This year’s Lisbon Architecture Triennale has been characterized as irreverent and playful, but one project stands out from the dizzying array of avant-garde and captivating exhibitions. Planning For Protest was organized by Ben Allen, James Bae, and Ricardo Gomes of KWY, Shannon Harvey of Public Address, and Adam Michaels of Project Projects; it brings together architecture firms from cities that have experienced recent economic and political troubles along with vibrant calls for protest (examples include this summer’s events in Istanbul and São Paulo and the anti-austerity demonstrations in Lisbon and Athens).
Planning for Protest proposes looking at political activity as a spatial phenomenon: The organizers explain that they wanted their project to shed light on the urban spaces in which political action takes place, a subject often overlooked amidst the media spectacle of protests. The project is noteworthy not only for its ambition and scope—it surveys grassroots political activism in twelve locations—but also for the diversity of proposals and responses. Each architecture firm put forth proposals, varying in their levels of realism, guided by an in-depth analysis of the conditions and street grids of their respective cities.
These proposals were collected in a publication by Project Projects, seen above. The work has sparked active discussion about the role of public space in protest activity, returning architecture to its place as a social and political art.
Planning for Protest runs until December 14, Monday through Friday, 11 am–8 pm at Rua dos Douradores 220, 1100 Lisbon.
Athens Protocols, ANTONAS Office, Athens, Greece
This proposal uses Internet-enabled structures to channel the energy of the city’s infamous riots into constructive political action.
What Ever Happened to Protest?, Studio Miessen, Berlin, Germany
This practice proposes an alternative to traditional urban protest: a series of graphics that call attention to “representative individuals who have managed to fully deconstruct the only asset that Berlin has, which is the very charm of an urban heterogeneity.”
University's Squares, studioBASAR, Bucharest, Romania
Here, Bucharest’s discrete urban squares are linked to provide a unified protest location.
Cairo: Urban Revolution, CLUSTER, Cairo, Egypt
This analysis of Cairo focuses on the potential for informal settlements and markets to challenge the top-down hierarchy of the city.
Hiding in Plain Sight: A New Route for Civic Dissent in Dublin, Culturestruction, Dublin, Ireland
This plan creates a new protest route to challenge the commercialization of Dublin's traditional march course.
Istanbul 2013/2030, SUPERPOOL, Istanbul, Turkey
SUPERPOOL used their analysis of the Gezi Park protests to formulate an organizational system for Istanbul's public spaces, including both Taksim Square and the proposed new public areas that expand deep into the city.
Lisbon: Territory of Conflict, ateliermob, Lisbon, Portugal
This project refrains from creating an instrument for protest, choosing instead to chart past events and provide evidence that further protests are in Lisbon's future.
R-Urban Wick, public works & Isaac Marrero-Guillamón, London, England
This proposal analyzes the culture-rich neighborhoods of Hackney Wick and Fish Island in relationship to the Olympic Park, their higher-class neighbor. Two possible futures are described: one in which the former neighborhoods are gentrified by the latter and another in which the artistic neighborhoods begin to spread their influence into the newer developments.
[un]planning for protest, ecosistema urbano, Madrid, Spain
This treatment of Madrid uses data from the 15-M protests to plan for future demonstrations.
Z-blocks, Srdjan Jovanović Weiss/NAO, New York, New York
Simple building blocks, like those featured in this proposal, can become temporary furniture or even dwellings in public spaces.
Thermometer Structures, Vapor 324, São Paulo, Brazil
This proposal calls for a megastructure to be built in downtown São Paulo that can deliver information to citizens and facilitate movement and communication throughout the city.