We have just returned from the 13th Architectural Biennale in Venice in which we successfully launched our Life Between Buildings Exhibit – comprised of a 12m circular video installation and the documentary film ‘The Human Scale’. The event was commemorated with an interesting discussion between Jan and the artist Olafur Eliasson whose work they agreed coalesces around ‘awareness of being in space’ through temporary moments in the case of Olafur’s installations, and the built human scale in the case of Jan’s. Naturally they couldn’t avoid discussing Venice itself and whilst Olafur expressed his discomfort at the city having become the ‘museum shop’ and it’s extreme commercialization Jan felt this was entirely because it holds the highest urban qualities and has attracted so many generations to it. He extended this to Strøget in Copenhagen saying that as a front-runner in high urban quality of the 20th century it has been a kind of ‘sacrificial lamb’ to extreme commercialization for all of the other fantastic high quality urban spaces that have come in its wake over the past couple of decades. A great dialogue between the artistic and architectural and human experiences in the city.
Jeff Risom participated in a discussion on Urban Life sponsored by the Danish Architectural Center. Highlights of the discussion included the changing role of architects in cities where an emphasis on life is dominant, a debate around promoting a sense of usership rather than ownership of the public realm, and rather or not a Nordic identity can exist in areas as different as Copenhagen and Nuuk, the later with an urban population of 24000 people in an area the size of France.