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A restaging of Bernard Tschumi’s 1974 fireworks display – Architectural Manifesto 1 – opened First Works Exhibition, outside the AA School in Bedford Square, on Friday, 6 November 2009, where a persistent audience waited under heavy rain for the 'architectural spetacle'.
This architectural event, conceived by Bernard Tschumi, is a re-enactment of a fireworks show realised in 1974 at the AA by Tschumi and a group of tutors and students including Nigel Coates. According to Tschumi, Fireworks 1974 made ‘a point about the pleasure of architecture and the beauty of its uselessness, and realised through a «détournement» (or creative misuse) of Guy Fawkes Day’. The work, together with a short text, was shown originally at the RCA exhibition Space: A Thousand Words, and published in 1978 as the first of Bernard Tschumi’s Architectural Manifestos, that framed one of Tschumi’s first obsessions about decoding the close-knit relations between events, actions and spaces, and how these might be deployed through complex notation systems which have seduced several generationsof architects. Fireworks is a recurrent topic throughout Tschumi’s career and was also used in the inauguration of the Parc de la Villette in Paris, which displayed another of these pyrotechnic events choreographed by the architect in 1991.

[ video by Kirk Wooller, with comments by Emanuel de Sousa and Kirk Wooller]

The event inaugurated the exhibition/book launch of First Works: Emerging Architectural Experimentation of the 1960s and 1970s, an exhibition including single key early projects or other kind of architectural realisations by Archigram, Archizoom, Aldo Rossi, Alvaro Siza, Cedric Price, Robert Venturi, Norman Foster + Richard Rogers, Paul Virilio + Claude Parent, Rafael Moneo, Renzo Piano, Peter Eisenman, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Toyo Ito, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, Tom Mayne + Michael Rotondi, Morphosis, Bernard Tschumi, Herzog & de Meuron and Zaha Hadid.
The exhibition is accompanied by the launch of First Works: Emerging Architectural Experimentation of the 1960s and 1970s, AA Publications, is edited by Brett Steele and Francisco Gonzalez de Canales and includes a photograph of the Cedric Price's Aviary in London by Emanuel de Sousa.

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Emanuel de Sousa, arq