TVN Warszawa about OSSA workshop

"Fata Morgana; a city of unrealized visions and traces of what was, or what might have been. The organizers of this year’s OSSA workshop perceive Warsaw in the same light. The OSSA workshop in October, shall review the numerous visions for Warsaw and see, how many can still be rescued or potentially used."
Check out the article about OSSA 2011 on TVN Warszawa webpage!

The translation of the article follows.

Following the traces of undeveloped visions of Warsaw.

Fata Morgana; a city of unrealized visions and traces of what was, or what might have been. The organizers of this year’s OSSA workshop perceive Warsaw in the same light. The OSSA workshop in October, shall review the numerous visions for Warsaw and see, how many can still be rescued or potentially used.

The world exhibition in Praga, the government district between Ochota and Mokotów, the Pabst's plan, the decision to demolish Warsaw, the decision to rebuild Warsaw, the six year plan, the west centre of Warsaw, the chain of skyscrapers around The Palace of Culture and Science, the new plan of development of the Defilad square, the competition for the surroundings of the National Stadium, another plan of the redevelopment of the Defilad square... In terms of the number of unrealized plans, Warsaw surpasses all records. One does not need to study the history of architecture, to know that most of the great visions for our capital never saw the light of day.

International names for the streets of Saska Kępa and Praski port, the National Temple of Divine Providence, the Ghetto, the Palace of Culture and Science, Skyscrapers by Emilii Plater Street, The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, The National Stadium; almost every great vision has left a perceptible trace on the city. Material or immaterial, a building or just an idea, a developed area or just a model, a redeveloped or a damaged district; for better or for worse, something did stay with us.

Warsaw, the phantom city, will become a design challenge for 110 architecture students from Poland and abroad, who will come to Warsaw at the end of September to participate in the annual workshop of the Polish Association of Architecture Students.

Encouraging discussion about the city

The OSSA Association was established in 1997. From the very beginning the aim was to organize workshops that discuss, upcoming fashionable architectural subjects which were rapidly gaining popularity on the international stage, but had not yet made it to the educational curriculum of the Polish universities. OSSA workshops played an important role in popularizing participation in non-governmental projects amongst the youngest generation of Polish architects.

- Today Warsaw is a major topic of discussion amongst artists, curators and NGO workers. Their voice in unison is as powerful as it is important, and therefore, architects, particularly students of architecture, should not ignore the discussion. An architect’s voice in the current context is essential. We want to demonstrate, that it is worth your time to get involved – says Agnieszka Maga Baryła, one of the OSSA workshop organisers.

- Both sides may profit from the discussion – adds Piotr Zbierajewski - The knowledge and observations of NGO workers, concerning peoples' reactions to the actions of artists, is a great subject of thought for architects. In comparison, it is a subject as important as the local development plans. One must use it effectively. The workshops are supposed to encourage the efficient use of the collective knowledge and collective voice.

On October 23rd, the annual OSSA workshop will take place in Warsaw for a second time. The organisers are collaborating with The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, which at the same time is hosting the third edition of the festival, “Warsaw Under Construction”. The OSSA participants will also be involved with certain events of “Warsaw Under Construction”. The final works shall be exhibited to the public.

Searching for a key

There will be a lot of work. The students will be divided into 10 teams. Each team will have a tutor. Architects from both Poland and abroad, who represent various approaches to their profession shall be appointed as tutors. That means that each group will work with a slightly different approach.

All groups begin the workshop with a tour of “Warsaw that never became”. Overwhelmed by all these unrealized visions, they will have to find a way to assimilate and comprehend all the data, to provide a key. A solution that can be used to improve the quality of life in the modern city – the organizers explain the main idea of the workshops.

The aim is not to create specific, practical projects that are to be implemented, rather it as an opportunity to show students how the experienced architects work, and the tools that can be used in the design process - they add.

The Parametric Fata Morgana

One of such tools that is gaining popularity, is parametric design. Applied not only to calculate the complex structures (such as the roof of Złote Tarasy), but also for the design of entire neighborhoods or even cities.

- Today, such experiments can be carried out on a personal computer using a program, which is comparable in complexity to a text editor. Eventhough the parametric approach is still a novelty, finding solutions using tangible parameters is gaining recognition. The plans for the Olympic district in London were established using the same approach – says Zbierajewski.

However, London has its own research center called CASA, which collected and analyzed the data, which was later used to prepare the Olympic village project in 2012. In Warsaw, the age old and not-so-good tradition influenced the works preparing the capital for Euro 2012 – yet another great vision was developed and then realized only in a small fragment that is the National Stadium, which will inevitably be surrounded by a wasteland of gravel.

Karol Kobos
Portal is a media patron of OSSA 2011 workshop

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