Groundwork / Sur le terrain

Curator:Francesco Garutti, Irene Chin
Year: 2024
Keyword:Architecture, Moving Image
Institution:Canadian Centre for Architecture

Groundwork is a three-part film and exhibition series exploring the conceptual development and field research of contemporary architects cultivating alternative modes of engagement with new project sites. Using documentary as a curatorial tool, the CCA will take a critical look at how designers across diverse geographies and contexts engage with their environments in preliminary phases of projects. In doing so, thinking processes, research, and stages of transformation will be highlighted as revelatory aspects of architectural work that help to deepen our understanding of new critical modes of practice and engagement. In light of the ecological crisis, the project questions how different architects situate themselves in relation to changing natural and disciplinary boundaries.

Groundwork will follow Xu Tiantian to Meizhou Island off the coast of China where she is creating a set of interventions to mediate between pressures of heritage and tourism with marine ecology. A second episode focuses on the work of bplus.xyz (b+) based in Berlin, Germany as they organize a European Citizens’ Initiative to shift culture and legislation toward preservation and rehabilitation of the existing building stock. Finally, the series closes by following Carla Juaçaba to the heart of Minas Gerais, Brazil where she is developing pavilions in a coffee field—minimal support structures in a territory with collectives resisting extractive industrial agriculture.

Curator: Francesco Garutti, Curatorial Assistant: Irene Chin, Research: Matthew Kalil, Graphic design: HIT, Design development: Sébastien Larivière, Anh Truong, Films directed by Joshua Frank