Punk in Czech architecture

17/10/14 - 07/12/14
Punk in Czech architecture

Even four decades since the word "punk" became part of the cultural and social scene, it hasn´t ceased to irritate. It was a hundred times mashed in the context of advertising, snobbish events, design, fashion, cosmetics or even the automotive industry. Still it can attract attention as a "brand". Maybe that is why it can bring freshness and new drive into the stale waters of punk ballast. And it is valid for architecture as well: selection realizations, whose authors can be - often unconsciously, from the outside - dubbed "punks", is presented from Friday, October 17 until December 7 in the Jaroslav Fragner Gallery in Prague. The opening of the exhibition will take place in the way of “punk style architecture: today, Thursday, October 16, in the courtyard of the Bethlehem Chapel there will perform the music bands Paramones (SK) and Plexis (CZ).

There are presented over thirty projects of domestic and foreign architects. Personalities, such as were Henri Labrouste, Josef Gočár and Hans Hollein or postmodernists Coop Himmelb(l)au or Vlad Milunić and Martin Rajniš, Peter Suskeho, Svatopluk Sládeček, Ivan Kroupa or studios HSH and H3T. Individual realizations are linked with excerpts from texts of eminent philosophers and historians - Aaron Betskyho, Hans Ibelingse or Petr Rezek. Punk exhibition hub architectural concept and gave James Fiser of study Aulík Fiser architects.
"Basically we softened the term of "punk" and used it as a kind of glasses through which we look at contemporary architecture and historic buildings," explains one of the curators Filip Šenk. "With this punk view we found architects and buildings from different periods, that combine the “otherness" to what can be described as "mid-stream". It can be ironic attitude, anti-normative, utopian - but always significant." For more information on www.gjf.cz.
Curaters Dan Merta, James Fiser and Philip Senk faced the difficult task to define a group of "punks in architecture" retroactively. And throughout the last century, with the uncertainty of what features of punk are to be found in architecture. In addition, they had to avoid the pitfalls in the form of purposeless rebellion, fume-free fun or punk mimicry of pseudo-art. 
The guiding vision became visions, both materialised and unfilled, in the form of a realization that exceed - from the context of its time, a comprehensive manuscript of the author or creator. There can be pointed out several architects who created programmatically on the edge, outside the establishment. And many of them proved outstanding beliefs, endurance and intransigence that moved boundaries of the possible in architecture a step further. This is also true for many underestimated or overlooked domestic environment: whether it's wood creations with innovative design elements from Martin Rajniš, ecological constructions with numerous sustainable "tricks" by Petr Suske or intelligent facades and other hi-tech constructions by Mirko Baum.
Another curator Dan Merta adds that among the authors of the presented projects we can find those grown up or working in the golden punk era of the 70s and 80s. "Punk is perceived as a generational phenomenon. And we wonder how much it influences attitudes and architects and whether it is reflected in their work, "adds Merta.
Even with a regard to the extraction of punk and punk (sub)culture in many, and not only creative industries, the exhibition “punk in architecture” offers numerous overlaps. Therefore the exhibition is accompanied by quotes and other demonstrations of work of David Bowie, Alfred Jarry, Iggy Pop and Vivienne Westwood. The visit itself begins with site-specific installations by Jiří Příhoda, H3T, Pes/Ves, Francis Kowolowski, or Jan and Petr Stolínovi at the  Bethlehem Square.
In the Lapidary of the Bethlehem Chapel there is a parallel exhibition called “UPLOAD!”. It was prepared by the Archwerk studio and consists of a small experimental implementations of selected Czech studios.