The National Gallery Prague presents a project entitled "The Office for a Non-Precarious Future" at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 2023. The exhibition focuses on the current pressing problems of the architectural profession that young architects deal with. The initial question is: How can architects design a better world if they themselves work in a toxic working system?
Precariousness and working conditions are one of the most discussed issues at the moment. The project “The Office for a Non-Precarious Future” asks, in the context of the architectural profession, the following key question: Can young architects working in precarious conditions create a better world? The exhibition is based on the research report “Working Conditions of Young Architects” that was conducted in 2020 in the Czech Republic. It shows that almost 50% of young professionals work as freelancers for a single contractor without any employment benefits (health insurance and social security, among others). Such a high percentage comes with other problematic indicators: 62% of young architects work more than 8 hours a day, including regular or occasional work on weekends (66%) and 32% of young architects do not have a regular or fixed contractual income.
The exhibition authors – architect, facilitator and researcher Eliška Pomyjová, architect David Neuhäusl and motion designer and Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design professor Jan Netušil not only present the current situation, but also seek new solutions. The project was selected by a jury of top experts from the Czech Republic and abroad in an open call. “The exhibition is conceived as a work-in-progress. The theme serves not only as a reminder of the current situation, but also as an impulse for an international discussion. Exhibition residents and visitors will participate in the search for solutions at various levels of the exhibition,” said Helena Huber-Doudová, commissioner of the Czech representation and the curator of architecture in the Collection of Contemporary and Modern Art, NGP. The National Gallery launches a residency program for young architects, creative teams and students to be present and work in “ The Office for a Non-Precarious Future”.
The actual exhibition is divided into two parts. The “Factory” represents a segmented production space. The workstations and white monitors suggest a prefabricated architecture, the tasks and hierarchies are clearly defined. An animated infographic, data and diagrams illustrate the complex working conditions of young architects in the Czech Republic. Its opposite, the “Laboratory” is an experimental space for architects to give this discipline a speculative, collective concept. Desks, easels and an interactive screen provide information, tools and best practice examples that help to open up ideas for visitors and residents.
Due to the reconstruction of the Czech and Slovak Pavilion at the Giardini della Biennale, the Czech Republic will exceptionally use the Arsenale in the Artiglierie section at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition. Thanks to the National Recovery Plan, the National Gallery Prague and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic have found this suitable alternative exhibition location for 2023. The Czech and Slovak Pavilion in Giardini will serve as a digital hub to complement the main presentation.
The project is funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the National Recovery Plan and the European Union.
Eliška Pomyjová, David Neuhäusl, Jan Netušil