A10 COOP – OUR RESEARCH PROJECTS IN 2018 – EUROPE

A10 new European architecture has been a network since 2005. The name fits our ambition to operate on an A-level and achieve 10 out of 10. NEW, EUROPEAN, and ARCHITECTURE are the main focus of our online platform. New, because we are looking for new ideas and innovations that go beyond the status quo (both today and in the past). European, because A10 looks at architecture from a European perspective, which means that we consider Europe a geographical and cultural entity and that we view all its architectural output within this respect. Architecture, therefore, is not to be positioned only as a construction or a concept, but also as the result of the cultural, economic, political, social, and historical forces that shape it. As such, architecture can be any spatial or intellectual concept that relates to the rural or urban setting in which it has taken form (execution) or shape (ideas).

A10 new European architecture Cooperative wishes to continue to cover developments in architecture, urban planning, and landscape design within a European context. For this reason we decided on three major areas for research and documentation in 2018, as well as some side projects for when the opportunity arises. This also allows us to really investigate topics on a European scale, collaborate together, share experiences and knowledge, and offer new data and insights. The main topics are Renovation Revolution, Country for Sale, and Competition Culture. In the upcoming months we will upload case studies and reflections, offering background information on these three major points of concern – which we will then upgrade to research projects.

Renovation Revolution (1) will look deeper into how renovation practice in various countries is rooted in history, culture, and traditions, while contemporary phenomena like tourism, economy, politics and material and technological innovation heavily influence its current constructional development. Input can be expected from Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland, Kosovo, France and Portugal. An example is the revolution in the Portuguese cork industry where, as demand for cork drops, it is being used as insulation material.

Renovation Revolution (2) will address the loss of locality through the Disneyfication of heritage. The main reasons (hypotheses) are the demands of tourism, the influence of criteria and regulations once applied for European funding (whitewashing through regulations), and the mixing of identity and politics (imaginary pasts connected to buildings). Input will be offered by Bulgaria, Malta, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Examples can be found in many authentic and well-documented historical buildings throughout Europe, that end up as a mediocre building without (m)any local characteristics – albeit with a conference hall and tourist appartments.

Country for Sale looks deeper into the effects of the sale of public property (social housing, industry, health care institutions) to commercial parties. We aim to find out more about the scale on which this happening, the new owners and their plans, and how this affects citizens. Examples will come from Finland, Latvia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania and Austria. An example is the Helsinki Railway Station by Eero Saarinen, which monumental restaurant space has been rented to Burger King.

Competition Culture will be a continuation of the collaboration begun last year with Architectuur Lokaal, and aims to improve access, international collaboration, and transparency in competition briefs. In 2017 we published some twelve case studies, and we will continue to further this effort in 2018. Moreover, we will continue to build a platform to address this important issue. Last year’s results can be found here.