Average Place

Maria Khozina (master Architectuur, Academie van Bouwkunst) studeerde af met Average Place: Agency of Architecture in the Autoritorian State.  Een onderzoek naar de rol van een architect en de taal van architectuur in een autoritaire staat. Hoe kunnen architecten hun vaardigheden en kennis gebruiken om bij te dragen aan sociale verandering en welke rol kan architectuur spelen op de politieke agenda?

Door elementen uit de beeldende kunst, de utilitaire aard van architectuur en de beperkingen waarmee architecten te maken hebben te integreren, werd de Architectural Machine, een formele belichaming van een sociale kwestie, ontworpen. Het project gaat niet alleen over de fysieke belichaming van architectuur, maar ook over de vorming van vragen en de zoektocht naar de juiste woorden om de huidige staat en mogelijkheden van architectuur te beschrijven. Simplistische percepties kunnen leiden tot homogeniteit en een gezonde ontwikkeling beperken. Het project is erop gericht om diversiteit te bevorderen en het bewustzijn van de werkelijkheid te vergroten.

Maria: While "Average Place" is a political issue, it also has personal consequences and implications. It is about grief, the lost feeling of home and belonging. It is about a loss of understanding of one's role as an architect and citizen within their homeland. Through this project, the architect wants to explore how they can engender positive change by using their craft and professional role. This work is not just about traditional design methods; it's about finding a different language of architecture that can be used to explore the possible roles of architecture and to define my role as an architect.     

This project began with an exploration of new relationships between architecture and power in authoritarian states. The project's overarching goal was to explore the potential of architecture to interact with people, examining how architectural tools can engage users in interaction and deepen the comprehension of their experience."

"Maria’s project has an experimental and ambitious character. Especially acknowledging the limitations of architecture in general, the project tried to face contemporary societal challenges head-on, not shying away from a sense of being rather powerless, and address the role of architecture in such circumstances."


Marc Schoonerbeek, mentor Academie van Bouwkunst: "The project by Maria Khozina, deals with the relationship between political agendas and architecture. Initially intended as a project in which Russia’s current political landscape would be centre staged, the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army in February 2022 shifted this focus as the authoritarian political climate in Russia only became stricter, resulting in the ongoing crack-down on any form of resistance or protest.

As the common place goes, architecture has historically had a subservient attitude with respect to the powers in charge. Maria’s project proposes a set of architectural machines that might question this subservience. The intent of the machines is to create a sense of awareness, but also to stimulate critical reflection, independent thinking and a space for self-expression. It has, in other words, wider implications for the architecture discipline."

Anton Schramkov, architect, artiest, onderwijzer: "In the current moment, when one part of the world is engaged in the wars and the other part is discussing the global warming and ecological emergency, we are often forgetting that the biggest part of human kind is still living in authoritarian states and without knowing and understanding their values all our intentions are useless... In my opinion, one of the most important and strongest features of Maria’s work is that it touches the idea of urgent necessity for architects not to go on just mapping others, hopelessly trying to implement our system of values in to their worlds, cultures, contexts. But to develop a toolbox for understanding each other’s values, behaviour, dreams and desires through accidental engaging with architectural symbols, “Machines”. Those machines by triggering people acting in the space and allowing interactions with them on physical and metaphysical levels suppose to activate our senses and feelings and make us start questioning things “why do we do things the way we do?”.

Een project van:

Maria Khozina