On Thursday, 4 June at 6 p.m., Oris House of Architecture (Kralja Držislava 3) in Zagreb, launches the international Friends for Oris exhibition, which will be on view until 31 July 2020. The opening of the exhibition will be organised in accordance with the Recommendations for the prevention of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic during public events and gatherings, issued by the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
Stimulated by the global pandemic and devastating earthquake that hit Zagreb on 22 March, the Friends for Oris exhibition is a symbol of hope and optimism. Oris House of Architecture has invited more than 70 distinguished architects and photographs from all over the world, with whom we have collaborated on many occasions, to participate in the exhibition. Their response and contribution is a gesture of friendship and hope in a better future, as well as the confirmation of an excellent cooperation in the presentation of contemporary architecture in Oris magazine, Oris House of Architecture and the Days of Oris symposium.
Among others, exhibition participants are: Tadao Ando (Japan), Nikola Bašić (Croatia), Bevk Perović arhitekti (Slovenia), Mario Botta (Switzerland), Gottfried Böhm (Germany), Krešimir Damjanović (Croatia), Damir Fabijanić (Croatia), Nenad Fabijanić (Croatia), Sou Fujimoto (Japan), Kengo Kuma (Japan), Winy Maas (The Netherlands), Davor Mateković (Croatia), Rafael Moneo (Spain), Glenn Murcutt (Australia), Nikola Polak (Croatia), Smiljan Radić (Chile), RCR Arquitectes (Spain), Kazuyo Sejima (Japan), Álvaro Siza (Portugal), Idis Turato (Croatia), Zlatko Ugljen (BiH), Lebbeus Woods (The USA), Zaha Hadid Architects (The UK), 3LHD (Croatia).
The exhibition that we see today is organized when all the world is grappling with Covid-19. Yes, our current situation is unique. No one could have predicted what life would be like in these past months. Yet Oris continues with its normal activity of creating an exhibition. Therefore, they are telling us something very profound. How lucky we are that some things can continue, perhaps in different formats or with certain modifications, but activities continue and allow us to appreciate and rejoice at the normal pleasures of life.
And finally, with the world struggling with the present and future due to the pandemic, why is an architecture exhibition so important? I believe that the exhibition is also a call for the profession to take up a new and expanded role. Each and every person has seen first-hand how our physical space is directly related to our health and well-being. Of course, architects have known this but were not always able to express this or act upon this. The exhibition is a sample of energy, ideas, solidarity, and optimism. The future will not be the same as the past, but it can be positive and in some ways may even be better if architects can have an impact.
Martha Thorne, Dean, IE School of Architecture and Design, Madrid, Spain, from the preface to the catalogue of the Friends for Oris exhibition
It is the possibility of encouraging togetherness and encounters which make the specific qualities of the Oris House of Architecture. Intense contacts, relaxed gatherings of the members of the architectural community have become a desirable form of social life. Since March this year, all the activities have been shut down. The pandemic and the severe earthquake that hit Zagreb and damaged its features so dear to us all, have fundamentally changed our lives, as well as the life of the whole community.
The impossibility of maintaining personal contacts is especially harmful for cultural activities, which do not get enough attention even in normal circumstances. The consequences of the corona period on the society, democracy, each individual life, are already far-reaching and severe. Besides patience and self-discipline, only optimistic initiatives can help, which point to a better future after the catastrophic pandemic and earthquake. Such a lively and symbolic gesture, as well as the sign of the mutual respect between the magazine and architects is the Friends for Oris exhibition. A heterogeneous collection of individual expressions represents a retrospective and a step into the future. It should be a sign of support and resilience, comfort and encouragement.
Vera Grimmer, editor of Oris magazine, from the preface to the catalogue of the Friends for Oris exhibition