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Exhibition : New Trajectories


Harvard University - Graduate School of Design ...

New Trajectories: Contemporary Architecture in Croatia and Slovenia

... from september 8 - october 19 . 2008

How are emerging practices in these newly independent countries setting new benchmarks in innovative design? How have young Croatian and Slovenian architects embraced both the legacy of their architectural traditions and forward-thinking production? What will be the impact of the countries’ joining the European community on the design sphere?

These and other questions are addressed in “New Trajectories: Contemporary Architecture in Croatia and Slovenia,” which focuses on the work of thirteen practices. The exhibition, which is curated by Mariana Ibanez, Assistant Professor of Architecture, will be on display in Gund Hall Gallery at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design beginning September 8, 2008. A moderated discussion with architects from both countries will be held in conjunction with the exhibition from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on September 17 in Gund Hall’s Piper Auditorium.

“New Trajectories” is the first in a series of exhibitions and conferences at the GSD that seek to redress the imbalance of our views of the design disciplines that are primarily informed by a set of dominant practices over what might be called minor or emergent practices in different parts of the world.

Over the last ten years, the economies of Croatia and Slovenia—in transition from communist Yugoslavia to capitalist countries— allowed for a flourishing design community to emerge without the pressures of a demanding market. Well-organized systems of public competitions gave young practices access to complex commissions —testing innovative ideas at multiple scales and seeing them realized. As a result, new generations of Croatian and Slovenian architects have developed exceptional work that is both innovative and charged with the legacy of their own architectural heritage. Regardless of the differences between the two countries and the design practices, the production techniques and strategies implemented by these architects can be situated at the core of contemporary architectural production.

As Slovenia has joined the European Union, soon to be followed by Croatia, these nations will be open to foreign investments and foreign architects. Larger corporate interests and the seduction of the instant icon will present an interesting challenge to local designers. As they have ably demonstrated, however, the architects of Croatia and Slovenia will certainly enter this new stage, while expanding into global territories, with a confidence stemming from their established identity.