Othernity – Reconditioning our Modern Heritage
The Hungarian Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Giardini della Biennale – Venice, Italy
May 22 – November 21, 2021
“The Othernity for us is such a new, collaboration-based method, which helps us rethink our practice of heritage protection and, at the same time, it is such an architectural behaviour that can create a more responsible attitude towards profession and society.”
The project of the Hungarian Pavilion, Othernity – Reconditioning our Modern Heritage is looking for an answer to the following question: what possibilities does the often disputed and in many ways obsolete heritage of the modern architecture hold for the architects of the future? The curatorial team asked 12 architecture practices from Central and Eastern Europe to recondition 12 iconic modern buildings of Budapest, offering a possible way to reconcile past and future architecture.
The selected buildings of Budapest were built in the second half of the 20th century, during the socialist regime, and in spite of their values, they are in danger today. The invited architects from Central and Eastern Europe know and understand the dilemmas concerning the conservation of the regional architectural heritage, however, they already studied and gained professional experience in the united Europe and one the characteristics of their projects is the experimental attitude pointing towards an international direction, which is accompanied by a fresh visual form of expression.
The exhibition is divided into two spaces: the LABOR section documents the historical conditions of the 12 buildings, while the SHOWROOM section presents the 12 contemporary architectural reflexions. The structure of the two sections is built up by mirroring the parameters of the objects on display: the two narratives are inseparable from one another and can be understood only in the context of the other.
In the catalogue of the exhibition – that presents the buildings, offices and the exhibition accompanied by rich photo documentation – the study of the architecture critic Edwin Heathcote (London) and the professor of architectural history Ákos Moravánszky (Zürich) puts the project into a wider historical context.
Othernity is the first exhibition project in the history of the Hungarian Pavilion based on wide-ranging international collaboration. At the same time it is a collaborative practice, research on heritage protection and the expression of our conviction that the architecture of the future can be built on the past in order to reach due resilience, adequate sustainability and strong identity bonds.