I believe that an architect is not only an objective, but also a sensitive observer and mediator who could offer suitable research methods and design interventions that could stimulate constructive public debates and provoke societal changes.
How to interact with heritage we are not really proud of?
Project Hibernating Matter researches unused or even unfinished public buildings that are peculiar and controversial landmarks in the Lithuanian urban landscape. Or, perhaps, anti-landmarks? These buildings did not pass the test of political changes and were lost in transition between the past and the present. Their story began with huge ambitions but got stuck in abandonment. Is there more failure or potential? The consensus has not been reached yet. Consequently, these buildings drown in passive waiting and are craving for a different kind of treatment.
That is why I suggest to establish a new agency for dealing with vacant and controversial structures: Agency of Hibernating Matter. A fictional organisation that operates in the field of abandoned heritage and addresses societal, historical, political issues surrounding anti-landmarks.
The Agency of Hibernating Matter incorporates two streams of activity: archiving and generating strategies how to revive vacant buildings. An open-source virtual guide of anti-landmarks could act not only as an archive, but also reveal the phenomenon of abandonment, its extent, and its peculiarities. This archive will lead to the creation of anti-landmark reactivation scenarios. Combining openness as a tool and historical paradoxes as resources, the agency strives to create unconventional encounters with buildings and their story. Spatial interventions provoke critical questioning and add a contemporary dimension to these distinctive buildings. Experimental scenarios provide momentum to experience and accept abandoned places. Anti-landmarks could become more visible, accessible and tangible.
Agency of Hibernating Matter advocates for anti-landmarks and their endless (anti)-possibilities. Abandoned buildings can accommodate activities that have no space in others public places. Failures, paradoxes, experimentations and confrontations are welcome here. Through endless questioning and explorations hibernating heritage can be re-discovered over and over again.
Explore more on www.himatter.com
Rather than standing vacant and belonging only to the past, abandoned buildings should have continuity of their story. During this research, I explored the prehibernation period, reevaluated the current state of hibernation and hypothesised about the active hibernation or the post-hibernation period. I reviewed the story of abandoned legacy, starting from grandiose ambitions to the signs of decay. By carefully evaluating changed political, cultural, and social contexts, I am searching for values that could help to unlock the potential of hibernating structures.