Azrieli Annual Architecture Activities
The Azrieli Annual Architecture Activities (also known as A4) began as a series of yearly meetings of alumni of the Azrieli Fellows Program. The idea was to provide a platform for research presentations and discourse on issues in the architectural discipline. Within a short time, this platform became an open stage. The desire to contribute knowledge to the community of architects in Israel, whether students, academics or architects in general, led us to develop a variety of activities such as symposia, conferences and workshops.
Like all scholarly and academic events, A4 sought to advance knowledge in a particular field, architecture. In so far as the design of buildings overlaps with the making of landscapes and cities, parallel disciplines also entered into the debates: landscape architecture and urban design, as well as other arts, such as painting, literature, and film. A4 conferences have also been designed to give alumni of the Azrieli Fellows Program an opportunity to take the steps that should properly follow their research achievements: disseminating their ideas and findings, meeting and collaborating with other scholars, and assuming positions of intellectual leadership in their fields. It has been a real pleasure to see the Azrieli alumni stand among the leading figures in architecture.
As the planning for these events developed, the question of what they should be called arose, given the particularity of architecture as a discipline and a profession. Eventually, a hybrid term, Conference-Workshop, was chosen and used for the last two events, to indicate a two-part objective: 1) To bring professionals, teachers, and students together to address particular themes in contemporary architecture and education, and 2) to attempt to put some of the ideas and possibilities that arise in those considerations into practice. More broadly, the aim was to engage a wide community in focused debates, in order to encourage innovation in architectural research and practice, in Israel of course, but also more broadly, since the themes that have been addressed are topics with significance throughout the world.
The first conference, History, Settlement, and Construction in Israeli Modern Architecture emerged naturally out of the concerns of the Fellows. These subjects were broad enough to allow a large majority of the Fellows to give short talks on their current or recent research. The second conference, Research and Design in Architecture Today, discussed the ways that studio teaching, and more broadly architectural design, can be understood as a forms of research. The third conference, Writing the Space, sought to examine architecture and urban space from the point of view of texts. More particularly, it focused on the ways that the spaces of our lives are both recorded and reimagined in the stories of our lives.
Led by the Azrieli alumni, these events enrich architecture in Israel, not only its theory and practice, but also its community, now greatly enhanced by these young men and women.