Within the framework of the global festivities for the 50th anniversary of Le Corbusier’s death (1965), the National Technical University of Athens, with the support of Fondation Le Corbusier and other cultural organizations, launches a series of events, part of which is “DeCorbuziers”. DeCorbuziers is an alternative pop, neo-goth initiative, inviting young architects, creative offices, artists and students of art and architecture worldwide to praise, disparage, decompose and criticize the Big Master in playful and creative ways.
Under this regime, the platform archstudies.gr as a member of DeCorbuziers team is launching an international architectural design competition for students under the title «Modernism Memorial: A Funerary Monument for the Death of Modernism». This competition aims to bring together contemporary interpretations concerning multidisciplinary approaches over Modernism and specifically over LC’s work, while explores possible themes and directions of the Memorial representation nowadays. Overall, in the spirit of a commentary rather than a tribute to Corbu, the competition
will strive to seek out ideas on conceptual and theoretical levels exploring throughout a memorial monument the death of Modernism in the 21st century.
International, public, anonymous, single stage, conceptual architectural design competition for students.
«Modern Architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 15, 1972, at 3.32 p.m. (or thereabouts), when the infamous Pruitt Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the final coup de grace by dynamite.»
− Charles Jencks, The New Paradigm in Architecture: The Language of Post-Modernism (1977)
Taking as our point of departure the declaration of the End of the Modern Movement, with the demolition of the AIA Award-winning housing project at Pruitt Igoe, on March 16, 1972, we can’t help but wonder: If Modernism is indeed dead and buried, what would a contemporary memorial for Modernism looks like? And, what could be actually its purpose nowadays in times of growing instability, immobility, technological innovation and abstraction? Over the last decades, the issue of «modern monuments» has ignited heated debates among architects and academics, while most monuments end up confronting with banality and clichés. Are there better ways to conceive monuments apart from their mere representational and symbolic character?
Moreover, when it comes to death celebration, new issues emerge regarding memorialization. Drawing from LC’s death anniversary, we try to speculate on new ways of celebrating the past. The main question that arises here is: Should we honor and remember or should we forget? In his short story Funes the Memorious, Jorge Luis Borges introduces the act of forgetting as the antithesis of memory.
His protagonist, Funes, is a man who remembers everything and, overwhelmed by his memories, he is simply unable to endure any new experiences. The hero’s dilemma makes us realize how important forgetting is and think about the new possibilities that open through forgetting. All these considered, in a search of a new monumentality, should we praise (without forgetting like Borges’s hero) or can we un-remember? Is a contemporary memorial a point of awakening memories or a point of burial, celebrating the new and unexpected?
The competition invites the participants to reconsider the role of the monuments today and especially the funerary ones. Moving from the white world of modern utopia, the competition is initiated to generate discussion over Modernism and especially LC’s work through a project that would act as an elegy (the Greek term elegeia = ἐλεγεία; from ἔλεγος, elegos,“lament”) to LC. At the same time, it attempts to cast the process of memorialization in a critical light. Memorials can be as simple as a potted plant, as intricate as a war memorial, and everything in between (see for example countermonuments by James E.Young, Il Monumento Continuo by Superstudio or even virtual memorials that are becoming more popular these days). In other words, each project should seek to challenge the principles of Modernism trying to pose sinful questions, while stating «new monuments» in the wake of the 21st century.
15/09/2015 Competition official launch
30/09/2015 Deadline for questions
05/10/2015 Publication of answers
15/11/2015 Submissions deadline
30/11/2015 Announcement of the competition results
The exhibition of the competition results will take place @ ROMANTSO, in Athens, Greece between 20-27 December 2015.
Opening Day: December 20, 2015, at 21:00.