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GLOBAL DEMANDS – Architectural research in a globalised world

Whether in the sphere of architecture critique or on the market of speculative real estate investment, architecture is increasingly becoming the subject of global circulation.

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© Mooshammer+Mörtenböck, 2017

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[Translate to English:] Global Demands

For contemporary architecture production this presents numerous challenges: How can we do justice to both the complexities of global dynamics and very local particularities in our work? What should be our focus when it comes to spatial renewal and the deployment of alternative practical strategies? The two architectural researchers Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer have invited a number of colleagues associated with their international projects to discuss these questions and develop perspectives on the future.

Monday, 28. May 19:00 - 22:00
Az W Architekturzentrum Wien
Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna

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  • Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, University of California San Diego
  • Rahul Mehrotra, Harvard University GSD
  • Vyjayanthi Rao, Terreform, New York
  • Irit Rogoff, Goldsmiths, London
  • AbdouMaliq Simone, Max Planck Institute, Göttingen


  • Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer, TU Wien

A collaboration between AzW and TU Wien, Sponsored by FWF

Lene Benz
T +43 1 522 31 15-17 


Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman (US)
Over recent decades Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman have transformed the Tijuana-San Diego border area into a global laboratory for research into current urbanisation issues. In keeping with this work, their contribution to the US Pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale engages with urban and political conflicts as creative instruments and illustrates the possible contributions of architecture to the struggle against marginalisation and homogenisation in the city. In the book Top Down/Bottom Up (Hatje Cantz, 2018) Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman presents numerous proposals for a more inclusive form of urban development at the interface of architecture, art, urbanisation, social engagement and political theory.
Teddy Cruz und Fonna Forman are the founders of the cross-border initiative being run at the University of California in San Diego and hold professorships there in urban research, public culture and political theory.

Rahul Mehrotra (IN/US)
Public infrastructure and institutional support are the two main trajectories of Rahul Mehrotra’s work in the field of urban planning. Since 2010 Rahul Mehrotra has been the director of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He is the founder of RMA Architects (Mumbai und Boston), which is taking part in the main exhibition (“Freespace”) at the current Venice Architecture Biennale. 
Rahul Mehrotra’s work is orientated to the conditions of growing informality in urban space, for which he has coined the term “kinetic city”. Together with several teams of researchers and students from Harvard University he has conducted studies of the “temporary city” Kumbh Mela, the largest religious festival in the world, work that is vividly presented in the book Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Mega City (Hatje Cantz, 2015). Mehrotra’s research project served as a basis for the exhibition Ephemeral Urbanism (2017) recently held at Architekturmuseum München.

Vyjayanthi V. Rao (US)
The anthropologist Vyjayanthi V. Rao is director of Terreform, an international renowned New York institution founded by Michael Sorkin, which sees itself as a “centre for forward-looking urban research”. The focus of Rao’s work is on the city after globalisation. The research initiatives she has launched at numerous American universities, including Yale University, the University of Chicago and the New School for Social Research in New York, shed light on the current field of tension involving urban planning, design, art, violence and speculation. Detailed results of this research have been compiled in the volume Speculation, Now: Essays and Artwork (Duke University Press, 2015). Rao’s role as co-director of Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR) an innovative urban laboratory in Mumbai, has led her to work on a comprehensive book about Mumbai’s spatial transformation, which will be published in the coming year.

Irit Rogoff (GB)
Irit Rogoff’s work focuses on questions around contemporary research methods and critical knowledge production. The professor and founder of the Department of Visual Culture at Goldsmiths College at the University of London is well-known for her numerous exhibition and information projects, in which she has developed public study platforms and other formats for inclusion of the public in what she calls “curatorial knowledge”. In works she has authored (including Terra Infirma: Geography’s Visual Culture, 2001) and edited (including e-flux journal #14 – Education Actualized, 2012) that explore questions around geography, counter cartography and globalisation Rogoff promotes an alternative understanding of relationships between subjects, places and spaces, one inspired by new political designs.
In 2016, together with the Freethought Collective, Rogoff was one of the artistic directors of the Norwegian triennale “The Bergen Assembly”, which provided the basis for her current work on the “research turn” she has diagnosed in cultural production and her initiative to found the European Forum for Advanced Practices (EFAP).

AbdouMaliq Simone (DE/ID)
The work of sociologist and urbanist AbdouMaliq Simone focuses on the emergence of new urban worlds and the development of new approaches to urban research and urban policy based on forms of everyday life in metropolitan areas such as Lagos, Jakarta, Johannesburg and Delhi. For more than three decades he has been researching practices of social exchange, technological arrangements, local economies and political power that influence life in African and Southeast Asian cities. As an initiator of numerous collaborations and in his role as a consultant for local governments Simone aims to help create institutions that can respond to the complex forms of living characteristic of the so-called “majority world”. 
Simone currently holds a research professorship at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen. In addition, he is a guest professor at Goldsmiths College at the University of London, a guest professor at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town and a researcher at the Rujak Center for Urban Studies in Jakarta. This cross-continental work informs his most recent publication, co-written with Edgar Pieterse: New Urban Worlds – Inhabiting Dissonant Times (Polity Press, 2017), a multi-faceted work on the urban future of Asia and Africa.


Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer (AT/GB)
The two urban and cultural researchers have been exploring the influence of globalisation on our everyday lives for more than two decades. In this context their focus on new architectural and urban phenomena serves as a kind of microscope for the observation of far-reaching processes of social transformation. For instance, they have conducted research throughout the world into interventions by city governments in informal markets in order to gain insights into hybrid economic forms that can also be utilized in our own latitudes to gain a better understanding of newly emerging work environments. They have applied a similar approach to their research into issues around, among other things, global resource use, the reshaping of our political system due to the rise of new data publics, and the transformation of urban spaces according to the requirements of speculative finance economies.
They recently founded the Centre for Global Architecture, the goal of which is to provide a broad public with access to these transdisciplinary topics and promote awareness of the general significance of architectural research. Their current publications linked with the themes outlined above include Informal Market Worlds: The Architecture of Economic Pressure (with Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, nai010 Publishers, 2015), Visual Cultures as Opportunity (Sternberg, 2016), and the volume Building Capital: Urban Speculation and the Architecture of Finance, which will be published in the coming year.