Heralding a particularly refreshing narrative space for architectural and design programming in modern curation, The World Around Summit, now in its third edition, presented some increasingly interesting frontrunners as part of its mission statement. With an idea to represent architecture’s “now, near, and next”, the summit’s curation of projects, initiatives, and even ongoing research has been exemplary to say the least, proving a beacon for essential conversations in the field of architecture. At the forefront of it is Beatrice Galilee, donning many hats as a professional, but at the core of it, interested in how modern discourse and intersectionality affects the practice of architecture across the globe. Galilee serves as the co-founder and executive director of the summit, scheduled for February 5, 2022, in an intense three-session lineup including both stalwarts and upcoming names from the creative community.
A myriad of problems face not just architecture and design, but the whole gamut of creative professions today. Practices and their representatives must rally together to address a declared climate emergency, perhaps the biggest foreseeable (and omniscient) crisis of our times, along with addressing problems related to social equity, representation, environmentalism, the economy of design, and better living for all. In that, wherein the summit seeks to ignite essential conversations rather than to provide a rather straightforward bank of solutions, what seems to stand out for the summit is a perceived variance. That variation, the sheer scope and scale of it, bodes well for a much needed boost to architectural curation around the globe, still in its nascent stages, according to Galilee’s insights on the profession and its importance. In her candid chat with STIR, ahead of the summit, Galilee attempts to shed light on what makes that variance tick. Click on the cover video to view the full conversation.
The projects at the summit, while bound to astound through their form, function, and everything rudimentarily architectural, are also picked from a vast gamut of alternative media, and are helmed by increasingly exciting names, comprising both the who’s who and who-will-be from the field. The variance thus exists, not just in scale, but also in disciplines and modes of presentation, along with the artists and designers behind them. While the exciting lineup boasts a number of sensitively completed projects across the globe, a significant portion of the lineup also seeks to transcend the notion of architecture as a built form, encompassing art, literature, initiatives, films, and even entire institutions. Additionally, what is also particularly exciting, in Galilee’s own words, is that while there are speakers including Tadao Ando, David Chipperfield, Winy Maas for MVRDV, and OPEN Architecture for their stunning standout project, Chapel of Sound, the summit is also a stage for a number of important upcoming voices, each of whom talk about a single project. That way, Galilee states, that the narrative around the project subsumes the form of a temporal capture of the project – the architects or designers being invited to respond to a particular brief, a particular site, and a particular challenge, most relevant at the time of its commissioning.
In perfect consonance with her intellectual counterpart, architecture and design curator Aric Chen, who is also director of the Het Nieuwe Instituut, in partnership with the World Around Summit this year, Galilee recognises the immense potential and importance of cultural institutions and edifices in the dispensing of the abovementioned narratives. While the summit and the programme then act as a “nervous system”, these institutions, including the HNI and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, an important historical and cultural edifice in its own right, come to act as hosts in a mutually beneficial relationship. Along the same vein, the programme places particular impetus on educational practices, citing Studio Formafantasma’s Geo Design Studio, and Prof. Lesley Lokko’s African Futures Institute as absolutely essential, and spearheading the discussion on discourse influencing the practice of the profession for future generations, who would need to be much more aware of the “world around”. What Galilee hopes comes out of this mutual association is a vast archive, a time capsule in nearly 10 years time, truly crystallising the now, near, and next in architecture.
STIR is an official media partner for The World Around Summit, taking place at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York City in partnership with Het Nieuwe Instituut on Saturday, February 5, 2022. Read more about the event here.