Copenhagen Architecture Festival (CAFx) offers a varied festival programme throughout the country, shedding light on aspects of architecture in many contexts where it truly makes a difference – in the encounter with human life, aesthetics, and politics.

Copenhagen Architecture Festival (CAFx) will be running in the cities of Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense from 4th-14th of April 2019. The theme this year is Changing Ideals: 1919 – 2019 – 2119 and covers more than 150 public events divided into films and debates, exhibitions, guided tours, workshops, conferences, talks, open houses, and more.

The Festival’s mission is not only to create a platform for professional discussions, but also to attract wider audience’s attention to architecture. We communicate with buildings and public spaces every day, but rarely notice how architecture and design make an impact on our behavior. Learning new things about the environment we live in can bring more consciousness into our everyday life, and make a city more familiar and friendly.

Since its inception, the festival has managed to create a dynamic and contemporary platform to communicate the significance of architecture in Denmark in relation to abroad. The festival explores how the architecture affects our lives and societies – and how our lives and societies affect architecture. The festival’s ambition is to expand the idea of what architecture is and can: to unfold the architecture as something more than just brick, space or frame, but as a sensuous, bodily, social, political and human matter that seeps in everywhere in our lives. The festival examines how and where the architecture makes a difference.

Since the start of the festival in 2014, it has been the ambition to communicate architecture to a wide audience by being unpretentious, curious and bringing a new look to the architecture. To create new meetings between disciplines, people and ideas. Architecture is thus for everyone, and not just for the architects.

CHANGING IDEALS: 1919 – 2019 – 2119

In the year of the 2019 national election, CAFx is evaluating the basic values of the expanded field of architecture and its role in urban and social development over the last 100 years – while also looking towards the next century.

The festival will dive into how ideals for homes, urban life, and urban development have changed. Starting from the creation of the of BL – Danish Social Housing Association and the modernist stronghold of the Bauhaus School in 1919, CAFx will move onto the post-war booming welfare city with idealistic “cradle-to-grave” urban developments such as Tingbjerg and Albertslund, and arrive at the more market-driven housing and urban development since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This history speaks directly to many of today’s key architectural challenges, including the lack of affordable housing, planned demolitions of existing social housing estates, and property speculation by international private equity funds.

At the same time, CAFx is looking into the crystal ball to consider the role, ideals, and values of architecture in the future with the international exhibition Housing the Human, where five young architects, designers, and artists are making futuristic research
prototypes. In addition, CAFx has invited key players in Danish architecture to create a manifesto, reflecting upon the role of architecture in 2019. Their contributions will be published in a book that will be handed over to policymakers and urban developers during the festival. For the first time, the CAFx-team has also made a documentary film about the renegotiations of cultural heritage, public space, and freedom in North Macedonia’s capital Skopje under the title Skopje: a city interrupted.

“There is no doubt that the ideals of the good life have changed throughout history and will, of course, continue to do so. As Danes, we have become more diverse in our cultural backgrounds, family patterns, and personal experiences, with national statistics currently counting 37 different family types in Denmark. Now more than ever, we need new and different types of housing that reflect this.” by Josephine Michau, Festival Director

But while it is hardly possible to formulate one coherent narrative, is it still possible to create an inclusive and sustainable common framework for the good life and the good city? Can we re-think the particular Danish model of affordable housing for all? Furthermore, how should the mixed city – which everyone is talking about – be designed and future-proofed?

If architecture can help change the world, citizens’ living conditions, and everyday life, where should it lead us? How can we plan inclusive residential areas and urban development, and what can we learn from modernism’s experiences? How can we secure affordable housing after the global economy has distorted the housing market and created, would some say, more uneven cities and segregated neighbourhoods?

These are some of the questions we invite our guests and audience to investigate and discuss during this year’s festival.” Josephine Michau, Festival Director

There will be ample opportunity to investigate and discuss these issues at the festival across the different programme themes: The welfare city under construction, Europe between the Berlin Wall and Brexitland, Future scenarios and manifestos for the architecture, The paradoxes of the Bauhaus, and Metropolises.

But the festival also sticks to more established formats at the festival such as Open House, where it has asked various design studios to invite the audience inside and give an insight into the architecture on site and to current projects on the drawing board. The Film portraits: The Life and Poetics of the Architect gives you the opportunity to be inspired and study the masters up close, and the CAFx KADK lectures allows the audience to hear from an array of prominent international voices within architecture.

Once again, the festival has invited an international star architect to make a film programme for the festival. This year, Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao has organized a small film programme which especially focuses on her hometown of Mexico City. She will introduce the films and be found at several other activities during the festival in the lead up to her show at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art this autumn.

The detailed program of the Copenhagen Architecture Festival will be published on March 14th, 2019 and the full program for all three cities will be available on www.cafx.dk. The Program Launch party will take place in the Danish Architecture Center in Copenhagen this same day.

For more info please contact CAFx Head of Press Line Bilenberg: line.bilenberg@gmail.com or visit the website www.cafx.dk