Keynote : "Re. Learning , Re.Teaching, Re.Thinking Architecture in and for cultures different from those of our own"

Thursday 31 August 2017


Darko Radović
Keio University, Department of Systems Design, co+labo Radović, Tokyo

“I decide that I prefer not to understand, rather than to colour and imprison the object of analysis with conceptions that are, in the final analysis, preconceptions.”

(Franco Ferrarotti)

Darko Radović is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Keio University and visiting Professor at the United Nations University, Tokyo. Over the last twenty-five years he has taught, researched and practised architecture and urbanism in Europe, Australia and Asia, and held senior academic positions at the universities of Belgrade (1991-93), Melbourne (1993-2009), Tokyo (2006-8), United Nations (2009-current) and Keio (2009-current), in addition to a number of visiting positions of various length and character (eg. in Hong Kong, Singapore, Milano).

Darko starts his key-note address “Re. Learning, Re. Teaching, Re. Thinking Architecture in, and for cultures different from those of our own” by referring to, and reflecting upon some of his own, personal experiences of immersion into diverse teaching and learning practices in the fields of production of space. A special emphasis is on Japan and rare, internal perspectives of the Japanese academia which are available to him. As the first foreigner professor of architecture and urbanism ever at the two oldest universities in the country - Tokyo and Keio, over the last ten years Darko could not only observe, but also get involved and contribute to the arguably unique ways of thinking and making architecture in Japan, the culture marked by both radical difference, even from its closest neighbours, and universally recognised quality of its architectural production. Those experiences deny routine, and demand constant rethinking of the fundamentals of the subject thought and investigated, even when the subject as old and as established as architecture.

Those personal insights based on (re)teaching, (re)learning and (re)thinking architecture in Japan are, then, used to broaden the discussion and address the opportunities and dangers brought about by globalisation, as experienced in several academic projects conducted in culturally and environmentally sensitive contexts in Asia, Australia and Europe, which expose difference and offer diverse encounters with the Other. The talk is polemological, crafted in hope to, in de Certeau's way, “force theory to recognise its own limits”. The main aim of the address is to acknowledge and celebrate diverse, situated knowledges, and too point at risks inherent to any foreign intervention - even when careful and best intended.


At Keio University, Darko Radović is a Head of Architectural and Urban Design Research Laboratory co+labo, co-founder and co-director of International Keio Institute for Architecture and Urbanism - IKI (with Sejima and Kobayashi; 2010), one of the founding members of Smart Communities Project (2015-2024) and Keio Architecture Initiative (2015-current). He headed strategic international research project Measuring the non-Measurable (2011-14) and sits on the Steering Committee of GESL - Global Environmental System Leaders Program (since 2012).
Darko published in Europe, Australia and Asia, in English, Serbian/Croatian, Japanese, Italian, Korean and Thai languages. His books include Green City (2005, Routledge/UNSW Press; with Low, Gleeson, Green); Urbophilia (2007, University of Belgrade PAPS Publishers); Cross-Cultural Urban Design (2007, Routledge, with Bull, Boontharm, Parin, Tapie); Another Tokyo (2008, University of Tokyo cSUR & ichii Shobou); eco-urbanity (2009, Routledge). He introduced Measuring the non-Measurable research book edition (Tokyo: flick Studio and IKI), which includes his small Tokyo (co-edited with Boontharm, 2011), The Split Case: Density, Intensity, Resilience (co-edited with Kuma, Boontharm, Grgić, 2012); Intensities in Ten Cities (ed., 2013); Tokyo dérive: In Search of Urban Intensities (ed., 2013); Subjectivities in Investigations of the Urban: the Scream, the Mirror, the Shadow, (2014) and In Search of Urban Quality: 100 maps of Kuhonbutsugawa Street, Jiyugaoka (with D. Boontharm; 2014).
In 2015 Darko Radović received the title of Honorary Alumnus of Keio, the oldest university in Japan.