Zurich-based architects and urbanists Hiromi Hosoya and Markus Schaefer will curate “Salon Suisse” at the Venice Biennale 2014. The founders of Hosoya Schaefer Architects, and winners of a Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize in 2008 for Office building with green hypercore, have assembled a program of events focusing on questions around urban development in Switzerland and the increasing pressure of urbanization worldwide.
“Salon Suisse” complements the Pavilion of Switzerland exhibition at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition and is organized by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. Now in its third year, “Salon Suisse” is a program of talks and events offering a platform for exchange on contemporary architecture and thought in a relaxed atmosphere.
Curator Hiromi Hosoya explained that “Salon Suisse” will be comprised of a series of events, modelled on the founding of the Swiss nation that will serve as a thought experiment in critical urbanity to contemplate how the next 100 years can be envisioned in an increasingly urban and volatile world. “The Salon Suisse will be modeled after a Constitutional Assembly and serve as a thought experiment on critical urbanity involving academics, professionals, and citizens - thinkers, doers and activists”she said. Hiromi Hosoya will also be a member of the Holcim Awards jury for region Europe in 2014.
Salon Suisse 2014: The next 100 Years – Scenarios for an Alpine City State
The events will consider if Switzerland were to be founded today, what would be its guiding principles, its business model and its social contract? And how could architecture and urban design support such an endeavour; to what extent do these disciplines need to be political? The opening event takes place on June 7 at 11:00 as an “Inaugural Session” with the Federal Councillor Alain Berset, Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs in attendance. This initial hearing will enable short statements from Swiss and international practitioners on possible “Scenarios for an Alpine City State” to be collected as a missive for the salons to come.
The First Salon (September 4-6) “Design – The Nature of Cities” attempts to establish a shared understanding of cities and of the state of the contemporary urban system with the participation of urban geographer Edward D Soja, science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, complex systems scientist Didier Sornette or anthropologist and activist David Graeber amongst several others.
The Second Salon (October 9-11) “Build – The Reality of Cities” questions how urban ideas become reality, and is supported by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. The discussion includes politicians, entrepreneurs and practitioners such as Japanese architectural planner Yasuaki Onoda and the urban designers Jan Gehl, Marc Angélil (Senior Dean, Chair of Architecture & Design, ETH Zurich and Head of the Academic Committee of the Holcim Foundation) and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto among others.
The Third Salon (October 30 to November 1) “Use – The Culture of Cities” approaches the theme of how culture emerges within a city. The talks include author and co-founder of Neustart Schweiz Hans Widmer as well as Opendata.ch co-founder Hannes Gassert. Norihito Nakatani and Jiang Jun, contributors of the Japanese and Chinese pavilions respectively, will discuss their research on more traditional forms of collectives with among others Mark Leonard, Co-Founder and Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first pan-European think-tank.
The “Final Assembly” is the closing event of the “Salon Suisse” 2014 (November 20-22) and will focus on summarizing and editing the results of the Salon in collaboration with writers and journalists such as Lukas Bärfuss or Finn Canonica who accompanied the entire series by recording and intervening.
To discuss these questions the curators invited thinkers, practitioners and activists to envision such a state and ultimately a physical environment inspired by but without the gritty detail of today’s political reality. Participants will include: Andre Bideau, author and critic; Benedikt Boucsein, BHSF; Daniel Buchner and Andreas Brundler, Buchner Brundler Architekten; Barbara Buser, Denkstatt; Philippe Cabane, urban and social design; Stefan Cadosch, SIA; Christoph Craviolini, Raumdaten; Harry Gugger, Harry Gugger Studio; Fabienne Hoelzel, fabulous urban; Barbara Holzer, Holzer Kobler Architekturen; Rolf Jenni, Raumbureau; Momoyo Kaijima; Hubert Klumpner, Co-founder & Co-director, Urban-Think Tank (U-TT); and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Atelier Bow-Wow; Christian Kerez, architect; Stefan Kurath, urbanplus; Daniel Niggli, EM2N; Rico Oberholzer, MOA; Mathias Heinz, pool Architekten; Christian Salewski, ETH Zurich; Antonio Scarponi, Conceptual Devices; and Cristina Woods, VWA Verzone Woods Architectes.
“Salon Suisse” takes place at the Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi in the heart of Venice’s old town, offering a platform for exchange on contemporary architecture and thought in a relaxed atmosphere. Sponsors include partner Laufen Bathrooms and “Salon Suisse” weekend event sponsors Federation of Swiss Architects, Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, technologycluster-zug V-ZUG Immobilien, and the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA). For more information see: www.biennials.ch