ignacio g. galán
[ igg - office for architecture ]


Book Chapter "The Pursuit for a 'Change of Life:' Pedagogical Experiences, Poetic Occupations and Historical Frictions"

Published in Building Cultures Valparaiso (Laussane: EPFL Press and Routledge, 2015)

Architecture pedagogy continuously revises the tools and protocols of the discipline, and it simultaneously considers its diverse agendas and goals as well. The pedagogy of the Valparaiso School directly addressed this conundrum, explicitly rejecting with its methods of architecture production any attempt to “change the world,” and was otherwise guided by a pursuit for a “change of life.” Their proposed exercises and architectures did not advance any material form of engagement with their historical context, but sought a different productivity for architecture with forms of expression that could overcome this context.

With this particular aim, poetry's relation to architecture was explored as a strategy to set in friction processes of artistic synthesis with the experience of the city. Sites were occupied as playing fields in which the movements of bodies, their appearance in public, their  formal arrangement in space and other artistic and architectural strategies were disengaged from any goal beyond them. Such an approach to architecture was thought to charge spaces with meaning and to open them to the production of new subjectivities. In fact, through different poetic acts and performances a new form of productivity was sought for architecture in the relation to different forms of expression and the occupation of spaces. The development of the Valparaíso School's agenda inevitably brought to the fore the tension between a quest for newness in its forms of expression and the unfolding of historical events. This tension became clearest in the 1967 protest in Valparaiso, which this research project addresses and evaluates.

This research is part of the collective research project Radical Pedagogies, and results from archival research in Santiago de Chile and Valparaiso, funded by the Program in Latin American Studies at Princeton University.

Building Cultures Valparaiso (Laussane: EPFL Press and Routledge, 2015), including:

I. G. Galán, "The Pursuit for a 'Change of Life:' Pedagogical Experiences, Poetic Occupations and Historical Frictions"

B. Colomina, I. G. Galán, E. Kotsioris and A. Meister "Radical Pedagogies. Notes Toward a Taxonomy of Global Experiments"

Acordeón Office Sidebar

  • About Open or Close

    [igg - office for architecture] is a design and research office based in New York City and led by Ignacio G. Galán, PhD. Our work focuses on architecture's role in the articulation of society through design projects, research, and pedagogical endeavors. The designs of the office have been awarded in competitions including the First Prize for the New Velodrome in Medellín and are part of the permanent collection of the Pompidou Center. The office was a finalist to the 2014 Iakov Chernikhov Prize as a result of its contributions to design culture. 

    We operate through diverse media and platforms and are continuously informed by different kinds of conversations and collaborations. Galán's research has led to the production of several publications and exhibitions including the installation Cinecittá Occupata for the 2014 Venice Biennale by invitation of the general curator Rem Koolhaas. Together with the After Belonging Agency, Galán was the Chief Curator of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale (Graham Foundation Grant 2015). He is also a member of the research project Radical Pedagogies and has co-curated its exhibition at the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and at the 2014 Venice Biennale, where it was awarded a Special Mention of the jury. He is currently one of the editors of the eponymous volume, forthcoming in 2020 by Sternberg Press (Graham Foundation Grant 2019).

    Additionally, Galán is an architecture historian working on the intersection of architecture, politics, and media, with a particular focus on nationalism, colonialism, and diverse forms of population displacement in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Galán studied Architecture at ETSAMadrid and TUDelft, he graduated with Distinction from the MArchII program at Harvard GSD, and has a PhD in Architecture History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton. He has been a Fellow at the Spanish Academy in Rome and a Fulbright Scholar. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at Barnard+Columbia Colleges and has taught studios and seminars at Columbia GSAPP and PennDesign among others.

  • Statement Open or Close

    We understand architecture as a key agent participating in the articulation of society. 

    We explore the ways in which architecture contributes to the definition of new ways of being together.

    We are concerned with architecture's relation to cultural transfers, material networks, and diverse forms of population transience in a global context. The relation of these forms of circulation challenge our understanding of architecture (conventionally associated with control, enclosure, permanence, and stability), requires new imaginations for our ways of being together and consequently remains a realm for further inquiry and intervention.

    We are additionally interested in the objects, media technologies, and institutions transforming architecture's individual occupations, its collective operations, and its diverse types of mobilization. 

    These emphases lead the work of the office and continuously challenge our methods of analysis and our design practice.