CROSSROADS Building the Resilient City, the third edition of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2021, directed by architect Dominique Perrault, was officially inaugurated on September 16. The event continues in the footsteps of the two previous editions – "Imminent commons" (2017) and "Collective city" (2019) – to explore themes and research on the contemporary city and on that of the future.
At the centre of the various events and exhibitions that will animate the six sections of the biennial until October 31, the emphasis is on reflections and visions of the city of today and of tomorrow, to identify new sustainable paths. Presenting the Biennale and its theme, architect Dominique Perrault was sure to stress just how the Covid-19 pandemic has launched a profound challenge to contemporary and technological civilisation, prompting us to reconsider and recalibrate our lives and activities. Reflections that involve transformations in the spaces that characterise everyday life and new organisation of the same, in favour of more hybrid architectures or defined as "a-programmatic", with cities certain to face unprecedented challenges.
Contemporary cities, indeed, play a crucial role in many issues: health risks, climate change, industrial decline, technological competitiveness and the management of migratory flows.
With these different areas in mind and through six different sections and exhibitions, the Seoul Biennale offers the public the opportunity to discover and learn about the various experiences and projects carried out in over one hundred cities and metropolises around the world. Cities that must become resilient because, as architect Dominique Perrault affirms, once we abandon the illusion of zero risk, it is necessary to focus and work on reducing vulnerability and make the city more "resilient" and therefore more robust against unexpected situations and quickly able to find a balance.
The resilience of a city, as underlined by the French architect, is a necessary condition for sustainability, for reconnecting with the environment and developing a new urban ideal, conceived as a complex, flexible and agile system.
We can therefore no longer speak of functional cities, designed in terms of efficiency and rationalisation of resources and functions. Indeed, for Dominique Perrault, the crisis following the pandemic has brought about the end of the "form follows function/em>" leitmotiv of modern architecture. It is necessary – the architect stresses – to go beyond a standard vision of the city, to rethink it by creating new links and combinations which allow us to have urban spaces that can adapt more easily and more quickly to changes, spaces that are more resilient. It therefore becomes inevitable to question the role of architecture and urban planning, tracing new perspectives towards a more sustainable world and new visions on the city of the future. The theme of the Biennale itself underlines the importance of a "cross-fertilisation" – as the French architect defines it – of expertise and approaches that allow us to grasp the transformations of historic cities and the construction of a contemporary urbanity, founded on interaction and sharing.
Images courtesy of SBAU 2021, photo by © Jandee Kim - 516 Studio, © Alexandre Tabaste
Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2021
Title: CROSSROADS Building the Resilient City
Date: September 16 - October 31, 2021
General Director of the 3rd Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism: Dominique Perrault
Photos: © Alexandre Tabaste (only Dominique Perrault portrait), © Jandee Kim - 516 Studio
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