of MBA in Kraków

The MBA is a cyclical event, taking place in Kraków since 1985. Each edition was a truly special forum for exchanging ideas and experiences amongst architects from around the world. The accompanying competitions, exhibitions, presentations and lectures are a unique attraction in this part of Europe for all those involved in architecture.

During the previous MBAs, the organised competitions were an opportunity to emerge also in the media space, valuable both for beginners and experienced international architects. The projects were judged by prominent personalities such as Wojciech Leśnikowski, Pekka Salminen, Julia Bolles, Peter Wilson, Francesco Purini, Eckhard Feddersen, Günter Schuss, Hildebrand Machleidt, Armando dal Fabbro and Peter Cook. Previously, honorary guests of the exhibitions and seminars were Frei Otto, architects Herzog & de Meuron, Zvi Hecker, David Mackay, Dietmar Eberle, and in 2015 Peter Butenschøn, Claudio Nardi and Giovanni Multari. Winning entries have gained international publicity and have been documented in the MBA publication.

The uniqueness of this cultural event is also connected to its location. Kraków is a city recognised all over Europe. This success is owned mostly to the historical heritage, the most important part of which is architecture. In this very citythere is a constant rivalry of the old with the new, historic with the contemporary, conservative with avant-garde. Architectural discussion seems to be inscribed in the essence of the city itself.

Economic and organisational conditions caused the necessity to abandon the continuation of the Biennale. The MBA was replaced by the Triennial formula, which in various organizational forms tried to create a platform for milieu dialogue about architecture, also open to the people living in Kraków.

The International Biennale of Architecture in Kraków with the previous edition returned to the arena of cultural events of the city, in its original form, with a two-year organizational cycle. Since 2015, the MBA has been included in the regular calendar of events organised by the City. The MBA 2015 under the motto “Human dimension of urban spaces” has been a spectacular success.

The possibility to continue a long tradition of debate that is universal and open to the local community, addressing the current problems of contemporary architecture is also an opportunity for an intellectual stir which helps to sensitise our city to the problems of creating a friendly, developed urban environment. Continuation of the tradition of the International Biennale of Architecture is intended to be an arena of interdisciplinary activity of creative circles, influencing the level of architectural culture in Poland, popularising Polish architecture abroad and gaining experience from other countries’ achievements.

Kraków 2015

Professor Jan Gehl, a world recognised expert in making the urban spaces more human-friendly, strongly believes that improvement of overall quality of life in the cities is derived from the appearance of their public spaces. For it is in the public spaces that people actually do meet up "to exchange ideas, trade or simply relax. The public area of the city - streets, squares and parks - is both a stage and a catalyst for these activities" (Jan Gehl).
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