Holistic approaches to architecture at ARTKITEKTURA 2017

August 8, 2017



Angel Yulo

How can we create buildings that truly serve our physical and spiritual needs, enhance our lives and are in accordance with nature? ARTKITEKTURA Festival of Architecture and the Arts 2017 is bringing the International Exhibition on Living Architecture to Manila and Iloilo this August and September.

This highly visual exhibition tracing the journey of living architecture from the pioneers of organic architecture, to the enlivening of modernism, to contemporary worldwide expressions, provoking questions about its current and future significance.

Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Pieter van der Ree

By the end of the 19th century architects started seeking a synthesis between new building techniques, natural design principles and artistic expression. The term ‘Organic Architecture’ was introduced to describe this new approach. It did not denote any particular style, but rather embraced a colorful variety of architectural approaches and expressions arising simultaneously in different parts of the world. Pioneers like Frank Lloyd Wright, Antoni Gaudí and Rudolf Steiner drew inspiration–each in their own way–from the principles of living nature. This often led to sculptural and expressive forms that created some of the most inspiring buildings of the 20th century.

Their lively forms were not intended to imitate nature, but rather to support people as natural and spiritual beings. Since then, new insights into ecology, natural formative processes and biomimicry have led to astonishing new building materials, construction methods and creative expressions.

Talks, panel discussions and conversations with the public will be given by Filipino and international experts from Australia, Colombia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Lectures and study tours will happen in Manila at Ayala Museum from August 24 to 27, and in Ioilo at Seda Hotel from August 31 to September 3. ARTKITEKTURA 2017 is a CPD-accredited event.

Here are some of the talks you can attend during the festival:

Philippine Urbanism: a Hundred Years of Unbuilt Plans and Prospects for the Future by Paulo Alcazaren 

August 25 (9:15 – 10:15 am) – Manila

The talk will tackle the historical basis for the current miasma we find in Philippine cities today, from the Burnham Plan of 1905 to current interventions. It will touch on the role of architecture and environmental planning, landscape architecture and urban design, as well as on the influence of politics and governance structures in the production of the built environment.

Manila X Iloilo: Research Notes on a Shared Art Deco Heritage by Ivan Man Dy

scheduled TBA

Manila and Iloilo. Two colonial cities with a different historical past but both endowed with a rich collection of Art Deco heritage. This talk will introduce the origins of a 1930’s worldwide modernist phenomenon in Manila and compare its evolution to the city of Iloilo. It will provide an overview of its diverse stylistic applications in various design genres such as architecture, industrial design and even graphic design while discussing the current interest and scholarship of this subject in and around the Asian region.

Learning from Historic Townscapes by Richard Coleman

August 25 (10:15 – 11:15 am) – Manila

August 31 (7:10 – 8:10 pm) – Iloilo

Cities are meeting places. They represent collective responsibility for stability, development and focus on the dynamic task of ‘the individual’ and the ‘community’. They aim to resolve the conflict between the realms of ‘politico/rights’, ‘fiscal/transactional’ and ‘artistic/cultural’. When in balance the physical substance and layout of the city reflects them. As such the three realms can be identified. But a city’s functionality also relies on strong connections between them. Their dependency on each other and the ability of citizens to take part in each holistically, iteratively and creatively depends upon the interstices of the city, the space between buildings and incidental environments where individuals meet. Archetypal historic towns often express these human needs and functions in their layouts in an organic process of development over time. We can learn from these today, in an environment where individuation, weakening of community and greed has taken our priorities from ‘the protection of the walled city, to ‘the high rise exploitation of the sky-space’. We will introduce ways of observing these conditions in existing environments and explore methods of achieving a better balance in the future.

Rudolf Steiner and 20th Century Architecture by Nicolas Pople

August 26 (9:15 – 10:15 am) – Manila

September 1 (11:30 am – 12:30 pm) – Iloilo

Nicolas Pople’s built work is strongly influenced by Rudolf Steiner’s writings on the role of architecture as a social art, but Nicolas’s interests are wide ranging and he believes that the views Steiner expressed on this subject, and his built work in Dornach, Switzerland, are the result of a highly developed set of sensibilities and insights, not a rule book or list of directives that must be followed. The challenge of producing buildings that are relevant for our time and for their own particular context is one Nicolas attempts to meet in his own work. His conference contributions will focus on the proposition: Living Architecture is not an aesthetic or a style; it is the product of a shift of consciousness away from the abstract thinking that is destroying the environment.

Living Architecture – Balancing Nature, Culture and Technology by Pieter van der Ree

August 24 (3:00 – 4:00 pm) – Manila

September 1 (9:15 – 10:15 am) – Iloilo

Our living environment is increasingly determined by manmade artifacts like buildings, machines and electronic devices. This has a profound influence on our lives, our wellbeing, social relations and cultural values. Moreover this influence often has a devastating impact on the natural environment. Yet we have only started to become aware of these influences and begun to design in accordance with these new insights. This raises an important question. How can we create buildings that truly serve our physical and spiritual needs, enhance our lives and are in accordance with nature?
The goal of Living Architecture is to develop a built environment that supports and enhances the natural, social and cultural life it is part of and elevates this attitude into an artistic expression. The result should serve our needs in a holistic and sustainable way.

For more scheduled talks and their details, click here. 

ARTKITEKTURA 2017 is not an exclusive event for architects, designers and design students. All are welcome to attend. All ticket types for both venues – Ayala Museum and Seda Hotel, Iloilo – are available online at www.ticketworld.com.ph

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