship. Can distance without space and time without term justify this specific, precarious relationship and nevertheless base of any humanism ?

According to Ricardo Petrella, it will be suitable to control the new flux and the new ways of mobility while creating areas for exchanges and meetings, forums, open areas : "We need towns full of doors and windows, with squares, street corners and country paths. This is the price to pay for the local democracy."

(*) the inauguration of this exhibition took place at the Institut Français in Paris,
at the University of Columbia in New-York, at the biennial for architectural films in Graz (Austria), at the meeting Architecture, moving pictures from the University in Florence, at the meeting Town, Architecture and New technologies at the architecture centre Arc en Recîve in Bordeaux, at the Open Doors New Communication, New Urbanities at the Centre for Architectural and Prospective Research in Brussels.

in Les réalités virtuelles, Claude Cadoz.
William J. Mitchell - MIT, in Urbanisme 292, February 97.
Richard Rogers, in L´architecture du futur, Terrail.
Thierry Paquot, in Urbanisme 292, February 92.

7/98 Michel Vienne Architecture & Prospective /
Reseach center-Bruxelles


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