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The public spaces as monuments to inequality Interview with Romea Muryń

The public spaces as monuments to inequality
Interview with Romea Muryń
Romea Muryń is a Polish architect and urban planner, experienced in work in well-known international architectural offices and educational institutions. Before her lecture in the framework of CANactions Public Program Romea shared her experience of work on different continents, as well as her expectations of being involved in the Educational Program Team of CANactions School.
CANactions: You worked in Thailand, Europe, and Russia: where is the link between them in your work?

Romea: It is hard to establish a link between them, especially as the type of projects that I was involved in, which were diverse in scale, typologies and approaches. In Europe/United States, I was involved in architecture projects from a recording studio in Bahamas, the Kimball art center in Park City, up to a secondary school in Virginia. In Russia, I worked on strategic planning/urban scale, as a consultant and mediator between landscape architects, transport experts, communities, authorities etc. In Thailand, as an Adjunct Professor at INDA International Program in Design and Architecture, I try to approach both scales and merge them with extensive research. Therefore, I guess the exposure to different scales, methodologies and exploration is reflected in my work.

What skills are necessary to have to work at such "dream offices" like OMA, BIG, REX, COBE etc.?

There are no specific skills, but personal engagement and dedication to the projects you are involved in plays a key role. The atmosphere is varied from one office to another and not comparable. Each office represents different values, which they prioritize. However, it is an inspiring and creative atmosphere, definitely demanding! As Christo and Jeanne-Claude state, 'Art is a lifestyle. There is no possibility to get retired'. Definitely relevant to architecture.

With your experience working in Russia, how would you define the specifics of the work of an architect in the post-socialist environment?

One of the unique experience as architect in Russia is the incredible energy and creativity coming from the young generation. The generation which is detached from politics, not relying on authorities or/and public mechanisms.

Another interesting aspect was the experience of working in an extremely rich cultural context. As an urban planner/strategist, I investigated the changing role of public spaces throw historical and contemporary prism, their social significance and cultural programming methods, which are essential in order to revitalize those spaces for contemporary needs. It is a challenge to design without obscuring past meanings mapping into its logics and restructuring it without losing its social and cultural values.
Plac Piłsudskiego
You said the public spaces now become a symbol of the inequality of neoliberalism. What are the reasons?
Inequality of public spaces refers to the limitations, lack of accessibility and equivalent distribution of public facilities/infrastructures. As a unique example is Shabulovka Street where everyday labor space meant not only the mobilization of space in the chain of production, distribution and consumption but a transformation of the space itself into commodity: produced, distributed and consumed.

You are the senior mentor of the program "Integrated Spatial Planning in Amalgamated Hromadas" of CANactions School. What do you expect from this experience and how do you see your mission there?
Prior to my teaching experience, as a leading architect/strategist at KB Strelka I was taking part in the project 'Key Public Spaces: improvement in 40 cities of Russia'. As a senior mentor at CANactions School, I am extremely excited to bring my previous experience from a practical point of view into an educational platform. As an urban planner/architect, it is crucial to engage with local communities, authorities and practitioners in order to establish critical dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of their city, hromadas.

What is important to pay attention and study for young professionals in the field of architecture and urban planning today?
It is important to continue being curious and learn how to observe. Architecture and urban planning create spatial conditions for people and curates them. Capturing the behavior of people and clearly understanding the impact of context on them is a perimeter to measure the extension of relevancy and adequacy of the created infrastructure, whether in the form of a building or public spaces.
Local Public Library
Text: Olena Vozniak