Questions for I.Korobina, Director of C:CA interview: (September 2009)
architectureplatform- What is C:CA?
Irına Korobina- Russian architecture, reflecting economical, political and cultural trends in society, has undergone a radical change in the last ten years, especially in Moscow. Formation of renowned Russian architecture under the conditions of spontaneous transition to capitalism is a complex and contradictory process. In response to existing demand we have decided to create a structure that would support Russian architects and their activities – C:CA / Centre of Contemporary Architecture.
C:CA is focusing its attention on the quality of current architecture when everything is run by ruthless rules of the real estate market.
The main C:CA tasks are incorporation of contemporary Russian architecture into the world culture process, spreading knowledge of architectural masterpieces absent in the global architectural information exchange, drawing public attention to architectural problems, developing international professional connections, supporting the architectural community of Russian province. C:CA is a reference point between the Russian architectural world and the foreign architectural community, promoting debates, conferences, workshops and seminars.
Goal of C:CA activity is creation of information and culture environment for promotion of actual architecture.
- storage and source of professional information.
- a professional club for everyone interested in the problems of contemporary architecture.
- a workshop, tribune, auditorium and experimental ground.
- in contact with Russian and international professional community.
ap- What are the activities of C:CA?
The lecture series are aimed at inviting architects, playing an active role in Russian and international architectural panorama, and giving them a space for presenting their work with theoretical and practical perspectives. Lectures debate the issues of what is architecture and for whom it is created; what are contemporary architects’ responsibility to the society. Guests share various approaches to the profession in order to discuss not only specific formal themes, but also practical project development, in terms of relationships between various players that take place in the course of the creative process.
The project was launched in 2002. Participating architects included: Odile Decq /F/, Vladimir Plotkin /RU/, Hans Hollein /A/, Andrei Bokov /RU/, Alexander Brodsky /RU/, Evgeny Asse /RU/, Hani Rashid /USA/, Norman Foster /UK/, Rem Koolhaas /NL/, Aaron Betsky /USA/, Daniel Libeskind /USA/.
One of the main issues addressed by these international project seminars is the problem of the regeneration of city space in provincial towns left over from the Soviet time. Smaller towns are still not involved in the circuit of architectural research, as they remain excluded from the larger changes such as Moscow is undergoing now.
This is the reason why we decided to start a seminar series to focus the attention on the problems and the needs of these realities.
After two weeks of on-the-site work invited Russian and foreign architects present proposals meeting the requirements voiced by the municipality.
All proposals are exhibited at a public presentation for the mayor and the town’s residents to discuss with the architects in open debate. Wherever the seminars took place, residents and local authorities got involved in the future of their cities; we believe this could be a starting point for supporting the revival of local architecture.
Made-for-TV movies allow for a more in-depth look at architectural issues. For instance, Ivan Leonidov, the Architect (26’), is a portrait of one of the most important persons of the Soviet Avant-Garde, Project NEXT (45’) discusses issues of contemporary Russian architecture in the context of Venice Biennale 2002, Mariinka-2 (26’) analyzes the International competition for the renovation of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Moscow Play (26’) debates over the problems of new Moscow architecture, Credo (26’) presents creative solutions from the world’s leading architects, Avant-Garde of the Soviet Union (39’) catalogues the history of the experience of constructing a new world in art, architecture, and reality, Projections of Avant-Garde (26’) is an analysis of constructivism architecture in historical context, Gosprom in Kharkov (13’) is telling of a masterpiece of architectural Avant-Garde of the 1920s in Ukraine, and Moscow Today (5’) is a presentation about architecture of the post-perestroyka period.
Weekly TV series Architektutnaja Galereja /Architectural Gallery, edited by Irina Korobina/, broadcast on Cultural Channel is meant to shed light on architectural issues most familiar to those already involved in the field.
The discussion of various issues will help decode the architectural language and demonstrate professional analysis of contemporary architecture in Russia and in the word.
150 episodes have run as part of the series in the last four years, focusing on such issues as urban development analysis of European cities (especially Moscow), portraits of the world’s and Russia’s star architects, information on architectural events in Moscow and international events such as the Venice Biennale and the Pritzker Prize, a report on the most important buildings of the 1920s.
In the conditions of spontaneously forming project market with incorrect relations, architect is very dependent on customer and approving authorities. Often it affects the quality of work rather negatively. Competitions with objective professional jury become an effective tool for promotion of actual architecture.
The purpose of the database is to maintain:
- digital archive of contemporary Russian architects
- digital archive of Moscow buildings (post-perestroyka period)
- videotape archive of weekly Architectural Gallery TV series
- architectural videotape archive consists of unique materials like the architectural chronicles of the 1920s, 1930s, 1950s, the post-perestroyka period, Venice Biennale 2000, 2002, interviews with the world’s leading architects like Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Normann Foster, Toyo Ito, Hans Hollein, Peter Cook, etc., as well as leading Russian architects, lectures of Odile Decq, Matthias Sauerbruch, Erick van Egeraat, etc.
Multimedia format provides extra options for correct and expressive presentation of architecture. Spatial concept can be hardly communicated with traditional media. Due to the combination with the new media – video and 3D computer simulations, allowing to see object from different points of view, architectural concept is communicated on the visual, emotional and verbal levels at the same time. Multimedia editions fit the perception of a XXI century man adequately, they are comprehensible and interesting for non-professionals and close to contemporary projecting language.
C:CA organizes exhibitions abroad and at home. Our portfolio includes:
IVAN LEONIDOV \ CITY OF THE SUN – exhibition project for the IX Venice Biennale
VKHUTEMAS /Sources of the Russian Avant-Garde – architectural projects by students and teachers from the collection of the MArchI Museum in The State Archive of Florence 2005
New Moscow 4 – exhibition on contemporary Moscow architecture in Mendrisio Academy
Star Architecture – exhibition on work by foreign offices in Russia.
ArChess \ video installation for Russian Pavilion in X1 Venice Architectural Biennale 2008
ap- Do you have a physical space for permanent/temporary exhibitions and archive spaces for researchers?
IK- All public events we organize in different cultural spaces in Moscow, other Russian and foreign cities. C:CA is office, video archive and professional library, is available for limited public activityes.
ap- Is world architecture in your interest area?
IK- Exactly! C:CA is in permanent contact with the leading architectural offices over the world. The C:CA’s mission is to bring best of world architecture in Russia. The C:CA does this by making exhibitions, lectures, publications in mass-media and Internet. Now we are organizing the first festival on Dutch contemporary architecture in Moscow.
ap- What do you think of contemporary Turkish architecture?
IK- It is not well known in our country. Anyway I was impressed of Turkish architecture represented in Aga Khan Awards catalogue. It was high level of really contemporary architecture.
To learn more about C:CA / Center of contemporary architecture activity visit http://www.archcenter.org