Marjetica Potrc: building strategies

Tirana House
Building materials; energy, communications, and water-supply infrastructure, 2009New CitizenshipsLingen Kunstalle, Lingen, Germany
Tirana House is a case study of a family house in present-day Tirana, Albania. After the political changes of the 1990s, the Tirana cityscape exploded. A new city built by the citizens themselves celebrates a multiplicity of personal architectural styles, astonishing constructions, and richly decorated facades. Here, patterns turn the facades into a living surface, the skin and shield of the building. As former Mayor Edi Rama said: 'Facades are not like a dress or lipstick. They are organs.' Patterns and numerous staircases merge in an Escher-like landscape, expressing the many voices that make a new democracy. In a city in transition, the building facades give visual expression to the construction of a new social contract, a new citizenship.

New Orleans: Shotgun House with Rainwater-Harvesting Tank
Building materials, energy, communications and water-supply infrastructure, 2008Future Talk: The Great Republic of New Orleans. Max Protetch Gallery, New YorkHeartland, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2008
Shotgun House with Rainwater-Harvesting Tank points to two recent trends in New Orleans: the revival of the local architectural style known as the Shotgun House, and the move toward self-sustainability. Both are post-Katrina developments and correspond with the deconstruction of modernist architecture and the search for a new, 21st-century social contract for democracy. Local harvesting of energy resources points to the emergence of new environmental and, consequently, political boundaries. The two caryatids serve as reminders that New Orleans is being rebuilt by its citizens.

Prishtina House
Building materials, energy and communication infrastructure, 2006Marjetica Potrc and Tomas Saraceno: Personal States / Infinite Actives Portikus, Frankfurt/Main, GermanyThis Place is My Place - begehrte Orte, Kustverien in Hamburg, Hamburg, 2007
Prishtina House is a case study of a house in the Peyton Place neighborhood of Prishtina. It is an example of personal orientalism. After the collapse of modernism, the citizens of Prishtina began building their houses in a wide range of styles, each expressing the taste of the owner. Here personal style is accentuated to the level of kitsch. In Prishtina, the citizens have become the smallest state. Personal styles are the expression of a fragmented society. Self-sustainability is also an issue, since citizens have to rely on their own resources: a generator powers the streetlight.

Caracas: Growing House
Building materials and energy infrastructure, 2003'GNS', Palais de Tokyo, Paris
In Caracas, half of the city's population resides in the informal city in structures that are perceived as rural, not urban architecture. Called 'growing houses,' nearly every barrio dwelling has iron wires sprouting from its rooftop, as if proclaiming the vitality of the place. Anything may be recycled as building material for these houses.