Andreas Gjertsen and Rune Stangeland from TYIN tegnestue Architects: “We are trying to start a dialogue”

15.08.2012, 18:01
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With the help of Andreas Gjertsen and Rune Stangeland from TYIN tegnestue Architects Strelka started to build its first objects. Curators of the workshop “Public space as a tool for dialogue” talked to us about their experience of constructing in Moscow and explained conclusions and observations which they came to during the last week.

About the site of the “Public space as a tool for dialogue” workshop in Mitino

We understood that people needed very basic things: places to sit, places to meet. It was very unclear where the functions were on the site — there is no border between smokers and non-smokers, cars and people, it is like a mess. And we found that it would be good to be a bit aware of the functions. Because we had a very limited timeframe — only 5 days — we had chosen to build something we could finish. So we started building these blocks you could experiment with.

And there it is up to the people visiting the site to imagine what it could be used for: a seat, a table, a game or a climbing tower.

About TYIN approach to architecture education

Pasi Aalto on all except Klong Toey by TYIN.


What we do is teach methods of working, we are teaching the solutions, we are teaching the way to approach the problem. And we want not give people a fish but teach them how to fish so they can get their own fish. You start with the site and maybe someone working on the site. Start with the real problem, not with some made-up concept of a problem. And then you try to solve it. It is not conceptual, it is pragmatic. And then you will try to be conceptual on the top of the pragmatic side.

About the research process of the workshop

It was actually quite difficult to understand the situation, because the site is very complex: it is public, it is private, there are people moving, some of them do not like it, some people are involved in the construction process but they do not really care. And information was very fragmented, it was hard to understand the situation. The students did quite a lot registrations on the sites on different levels: on physical structures, circulation, patterns of movement, the functions — informal and formal, and also this sensory experience like the sound scape, the smells, the textures. We have made a really nice layered cave of information that we could use when we were discussing the issue. The interesting thing for us is that we were not trying to actually answer everything but we are trying to start a dialogue, trying to start people to get involved, be interested. And we think that is actually more important than solving one specific issue.

About first construction process of a school

People usually don’t get involved in that part of a project. And the cool thing here actually is that the whole school wants to construct and there is no actual skill in doing this practical work. I believe it is possible if you just start, make some mistakes, next time you will make some new mistakes, but you do not make the same. It is really interesting to observation: Strelka Institute is like a very advanced child — it is very young institution that wants to learn how to start walking. And the way you are doing it is also very smart — by inviting people that do research and inviting people that build, not trying to do everything by yourself.

About Strelka

First of all I was quite surprised of Strelka Institute. Because it is a mix between something traditional and some kind of brand new that you haven’t already seen before. There is so much friction between the new and the old here, and actually that is the thing that makes it valuable. I think this is super cool to be a part of it. It has been a good week. I was a little bit worried about time — Strelka Institute have never built anything yet and I know how much has to happen before. But I think it is a pleasure to see the attitude that Strelka Institute has when you actually do new things and not stop because it is difficult. That is how you start.

About responsibility for your area

Pasi Aalto on all except Klong Toey by TYIN.

You see that the most difficult sites are those that nobody owns — in-between spaces between public and private — because nobody cares about them. And that is precisely the issue which we are discussing now: how to use this unused space in a way that would benefit people in the area. You do not have to be a proud inhabitant you actually have to feel that this is your area. Only after that you start caring about what happens around. It is supercomplex and seems to be very slow work.

You also have to add social aspects to architecture: the valuable part, not the profitable part. So you sort of change what is profitable. It shouldn’t be poor quality is cheap, high quality is expensive. It should actually be a bit opposite. People should gain appreciation for simplicity.

About potential

There is interesting potential in Moscow — you have a lot of reproducible architecture which makes so much people together. And urbanity is not really about architecture, it is about what happens on the ground level. And this is something that is really potential here — what can you do on the ground floor. You have this modern way of planning — you have a building, parking underneath — how can you make this into a public space, how can you accommodate it to compound, could you have some joint functions downstairs? If you get the priority you can reproduce it easily in a lot of places.