• Architecture's Dissidents, Critical Practices during the Melt-down of the Soviet Bloc
    Ines Anette Weizman

Iskander Galimov, Cathedral City, 1990 Photo: Iskander Galimov.

In communist Eastern Europe, groups of architects otherwise employed in state-run architectural collectives or as teachers in architecture schools were developing a parallel professional life within "private gatherings," in which they produced and exchanged texts, delivered secret lectures, installed temporary (sometimes only day-long) installations and drew fantastic designs of unbuildable structures. Using several case studies and unearthing the practices of dissidents in Moscow, Prague, Berlin, Bucharest, and Warsaw, this project aims to research the possibilities of dissent within the field of architecture. The project deals with the potential of politically engaged architecture to go beyond the current limits of its documentary/critical stand and aims to meet the political problems of the present with its own tools.

Ines Anette Weizman, diploma in architecture (Bauhaus University Weimar), MPhil (Cantab), and PhD (Architectural Association), is an architect and theorist based in London. She is director of the MA/ PhD program in Cities, Design, and Urban Cultures in the Department of Architecture and Spatial Design at London Metropolitan University. She teaches architectural history and theory at the Architectural Association and is also adjunct professor of history and theory at Syracuse University's Architecture Program in London. In 2005, she was guest professor at the Berlage Institute of Architecture in Rotterdam and taught politics at Goldsmiths College London. In recent years, she researched the architectural transformation of former East German cities since reunification. She published articles on the political and ideological spectacles enacted by Soviet-era architecture, on the urban historiography of East Germany, as well as on the phenomena of "shrinking cities." Recent projects include Celltexts. Books and Other Works Produced in Prison (together with Eyal Weizman), published by Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turino (2008). Currently, with Andreas Thiele, she is working on the reenactment of Adolf Loos's home for Josephine Baker in Paris. This project was inspired by an invitation to Ordos 100, for which curator Ai Wei Wei and the architectural office Herzog & De Meuron invited one-hundred architects to build villas in Ordos, Inner Mongolia China.