DetailsThe World Around presented groundbreaking architecture and design projects from the past year at its third annual Summit on Saturday, February 5
New York-based architecture and design platform The World Around returned this year on Saturday, February 5, for the third edition of its annual summit celebrating architecture and design’s now, near and next. The line-up of the best of this year’s newly completed buildings, research, art and design practice included Pritzker-Prize winning architect Tadao Ando, artist Himali Singh Soin, artist Amie Siegel, author Amitav Ghosh, architect Lesley Lokko, design studio Formafantasma, architects MVRDV and Sir David Chipperfield. Conducted in a hybrid in-person and online format, the Summit was co-presented by The World Around, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Global design practitioners shared recent projects that spoke to internationally pressing issues including climate change, racial and social equity, ecology, Indigenous rights, digital technology and community. There were presentations both in person from the Guggenheim, as well as from speakers sharing projects in cities around the world including Tokyo, Beijing, Rosario, Brasilia, Milan, Zurich and Barcelona.
The day was divided into three sessions, with a specific focus on urgent topics related to the role of contemporary, spatial, social and digital design.
Later in 2022, on June 11, The World Around will be in residence at the Het Nieuwe Instituut where they will be creating a bespoke new capsule program as part of Rotterdam Architecture Month.
Session One - Beatrice Galilee
Lesley Lokko - African Futures Institute
Formafantasma - Cambio
Ursula Biemann - Forest Mind
Camila Marambio - Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol
Amitav Ghosh & Lucia Pietroutsi - The Nutmeg’s Curse
Short Fictions 1: - Mojo: Da Floods
Chris Hildrey - ProxyAddress
Eva Pfannes - City of 1000 Tanks
Top Manta - Ande Dem
The first session looked back at 2021 through building projects, ideas and stories that moved the world. Pritzker Prize winning architect Tadao Ando reflected on his spectacular new project in Paris, the restoration of Bourse de Commerce and its transformation into the Pinault collection, whilst Open Architecture presented from Beijing, sharing their latest project, the Chapel of Sound, a monolithic open-air concert hall next to the Ming-era Great Wall. Lesley Lokko, recently appointed curator of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2023, joined in person from the Guggenheim to present the African Futures Initiative in Ghana, a new independent postgraduate school of architecture and public events platform, while Dominique Petit-Frère discussed her design studio Limbo Accra, based in Accra, Ghana.
Award-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman spoke from the stage to present his moving new documentary, The First Wave, sharing the frontlines of the global pandemic in New York, and architect Chris Hildrey presented his digital platform designed to help address homelessness, Proxy Address.
Eva Pfannes, director of international design practice Ooze spoke about their project The City of 1,000 Tanks Chennai, an initiative to mitigate and adapt to climate risks of flood and drought. Winy Maas of architecture practice MVRDV presented Depot Van Beuningen, the world’s first fully accessible ‘open storage’ art depot, located in the centre of Rotterdam.
Session Two, 14:15 EST - Aric Chen
Tadao Ando - The Pinault Collection
Design Earth - The Planet after Geoengineering
Himali Singh Soin - We are opposite like that
Open Architecture - Chapel of Sound
Short Fictions 2: - Where Turtles Fly
Winy Maas - Boijmans Depot
Dominique Petit-Frère - Limbo Accra
Amie Siegel & Beatrice Galilee - Work and Projects
The second session of the day focused on how visualising the networks and processes behind materials can generate action and visibility for complex or otherwise invisible issues. Author Amitav Ghosh was in conversation with founder of the General Ecology Project Lucia Pietroiusti about his new book The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis, 2021. Artist Himali Singh Soin spoke about her ongoing series of works on ice and stories, and Design Earth discussed their recent book The Planet After Geoengineering, 2021. The collective Top Manta shared their new design product, part of their work to help improve the living conditions of the manteros, the name for street vendors in Barcelona.
Italian design studio Formafantasma discussed their ongoing exhibition examining the borders and networks of design, Cambio, and artist Ursula Biemann discuss her recent film Forest Mind, set in Colombia. Photographer Sebastián López Brach presented his work on forest fires in Rosario, which captured the story of the wetlands of the Parana River, and how families adapted to the changes imposed by both the pandemic and environmental transformations. Finally, New York-based artist Amie Siegel discussed her practice in conversation with The World Around co-founder and executive director Beatrice Galilee.
Session Three, 16:30 EST - Cyra Levenson
Matthew Heineman + Beatrice Galilee - The First Wave
Sebastian Lopez Brach - Paraná River
Miriam Hillawi Abraham - Abyssinian Cyber Vernaculus
Paulo Tavares - Trees, Palms, Vines and Other Monuments
Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti - Refugee Heritage
Short Fictions 3: - Pantheon of Queer Mythology
Monument Lab - National Monument Audit
David Chipperfield - Neue Nationalgalerie Refurbishment
The final session explored how attitudes to ecological preservation and monuments had changed over the past year. David Chipperfield spoke to the renovation of Mies van der Rohe's masterpiece in Berlin, the Neue Nationalgalerie. Santiago-based curator Camila Marambio presented on an under-construction project Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol, presenting that the Chilean Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale could create a growing community oriented toward the conservation of peatlands, which are imperilled all over the world. Ethiopian spatial designer Miriam Hillawi Abraham presented a VR project, the Abyssinian Cyber Vernaculus, and Monuments Lab presented the National Monument Audit, the first ever survey assessment of the monument landscape across the United States. Further exploring the idea of monuments, Brazilian architect, writer and educator Paulo Tavares spoke on trees and forests as monuments, whilst DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Research) shared a dossier to recognize the world’s oldest refugee camp, Dheisheh, as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The World Around’s co-founder and executive director Beatrice Galilee said:
“By examining the very best in recent contemporary architecture, we can illuminate the shared global values and concerns of the day. This year’s Summit brings together international practitioners who are responding to issues from environmental damage to homelessness, education, and worker’s rights, with urgency and clarity. Through their remarkable projects – from buildings, books, films and VR, to the design of businesses and new institutions, they are creating the near, now and next in our collective futures, highlighting the role that architecture and design can play in creating a fairer world.
We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of our partners to bring this event together, joining forces with some of the world’s most internationally renowned institutions, to share these important conversations with as many people as possible.”
Cyra Levenson, Deputy Director and Gail Engelberg Director of Education and Public Engagement at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, said:
“The Guggenheim has always understood the value of game changing architecture and design. Architects, designers, artists and museums share an ability to create space. Physical spaces yes, but perhaps even more importantly social and civic space. Gathering to share solutions to the challenges we face collectively is some of the most important work we can do as a museum. We are honoured to host this important global convening of visionaries who are making the future one in which we can find hope.
Aric Chen, General and Artistic Director of the Het Nieuwe Instituut, said:
“We are delighted and proud to be the European partner of The World Around Summit in 2022. With its progressive content and global scope, the Summit is a great match for the institute and we’re excited to be presenting another live event later this year in Rotterdam, a city with deep roots in architectural thinking, and to the world.”