I must admit that I was not able to attend all the amazing lectures and intimate discussion during Archtober in New York City because of work overlap and being sick. I have been catching up with all of it this week, which is of course, the last week for these organized events. However, it will not stop there as I have five more architecture events to attend in the next two weeks.
I missed the last Nordic-specific lecture because I had to go to REX and Front's First Friday and was really torn because it was about Art and Public Spaces, which of course is one of my many main interests. Luckily, they invited me to attend the discussion today that was organized by the Danish Consulate of New York. Little did I know that they would be discussing the main topic of my thesis back in school. I was not able to catch the presentation of Louis because I was caught up at work but was able to walk into Jesper's. After his presentation, it was deja vu all over again as director of AIANY, David Bourney, moderated (in much humor) our intimate discussion with Henning Larsen Architects' managing partner, Louis Becker and award winning Danish lighting designer, Jesper Kongshaug.
Architectural landmarks are reshaping the role and importance of arts institutions. But how does the architect shape a building to match both the surroundings and accommodate the particular requirements of an arts institution and diverse audiences? And how can the architecture of an arts institution create new communities?
Every response was artfully and articulately profound but not too new to me as I investigated this phenomenon for my thesis. People don't ask for culture. They ask for participation. They want inclusiveness. The creation of culture is the new trend. Culture is a key factor in the requirements of most desired and livable cities. As Louis accounted, there are three key things that make a city vibrantly appealing for residing: A university, a hospital and a culture house. If one is missing, then there is a problem. It is the city's responsibility to provide these physical establishments to sustain intangible but invaluable elements that create cohesion within a community.
Some memorable quotes include:
"This 'selfie' phenomenon will probably be over in 2 years. It is nothing but transient." - Louis Becker
This was his response regarding the effect of ubiquitous social media images and the culture of "been there, done that" possibly endangering culture houses. Culture through physical architecture has more permanence than technological trends.
"We build the arts and then we build the cars." - Jesper Kongshaug's Friend
Jesper was sharing his concern about the role of art in the accelerated technological age to his German friend. He offended her by saying that she won't have a problem in her country, Germany, because they are prosperous from producing their quality products. I cannot emphasize how those words have so much meaning to me because it's something I have always said, just in different words. It is what keeps me going.
"Well, it's quite different in England. They kept us quiet by beating us. It was more cost effective." - David Bourney
We were discussing the problem of noise in kindergartens when we got off on a not too far tangent. Louis shared that the research department of his firm in Denmark had conducted studies regarding using artificial light as a solution to control the noise of the children. The dimmer, the quieter. The brighter, the louder. David's response was of course in humor. There are multiple ways of solving problems through design, and the former proved to be one of them. On that note, please stay tuned for an article I wrote for a sound design company in Berlin regarding sound in conjunction with design.
It was a very familiar but yet still thought-provoking, I thoroughly enjoyed this informative, casual and quite humorous discussion with some of the leading designers from Denmark and Danish designers based in NYC. There is quite a difference between this particular discussion than the previous ones I attended because there was a sense of involvement, which is a demonstration itself of the matter at hand.