What lessons could be learnt from the heritage of architectural modernism, this often-disputed era, confronted by changing expectations of sustainability, social norms and habits, and as for Central and Eastern Europe specifically, a different political system? Othernity, the Hungarian exhibition of the 2021 International Architecture Biennale in Venice provides thought-provoking answers to this question, by emerging practices from the region.
The former Eastern Bloc of Europe possesses a unique, region-specific modernist architectural heritage, that can be discovered in most parts of our current building stock. This heritage should serve as ground zero to develop a responsible and novel behaviour for future architectural practice. And yet, compelled by a misunderstood duty for a more sustainable living and also fuelled by aesthetical revulsion and political antipathy, we keep demolishing or re-edifying these structures, destroying all architectural values. Would there be an ‘other’ way?
Othernity invited 12 young professionals: architectural offices, collectives and individuals from Eastern-Central-Europe to rethink 12 iconic modern buildings of Budapest.
The practices invited by the curatorial team are based in different cities and countries of the region, which all share this specific architectural heritage. By working in one chosen city, Budapest, they are both close enough and far enough to think rationally about the values of these buildings.
The exhibition was curated by Dániel Kovács, with Attila Róbert Csóka, Szabolcs Molnár, Dávid Smiló. The exhibition publication was printed on Munken Lynx paper and comes in two language versions; English (700 copies) and Hungarian (300 copies).