“Water towers in Sudan,” “Let’s talk about garbage,” “Barcelona rock”—these are Hugon Kowalski’s most renowned concepts. Utopian visions, naive idealism, science-fiction, or rather an in-depth analysis of the most important challenges of modernity, rational thinking—the solution to a problem and an answer in the form of innovative architectural structure.
Kowalski’s designs set new horizons in the thinking of cities and buildings. Rather than industry magazines, he finds inspiration in daily news feeds. Rather than beautiful buildings, Kowalski is interested in real-life, difficult and usually unattractive problems that architecture can and should solve. Today, Kowalski can boast thirty awards granted in international competitions, as well as his participation in the most prestigious architectural exhibition in the world—the Venice Architecture Biennale. For Hugon Kowalski, there are no limitations—a folded city, portable homes for students, built in… one day, or a hotel resembling a climbing wall—these are merely a few of the design that will be presented at the opening event for the Poznań University of Fine Arts Gallery—“Curators Lab.” This is no accident. Hugon Kowalski participated in one of the first years of the Faculty of Architecture of the Poznań University of Fine Arts, and has been working as an academic there for several years now. The school is the first fine arts university in Poland to educate architects.
The exhibition will showcase Kowalski’s most renowned, most controversial and most suggestive designs, which will literally levetate in the exhibition space, embracing and redefining it. The entrance to the gallery and a part of the façade will be adapted and converted into a green, living organism—a blob infecting the visitors with ideas.
Curator: Marcin Szczelina / Architecture Snob
Hugon Kowalski, architect, has been working as an adjunct at the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Design of the University of Fine Arts in Poznań. For his diploma project titled “Let’s talk about garbage,” devoted to the problem of slums in Mumbai, Kowalski was the first Pole to receive the prestigious Archiprix International Hunter Douglas Award for the best 2009-2011 architectural diploma in the world. In 2010, on his fourth year at University, Kowalski founded his own architecture office, UGO Architecture, which has been developing to this day. In 2012, Kowalski won the first award in the “Archiworld Academy” competition for young architects and architecture students. The winner of the “International Design Award” (2008, category: house, 2nd place; 2009, public building and single-family house). He received honorable distinction in the competition for a concept for the Narutowicza Square in Warsaw and won the 2014 Maciej Nowicki Award.
Marcin Szczelina, architecture critic and curator, is an expert of European Mies van der Rohe Award, founder of Architecture Snob and the Furheart Gallery, an independent space for testing the borders of architecture. She wa assistant to Aaron Betsky during the 11th Venice Architecture Biennal, and co-curator of Biennale Evento in Bordeaux (2009) and Westival in Szczecin (2013). Szczelina is author of numerous texts devoted to contemporary architecture (e.g. Monitor Magazine, Art&Business, Aesthetica Magazine), and a correspondent for Domus Magazine.
Hugon Kowalski and Marcin Szczelina presented the project "Let's talk about garbage" in the main exhibition at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale curated by Alejandro Aravena. The project an attempt at displaying alternative strategies of coping with the wave of waste flooding our cities, and the ways in which architecture can contribute to reducing the amount of waste and participate in the recycling process.
Graphic design: Filip Dueskau
Production: UGO Architecture / Architecture Snob / UAP
Organiser: UAP / Galerie Miejskie UAP