Design Biennial Boston 2012

The Third Design Biennial at BSA Space

The Design Biennial Boston 2012 was the third design biennial and the first to be held at BSA Space. This year’s biennial hinges on two traditional domains of the design exhibition: the installation and the archive. Site-specific installations by the 2012 winners describe our positions on the stakes of contemporary practice and its matters of concern, from cultural production to the properties of matter, the technics of geometry and fabrication, and the redefinition of accepted uses and forms. As part of the exhibition, over,under created an archive of previous Biennial participants using these four thematic categories – culture, material, discipline, type – mapping the overlapping interests of the city’s emerging practices in the past decade-plus.

The team also conducted a survey of past winners, exploring the changing nature of designers who live and work “here.” Some of these offices no longer exist; others have moved elsewhere. Though there continues to be a lack of a significant number of local projects designed by these firms, the quality and range of work on display here attests to the potential of critical, experimental design in making Boston a home not just for speculation but for action.

 

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Categorized as BSA Space

Critical Exchange

Boston Architects in the Middle East

The construction boom of the last two decades in the Middle East has brought renewed attention to the relationship between international and regional architectural cultures. Instant cities, massive speculative developments, and extreme formal, ecological, and structural experiments have all featured prominently in Western images of the contemporary Middle East.

Critical Exchange explores this changing territory of practice as seen from the viewpoint of Boston-based architects working in the Middle East. Observations, statistics, and case studies survey the cultural and professional conditions faced by these practitioners as they build in countries throughout the region. By collecting this information, we hope to move beyond typical assessments of recent architecture in its international contexts. Such valuations are often still based on the framework of “critical regionalism,” in which the global reach of modernism, portrayed as universalizing and foreign, is seen to demand forms of resistance only possible from local architects rooted in more “authentic” cultures. This opposition is inadequate to describe a contemporary situation in which architects’ cultural identities, educational backgrounds, work experiences, and research interests are increasingly interwoven across disciplinary and geographical boundaries.

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Categorized as BSA Space

City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952-1982

Modern Architecture in Baghdad

City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952–1982 presents built and unbuilt work by 11 architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Josep Lluís Sert, Alvar and Aino Aalto, and Robert Venturi FAIA. Models of various scales of the built and unbuilt work by these and other architects are accompanied by a large-scale model of Baghdad.

The history of modern architecture in Baghdad is not well known and remains relatively underexplored. Specialists in Iraq and in exile throughout the world have undertaken detailed analyses of the topic, but many of the studies have been difficult to access in Europe and the United States, and the destruction of war has made it impossible to recover the complete modernist record of Iraq. The exhibition describes an era in which Baghdad was a thriving, cosmopolitan city, and when an ambitious program of modernization led to proposals and built work by leading international architects. City of Mirages is a traveling exhibition previously featured at the Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, and at the Center for Architecture in New York City.

The exhibition, curated by Pedro Azara and installed by over,under, was organized by the Barcelona Delegation of the Col•legi d ́Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC) in Barcelona. The US debut of the exhibition, at the Center for Architecture in New York from February to May 2012, was made possible by the AIA New York Chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation.  This exhibit is supported in part by the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT.

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Categorized as BSA Space

Let’s Talk About Bikes

Bike Culture in Boston’s Public Realm

The exhibition Let’s Talk About Bikes examines changes in Boston’s public realm as they relate to the bicycle. The exhibition is the second in a series curated by over,under for BSA Space and drew nearly eight hundred people to the opening. Content is presented around five themes: infrastructure, culture, transit, production, and participation. Graphics explore how cycling relates to urban and environmental public policy. Interviews and photographs register the voices and experiences of communities that have coalesced around the bike. Examples of custom bicycles highlight the innovative craft and production techniques of the region’s expanding field of bicycle fabricators. As part of the exhibition, the team created a suspended bicycle sculpture, the installation of two dozen bicycles, a short film, data graphics, an online social media project, and a broadsheet publication.

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Categorized as BSA Space

In Form

Three Exhibitions at the BSA Space.

Curated and designed by over,under, IN FORM presents a legacy of projects in Boston over the past fifty years envisioned to increase access to the city. The exhibition inaugurated the new BSA Space, a public gallery created by the Boston Society of Architects. Three themes—Legible City, New/Public and Futures—explore how design can shape our understanding of the urban realm, expand its cultural sphere and propose new possibilities for its development. Combining architecture and urban planning with the design of information, exhibitions and events, each of these built and unbuilt projects embodies a particular vision of what Boston is and what it could be. As part of the installation, the team created four short films, data graphics, models, furnishings, an iPad interface, and a broadsheet publication.

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Categorized as BSA Space

Info Space

Interactive Mapping of Boston Architecture

As part of over,under’s exhibition design for the Boston Society of Architects, Info Space is an evolving architectural catalog and public interactive installation. The elements include an iPad interface, six iPad seat-stands, an interconnected video projection, and an architectural database containing more than eighty of Boston’s most significant buildings. The information includes maps, photography, and iconography developed by over,under, allowing visitors to discover interesting observations about each building and locate those sites on the larger projected map. The iPad seat-stands are inspired by Sol LeWitt and his seminal process work, Incomplete Open Cubes. A serial system was used to study the formal outcome of subtractive operations. This versioning exercise produced an array of potential forms. One was selected to be cut from butcher block-like volumes of solid ash.

Published
Categorized as BSA Space