THISS at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

Seoul, South Korea,



The British architecture firm THISS, founded by architects Tamsin Hanke and Sash Scott, is present at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2021 (SBAU) with the Resilient Monument project. The installation in the Cities section of the SBAU investigates the meaning of monuments, examined from the point of view of resilience.

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THISS at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism The Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2021 opened its doors on September 16 and runs until October 31. The event offers a series of exhibitions, events and conferences that reflect on the future of urban environments and architectural and planning strategies that foster resilience. Entitled "CROSSROADS, Building the Resilient City", the third edition of the SBAU, curated by architect Dominique Perrault, seeks to affirm the importance of interactions and the "cross-fertilisation of skills and approaches" in responding to the complexities shaping the built environment, all interpreted through the theme of resilience. 
THISS, a young London-based multidisciplinary architectural practice whose projects and collaborations span between architecture, technology and landscape, has been invited to participate in the CITIES section of the SBAU. CITIES emphasises the role of cities as a key place in creating the prospects for a more sustainable world, while also exploring the critical role that architecture can play in this context. The concept is based on the idea that, unlike the stable, safe, optimised and standardised city, the resilient city is flexible and adaptable, minimising dependencies and increasing interconnections. In this sense, the exhibition aims to offer an original vision of the creation of the city, oriented towards the improvement of our built environments, through the prism of five thematic areas or "Crossroads".
THISS' contribution to this section of the programme with its Resilient Monument installation investigates the role played by monuments. Traditionally, monuments are dedicated to historical figures and serve to anchor a particular vision of history in our collective imagination. But we have also seen that history, notoriously written by the winning side, can be rewritten. Times change and with them also the idea and our understanding of a certain historical moment. Things we were proud of in the past can already be a source of embarrassment today: one only has to look around to see how many monuments have been removed or their connotations changed.
To fit our dynamic times, new ways of making monuments are needed. With their Resilient Monument installation, architects Tamsin Hanke and Sash Scott, in collaboration with Issy Nanabeyin, thus propose a monument that explores ideas based on materiality. For them, the new monument is not something that immortalises a certain moment or character in history in marble or bronze, impervious to future change. In defining resilience as transient, incremental, organic and optimistic, the architects choose different, living materials. This allows the new monument to be resilient, as it adapts to our changing cosmopolitan culture and is able to speak to new generations. Being resilient, it can be taken down when no longer relevant and put back up when needed. The example brought by THISS to the SBAU is a shared act made from simple materials, thus capable of opening up new and innovative forms of commemoration.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: THISS x Issi Nanabeyin
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Year: 2020-21
Images: Courtesy of THISS
Find out more: https://seoulbiennale.org/