Internalizing the Rejected by PARADIGMA ARIADNÉ

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Paradigma Ariadné I N T E R N A L I Z I N G

T H E

R EJ E C T E D

S e n s i t i z a t i o n Tra i n i n g t o Em b ra c e t h e H u n g a r i a n C u b e MARCH 2020

500.000 Hungarian cubes are out there inhabiting the

isolated projects aimed to understand the meaning, the

Hungarian landscape. While the quantity is massive,

representation and the aesthetic qualities of the cube

the impact of the 500.000 pieces totally avoided

house on a theoretical level. The exhibition dives into

the Hungarian architectural culture. Thinking and

this banal piece of Hungarian architecture and reframes,

discussing the cube house is still not a thing. Rejection

rescales and recontextualizes it. We aim to pull it out

and ridicule surrounded this piece, and only few

of its social, and political circumstances where most of the debates evaluate and interpret it. This will be a sensitization training

of

understanding

the

pure geometry, ornamentation and diagram of the Hungarian cube.

Paradigma Ariadné is a Budapest based

architecture

studio

unrestricted either by means or dimension, the founders of which, when working and thinking about architecture, employ a wide range of instruments offered by their professional praxis and address the built environment in the context of the market. This is why the clients of

Paradigma

Ariadné

include

individuals, institutions, companies, and local governments as well, allowing us to assist and to provide ideas and understandings wherever processes either taking place in or creating a built environment require

architecture-related

knowledge. Hence, the knowledge produced at Paradigma Ariadné can take a variety of forms. Our activity comprises architectural and urban design as much as strategic guidance and cultural management regarding space-related issues. The work we do may result in a building, a furniture, an event, or even a book.


© Paradigma Ariadné


A

conversation

Paradigma (Attila Szabolcs

with

Ariadné

Róbert Molnár

Csóka, and

Dávid Smiló) In the first days of March 2020, members of the curatorial team of Magazin sat down with Attila Róbert Csóka, Szabolcs Molnár and Dávid Smiló (Paradigma Ariadné) to have a conversation about their exhibiton in Vienna and their architectural practice in general.

“Greek legend insists that Daedalus was the first architect,

Jerome Becker

but this is hardly the case: although he built the Cretan

Paradigma Ariadné is based in Budapest. What does it

labyrinth, he never understood its structure. He could

mean to start an architectural practice in Hungary?

only escape, in fact, by flying out of its vortex. Instead it may be argued that Ariadne achieved the first work of

Dávid Smiló

architecture, since it was she who gave Theseus the ball

What has become more and more clear to us is that we

of thread by means of which he found his way out of the

are facing some kind of problem in the post socialist

labyrinth after having killed the Minotaur”

region. It is rooted in the contradiction that this region is not completely hidden, but it is also not really visible. It

Beatriz Colomina, Architectureproduction, In: This is not architecture:

is a kind of in between situation. This issue is not really

Media constructions, Edited by Kester Rattenbury 2002. Routlegde

coming from the problem of production of knowledge

London; New York

related to architecture, but more from the lack of means of distribution of this knowledge. Many things are

Paradigma Ariadné is led by Attila Róbert Csóka, Szabolcs

happening here, many ideas come to life, but very few

Molnár and Dávid Smiló.

hit international recognition, since there are no proper hubs with international impact in terms of architecture – maybe the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana and Strelka Institute in Moscow, but that’s it. Two international hubs in seventeen countries. This is something that we have to deal with day by day. I don’t know what is happening in Vienna actually, but Austria is part of the whole architectural and cultural market that exists since the Second World War, as I see it. Maybe you have different experiences, as you are part of this network, but my impression is that Austria is part of the discussions and representations of what we call European architecture or European and Transatlantic architecture. In opposition Hungary or the whole Central European 3


Photo: Balázs Danyi


Region are not part of this network. The connections

on and probably for the last time it was internationally

here are not that deep and diversified. That is why we

crucial in the 1960s and early 1970s with the Viennese

started to realize that the success of our studio is also a

avantgarde in architecture. But that has been a long

professional as well as a political question or a question

time ago, which means that Viennese architecture has

of the politics of the profession of architecture.

had a peripheral role for a long time.

Matthias Moroder

Dávid

I think that we would agree that Hungary is out of this

Or Northern Italy is also some kind of hub, with Milano

network. This obviously has historical reasons stemming

and Genova and so on.

from the Cold War. So, what happens as a consequence of this non-representation or non-distribution of

Matthias

knowledge, which at the end means a missing reception

Yes, there are a few! Also, Zurich, I would suggest. And

of ideas from the outside, seems to be an increasing

then in order to have a prolific architectural scene a

pressure to import concepts in the hope to somewhen

combination of things seems crucial on different levels,

enter the sphere of representation at least through

which obviously have to go beyond the ambitions of

that. But in return that makes the conditions for the

single offices, but are interrelations between universities...

production of knowledge even more difficult. In a way it is a vicious circle…

Jerome ... exhibition institutions and so on.

Dávid That is true for Central and Eastern Europe.

Dávid On this we totally agree, I think. What I have described

Matthias

above does not affect our everyday business. It is only

The other thing is that also in the European and

some kind of background that we cannot avoid to

Transatlantic architecture scene, as you call it, the

consider, which is also a drive for us. Let’s make an

production of knowledge is very unevenly distributed,

example: When we were invited to an exhibition space

because it mainly has its centers. London, for example,

for architecture called MAGAZIN in Vienna and we

where you have so much attention by just being based

had to decide what kind of exhibition we were going

there… You have the opportunity of being able to teach

to present there, we had this kind of debate: We can

your own agenda at a very young age, you have a media

present what we think of architecture today in a wider

apparatus that is internationally central, you have

international term or we can choose a topic from our

several exhibition formats that show the work of young

cultural background to distribute, about which we think

practices and so on. These are all aspects that are also

that it could be interesting internationally or that can

structurally missing in Vienna at the moment. Vienna

be presented in a way, that is interesting. I am very

has obviously been a historical centre during Viennese

happy that our exhibition “Internalizing the Rejected.

Modernism, for the achievements of Red Vienna and so

Sensitization Training to Embrace the Hungarian Cube” was an experiment for this, but I see it as a first try to show something from here, which could have consequences abroad. But I doubt about the success of this attempt. This is my reflection of our exhibition at MAGAZIN. Matthias What you did is an attempt to open a discourse on the cube house, which is currently missing. Conceptually that is a very interesting decision.

Dávid That cannot be a mission – maybe that is too big of a word –, but a task for an architecture firm. But in the end, this remains an institutional problem for sure, that we as a firm cannot solve. The problem that there is no international scene in Budapest today. Not even in the closest capitals, Ljubljana or Bratislava… 5


© Fortepan.hu


Szabolcs Molnár

Matthias

And we do not want to hide our frustration about

You mentioned that the way you think about your

this. The feeling that we don’t have the institutional

exhibition at MAGAZIN changed a lot in the past months,

background in Budapest can be transformed into a

also in relation to your Venice Biennale exhibition

feeling of being responsible for creating it. This feeling

“Othernity – Reconditioning Our Modern Heritage” for

of responsibility is often misinterpreted as an eager of

the Hungarian pavilion. How would you describe this

being visible though. Nevertheless, the truth is that we

shifted perspective?

just would like to join that ecosystem, that network or stream, in which we want to find ourselves and be able

Dávid

to add our knowledge to.

One thing that is very identical for both exhibitions is the process in which they were idealized and realized.

Dávid

It is quite the same for us in case of every project.

If there is no hub around you, then be one.

Our office is like a special machine in which you can drop regular, rejected or boring things and something

Jerome

creative and theoretical will come out of it. From this

This very much explains your broad spectrum of

point of view the exhibition at MAGAZIN introduced

agendas. Paradigma Ariadné is not a conventional

this process. The cube house, to be honest, is a boring

architectural office. You have organized conferences, you

thing and we tried to fill its boredom with meaning.

have done publications, you have done radio shows, you

Compared to this production method the creation of

are curating exhibitions… Out of this context of being a

the exhibition in Vienna was very Paradigma Ariadné.

bit stuck in Budapest and not having these established

Because we decided: Ok, let’s have the cube house,

platforms of discourse that are a few hundred kilometers

on which we started to think previously as we had a

away, like for example here in Vienna.

commission for the transformation of a cube house, which was not realized. And we said, let’s turn back to

Dávid

that, because when we had those discussions about that

Exactly.

exact design process, we had so many thoughts on how many different outcomes could be generated out of the design process. Discussions about how many different 7


Photo: Balázs Danyi


format. I see missed opportunities here. Everything was there, but as a visitor you had a hard time to pick up all the different threads and stories, because every object introduced some different content. I am not sure that we would do the same exhibition today. Jerome The way you managed to connect real projects and commissions with the topic of the cube house is really interesting.

The

exhibition

was

neither retrospective nor thematic, but people were able to get to know Paradigma Ariadné and different aspects of your approach towards architecture in general. Dávid Yes,

but

the

other

interesting

question for me is whether anyone really had that feeling or experience you just mentioned, when they visited the exhibition. This is the thing on which I am not sure. I do hope that it was the case. Szabolcs representations we can see in the same plan. This was

I am not sure if this is the role of an exhibition on the

the content that we have tried to transform into an

spot. I mean, for me an exhibition just gives something…

exhibition at MAGAZIN. In the end, I feel it was more

Some inspirations, some references, some ideas, but I

our practice that was represented in the exhibition, not

wouldn’t go deeply into the topic right there, because it

only a single topic. But if I would like to be honest, this

is not the place for that. However, I can leave the place

was our first attempt to do anything with this format:

with a tremendous new input. That’s why on the surface,

an exhibition in a space for architecture in a European

I guess, the exhibition did look quite interesting – it could

capital. And in this term, it was a learning process for us

have been better of course –, but the fragmentation and

as well: how big can an installation be? And so on. We

saturation of the content did not help the reception.

have learned all of this by now. Attila Róbert Csóka Szabolcs

I am not afraid to say that in a way we are superficial in

I want to say it somehow differently, but in a way that I

our topics. I mean, we know many things about the cube

think we all would agree on: contentwise it was a great

houses, but we are not experts or researchers. We know

exhibition. We really agree on that. So, the theoretical

a lot about them, but only if we compare our knowledge

content was quite interesting, vivid and I would say

to anyone who knows nothing and to anyone who does

exotic, but the quality of the exhibition wasn’t matched

not care about them. That’s why we seem like experts…

to the content. And that is just one side of the problem

Also the other topics that we address in the studio, those

and the other one is that we always do much more then

which are related to the postwar heritage for instance, are

is needed. So, for example, maybe not every wall of every

coming from this lack of books, magazines, institutions

room needs some kind of different medium or different

and everything else. There would be many interesting

content or has to represent a different part of our theory.

topics in Hungary, but they are completely missing the

I don’t want to say the commonplace that “less is more”

academic or professional care; so many valuable things

– because we don’t agree on that in our practice –, but

that are under the radar. I am not saying that this

somehow we should have matched the content to the

interest of ours is fueled by some inner frustration, but 9


Photo: Balázs Danyi


I experience the problem of untold and hidden stories

discipline. Many different architectural roles exist in the

day by day.

European scene that architects or students can follow. But in Budapest the academy hasn’t got the ability to

Matthias

introduce its students to the different paths that could

But you are not historians of architecture, you are

be followed by an architect… For us, our practice is a

architects interested in the history and the discourse

kind of searching for these possibilities. Exactly the

of architecture. So, in order to do discoursive openings

things we discussed: where is the line between being

related to the history of architecture you don’t have to

an art historian and being an architect? And if we are

be historians of architecture.

architects, how far do we have to go with one specific topic like the cube house? Do we have to do research?

Attila

And if we do research on the cube house, how should

That is right.

we represent it? What is the right format to represent it as an architect? That’s why European architects from the

Szabolcs

1960s and 70s, like Hans Hollein for instance, are super

But somehow in our context in Budapest we are really

inspirational for us. They are showing us some kind of a

black sheep by entering into the field of architectural

way of how to represent research simply in one drawing,

historians as architects. I would not say that we don’t

in one collage or in other media. And that is what we

enjoy this role, but again this voluntarism regularly

tried in our exhibition about the cube house.

ends up in being bad-mouthed. Attila Dávid

It is exactly what you have said Matthias, the opening

Yes. What you have described Matthias about the role

of a discourse. This is still a topic. It is still not finished.

of architects in relation to the role of architectural

Someday one of my friends came and asked me, if there

historians is the way the wider European discourse is

is any kind of typology on how to renovate the cube

approaching this question. They do separate things

houses. And the answer is no. It is still not done, yet.

represented by different media, but somehow the topics

Maybe we have to do it, because nobody else in Hungary

can overlap. This seems to be really clear abroad, but

will do it. Inevitably we will have to do it.

not in Hungary: that the architect can relate to history without being a historian – even in a pseudoscientific way. Szabolcs ... pseudo-scientific or speculative. Even the vocabulary of the Hungarian language

related

to

architecture

is missing some important words. This is something we experience, when we try to understand and express what is really happening, for instance, with a lot of the rebuilding and

reconstruction

nowadays.

The politician can talk about the representation and the means of the building, the journalist can write about the prices and the new program, the historian discusses the related historical materials and the accuracy of them, while we as architects are not able to express complex architectural interpretations. Dávid Yes,

architectural

innovation

is

rooted in the pluralism of positions within

the

boundaries

of

the 11


Map of projects ; © Paradigma Ariadné


Szabolcs

Dávid

The fact that we are talking about these topics and

Yeah, for sure! So, we have the topic of the cube house

issues really shows Eastern European symptoms. I

and we moved the ideas and discussions, which we

mean, the problems of our society, our education, our

had for the commissioned transformation of a cube

architectural discourse are deeply connected even in

house into our “House with a Hundred Rooms”. That

this short discussion. It definitely is an important and

is completely different visually and has no similar

difficult subject. These questions are rarely topics of

spatial qualities, but the discussions that we had during

discussions, which is quite funny and demoralizing at

the design process of “House with a Hundred Rooms”

the same time.

– which was inspired by the Hungarian peasant house – also involved ideas about the cube house. Like what is

Dávid

the difference between the peasant house and the cube

Anyhow the context is complex. Not something that

house? And these conversations moved forward into

a visitor could understand while walking around our

the “Internalizing the Rejected” exhibition and probably

exhibition at MAGAZIN in Vienna. Probably a proper

will move further in the future. This is very typical for

research would have been better. But, one thing that was

us: when we have one idea that we try to express in

mentioned by Attila is important: our relation to the

something that is a building, it can move forward to an

cube houses is continuous as a project in the studio. This

exhibition and maybe forward into a research after 10 years. Attila I also wanted to mention the “House with a Hundred Rooms”, because it is quite easy to understand. And what we brought to MAGAZIN was not easy to understand. This is the main difference, as I see it. The “House with a Hundred Rooms” is easy to understand, because every thought that we had about that plan is represented in the one simple plan of the house. So, maybe if we would have summed up our thoughts in this case and brought only plans developed by us of a cube house, it would have been much clearer. Szabolcs Or it could have many layers of understanding. For example, our exhibition “Face, Pool, Two Towers and Ruin” that was realized in Veszprém was a great success, because of its multiple meanings. It has something on the surface that everybody can enjoy and understand; everybody can relate to these strange objects in the middle of the Haszkovó housing estate. They are crazy furniture that you can sit on. But on a higher level, it was also an exhibition with a reflection on socialist housing estates and their problems and qualities, while it has some impact on the social relations within these built environments as well. With this project we succeeded

diagram that I am showing to you now is something

in providing complex reflections in combination with

that we did after our exhibition.

a format that is easier to digest. Of course, I think the

Matthias

format here helped us a lot, because with an installation

Wow, it is even framed!

everybody tries to make a connection. “It is there, because they put it there intentionally”, people think. With a

Dávid

building it is another story. I think that with a building

Yes, we told you that we are searching for formats.

you have to penetrate a very thick wall of indifference at first, while your tools are often quite limited and passive.

Jerome Hahaha, amazing!

Dávid For instance, the fake yellow ruin, which was our 13


Face, Pool, Two Towers and Ruin; Photo: Balázs Danyi


contribution

to

the

“Face,

Pool,

Two Towers and Ruin” exhibition previously was also an idea for MAGAZIN. It was on the table when we had our meetings of what to present at your exhibition space. The topic of ruins and the topic of “bringing the past into the present” are relating to what we are experiencing today here in Budapest. Under Viktor Orbán many old buildings are being rebuilt, as

Szabolcs

These

rebuilt

mentioned buildings,

before. we

can

call them old architecture, fake old architecture or Disneyland even, but the term of the ruin maybe can help us to understand what is happening, when we rebuild a building that once existed in the past and was demolished. Is it fake or is it real? Does it have new qualities? This kind of discussions were represented in that object. And finally, we introduced them at another exhibition, which was organized by ourselves. Attila This topic is very much about the general existence of an

MAGAZIN was the idea of establishing a similar kind of

architectural piece or building. Through the concept of

gallery in Budapest. But very soon we realised that the

the ruin we can imagine a different kind of architecture

problem would not be to find a proper space, but the fact

of the past or for the future.

that there is no international audience in Budapest. We think that it would be much more difficult to initiate a vivid discourse in Budapest compared to Vienna.

Matthias I really hope that we can talk about this again after your exhibition “Internalizing the Rejected” has been shown

Attila

in Budapest.

And on the other hand, we see that there are more and more young and interesting architects in Budapest. So,

Dávid

there is still the question of how to contribute to the

There was the idea of showing it also here in Budapest,

local architectural scene in a way that would be able to

but due to the preparations for the “Othernity” exhibition

energize the existing community.

at the Hungarian pavilion at the Biennale in Venice, which we are curating together with Daniel Kovács,

Dávid

there was no time to do it yet.

We are going to be five years old next year.

Matthias

Matthias

After your discoursive opening in Vienna it seems really

Ok, so there will be a big party?

important to also show it in Budapest and to see the Dávid

reception of it. It hopefully has some follow up…

A big party, yes. And I would be happy if we would soon Dávid

be able to consider new perspectives for Paradigma

We would also be very curious about the reactions. That’s

Ariadné, as for the moment, the situation of our studio is

one thing that we are probably going to do as soon as

still very problematic. Especially if we compare ourselves

we have the time for it. I think that we will manage

to other young European offices, which are successfully

to find a space for this exhibition in Budapest. And

working on their specific architectural agendas in a very

another thing that we discussed after our exhibition at

confident way. 15


House with a Hundred Rooms; © P a r a d i g m a A r i a d n é


Matthias

Szabolcs

But I think you are.

It is true that since about 15 years it is also quite common in Hungary that you spend one or two years of your

Dávid

studies abroad. But in the end, there was something

Yes, in a way we are. But there are still many issues we

else that was crucial for us. We had the luck to join

would like to talk about. And if we do an exhibition

the “Advanced Architecture College” here in Budapest,

at a gallery for instance, we don’t want to address this

which is part of a specific Eastern European system of

“missing the international network problem”, because

“Advanced Colleges”. These colleges are realized in a

this is not our contribution to architecture. We need to

self-governmental system that is led by students. This

find other ways of communicating those things, that

is where we have worked and learned a lot beside the

we would like to change. It could be a kind of hidden

university. We actually established ourselves there and

project behind those many cool projects that we are

tried to compensate everything that was missing at the

already able to do and which are represented on our

university. There were opportunities to organise lectures,

online platforms in a confident way and contribute to

tours and exhibitions. This enabling structure of the

the contemporary discourse.

college has been a starting point for us to establish our own studio in Budapest. And as you can see, we exported

Matthias

a lot of activities and attitudes into our practice. What

What we also wanted to discuss with you is the fact that

we did as students in an NGO we now do within the

all three of you studied in Budapest. In comparison with

framework of the free market. It needs a lot of planning

other young offices from Eastern European countries

and working to find the place and time for these

– for example those studios that you invited for the

activities, but – as we define architecture – it is definitely

“Othernity” exhibition –, it is quite unusual that none

a very integral and needed part of our practice on the

of you studied at least for one or two semesters at a

long run as well as on an everyday scale.

university abroad. I think this is a very interesting fact, also in relation to the very different educational system

Jerome

that you have in Hungary.

What about your fellow students? Where did they end up? Dávid There are a few of them, who share taste and ideas with us. And there are some other really good studios that have international qualities like Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop, GUBAHÁMORI or Tamás Bene. But – and what I am going to say is not really kind – no one else seems to realise the difficulties that our generation is facing regarding the problem of the lack of international reputation in the Central European Region region. That’s maybe the real difference between us and other young architects in Budapest. Not necessarily the quality of design. And again, it is a very grandiose statement from me, but we have been the only ones who started to work on changing this “networkless” situation with all the resources we have at Paradigma Ariadné. This is a dedicated project in our studio. We had some discussions with the other architects of our generation and they seemed to accept the situation as it is and maybe they wait for someone else to represent their work internationally. But we think that we cannot wait 20 years or more until someone does this job. This is something we share with all those emerging studios from other Central and Eastern European countries, whom we invited to the “Othernity” exhibition of the Hungarian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. We understood that we are all together in a similar situation. So, we realised that it is not only us at Paradigma Ariadné, who are 17


Photo: Balázs Danyi


suffering from this isolation. Hence the workshop we

between 10 % and 15 % are working as freelancers and only

had together with those studios soon turned out as a

a very small number of architects are able to establish

kind of Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, where you had

an office on their own. And even there we could make

the chance to realize that you are not alone with your

a difference between collectives, loose cooperations or

problem and that there is hope. That’s the reason why

strictly speaking offices or Ltd’s. In our opinion it is

we see ourselves region-wise instead of country-wise.

crucial to be a Ltd. if you would like to take yourself seriously on the market. But as we see internationally

Attila

there are a lot of constellations in which an architecture

And during this collaboration with other studios from

studio could work. So, we always like these encounters

Eastern Europe we experienced a shared understanding

when we can speak about these frameworks with our

and shared values in terms of the architectural language

fellow friends from everywhere.

we use to design. It was easy to be understanded and vice-versa we easily understood the other’s concepts

Dávid

and approaches to architecture. But if we consider only

But on the other hand, there are changes. The big

the Hungarian scene, then we don’t have these easy

difference between the group of young Hungarian

connections, in which we understand each other right

architects and the previous generation of architects in

Budapest

lies

in

different

approaches to the definition of what is inside the realm of architecture and what is outside of it. Maybe our frustration comes from this issue, that we would like to internalise everything into architecture, like exhibitions, research and so on. These are all part of possible architectural activities, as we see it. Whereas the common thinking in Hungary is that architecture is a realized building and

nothing

else.

The

finished

building is the only thing we have to reach for, if we would like to play a role as architects. I think this is the main aspect that changed for us during our years at the “Advanced Architecture basically

College”,

organised

where

we

courses

for

ourselves that introduced us mostly to the Anglo-Saxon architectural culture, thanks to several teachers who had experiences abroad and brought this knowledge to Hungary. Szabolcs In this context we saw that “building away. So, it was crucial for us to establish our own studio

an idea” can be the main goal, instead of realizing a

and search for friends internationally. It is not possible

building. Realization just helps to make the idea bolder.

to work for a good international office in Budapest and

It is something that we always have to say, that our

do interesting projects next to it as a freelancer, like

understanding about the architectural content is not

many young firms do it across Europe. We had to take

differentiated. On the same shelf we can put the building

full responsibility from the beginning. There was no

itself, a text about it, the study about its concept and a

other option.

photo documentation of the building. And if you do not approach architecture in this way, then you simply

Szabolcs

miss a ton of great opportunities, where you could make

To come back to your question: in Hungary about 80 %

architecture. It is interesting how the references that

of our generation are working in architectural offices,

we got about this attitude – not just from abroad, but 19


© Fortepan.hu


from Hungary as well – are mostly from the 1970s and 80s. There were numerous projects, where you simply cannot make the distinction between formats and outcomes. Of course, these examples did not become the integral part of the education – from where you could easily pick up these interesting threads or patterns – or even the canon. This was just an “episode” according to the Hungarian understanding. Matthias András Weiszkopf was telling me that in order to habilitate in Hungary and to become a professor at a university you need to have something like sixty realised buildings that are relevant for your field of research. It seems that the academic structure is still one that didn’t adapt to the actual situation at all. Attila And not only the academic structure. When we participated in the competition for curating the Hungarian pavilion at the Venice Biennale together with Daniel Kovács, we had to present our concept to a jury of the Ludwig Museum of Budapest – they are responsible for the Biennale exhibitions in Hungary. And the main question that we got after we presented the theoretical concept of our proposed exhibition was: how many buildings have you realised already? Matthias You should buy a cube house and extend it.

Jerome What did you tell them?

Attila This idea is on the table.

Dávid None. Zero.

Dávid We have also decided to search for investors…

Jerome And how did you get the commission?

Szabolcs How much money will you invest Matthias?

Dávid There was a huge debate in the jury. Only one vote made the difference. It made it possible for us to curate the

Matthias

Hungarian Biennale pavilion. But right after we won

5.000 €.

the competition, they told us again that we are just engineers… So, they don’t understand our role, not even

Dávid

the role of the Venice Biennale exhibition…

We are working on development strategies, this is true. In order to see more ways of how to change the situation,

Attila

but this is one thing that we discussed so many times

The other competitor was also mentioned as a great

with other studios here in Budapest and not yet really

engineer – they don’t mean this as a compliment…

with studios from the rest of Europe. Probably we will have a chance to meet many of them at the Biennale…

Dávid

This is one thing that I am curious about, as a research

But on the other hand, the question is valid. So, we

topic, let’s say: how does it feel to be a young architecture

have not realized a building yet. For us, the biggest

studio or a young architect in the European scene? I am

challenge will probably be to transform all these ideas

also curious about how do you feel in Vienna, because

and concepts of our pre-commercial architecture studio

when we met for the first time, I remember that you

period into buildings. We will see.

were telling us about the opening of MAGAZIN and the 21


Photo: Balázs Danyi


institutional situation of architecture in Vienna, which

tight budget and it could obviously be much better,

had similarities to ours in terms of the conservativism of

but at least it allows us to run an exhibition space of

the academic scene. Maybe the register is different and

contemporary architecture like this, which would be

the level of canonization is much higher in Vienna, than

impossible in a lot of other European capitals. Artists

it is in Budapest, but it looks like that to step forward to a

started to open these independent artists run spaces

next level may be difficult too. What is your motivation?

here in Vienna. By now there are more than 50… Through

How do you see your activities?

them we realised that there might also be the possibility of funding architecture exhibitions. At the moment we

Jerome

are the only exhibition space that does solo exhibitions

I think the situation is not that bad as you experienced

with younger architects in Austria, but also in Europe

it in the beginning of establishing your studio. And

there are only very few.

still, it seems to us that there has not that much been going on for the last 10 or 20 years in Vienna,¬ which

Attila

might also be true for the whole of Austria. Even though

Is there any international funding that you can get or is

there is a connection to the international discourse,

there only Austrian funding?

we feel that for several reasons there has been a lack of relevant contributions from the local architectural

Jerome

scene. The start of MAGAZIN can be read as a reaction to

At the moment we only get funding from Austrian

this lack of contributions. A balance between local and

institutions.

international positions therefor is an important aspect of our program. In addition to this, we also had the

Matthias

impression that an independent, non-institutionalized

As an office it happens that you have nothing to do for a

space for exhibitions and discussions could add an

long time and then suddenly it flips over to the opposite

important layer to the current landscape of architectural

and you have too much to do and no time anymore for

media in Vienna and Austria.

anything else. Do you have a strategy to deal with this?

Mattias

Dávid

The public funding is still ok. We are always on a very

One format that we would like to sustain is to keep

23


Photo: Balázs Danyi


up the theoretical part of the studio, while we have

management issues, it is important that quality work is

to manage an eight-hour day with an office of eight

produced even without us. Now we are experimenting

people. This is one thing that we also have to “design” in

with different approaches to solve this situation. Or

the future: how are we going to manage to have the time

another question is: if you read a publication or watch

to read the latest sparky publications, review the newest

a presentation on YouTube or listen to a podcast, then

thing from the AA and so on? This is the main issue

how is it possible to transfer that knowledge to other

that drives us and these discussions that we have about

colleagues in the office and to make that personal

upcoming theoretical phenomena are the happiest part

knowledge into a common one? In this way, I think, we

of having a studio.

would like to be a kind of studio, where not everything comes from us, but there is a common spirit, which is

Szabolcs

based on us and that spirit drives our colleagues to do

I think there is another key aspect, which is how to not

things that are Paradigma Ariadné-ish enough. Now it is

set up boundaries. We did not really set up or specialize

true that mostly every idea is coming from us, because

in anything, therefore we are able to use this diverse

we are on a level with eight people, on which it is

flow of the projects to make interesting connections

working. But there will be a certain level in the future,

and synergies, from where we always can get new

where we have to enjoy all the visions of our studio or

momentums and inspirations. So, I think that we are in this constant process, where we are designing or searching what our vision really is and right now it is not really an exact “thing”. However, we try to manage our resources in a way that we always have a project that not necessarily has to come from the market. So basically our strategy is to avoid to do nothing. We always come up with something, if there are a few days that are free. We do some research, look at an old idea that can be reconsidered or just have the mission to find something, make a library… This stuff always gives us something, from which we are able to do another step. Dávid What makes it possible to set up these boundaries that we are working with seems to be the pricing that we can have for our design work. So, if you can raise the level of your pricing, then maybe you have more time to do something else, which, in a very profane way, we can call innovation. Innovation that is priced into our design processes. This is a way how companies in any other economic sector deal with their wish for innovation. This is one thing that we do not want to hide anymore from our clients. We do innovation in our design processes and this is good for our clients. If we can persuade them in this point, it helps us to extend our boundaries regarding our activities. Jerome

sustain a system that creates visions without us.

Another important issue in your way of working seems to be a very constant staff in the office. The people you

Attila

are employing or collaborating with are mostly working

And we also know that to learn every aspect of our job, to

with you since a few years already, right?

learn to sustain this system that Dávid mentioned and even to learn how to make better exhibitions, it simply

Dávid

takes time. One thing I wanted to mention is that the

Yes, and the key issue with that is to sustain a system in

older generation always tells us that it needs ten years

an office that can promote the quality of the work. This

to build up your office. After four years I think that we

is a question for us now, because if we do not have the

can see what kind of difficulties we still have, because

time during a week to draw a simple line, because of

our office is only four years old and next to successes, we 25


Photo: Balázs Danyi


also have failures. The biggest challenge we are facing now is the exhibition of the Hungarian pavilion at the Biennale. We are really curious what will happen and how we will live through all this.

And there is one more thing that I want to say

about the knowledge within our studio: I think it is really important that this knowledge is evenly distributed right now, so that not only one person knows everything and not only he or she can talk about us. An office needs this common knowledge, if it should run in a sustainable way. Dávid That is how we even started to communicate with ourselves. We are not a place where you can work on different projects one after another, but Paradigma Ariadné, as a whole, is a project that we are all working on and everyone has to give his knowledge into this and everyone has the responsibility to raise the level of knowledge within the studio. Matthias That is also very nicely represented in the exhibition, because you had the historical part in the largest room, then you had the design parts with the big installation and the patterns you designed and then you also had the research part. And you could go in circles… It is a hermeneutic circle. Dávid That is how it started and I think it is quite unique too. The ecosystem that we presented at the exhibition was very identical to us.

27


M A G A Z I N . Ausstellungsraum für zeitgenössische Architektur Weyringergasse 27/i A- 1040 Wien info@architektur-im-magazin.at architektur-im-magazin.at

Das

MAGAZIN

ist ein Ausstellungsraum für zeit-

genössische Architektur in Wien, der von Jerome Becker, Matthias Moroder und Florian Schafschetzy geleitet wird. Das MAGAZIN fördert vor allem junge Architektinnen und Architekten aus dem In- und Ausland, die dabei sind

sich

im

eigenständig

zeitgenössischen zu

positionieren

Architekturdiskurs und

in

deren

Architekturprojekten bereits ein eigenes Arbeitsprojekt abzulesen ist. Das MAGAZIN präsentiert die Arbeit dieser vor allem jungen Architektinnen und Architekten in eigens für den Ausstellungsraum konzipierten Einzelausstellungen und rundet diese mit dazugehörigen Publikationen sowie Vorträgen ab.

Breite Gasse Publishing, 2021 1070 Wien, Breite Gasse 3/2 ISBN: 978-3-9504111-7-1 Schriftarten: modum, RNS Miles

Für Ihre Unterstützung möchten wir vor allem dem 4. Wiener Gemeindebezirk, der Stadt Wien sowie dem Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlichen Dienst und Sport danken.