AOS Architects Exhibit in Venice
Atkin Olshin Schade Architects (AOS) is exhibiting their innovative architectural preservation work at the Global Art Affairs (GAA) Foundation, concurrent with the 2018 Venice Biennale. The exhibit, titled A Future-Oriented Preservation, is on display at GAA’s European Cultural Centre as part of the exhibition, TIME SPACE EXISTENCE from 26 May to 25 November 2018. The Centre is located at the Palazzo Bembo, Venice, Italy.
A Future-Oriented Preservation features two case studies: Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site (ESP) in Philadelphia, PA and Owe’neh Bupingeh in Ohkay Owingeh, NM. ESP, in operation from 1829-1971, is the most influential prison ever built, inspiring the design of more than 330 prisons across the world and spurring international debate on criminal justice. The prison was abandoned in 1971 and much of building remains in ruinous condition. A Master Plan and new Visitor Center, now in design, provide an introduction to the social experiment and the National Historic Landmark; the Plan calls for some portions of the building to be renovated while others are designated to deteriorate further, marking the passage of time.
The Owe’neh Bupingeh preservation project reinvigorates the plazas and dwellings of the central village of Ohkay Owingeh, one of 19 Native American Pueblos in New Mexico. The adobe homes have undergone seven centuries of growth, abandonment, and alteration. Whereas Western preservation dogma asks how the village looked originally, when it had the greatest integrity, and how it should be restored to better represent the past, the people of Ohkay Owingeh recognize that no moment in time has greater significance than any other. Their “period of significance” is tomorrow.
AOS Architects believes that places of the past should be preserved not simply because of their age, but because the insight they offer into our complex cultures is relevant to contemporary life and can provide guidance as we enter the future. The exhibit challenges the conventional idea that preservation is about materiality and illustrates the important role it plays in contemporary life. The exhibition’s message is that preservation is more about the future than the past.