română/ bucurești/ cluj/ iași/ sibiu/

From Urban Utopias to Hand-made Urbanism

Workshop conceived and realized with Ștefan Rusu

July 17-20, 2023 @ Iasi
Address: GreenHouse, Str. St. Athanasius no. 25, Iasi

Between July 17-20, we invite you to Iași to participate, in person, in an intensive workshop that will take place over the course of four whole days, a workshop designed and realized together with the artist Stefan Rusu. This is intended to be a formula through which the practice we know as "paper architecture" can be updated.

"A dynamic format for exploring the city of Iași with the aim of developing critical thinking and involvement in the development and planning of the city through guided tours, readings, which will end with a practical workshop on reimagining the public space. Within it, we will develop project proposals (texts, drawings, models) and interventions in the public space. Through these activities we will update the practice and aesthetics of "paper architecture" (aka Paper Architecture) - ex: The Archigram Group, Soviet paper architects, etc. but without taking refuge in individual fantasies and urban utopias. The ultimate goal is to explore some urban collisions and accidents in the current context." (Stefan Rusu).

The workshop is equally addressed to students of urban architects, as well as to visual artists, designers - scenographers or researchers in related fields. All activities will take place over 4 days and will include: guided tours will target neighborhoods in Iași, industrial zones (disabled) as well as current commercial centers, reading workshops (for example fragments from Nikolai Miliutin, Henri Lefebvre or David Harvey ). At the end, the proposals (paper models) will be exhibited in theși space and / or short public presentations will be made around them.

Information and registration at:

Stefan RUSU (b. 1964 in Kâietu, Moldova) is an artist, filmmaker and freelance curator, currently based in Islamabad, Pakistan. His artistic/curatorial agenda is geared towards the social and political changes in East European societies after the fall of Berlin Wall and dissolution of Soviet Union. Beginning with 2000 he was involved in the development of KSAK - Center for Contemporary Art, Chisinau where he produced curatorial projects and art initiatives and following the years 2005-06 completed Curatorial Training Program at Stichting De Appel in Amsterdam.

Stefan has a lifelong trajectory in dealing with soviet past and its cultural heritage, starting from learning monumental art and its aesthetics in the art school and college in 70-80s, then serving military service where he continued practicing art by designing a WW2 memorial and a concrete statue of soviet soldier. As a matter of fact, his former training in monumental sculpture driven by communist ideology was later reversed into serving contemporary art system, in the capacity of transdisciplinary artist and later as art manager and curator. His former and actual experience of inhabiting a concrete block of flat along with his interest in studying architecture and urbanism turned it into designing and building an Open Flat, following mass housing aesthetics and technology.
His interest in urbanism is driven by symbolic recovery of socialist architecture and the aesthetics of prefabricated concrete modules - a constituent element of the urban tissue: boulevards, public buildings, housing complexes, monuments, etc. Beginning with 2006 he developed a number of interventions dealing with re-appropriation and reproduction of public space, among which is “Flat Space/Apartamentul Deschis” - a functional replica of socialist apartment reusing concrete aesthetics commissioned by Oberliht Association in the frame of KIOSK (Chisinau, 2009) and “Block 89” – a sample of socialist housing that features an entrance into a social housing block (70-80s) designed as part of KNOT for Ursinov district (Warsaw, 2010).

Following similar aesthetics, he designed “Floating Balcony” – a site-specific intervention in Husby district as part of “Performing the Common” (Stockholm, 2012) addressing some urgent issues ranging from segregation of migrant population, gentrification of the Husby social housing area, to the threat of privatizing “green line” area and its following erasure from the urban fabric.

Stefan is the editor of a number of publications: Spaces on the Run (2015), Reimagining the New Man (2014), Chisinau-Art, Research in the Public Sphere (2011), "RO-MD/Moldova in Two Scenarios (2008). His most recent publication - Architectural Guide – CHISINAU was produced in collaboration with DOM publishers, Berlin in 2022 that documents the post-war period of the city’s urban development, which was based on the principles of the socialist city and was shaped by five distinct tendencies reflected in the five segments of the guide – the Stalinist Empire, Soviet Modernism, Postmodernism, Soviet Brutalism, and the Industrial City.

This event is co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. This project does not necessarily represent the position of The Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or how project results can be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.

The main partner of is ERSTE Foundation.

Image credits: U.F.O. : Unexpected Fontain Occupation designed by EXYZT, France (A project curated by Ewa Rudnicka, Warsaw, Poland, 2011). Image curtesy EXYZT.