Architecture as Critical Media

Jan Boelen, Vera Sacchetti, Nadine Botha
Workshop coordinated by the collaboration of IKSV İstanbul Biennale
Workshop Tutors: Nadine Botha, Cansu Cürgen

Ninety-nine years after the Bauhaus, the design discipline and the world are very different places, while design education has mostly remained the same. Design has become a form of enquiry, power and agency. It has become vaster than the world and life itself, permeating all layers of everyday life. As design becomes pervasive, the discipline can no longer claim to offer solutions to everything. In fact, the one-size-fits-all approach of many universal global systems is showing its cracks and exclusions.

As a space for critical reflection on design, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial intends to question the very production and replication of design and its education. Alternative design education initiatives have consistently provided a brave space for experimentation and new knowledge, from the Bauhaus to Black Mountain College, and from Global Tools to the Sigma Group. These initiatives have not only helped design evolve, question itself and push its own boundaries, but also of education and learning in general. Not only concerned with design, many of these experiments have also tested alternative ways of living, working, and connecting with each other and ourselves. Through this process-based experiential research; new manifestations, meanings, and implications of design have surfaced.

There is no shortage of affinities between the Vardiya project and the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial. Both start from a position of questioning and reinventing the traditional biennial format, resulting in productive process-orientated platforms. Both prioritise students, graduates and learners as agents and producers of the future. Both recognise that the shift is about more questions than more answers.
The curatorial team of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial is thrilled to collaborate with a project equally invested in shifting traditional perceptions of what design and education are and can be.