Interview with David Erixon

17.07.2012, 16:30
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– How do you feel about your experience at Strelka?

Last year I had only one week with all the students – an introduction week – and the rest of the time there were just people in my studio so I can only talk about that.

Overall it has been a really interesting year. Every time you do this kind of thing it’s a kind of a journey. And you never really know how it’s gonna be because it’s so specific. I think that we were really lucky that we had such great people in our studio, people who were really up for doing great things together, who were really collaborative and passionate about what they did

The topic of microrayons is such an interesting topic because even though 80 million people are living there you will be surprised how little research have been done on that theme. No one cared for understanding the situation and improving the quality of life within those areas. So I think we’ve been doing some really pioneering work. Also I think that students have been incredibly dedicated trying to raise awareness and educate others on the issues surrounding the microrayon, taking much bigger responsibility for the topic itself.

And apart from that we have learned a lot on how to run a studio. From now we have got some great input from this year;s students to the next year about things we should improve, what we should keep and what we love about it.

– What would you add to Strelka? What would you like it to be?

I will have two roles for the next year: I will continue to run a studio and I will also together with Nastya (Anastasia Smirnova) be more responsible for the overall structure of the program and of the studios. Some of the things we did in our studio that were successful we want everyone to engage with:  collaborative learning, action learning. We want to make sure that we have much more of a culture and learning culture in particular so that collaboration and discussion happens more naturally not only within the studio but between studios as well.

The program is going to be about creating and facilitating the culture and making sure that this topic of Agents of Change is not only about the city but also about the student itself. So that is kind of a big thing.

There are many things that we can do so much better: how we structure it, how we facilitate it, how to plan ahead. There is a lot more to be done. I don’t think that there will be revolutionary changes, there will be more incremental improvements. And I think that the basic concept that we had was really great.

– Do you have special interest in architecture?

I think architecture is too important to leave it only to architects. I think that a lot of discussions around architecture and urban planning have became a close community to the people that are architects. And although I see the value of a very focused view of the world I also see the value of expanding those viewpoints. I think that it is important that people not just with the architecture background are engaged in the architecture discussion and discourse. So absolutely as a part of Strelka I will also be a part of that context.

We are inviting bids to design a development conceptual framework for Gorky Park

In the past couple of years, Gorky Park has changed radically, becoming one of the most-visited recreational spots in Moscow. However, the Park and its surrounding areas are still lacking a clear concept of future development.

Strelka will be accepting bids from Russian and international landscaping and architectural firms until July 31, 2012. The Tender Committee evaluating the proposed concepts will include Head of the Moscow City Department of Culture Sergey Kapkov (serving as Chairman of the Tender Committee); Deputy Mayor of Moscow Andrei Sharonov; Gorky Park Director Olga Zakharova; Deputy Director for the Kremlin Museums Andrei Batalov; Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of Moscow City Cultural Heritage Department Alexander Kibovsky; Deputy Executive of Environmental Conservation Department Sergey Melnikov; Director of Strelka Institute Varvara Melnikova and architectural critic Grigory Revzin. The name of the winning bidder will be posted on the Gorky Park website in early September following an open vote by show of hands by the Tender Committee. The winning bidder will sign a contract worth USD 100,000-220,000.

The winning bidder is expected to develop a conceptual framework by January 2013 that will serve as a foundation for refining a general development plan for Gorky Park, Neskuchny Garden and adjacent riverfront areas . Implementation of the approved project will then be under way for the next five to seven years, and is to be financed by Moscow Government.