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You take delight not in a city's seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours. Or the question it asks you, forcing you to answer, like Thebes through the mouth of the Sphinx.” (Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities p. 38)


Karin Templin

Curated by Kees Christiaansee, the 4th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) is not an exhibition showcasing “cities of the future” or proposed individual building developments within an urban context, but rather a research vehicle which studies existing urban conditions through the architecture, urban layout, and the social, economic, environmental and technological forces that have shaped the selected cities throughout history. 

The IABR does not lecture on public policy nor on urban statistics but rather showcases a diverse range of case studies of urban conditions including the “non-urban” entities which constitute many American communities, the informal developments that are too quickly classified as slums with no apparent value to society, and the demographic colonization of an area whether by a foreign government guilty of leading an urbicide against an indigenous culture or by foreign refugees in search of safety and a place to call home.

Under the umbrella of the main theme “Open Cities”, the sub-themes of REFUGE, RECIPROCITY, COMMUNITY, SQUAT, and COLLECTIVE question our very notion not only of the city or “open city” in this case, but of the role of urban planning in the creation and evolution of cities. 

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Ultimo aggiornamento: 14/10/2009 11:54


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