vai Vorarlberg Architecture Institut – Exhibition “A generation dialogue” Online

(c) AZW, Kinderhaus Kennelbach / Matthias Hein

The Vorarlberg Architektur Institut looks into the future of the past. 

Time and space to think. This is what the exhibition “Vorarlberg – Ein Generationendialog” curated by Sonja Pisarik offers. Over the past five decades, a great density of interesting architecture has been created in Vorarlberg. One of the pioneers was Hans Purin, who had already realised a number of ground- breaking projects in Vorarlberg in the 1960ies. For example, the “Reihenhaussiedlung Halde”, which already then took up the necessary critical analysis of the land consumption of single- family houses and which was countered by a sustainable spatial planning and architectur- ally high-quality concept on a hillside plot on the outskirts of Bludenz.

The exhibition at the Vorarlberg Architektur Institut with models and project documentation from the holdings of the Az W Architektur Zentrum Vienna shows highlights by architectural artists such as Rudolf Wäger, Gunter Wratzfeld or the C4 architectural as- sociation and relates them to the work of a younger generation of Vorarlberg architects such as ARTEC Architekten, bernardo bader architekten, Cukrowicz Nachbauer Architekten or Helena Weber.

The core of the exhibition project is a series of conversations about formative buildings between “old” and “young” architects from Vorarlberg: a dialogue between generations taken literally.

After the exhibition in the vai Vorarlberg Architektur Institut in Dornbirn cannot be made accessible to the public for the time being due to the corona shutdown, the time until the opening is used to present the pre-recorded talks with the architects in an online short film series. These are supplemented by virtual tours of the exhibition, with commentary by Sonja Pisarek and vai director Verena Konrad.

Verena Konrad sees this shift to the Internet not only as a corona-crisis-related emergency measure:“It makes sense to get involved online. Right now we are observing a great learning process in the field of digitalization everywhere. We now have the time and the opportunity to experiment without the immediate pressure of having to do it with a perfect strategy. But what is important to Konrad is this: “Our exhibition was created before the Corona crisis. We will therefore not reinterpret it afterwards.“

“Beautiful films have been produced for this exhibition project,” says Konrad, “and with the questions raised in the generational dialogues, we can see that some some of these question already then have been as urgent as they are still today. As an example, Konrad mentions the high cost of living in Vorarlberg. This was a problem that was already being dealt with in the 80s. After a brief relaxation, this problem has worsened again in recent years. “Especially in times of short-time work and increased unemployment, this will also re- main a medium-term problem”, fears Konrad. “There will be cases of social hard-ship. I have the impression that this is very well known by politicians at the moment. but time is running out.“

For the greater the time lag from the acute crisis, the greater the “social distancing” of politics from those who have been left behind by the crisis.