The Icon 20/20 Architects: Eyal Weizman 01.05.09

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Proposal to convert the Israeli military base of Oush Grab

"Architecture has an incredible amount of unacknowledged political agency," says Eyal Weizman, who founded the Centre for Research Architecture at London's Goldsmiths College. One of two educators on this list, Weizman is bringing a level of political engagement to architecture that is steadily gaining influence.

A noted expert in the political and military readings of architecture, particularly in Israel/Palestine, he has gathered around himself a group of architects, curators and artists who treat architecture as a form of spatial research and activism. They don't make many distinctions between theory and practice, and so although the centre is organised as a PhD course, its members also collaborate on real projects, particularly with NGOs in the Middle East.

One proposal is to turn an abandoned Israeli military base into a staging post for migrating birds by perforating the structures with holes. But most impressively, the centre is now being used by the High Courts of Justice in the Hague to reverse-engineer battles from the urban scars, to understand what really happened. That is only one of the more practical applications of a collective that is spearheading the idea of architecture as, to use the buzzword, "participation".

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Image

Adam Laycock

 

Words

Justin McGuirk, Johanna Agerman, William Wiles, Anna Bates, Beatrice Galilee, Oliver Wainwright, Alex Pasternack, Matthew Barac, Sean Dodson

 

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