Centre for Performance & Creative Exchange


Kristen will be presenting our work on Open City at the Centre for Performance & Creative Exchange at Roehampton University.

Date: 2 December 2015
Time: 5.00pm-7.00pm
Location: Studio 5, Jubilee Building, University of Roehampton

Open City
Architecture, Poetry and the Production of Not-Knowing

Open City (Ciudad Abierta) is a radical pedagogical experiment started in 1970 by the Argentinian poet Godofrodo Iommi and the Chilean architect Alfredo Cruz as part of the Catholic University of Chile at Valparaìso. Situated on a strip of sand dunes just off of the Pacific Ocean, Open City consists of a constellation of building works that, together, make up a recognisable – if unusual – urban system. Here one finds an agora, a chapel, a palace, a garden, a cemetery, a music room and numerous hospederías where people live and work. 

As per the ethos of the Open City, all building works begin with poetry and building construction is carried out in an ad-hoc, accretive manner by students and staff who live and work on site. In this manner, the foundation for architectural knowledge shifts from the realm of formal geometry and mathematics to that of poetry and the word, while production becomes inherently linked to a sense of community, occupation and social responsibility.

This talk tells the story of Open City, touching on its ethos as well as its key elements and practices. In the course of this telling, details drawn from a site study undertaken by Kreider + O’Leary at Open City last year act as springboards into an exploratory discussion of Open City as an alternative – resistant – site of knowledge production.