Bert Bücking (BOF Architekten), Beth Healey, Chiara Montanari (Expedition Leader), Francesco Pellegrino (ENEA) In conversation with Polar Lab Directors

Hyper-density VS Isolation

Series: Architecture in the Extreme
Date: Thursday 19 September 2019
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 0 mins

Round table held within the context of Architecture in the Extreme

By conceiving a territory in anthesis and naming it Antarctica, the Greeks at once prophetically foresaw the essential role that the ultimate continent laboratory would play in our world’s ecosystem and synthesised in the short prefix (ANT-) the endless paradoxes that the southernmost territory conceals.
Driven by the conviction that it is essential, in the midst of the Anthropocene, to shift the attention South and reflect on existing and future modes of inhabitation in the extreme, Giulia Foscari curates a series of Antarctic Conversations run by Antarctica 200 within the context of the London Design Festival.
Antarctic Conversations between polar experts from the fields of architecture, engineering, science, medicine and psychology will unfold at the AA as a tryptic of Round Tables, each addressing a set of Antarctic antinomies.

As best described in the diaries of the heroic era explorers, living in Antarctica (and especially over-wintering in the continent) represents at once the uncertainly of physical survival and a serious threat to mental health. The latter is exacerbated by the paradoxical condition of experiencing instantaneously absolute isolation and high-density cohabitation. Whilst in historic bases this led to a unique form of impromptu “interior urbanism”, contemporary stations are designed by cross-disciplinary teams that combine the skills of architects and engineers to those of doctors and psychologist. The third Antarctic Conversation will invite experts from all fields above mentioned to reflect on the necessity of embracing a particular “Antarctic mindset” for long-term permanence in the continent, on the technological features of hyper-remote stations on the plateau, on the physical and medical side-effects of living in a so called “space-flight simulator”, on the impact of color in mitigating “polar depression”, and on the innovations embedded in the latest design for the future station at the “pole of inaccessibility”.

Speakers, in order of presentation include:
Chiara Montanari, Expedition Leader
Francesco Pellegrino, ENEA
Beth Healey
Bert Bücking, BOF Architekten

moderators (Polar Lab directors):
Giulia Foscari, Antarctica 200 Co-Director, UNA/unless
Francesco Bandarin, Antarctica 200 Co-Director
Arturo Lyon, PUC
Juan Du, HKU


Giulia Foscari – Curator + Antarctica 200 Co-Director, Polar Lab Co-Director (UK) 
Giulia Foscari is an architect, curator and author who has been practising in Asia, South America and Europe. She is the founder of UNA, a Hamburg-based international architecture practice focussed on cultural projects; founder of UNLESS, a non-for-profit platform dedicated to research on the effects of the Anthropocene; and partner of Foscari Widmann Rezzonico Associati, an architecture practice based in Venice. Her working experience includes an extensive collaboration with OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) which started in Hong Kong in 2009 and led her to run OMA’s South American platform. In 2014 Giulia authored “Elements of Venice”, a book published by Lars Müller Publishers which was awarded the DAM Architectural Book Award. In parallel to practicing architecture, Giulia worked on multiple curatorial projects (including exhibitions in four editions of the Venice Biennale) and is engaged in academia. Giulia taught at Hong Kong University for five academic years, and ran a Diploma Unit at the Architectural Association (between 2015 and 2018) where she now co-directs the Polar Lab. 

Francesco Bandarin – Antarctica 200 Co-Director, Polar Lab Co-Director (UK) 
Francesco Bandarin is an Architect and Urban Planner, specialized in Urban Conservation. From 2000 to 2010 he was Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Secretary of the World Heritage Convention. From 2010 to 2018 he served as Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture. He is currently Special Advisor for heritage of the UNESCO Director-General. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and a member of ICOMOS Italy. He has been Professor of Urban Planning and Urban Conservation at the University of Venice (IUAV) from 1980 to 2016. His recent publications include: “The Historic Urban Landscape: Managing Heritage in an Urban Century”, 2012 and “Reconnecting the City. The Historic Urban Landscape Approach and the Future of Urban Heritage”, 2015, both co-authored with Ron van Oers and published by Wiley-Blackwell. A comprehensive book on the Historic Urban Landscape experience, “Re-shaping Urban Conservation”, co-edited with Ana Pereira Roders, is forthcoming by Springer. 

Arturo Lyon – Polar Lab Director (CL) 
Arturo Lyon is an architect dedicated to the experimental and professional development of architecture, landscape and urban design projects. He is founder of Lyon Bosch + Martic Arquitectos, firm that has carried out several public and private projects, including the XVIII Biennial of Architecture of Chile, the Las Majadas de Pirque Hotel, the Cerros de Chena Park — associated with Teodoro Fernández —and the Metropolitan Civic Promenade for the redesign of Alameda - Providencia, Santiago's main boulevard — associated with Groundlab.  Arturo is Professor of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (PUC) in the areas of design studio, technology and landscape architecture. He leads the design studio courses for the undergraduate School of Architecture and is member of the Public Space Group of the Nacional Committee of Urban Development of Chile. 

Juan Du – Polar Lab Director (HK) 
Juan Du is Associate Professor, Associate Dean (International), and Director of the Urban Ecologies Design Lab at the University of Hong Kong. She also leads IDU_architecture, with projects ranging from the extent of built form to the social and ecological processes of the city, and her works have been published and exhibited in Asia, Europe and the United States. Juan's research and design focus is on the relationships between the urban and architectural, formal and informal, and specifically on informal settlements of extreme high-density within rapid urbanization. An upcoming book “The Shenzhen Experiment”, will be published by Harvard University Press in winter 2019. Juan has previously taught at MIT and Peking University, and her past curatorial projects includes Hong Kong’s participation in the 2010 Venice Biennale and the Housing an Affordable City Exhibition at the 2011 Shenzhen Hong Kong Biennale. 

Bert Bücking – BOF Architekten
Bert is the founder of bof architekten in collaboration with Patrick Ostrop and Ole Flemming. Bert has work experience in all areas of architecture as well as teaching and research. His particular interest is the interface between civil engineering and architecture. While studying architecture at the university Bert developed already a strong interest in modular and sustainable building techniques and designs. This knowledge was deepened and expanded through practical work and research throughout his whole career. Together with Ramboll he developed modular concepts for buildings in remote areas and extreme environments.

Beth Healey
Beth’s interest in extreme and remote environments has led her to work as part of medical and logistical support teams for ski mountaineering expeditions and endurance races from Greenland to the North Pole. She has also overwintered in Antarctica as research MD for the European Space Agency at spaceflight analogue Concordia ‘White Mars'. Now based in the Alps she works as an emergency medicine doctor at Martigny Hospital, where she is also enjoying taking time to brush up her skiing.

Chiara Montanari – Expedition Leader
Chiara was the first Italian Woman to Lead an Expedition to Antarctica. So far, she has led 5 scientific expeditions to the southernmost continent, representing Italy, France and Belgium. Chiara has 16 years working experience in polar environments and as Head of the Mission, she led numerous international teams to the most extreme research stations of our Planet (e.g. Concordia, at 4000 m altitude and temperatures between -50°C in summer and -80°C in winter). Chiara narrates these experiences in her book “Chronicles from the ice, 90 days in  Antarctica” (2015, Mondadori), in which she proposes the extreme ecosystem of Antarctica as a metaphor for the current business world.

Francesco Pellegrino – ENEA
Francesco, a mechanical engineer, is a member of the engineering working group of Enea Antarctic Unit. In the last Antarctic seasons, he has visited six times. His roles include Technical Manager of Mario Zucchelli Station (MZS), Construction Manager of renewable energy plants (solar and wind) and Site Supervisor of structural maintenance works and plant revamping of MZS Dock. Additionally, Francesco is an expert of renewable energies and energy saving plants for applications in extreme sites.

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.