Work Architecture of perpetual instability

Research

Architecture of Perpetual Instability is an ongoing research on the various crises humanity is currently facing, with a special interest in political systems and the significance of democracy, including its Greek foundations. The project explores how this form of government was historically designed and how architecture supported and portrayed it.

With global power structures in transition, the role of international organizations in shaping societies has become crucial. History shows that crises such as wars, famines and pandemics have been associated with seismic political changes. Decision-making institutions are currently compelled to reinvent themselves to cope with issues of multilateralism and simultaneous fragmentation in the global political arena. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres has noted, this “is the greatest test that we have faced since the formation of the United Nations”.

There is a fundamental contradiction between crisis phenomena that ‘know’ no borders and a political system that reifies borders for defence. During the current pandemic, for example, migrants have been caught up in strained relations between municipal and national government. This highlights the need for deinstitutionalisation, informal decision-making and a greater variety of decision-making institutions. More than ever, citizens now want to understand and participate in governmental and parliamentary decision-making because many of the decisions affect them concretely and personally. I see this as an opportunity to radically enhance democracy, as many citizens feel disconnected from national and international – including EU – politics.

Emergence of data-based surveillance systems and other mechanisms to control COVID-19 are influencing the work of political structures and organizations. For the first time in history, an ‘invisible’, fear-based global power structure is growing beyond the control of political entities.

Since the founding of the League of Nations in 1920, it has often been noted that the functioning of such international institutions is jeopardised by the heterogeneity of their component parts. During the development year, I will therefore attempt to examine prospects for evolution of a network of international institutions such as NATO, the European Parliament, the EU Court of Justice and the European Central Bank.


Currently, buildings of international institutions seem to be perceived merely as containers for politics. Recently, NATO moved its headquarters to Brussels. Although the institution has an enormous impact on city and regional dynamics, its architecture and contextual integration were not the subject of a broad-based open discussion. Here, there is a key role for design thinking to mediate between political forces and the social realm.

Project

Biography

StudioSpaceStation operates across architecture, politics, technology and design, focusing on a broad interpretation of the architecture field, exploring its potential within our fully constructed reality.

StudioSpaceStation is a satellite and invader simultaneously. It observes current and future affairs, manifesting resolutions through architecture as a solidified representation of dreams and ideas.

StudioSpaceStation provides a vessel for discussion, emergent from critical thinking through perpetual evolvement and experimentation.

Studiospacestation works on cultural self-initiated as well as commissioned by Governmental organizations projects. We take initiative in formulating assignments, working experimentally and in a multidisciplinary fashion with research by design approach StudioSpaceStatinon alternates between speculation and realism.

Clients

Atelier Rijksbouwmeester, Gemeente Rotterdam, Rotterdam Maritiem Museum, Failed Architecture, Creative Industries NL, Archiprix

Honors & Awards

2020 - Talent Grant, Creative Industries, Netherlands
2020 - Young Talent Architecture Award, nomination (by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe and the EU Commission)

2019 - Winner Archiprix Nederland
2019 - Winner Archiprix International
2019 - Winner Tamayouz International Award

Selected Exhibitions
2022 - upcoming, Biennale, Lisbon
2021 - Dutch Design Week
2021 - Biennale, Venice
2020 - Dutch Design Week
2019 - Biennale, Santiago
2019 - Archiprix International
2019 - Archiprix Netherlands

StudioSpaceStation was founded by Lesia Topolnyk after winning several international awards such as Archiprix National, Archiprix International and Tamayouz International Award, and a nomination for the Mies van Der Roche young talent award. Prior to that, she worked at several award-winning international practices such as MVRDV and Powerhouse Company.

Lesia holds her master's from the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture, she also gained experience in France, Germany and Lichtenstein. During her studies, she explored architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture simultaneously. Her work is characterised by the ability to translate complex issues into precise simple aesthetic solutions. Lesia perceives architecture as a curatorial discipline where one must establish the right interconnections to assign new meaning to spaces.

Lesia's designs explore a broad palette of spatial experiences, providing for agonistic interactions and new architectural typologies.

Through interviews, writing and other mediums Studiospacestations explores urgent issues and addresses them through solid design proposals.

'Lesia Topolnyk is an architect who focuses on a broader interpretation of her field. She is interested in the potential of her profession within our constructed reality – not necessarily in building things. 'It's about ideas that take shape during the research and design process which generate new typologies,' she says. For her, it's not enough to shape the world reactively, or in line with what already exists. She explains: 'Although architects are seen as people who design spaces, we also design relationships. Especially in these turbulent political times, it's necessary to look at how the world is designed to understand the larger context in which a project is taking place. I sometimes reflect on major problems at a global level, while other times I focus on the space inside someone's mind.'

Topolnyk grew up in Ukraine, and addressed the situation in Crimea with her final project at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. She created a proposal for a building that consisted primarily of corridors – places where discussions and interactions occur that ultimately have the greatest influence on the decisions being made. Continuous mediation of the situation was central to this concept. The architecture symbolised and supported the mental capacity of those involved. In this endless network of hallways, which reference the agora, visitors could have endless discussions which allowed for a continuous debate; politics is an ongoing conversation. Similarly, her own vision of architecture and her process of research and design focuses on conversation, contributions from different positions, and the involvement of people with a wide range of expertise. She therefore frequently collaborates with people who work in different fields. Because 'you can learn from others and they bring valuable insights and viewpoints...'

Her current research is focused on the various crises humanity is currently facing, with a special interest in political systems and the significance of democracy, including its Greek foundations. She is exploring how this form of government was historically designed and how architecture supported and portrayed it. 'It's about how we can shape change and how we can manage the world better together,' she concludes. Architecture can play a role in that by offering design solutions that support the decision-making process.'

Text: Vincent van Velsen

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