A joint initiative by Modernism for the Future program of Kaunas 2022, Kaunas University of Technology and Barlett School of Architecture (London) the Kaunas International Summer School is back. This year, it confronts our age of uncertainty. The global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has touched the lives of everyone on the planet, especially those living in cities. In 2007 more people were living in cities than in rural areas. However, the pandemic has seen a reversal of this trend with some people seeking the space and isolation of the countryside. All our experiences over the last 18 months, is causing us to critically and profoundly re-evaluate our relationship with our friends, families and communities, and our homes, our neighbourhoods, our cities and our planet.
The International summer school invites participants from architectural and other creative practices to analyse and decode an existing residential cityscape in order to develop new visions of future utopias.
Taking the Soviet-era residential microdistrict of Eiguliai as a site of investigation, this year’s Kaunas Summer School will introduce participants to the site through films, interviews, lectures and other media. A Soviet-era housing project that is just one of the many layers that make up Kaunas’s rich and characteristically modern urban fabric. Participants will critically reflect on the changes in society, culture, community and environment that have eroded this former utopian vision and will propose new interventions that respond to our uncertain future.
The Summer School will engage participants and the public in a series of collaborative workshops to share the ideas with residents and develop innovative design proposals. Working in groups, participants will be expected to engage critically and supportively with each other to address questions of private and public space, spatial justice, equity, ecology, play, materiality, sustainability, connectivity, transportation, infrastructure and landscape.
Combining their learning from Eiguliai and the collective experiences from their respective contexts, each group will generate a design output in the form of drawing, poster, manifesto, animation or other forms of creative intervention that responds to one of the three key themes:
1. A New Spatial Equity – how to redesign and redistribute space, internally and/or externally, more fairly and to best serve the needs of all.
2. From Buildings to Urban Landscapes – interrogating the relationship between the building and its surroundings. Reframing the building as an element in a wider landscape, not an entity in itself.
3. Urban Resilience – improving the health and well-being of the residents and the urban ecology. Can be multi-scale, from a window box to an urban infrastructure plan.
“We are interested to integrate your personal experiences wherever you are and whatever your field of work and interest is, into a design response. We will be working on- and offline and will transform personal observations into a collaborative design response. A wide range of responses will be used from film to drawing, from sketch to animation, or text to the manifesto. The outcomes will be collected and collated to form part of the generative archive for the Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022,” the organisers state in the open call.
International summer school welcomes students and/or young specialists from all fields who are interested in the modernism history, architecture, social context and transformations of Soviet-era residential areas. Read more about the participation and apply here.
Photo from the archive of Kaunas 2022/ The first Kaunas International Summer School