same as it ever was

Designing in Coexistence – Reflections on Systemic Change (THE BOOK)

The book is the outcome of almost a year of intensive activities within the discursive programme of the Croatian pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

The topics that have been explored in the book are numerous, and we approached them from the perspective of how they impact education, and particularly how education in design and architecture respond to the demands and challenges of the 21st century – starting from the worldmaking potential of design, urbanism, architecture and art (including other related disciplines and practices).

The book combines a series of researches presented through author’s texts, as well as results of workshops that were carried out in organisation and cooperation with numerous educational institutions. 

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The first part of the book assembles the views and backgrounds of those participating in the pavilion’s discursive format, starting with the opening discussion in Venice, moderated by the pavilion’s discursive programme curator Ivica Mitrović with researchers and educators in the fields of design and architecture, James Auger, Martin Ávila and Harriet Harriss, and further contributions by marine biologist and ecologist Mladen Šolić, artist and designer Ligia Oliveira, researcher Michael Smyth, the book’s editors and pavilion curators Mia Roth and Tonči Čerina, and Ivica Mitrović. In their texts, authors, from various disciplinary views, explore relationships between objects and means, possibilities of relinking design and architecture to support life beyond the human, relational meanings of care, art as a medium fostering stronger connection with nature, challenges of imagining alternative futures, as well as mutualism and cooperation replacing the dominant biological survival principles. 

The second part of the book collects the workshops, as educational case studies, which took part during the preparation and course of the Biennale in various locations. Almost 200 participants, mentors and guests drifted through these events, open for diverse participants, who joined from all over Europe, Asia, North and South America, Australia and Africa. Beginning at the Politecnico di Milano in February, the workshops continued during the summer in collaboration with the Design+Science Summer School in Ljubljana, returned to the Lonja Wetlands with “feral drifting” by the Open Forest Collective, imagined in Motovun and finished on the Adriatic coast in October, in Split, with the Homo Aquaticus workshop and exhibition. The five workshops orbited around the future-oriented lessons of coexistence framed by the pavilion’s proposal, exploring the potential of community resilience, non-traditional and non-human-centred interpretations of intelligence, engagement with feral nature through immersive experience, triggering collective imagination and the symbolisms of nature-culture relationships, and finally speculating on possible futures in relation to the sea.

The outcomes presented in this book are intended as a contribution to an aligned thought, a trigger for continued exploration, as well as a provocation for educational environments, teachers and students interested in investigating and developing the transgressive potential of design and architecture for and beyond the 21st century.

The design of the book was crafted by Niko Mihaljević. The printing of the book was realised with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia and the company HÖRMANN HRVATSKA D.O.O.

We hope that you will enjoy reading this book as much as we enjoyed writing it! We would appreciate your feedback, and you are very welcome to contact us (tajnistvo@uha.hr) at any time with any thoughts or questions you may have.

Designing in Coexistence – Reflections on Systemic Change 

Croatian Architects’ Association

In collaboration:
Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, Arts Academy (University of Split), Faculty of Architecture (University of Zagreb), Faculty of Architecture – School of Design (University of Zagreb), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy (University of Split), Department of Media Design (University North) 

Ivica Mitrović, Mia Roth, Tonči Čerina 

Executive editor:
Morana Matković 

Martín Ávila, James Auger, M. Buonincontri, Sigrid Bürstmayr, Luka Fatović, Valentin Graillat, Francesco E. Guida, Harriet Harris, Vedran Kasap, Boštjan Botas Kenda, Emil Kozole, Niko Mihaljević, Ivica Mitrović, Lígia Oliveira, Open Forest Collective (Andrea Botero, Markéta Dolejšová, Jaz Hee-jeong Choi and Chewie), Nejc Prah, Mia Roth & Tonči Čerina, Michael Smyth, Mladen Šolić, Oleg Šuran, Olivier Troff, Ozana Ursić 

Design & layout: Niko Mihaljević 

Zagreb, 2023