Strelka and OMA strategize in Venice
By OMA © All rights reserved
Rem Koolhaas and Reinier de Graaf of OMA just participated in
a forum at the Teatro Piccolo with the founders of Strelka, a
new school in Moscow starting in October, for which AMO is
developing the educational program.
Since the school hasn't started yet, its identity and content
remains excitingly unformed. What we do know is that
Strelka will have a new approach to architecture education based on
research, and there will be five themes, the "new urgencies", as
Koolhaas called them: energy, design, preservation, thinning,
public space. In this formative moment, what is most clear is the
motivation for Strelka; the rest, until October, is
questions, speculations, and propositions...
In this spirit, here are a few of them, in fragments...
Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper (Strelka president): Something is wrong in Moscow. It is becoming increasingly dystopian and unpleasant. It's not the most hospitable place. There's a lack of discourse of our problems, a lack of analysis, especially in architecture. Russian architecural education remained formalist after deconstructivism. It needs an injection of analysis. Students think of their work as a work of art, but by focusing so much on aesthetic, their work becomes a victim of social space.
Michael Schindhelm (heading the public space research unit): Is there a new form of philanthropy emerging in Russia, focusing on education?... This venture is not about coming here and dumping knowledge but about a mutual interest.
Rem Koolhaas (preservation): This is a very important moment for Russia. It is developing a more diverse economy and moving away from brute force towards more subtle interactions. After assertiveness and independence, there is a new openness and a new connection to the European Union, for example. In Russia, there are many issues that have to be decided soon... Buildings that have to be demolished or preserved or used in new ways, like the former chocolate factory that houses Strelka... Since the founders of Strelka are deeply involved in the media in Russia - newspapers, the internet, television - our effort will be not only to create content but to broadcast it.
Reinier de Graaf (energy): Maybe the important question is not whether Russia is a democracy, but whether our profession, architecture, is a democracy. As soon as we began discussions with Strelka, it became clear that it would make no sense to study architecture without studying all these other issues, like energy, like preservation.
Shumon Basar (moderator): This moment only happens once - the moment before things get defined.
We should relish this moment, make the most of it, until things really begin in October...
AMO's education program for Strelka