We talked briefly to Unknown Architects about their work proces of the winning design for the Unfair Architect Awards 19-20. And if it is Architure or ArTchiture?
What served as the biggest inspiration for this design?
What makes this project intriguing is the need to create an ideal setting for forty individual artists to present their work in the best way imaginable, and at the same time inspire and excite thousands of visitors with an exceptional architectural design. Driven by a fascination for utopian urban planning from the past, we started this challenge with the research question: can the plan of a city be used as a blueprint for the exhibition design? At the same time we were also very much interested in the layout used for the Fridericianum in Kassel, one of the first purpose-built museums in Europe and also the home of the international Documenta art exhibition, for which it is known. This 1779 building has a series of halls, each with a unique character, which allows the curator to make different constellations in each of them. These two sources of inspiration, creating an exhibition design based on a city plan and the Fridericianum’s careful pairing of artwork and exhibition space resulted in the idea of the Collage City: a collage of different urban fragments a collage of four different utopias.
How has the process been different from other pitches?
The biggest difference from other pitches was that we had the opportunity to discuss our preliminary ideas with Unfair. This not only gave us clues on a practical level but, more importantly, an insight into the underlying principles that Unfair wants to present. In the first presentation leading-up to the shortlist, we were triggered by the conversation to develop our ideas in a more experimental way. Our participation in the Unfair Architect Award therefore gave us the chance to widen our approach and test a new methodology: the use of the collage.