Newcity gets to know the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial contributors. This segment highlights fala atelier, an architecture practice based in Porto, Portugal that “takes lightness and joy very seriously.” Ahmed Belkhodja, who alongside Filipe Magalhães and Ana Luisa Soares created fala—a mashup of their combined academic, professional and curatorial experiences across the world—shares insights about the upcoming Biennial and beyond.
How has your background prepared you, and how will it inform your role at the upcoming Chicago Architecture Biennial?
We are an international and diverse architecture practice based in Portugal. We evolve in an urban fabric that has been transforming at an extremely fast pace. Within this context, we have developed strategies around what we call the b-sides of the city: backyards, domestic interiors, publicly reclaimed spaces of several kinds; in other words, the available city. We hope these strategies can find a valuable echo at the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Can you talk about the importance of a festival like CAB amid a pandemic and social and political unrest?
The current context underlines the often-forgotten importance of the architectural fabric in our existence. The Chicago Architecture Biennial is central in unfolding these questions.
What are you hoping viewers will take away from this exhibition?
Less fear, a very good bullshit detector and a lot of tenderness. (Taking cues from one of our favorite Illinoisans, Laurie Anderson.)
What are you most excited about moving forward?
We’re very much looking forward to opportunities to exchange between the various actors.
Greek-born Vasia Rigou is a Chicago-based art critic and pop culture journalist, largely on the subjects of contemporary art, design, and fashion. She moved to Chicago in 2013 to study Arts Journalism at the School of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC,) where she was awarded the New Artist Society Merit Scholarship. She grew up to appreciate art after years of carefully planned, culture-filled travel itineraries and museum-hopping around Europe with her family. During this time, she received a bachelor’s in English Literature, in her native Athens; a master’s in Media, in Nottingham, UK; and studied foreign languages—English, German, and Spanish at the University of Salamanca, Spain. Her writing—reviewing museum exhibitions, gallery shows, art fairs, fashion shows, and music festivals among others—has been published nationally and internationally both in print and online. In 2017, she founded and now serves as editor-in-chief of Rainbowed.—an independently published website focused on the visual and performing arts, digital media, and popular culture. When she’s not writing about art or looking at art—wine in hand, she keeps up with Chicago’s creative entrepreneurial and startup community, makes lists for pretty much everything, drinks immense amounts of coffee and takes cross-country road trips every chance she gets.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.rigouvasia.com