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May 15

In Search of Beauty: Between Tradition and Innovation

For this year’s conference, we are inviting interesting personalities from the field of architecture and its margins to present their authentic quests on both a professional and personal level. We will listen to their testimonies related to remarkable architectures, which will probably not be that much a part of the “mainstream” generic architecture, but rather personal, sensitive towards culture and nature, related to the author’s poetic expression and their own journey beyond the established frameworks (thinking “outside of the box”).

We will meet authors who are aware of the limitations of perpetual growth, who collaborate with local communities, who have a deeper understanding of different traditions and their meaning, but who are also aware that we live in the 21st century which drives us to search for both authentic and innovative forms of living all across the world. At a time when we are facing difficult, multifaceted challenges, both globally and locally (from wars to climate change, from ecological to social and political crises, etc.), also in architecture, mediocre, conventional methods barely ever “catch on”. At the same time, there are no universal recipes for creative paths and solutions; we have to find them again and again in ways that are contextual, unique, “site-specific”, participatory, sustainable, etc. This is what the life stories of our guests from different countries and different generations will be like: diverse, colorful, original, wise, inspiring, and spiced up again and again by their creative actions, their specific times and spaces, their houses and gardens, their towns, and villages!

Our six guests, with whom we will share and discuss these stories, will also be invited to reflect on this year’s overall theme of the BigSee event and magazine, the phenomenon of “beauty”, in their way, from their perspective. This theme is “eternal” in the field of architecture, but it is also intriguing and elusive because it evolves and changes over time and is, therefore, difficult to capture in rigid canons. However, what is really interesting about beauty and aesthetics is not so much its superficial, fashionable, or “cosmetic” aspect, which also dictates trends in architecture, but rather a deeper, experiential insight into the phenomenology of beautiful or aesthetic (more in the sense of the ancient Greek word eisthesis, experience). When architecture – within its holistic approach – carries artistic values as well, it has a therapeutic effect on human beings, it inspires and heals us, and at the same time, it offers us a safe, warm harbor to seek in the midst of a frantic modern world. This is, after all, what even (neuro)scientists have been reminding us of in recent years, and what also places beauty deep within the perceptual, formative experiences of human beings. The “Venustas” of the classical Vitruvian triad is, therefore, not lost or forgotten, as may have been progressively assumed given the state of the world and of architecture in the last century, it only needs to be re-conceptualized, reconnected with life and with people, and dignified through sensitive and responsible architecture!

Curator: Aleksander Ostan

12.30: Rok Jereb, Blaž Budja; Jereb in Budja arhitekti, Slovenia
13.30: Markus Klaura; Lendarchitektur, Austria
14.30: Marek Štěpán; Atelier Štěpán, Czech Republic
Coffee break; 15.30-16.00
16.00: Konrad Buhagiar; AP Valletta, Malta
17.00: Ken Marquardt; Canova assoziazione, Italia

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