Click here for the photo set on Flickr!
On Thursday June 16 director Mirko Zardini and Phyllis Lambert (founding mother of the CCA) opened the exhibition ‘The Good Cause, Architecture of Peace’ at the CCA. Some 300 people attended the opening and visited the show curated by Saskia van Stein (NAI), Arjen Oosterman and Lilet Breddels (Archis).
The Good Cause shows the thin line between an architecture of war and an architecture of peace. It shows the complexities of a post-conflict resolution but also gives clues how architecture can contribute to a sustainable peace. The exhibition can be seen as an installment in a longterm project with the aim to better the way the world deals with international peace keeping and reconstruction.
Opening 22 June 2011, 6 pm. Free entrance. Exhibition runs between 23 June and 31 August, 2011. Bauhaus Institute, Dessau. Click here for more information.
The Exhibition ‘City Inc.’ shows the legacy of an utopian city of the early 20th century. Inspired by Fordist theories, garden city principles and socialist ideals, the Czech shoe company Bata went on a mission to “shoe the world“. In Zlin, in the Czech Republic, Bata built a first company town according to modernist architectural precepts, testing the idea of a model town that could be efficiently replicated.
These Bata cities, soon to be exported all over the world, all combined the same components: architecture, urban planning, management, social engineering and communication. The geopolitical context of colonialism as well as growing international trade and labour division encouraged the company’s expansion.Soon enough the Bata empire formed an international corporate network of 80 Bata cities as places of production as well as a modern way of life.
The exhibition introduces two Bata satellite towns, Batanagar (India) and East Tilbury (Great Britain); two places which have developed in opposite directions depending on the remaining presence or final absence of the Bata production in the city. Not only does the show give an insight into the complexities and contradictions of life in a city that has changed dramatically during the last century, it also reflects the uncertain future of these two company towns in the context of current strategies of global corporations with regards to their “urban footprints”.
“Vacant NL explores the potential of thousands of vacant buildings in the Netherlands dating from the 17th to the 21st century. This challenge calls for unorthodox and temporary interventions, which a team of designers and specialists in legislation, science, and technology will envision and test on location.”
During the 2010 Architecture Biennale in Venice, it became clear that thousands of inspiring, vacant public buildings in the Netherlands have the potential to be reused for creative entrepreneurship and innovation. With the two-year master’s program Vacant NL, the Sandberg Institute is realizing its ambition to train designers, craftsmen and scientists to become specialists in the temporary use of buildings and other spaces.
Directed by landscape architect Ronald Rietveld and philosopher Erik Rietveld, the program revolves around design research on the potential of vacant spaces. Insights and solutions from different fields of knowledge are combined to address the topic in an integrated manner. Several unique buildings are available for experimentation and for making site-specific design interventions. Without doubt, what the Netherlands needs in the current decade is a multidisciplinary team of talented specialists in temporary reuse of buildings and other spaces. The challenge posed by Vacant NL calls for a range of visionary, unorthodox and unsolicited interventions. Design and build the impossible!
Vacant NL is open for ten students, all of whom will be expected to have a solid basis in a relevant discipline at the start of the two-year program. Seven of the students will have a background in design in the broadest sense of the word. This could be in architecture, industrial design, interior architecture, web architecture, or stage design. The other three students will be resourceful specialists from other fields. They could be creative lawyers, fire fighters, documentary makers, urban geographers, cultural historians, research journalists, plasterers, event planners, or aerospace experts, for example. Their expert knowledge of their respective fields will enable them to contribute to surprising, unconventional design solutions. The variety in the students’ backgrounds and the contributions that specific experts from outside the field of design will make to the program will enable the integration of multidisciplinary knowledge. Vacant NL believes that by combining design, science, and technology in real-life situations, one can make the step towards real innovation.
Click here for more information regarding the program.
After being one and a half year at the Archis team as managerial editor of Volume, Timothy Moore is going back to his roots in Melbourne. Congratulations on your new job as Editor of Architecture Australia, and thanks for being part of the team!
Last weekend Archis and VURB have organized the first IOT workshop. A group of ten coders and ten architects came together to share thoughts about their merging disciplines. It has been a very interesting day, which has resulted in a lot of interesting perspectives and ideas for the next issue of Volume. Volume #28 will be entirely about the Internet of Things and about the question how the architect should respond on the innovations and challenges that arrive from an entirely new field of knowledge and possibilities. After the success of this first Internet of Things workshop, Archis will organize a second one, with the main objective to collaboratively set up a project on the interface of both disciplines. To be announced!
Finally it’s for sale: Mokum: A Guide to Amsterdam. Yesterday evening the alternative travel guide to the hometown of Archis/Volume was presented in nightclub Paradiso. Amsterdam’s Alderman for culture, Carolien Gehrels, has officially received a first copy of the guide that was shortly introduced by Sijbolt Noorda, chairman of the Amsterdam Liberation Comite. Pictures taken by Jurgen Koopmanschap.
The best places to announce an alternative travel guide are spooky tunnels and creepy alleys. Last night a tremendous effort is done to let the city of Amsterdam know about the launch of a new, fresh, alternative and definitely inspiring travel guide to Amsterdam, called ‘Mokum: A Guide to Amsterdam’. ‘Mokum’ offers its readers many different unexpected perspectives on the city. The title, ‘Mokum’, refers to the Jewish name for the city of Amsterdam which is still being used while talking in slang about the Dutch capital. Thursday May 5th, 20.00 ‘Mokum’ will be presented in Paradiso in Amsterdam. Here you will find more details about the launch and about the guide.
The viability of a contemporary counterculture is defined through the sustainability of its oppositional stance. CyberAnthropologist Steven Mizrach argues that to find a countercultural voice, oppositional figures – hackers, cyberpunks, techno music makers – must liberate their niche, underground positions in the name of information dissemination. An anthropologist teaching at Florida International University, Mizrach focuses his research on the confluence of anthropology and ‘high technology’, or AnthroFuturism.
Not surprisingly, there is both continuity and change between the countercultures of the 1960s and those of today. The computer underground, the rave movement, the modern primitives, and other contemporary cultures can trace a lineage back to the Beatniks and Hippies of the 1950s and 1960s. Several key figures, such as Timothy Leary, John Perry Barlow and Stewart Brand, most obviously bridge this transition. However, rather than examining continuity, this essay will focus on evolving attitudes toward the natural and organic versus the artificial and synthetic. While the hippies were sometimes wary of advanced technology, today’s countercultures readily embrace it as a tool for countertactics.
Excerpts from an interview conducted in March 2010.
Neil Spiller’s work — which spans his theoretical ventures and architectural practice, and was shaped by his training with both Cedric Price and Gordon Pask — explores the friction between media and reality, interrogating the oxymoron inherent in the notion of ‘virtual reality’ and how this divergent term informs the built environment. Here, he sits down with Volume to reveal the Surrealist methods latent in the dream state of the architect.
When I first started writing, the big buzz was full body immersion in cyberspace and Mondo2000. Since then, a lot of us have realized that our intelligence is literally embodied. Our intelligence is made out of virtual and real things, and the synthesis of the virtual and the real is where my explorations lie. Certainly the idea of living in a pod with my bodily functions wired up to the sink is not a good thing. For me, architecture is embodied in a series of reflexive objects or narratives. I often say that architecture can exist from the microcosmic and the nanoscopic to the cosmographic. I’m interested in the blurred boundary as a place from which to speculate, in both architecture and drawings. I’m always kind of sniffing and licking them a bit, not sure if they’re any good yet.
I spend a lot of time talking about, perhaps reassessing, the spatial protocols of Surrealism as a way of finding methods to expand aspirations and knowledge of the digital world. Specifically, the Paranoiac-critical method, as Salvador Dalí’s psycho-sexual approach, is how I re-interpret the world. People have described my drawings as a kind of myth-making, and certainly my work over the last ten years has become very mythic. So I try to link to his body of work, which I think was brave for its time, and uses it to question some of the assumptions we (architects) have about our role in the contemporary world … Soon we’ll be able to start to make spaces that aren’t dictated by the tyranny of the planner or the aesthetic tyranny of the architect.
What has disappointed me is the way the architecture profession has taken to virtuality by one particular route, which has now been exploited to the point of ubiquity. There is a lot more of the virtual world that rubs up against architecture that needs exploring. I am interested in what I call architecture of the second aesthetic, which is essentially algorithmic. I think there is a place for algorithmic architecture, but to explore it properly we might have to leave the computer behind.
I think I’m an ‘optimistic Futurist’; I’m much more interested in what’s going to happen a year or five years hence as opposed to thirty or fifty years from now. Scientists call that ‘deep future’ and it’s actually almost entirely unpredictable. When you’re a student, you’re like a heavy metal guitarist: you want to rush up the fret board as fast as possible. And when you’re my age, you want to play the blues, because it’s about the emotional content of the work. So blues is the thing. [Laughs]
A seminal proponent of sustainable architecture and green design, Sim Van der Ryn approaches architecture as an ecosystem, an ever-evolving, responsive organism. An unruly civil servant – both as Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and as the official State Architect under Governor Jerry Brown – Van der Ryn has published his visions of collaborative design and ecological principles in, among others, The Integral Urban House: Self Reliant Living in the City (The Sierra Club, 1974) with Bill and Helga Olkowski; The Toilet Papers: Recycling Waste and Conserving Water (Chelsea Green Publishing, 1986) and Sustainable Communities: A New Design Synthesis for Cities, Suburbs and Towns (New Catalyst Books, 1986), both with Peter Calthorpe; Ecological Design (Island Press, 1996) with Stuart Cowan; and most recently in Design For Life: The Architecture of Sim Van der Ryn (Gibbs Smith, 2005). Here, Van der Ryn discusses his radical seminars at Berkeley in which he developed a classroom-as-commune approach, eventually leading to the founding of the Farallone Institute and the ‘birth of green’.
Jeffrey Inaba: How do you think that the prevailing ideas about modern architecture played out at Berkeley in relation to the idea of alternative modes of design? Was it a response to various institutions or was it not really conscious?
Sim Van der Ryn: The problem with architectural ideology was that it was ideology [laughs]. But I wanted to know how architecture really related to human beings, and I didn’t see any answers in the ideology.
I wrote an article in Landscape Magazine called ‘Architecture: Art or Science?’ in which I interrogated the existing knowledge about how buildings address people. Most people think buildings are sculptural objects or works of art, but my view has always been that buildings are organisms and ecosystems, and humans make up an important part of those systems. Architecture critics never review buildings in terms of humans.
JI: Can you talk a little bit about the type of work you were doing in the 60s and to what it was responding?
SVDR: In 1961, Berkeley’s new hi-rise dormitories received great reviews from architecture critics. They were great and were modern, but I was really interested in the human response to them. I wanted to create some kind of science, so my research seminar and I implemented simple techniques to get a handle on this very question. We observed and interviewed students over one year and immediately found problems: they had big lounges that were never used, and the double-loaded straight corridor was noisy as hell. We then wrote a monograph of our findings in simple, non-scientific language. I wanted to call it The Ecology of Student Housing, but the head of the Facilities Lab suggested that no one knew what ‘ecology’ was yet – it was too arcane. So we called it Dorms at Berkeley. It was really the beginning of post-occupancy evaluation.
Alex Steffen Interviewed by Yukiko Bowman and Julianne Gola.
In the late 60s, the Whole Earth Catalog popularized an understanding of ecology as a continuum between the self, technology, and the environment. Forty years later, Alex Steffen, editor of the website Worldchanging and the recent compendium Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century (Abrams, 2006), is approaching sustainable living from the micro (the design of refugee shelters) to the macro (climate change). A global advocate for a social, high-tech approach to environmental and community sustainability through innovation, Steffen is also the editor of the last (unpublished) issue of Whole Earth, the magazine that grew out of the Whole Earth Catalog. Here, he assesses the legacy of the Whole Earth Catalog in contemporary discussions of environmentalism and how counterculture compares with his notion of ‘bright green’.
Yukiko Bowman: In many ways, today’s mainstream environmentalism comes directly out of 60s counterculture and the Whole Earth approach. These days, ‘green’ is used as a selling point for everything from gasoline to t-shirts. How do you position Worldchanging – as an extension of countercultural ideals or as an example of environmentalism’s increasing popularity?
Alex Steffen: In order to keep fulfilling our function, we need to be on the edge. It is a real challenge for us that our content has moved into the mainstream. As the sea of innovation grows, it becomes harder to cover its surface. You know, I grew up on a commune where Whole Earth Catalogs were bouncing around. That countercultural filter was a big part of how the people who raised me saw the world. Today, the Whole Earth Catalog has become the placeholder in our cultural notation for ‘all that innovative hippie crap’.
Indesem explores the future of architecture. Order now!
“Architecture should put itself in the middle of the public debate on space.” With this ambition Indesem, the biennial International Design Seminar, explored challenges and potential of architecture. Curated by Winy Maas, the workshops focused on major issues, confronted these with specific locations in Rotterdam and presented these as billboards all over the city.
“Think not what you would like to make, but what in fifty year’s time should be your legacy”, was the brief. 2067: The Legacy contains the lectures and inspirational input of Herman Hertzberger, 2012 Architects, Ronald Wall, Floris Alkemade, ZUS, Wouter Vanstiphout, Michiel Riedijk, Winy Maas, Dirk Sijmons, Salomon Kroonenberg, Juhani Pallasmaa and reports on the students’ struggle to formulate an agenda for architecture. With beautiful photography of Jeroen Musch, graphic design Maureen Mooren with Sandra Kassenaar.
336 p, ills, color & b/w 17×24 English pb.
ISBN: 978 90 77966 518.
Click here to order 2067: The Legacy.
An impressive animation of satellite images taken before and immediately after the flood shows how rising water leaves a trail of destruction in Brisbane. A split second transforms the city’s colorful urban landscape into a brown quagmire. Monitoring changing landscapes using satellite images provides insight in various scenic transitions. The New York Times has made available a shocking series of aerial photos from GeoEye and Google that show Port-au-Prince before and after the January 12, 2010, earthquake. Specifically interesting to take notice of here is how Pétitionville’s tent city is organically constructed with an almost Medieval street pattern.
Excerpt from Al Manakh 2: Gulf Continued
By Digby Lidstone
In the autumn of 2008, as the first ripples of global recession spread across the Gulf, Bahrain announced its Vision 2030 plan. It was not the first Middle East country to draw up a blueprint for long-term development. But in the words of Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, ‘it came at an opportune time’.
With oil prices falling from an all-time high in July 2008 to a seven-year low a few months later and stories of debt defaults, redundancies and investment scandals flooding the newspapers it was a good time to establish where the Bahraini economy was heading. Vision 2030 was not intended to pilot the nation through the storm. Yet its clear appraisal of every issue from road traffic to healthcare, as well as its basic targets, provided much needed clarity in a time of confusion.
Vision 2030, developed with the help of PricewaterhouseCoopers, is not an urban planning document per se. Rather it is more of a social strategy. The central aim of the vision is to create ‘an economy that raises a broad middle class of Bahrainis who enjoy good living standards through increased productivity and high-wage jobs’. Yet many of the plan’s provisions relate to the future development of Manama and its outlying urban areas.
In just a few decades 80% of mankind will live in cities where more than 90% of our wealth is generated. And all that covers less than 3% of the earth’s surface. Cities are effective, they drive innovation, offer the best answer to overpopulation, and are the greenest answer we have on a planet where crisis and climate change are forcing us to find rigorous solutions. But then cities must be better managed, better designed, better organized, and better planned than they currently are. Only then can cities save us from ourselves.
With Making City, the International Architecture Biennale will therefore actively engage with ‘city making’ in the form of concrete projects in three cities: Rotterdam, São Paulo and Istanbul. For this, an international team of curators is engaged in a two-year research programme in these three cities. Their main goal is to redefine the role of and the relation between planning, design and politics and thereby contribute to a more effective toolbox for making the city. Open and new alliances among urban planners, scientists, businesses, developers and local administrators are the driving forces in this endeavour. It will culminate in presentations, exhibitions, lectures and debates in the three cities, after which it is the stated intent of all partners to see the projects realized.
The IABR calls for submissions of projects that advance innovative responses to today’s most pressing urban challenges. Municipal, metropolitan and national governments, cultural organizations, researchers, designers, and other parties are invited to submit design projects that rethink the existing interaction between politics, planning and design. The selected projects will be integrated into the 5th IABR’s overall research and development process and they will be presented in Making City, the 5th IABR’s main exhibition at the Netherlands Architecture Institute, opening in April 2012. Projects can be submitted until 1 April 2011, 12:00 CET. Click here for submission guidelines, the complete Call for Projects and more information on the 5th IABR — Making City.
The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a biennial international award to recognise individuals and organisations that have made outstanding contributions to the creation of vibrant, liveable and sustainable urban communities around the world. It seeks to recognise individuals and organisations responsible for urban initiatives that display foresight, good governance or innovation in tackling the many urban challenges faced by cities. These urban initiatives can include (but are not limited to) urban planning projects, urban policies and programmes, urban management, as well as applied technology in urban solutions.
These urban initiatives should incorporate principles of sustainable development and demonstrate an ability to bring social, economic and environmental benefits in a holistic way to communities around the world. The Prize will also place an emphasis on practical and cost effective solutions and ideas that can be easily replicated across cities. Through this prize, Singapore hopes to facilitate the sharing of best practices in urban solutions among cities and spur further innovation in the area of sustainable urban development. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate will be presented with an award certificate, a gold medallion and a cash prize of S$300,000, sponsored by Keppel Corporation.
Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2011.
Click here for more information.
We have created a photo set on Flickr containing covers of all Volume issues that have been published so far. When you click on a cover, you will also find information on that specifice issue, along with an ‘Order on Amazon’ link. Enjoy!
After Richard Branson’s Virgin, the Dutch airline KLM has announced to offer space trips for ‘normal people’. Starting in 2014 the airline will offer this unique ‘life changing experience’ for a price of 70,000 euros, with a discount for regular KLM customers. The trips of only 40 minutes are made from the Space Experience Curaçao base (SXC).
A supersonic Lynx with space for two persons will rise to hundred kilometers altitude, where the occupants will experience weightlessness for about ten minutes before returning to Curaçao. At one hundred kilometers altitude the passenger is also not yet officially in space. The exosphere, where the earth’s atmosphere turns into the vacuum of space, starts at five hundred to one thousand kilometers and ends at about ten thousand kilometers.
Every amateur philosopher has dreamed about what they perceive as a utopian society. It’s fascinating to think about a world without the ills we experience today and how perpetually imperfect humans would achieve such an existence. Utopian fiction does just that, enabling readers to travel to a world that will never truly exist. Below is a list of the 20 essential works of the genre. Each are an excellent read when the real world seems as though it’s becoming a dystopia.
We are looking for motivated and enthusiastic people to strengthen our research and production team!
Candidates should bring:
commitment to the field of work of Archis and Volume magazine
fluency in English and or Dutch
capability of working independently and ‘carry’ a theme.
‘behind the scenes’ insight of editorial research and production and publishing
exchange with and feedback from the small and dedicated Archis team
access to the wide Archis and Volume network
Archis is a foundation with 3 basic sections: Publishers (Volume, Beyroutes, e.g.), Interventions (workshops e.g.) and Tools (lectures, debates, e.g.). Volume is an English thematic quarterly magazine, dedicated to the potential of architecture in its broadest sense. We are specifically looking for interns on the following themes.
Architecture of Peace
For our long term (2 years) project consisting of two issues of Volume, two exhibitions and several (online) debates and forums we are looking for interns on several aspects of the project from research to production to publicity.
Period: from January 2011 to February 2012 for a minimum of three months and two days a week.
The upcoming issue of Volume deals with several aspects of Aging: like demography (aging of populations), technology (aging of matter) and politics (aging of ideology). The issue will be released in March 2011. We are looking for someone to help with the research and production but also with the ‘afterlife’ of the issue once it’s out by actively searching for relevant platforms (virtually or physically) to continue the debate.
Period: January 2011 – April 2011.
Internet of Things
The summer issue of 2011 will be dedicated to the Internet of Things. The issue will be about ways to go beyond the gadget and application mode. We are looking for someone to help with research and production but also with the ‘afterlife’ of the issue once it’s out by actively searching for relevant platforms (virtually or physically) to continue the debate.
Period: March 2011 – July 2011.
We are looking for people with video editing skills to create ‘digestible’ video/audio material for the websites, vodcast or other use. We have raw material from launches of Volume issues, debates and research trips. Most pressing to tackle is the video capture of our Tehran research trip. The Tehran research (in collaboration with the TU Delft and the NAI) will result in an alternative travel guide to Tehran to be published late 2011.
Period: January 2011 – July 2011.
We are flexible and open to proposals on your side, regarding working hours and input. If you are interested in any of these positions please write an email with your background and motivation to Valerie Blom: email@example.com.
The Shift Boston Moon Capital Competition has announced a winner. The competition called on all architects, artists, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers and anyone to submit their most provocative wild visions about a capital for the moon in 2069. According to the organization some of the ideas are “way impossible”, says CNN. But that’s what the non-profit group Shift Boston aims to collect: ideas that change our perception on society and building. The competition is a typical architectural ‘what if’ competition — not meant to propose useful solutions but to broaden scope.
“When considering the future of design let’s start looking out into space. What if we could occupy the Moon only 100 years after our first visit there in July of 1969? Might the Moon become an independent, self-sustaining, and sovereign state? If so why not start designing for that new world now?”
There are some amazing concepts among the entries, such as a complete inflatable membrane city, a modular city enabling an organical growth of the new moon capital, and a proposal to for a moon cemetry. The winning idea by Bryna Andersen imagines a moon base surrounding a massive satellite dish that would collect solar energy and beam it back to Earth. Another finalist is envisioning the process of gradual colonization of the moon’s surface and represents this process with growing cluster settlements at different density and configurations. Other entries, designs and jury comments can be found at the competitions website.
American scientists are busy building the “world’s first sustainable fusion reactor” by creating a miniature star on Earth. Their project at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, which costs 3.5 billion dollars, could mean a breakthrough in the development of safe renewable energy of the future. According to the plans, a workable fusion reaction should be realized by the 2012. On November 2, the scientists fired up the 192 lasers beams at the centre of the reactor and aimed them at a glass target containing tritium and deuterium gas. “The resulting release of energy was of a magnitude of 1.3 million mega joules, which was a world record and the peak radiation temperature measure at the core was approximately six million degrees Fahrenheit.”
Order now: ‘The Complex History of Sustainability’ timeline, which was part of Volume #18: After Zero. Limited edition, only € 5 (shipping included!). Look for ‘Special’ on this website.
Did you know that the term Sustainability first appeared in a German forestry manual in the 1700s? Did you know that some people feel paranoid about an alleged conspiracy plan of world domination behind global warming? What did French philosophers in the Seventies think about ecology? Discover all the different attitudes of humans towards Nature throughout history. Learn more on the architect’s approach to environmental design and get inspiration from a wide utopian fiction bibliography! Impress your friends with a full set of fresh notions! The Complex History of Sustainability is a timeline of trends, authors, projects and fiction made by Amir Djalali, with Piet Vollaard.
In the last week of September, Amsterdam-based art institute Mediamatic organized a two-day event in order to explore the opportunities for using bamboo as building material. Around a wooden bicycle track, designed by DUS Architects, a massive bamboo-constructed city arised. In this very short interview, the people of DUS explain about the relevance of bamboo in architecture.
What makes bamboo such an interesting buiding material?
“Obviously, bamboo is a very interesting building material – green, lightweight and strong. It allows you to build large structures really fast, in a very easy manner. All one needs are bamboo stems and in this case, simple postal elastic bands- a technique carefully developed and engineered by collaborating artist Antoon Versteegde. (In the 70ies, Versteegde was unhappy with the elitist atmosphere inside the galleries that were exposing his paintings, and he searched for another way to show his work to a broader audience, truly located outdoors in the public domain. This led him to develop temporal bamboo structures, as an outdoor display for his paintings. While working on these bamboo structures in the open, he quickly came to realise that the bamboo structures themselves, and the spontaneous bamboo-constructing with random passer-bys on the street, were more interesting than his paintings! This led him to gradually develop the postal elastic band construction technique- anyone can do it.) One learns really fast how to make a strong construction that stays put. And one doesn’t need a permit either- as the construction can be taken down in a few minutes, without leaving a trace. Building with bamboo in this manner, allows one to design while doing. It’s architectural beta testing: and therefore particularly interesting to (d)us.”
Could you tell us more about the Bamboo Building Bash?
“The Bamboo Bash coincided with PICNIC’10 (new technology/media festival) that was themed ‘re-design the world’. We took this theme literal and invited people to come build a bamboo city. We’re fascinated by people taking up own initiative, and we’re highly intrigued in that sense by the democratic powers of digital / social media, but feel that these should always be linked to physical spaces for people to gather and act. So we offered all those individuals that were collectively twittering away at PICNIC, a Bamboo Bash with some real-time analogue action! It was telling to see that while building together, people construct much more than just a bamboo structure. On a more architectural level, the Bash relates for instance to our current role as supervisors of the ‘bottom up masterplan’ in Almere Haven de Wierden, where we’re implementing and testing rule-based d.i.y. urban transformation. In the case of the Bamboo Bash, we wanted to test the possibility to create one social superstructure with help of only one rule: this being that the bamboo should somehow be connected to the ‘bike-highway’ (a wooden ramp which we recycled from our Mediamatic fixed-gear exhibition interior.) The result: Bamboo madness. And a lot of fun!”
The financial and economic crisis left the United States with some huge problems in spatial development. Nevertheless, this fantastic set of aerial photos from Google Images (from Big Picture), shows Florida’s developmental disaster.
All over the world new ghost landscapes appear as a result of mix between planning optimism and the financial crisis. How could we ever have really believed that this way of organizing a landscape would be attractive for those who have to live in it? And how could a society capable of shaping its land so well, not understand the risks of the system behind it? These bulldozer-made drawings are pretty nice to see from above, but in fact, they point to lost deposits, bankruptcy and misallocated capital. Most interesting at this moment is the question what to do with these pre-formed landscapes. Any ideas?
On FlowingData we found a map which provides insight in how the Mississippi river has evolved over the past. In 1944, cartographer Harold Fisk mapped the current Mississippi River — the white channel on the map. Besides that, he drew the river as it had been in earlier decades (all colored ribbons), based on old geological maps, and created a fascinating graphic for the Army Corps of Engineers. Click here to view a graphic of the entire Mississippi river.
Spectacular architecture was one of the backbones of last Olympic Games organized in Beijing. Both the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube were meant to attract attention on the event and the city on a global level. This approach or discourse in architecture and city marketing provoked a lot of criticism worldwide. Questions were asked, such as what to do with a hugh mega stadium and an olympic swimming pool after the Olympics? And should buildings, this big and pretentious, be built to facilitate a four week event only?
Since the end of the Olympics in 2008, the Bird’s Nest hasn’t found a significant use. According to Wikipedia only two events were planned, both on 8 August 2009, the one-year anniversary of the stadium’s opening. One is a performance of the opera Turandot. The other is the final of the Supercoppa Italiana (Italian Super Cup). Football team the Beijing Guo was supposed to play at the stadium, but finally they didn’t want to use a 80,000+ seat venue for games that routinely draw only slightly more than 10,000 people.
The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X–197X
The opening of the successful traveling exhibition Clip, Stamp, Fold in Maastricht marks a renewed interest in various forms of engagement in the field of architecture and urbanism. The exhibition, based on research by Beatriz Colomina and her Princeton students on so-called ‘little magazines’ in the 1960s and 70s, was initially staged at Storefront in New York, November 2006. (A part of this research was published in Volume 10). It has since traveled to several cities in the US and Europe, including the lesser-known architectural hubs of Oslo, Vancouver and Murcia. What is interesting about the exhibition is not only its content, but also that it is a growing archive; with every new installation, a local or regional addition is added to the core of the exhibition. In Maastricht, the extension (called ‘Staple’ so the full title becomes Clip/Stamp/Fold/Staple) is a series of Dutch magazines that fit the profile that were published from the 80s up to the present. Volume is represented in this section that was researched by Marina van Bergen.
The Barcelona Institute of Architecture (BIArch) is an international institution furthering interaction between research, practice and dissemination of contemporary architecture, BIArch is an open laboratory for professionals and researchers that promotes new ways of thinking and practicing architecture in face of technological, energy, and economic conditions in permanent change.
The MBIAch is a post-professional Master’s degree program for individuals holding a professional degree in architecture. The program requires one year of full-time study and covers 60 ECTS credits, with a degree awarded by the Institute and recognized by the Universitat Pompeu fabra. The MBIArch is offered entirely in English.
Late application deadline is 15 July, 2010.
Log of a Moon Expedition was a science fiction novel written and illustrated in 1969 by Czechoslovakian space artist Ludek Pesek. The book intended to be a look into what a moon colony would look like and included some of the latest ideas. Pesek’s work fluctuated between technical renderings of cosmic and terrestrial subjects and visionary, poetic surrealistic works. In addition to illustration, he also photographed and was the author of a number of science fiction books, of which Log of a Moon Expedition is one. Fascinated by the exploration of space and aware of his contribution as an artist, his late works were full of images of ‘life’ evolving from its home planet Earth to other places in the cosmos. Click here to take a look at spreads of the book.
Through Blueprint Magazine we found out about the birth of a machine that is able to print entire buildings. The monster is located near Pisa, Italy, and its father is Enrico Dini, an engineer with a background in offline programming systems for six-axis robots.
“Driven by CAD software installed on a dust-covered computer terminal, the armature moves just millimetres above a pile of sand, expressing a magnesium-based solution from hundreds of nozzles on its lower side. It makes four passes. The layer dries and Enrico Dini recalibrates the armature frame. The system deposits the sand and then inorganic binding ink. The exercise is repeated. The millennia-long process of laying down sedimentary rock is accelerated into a day. A building emerges. This machine could be used to construct anything.”
Archiprix International invites all universities and colleges teaching architecture, urban design and landscape architecture to select 1 graduation project and to ask the designer(s) to submit the selected project for participation. Designers who have graduated since July 1 2008 are eligible. The selected designer must be registered by the school by August 1st, 2010 and projects must be received at MIT by September 1st, 2010. The projects will be presented in the exhibition, on the website and in a book with DVD. The designers of the projects will be invited for the workshops taking place in May/June 2011 in Cambridge, USA. Participation is free of charge.
Over 1400 faculties from more than 100 countries have been invited to take part. This makes Archiprix International by far the biggest competition for recently graduated architects, urban designers and landscape architects. No other competition for young talented designers displays such a broad insight in world-wide trends in education and the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture in general.
After successful editions in 2001 in Rotterdam, 2003 in Istanbul, 2005 in Glasgow, 2007 in Shanghai and 2009 in Montevideo, Archiprix Interna-
tional will again stage a unique presentation of the world’s best graduation projects. Archiprix International 2011 takes place in May/June 2011 in
Cambridge, USA. This fifth edition will be hosted and co-organised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture + Planning. The
SA+P boasts an illustrious history stretching back nearly a century and a half, providing the current students with a legacy and long tradition of pioneering
excellence. The Department of Architecture was the first such department in the nation (1865) and became a leader in introducing Modernism to America.
For more details and the latest news, please visit the official website at archiprix.org or the MIT host website at mit.edu/archiprix.
“On February 5, 1971, the crew of Apollo 14 touched down on the lunar surface in the Fra Mauro formation near Cone Crater. It was the second attempt to land at this site. Originally, Apollo 13 had been slated to land at Fra Mauro and Apollo 14 was to explore a site near Littrow Crater. […]
This is the first time I will discuss music on this blog. But it’s relevant, and yes, of course we love music. Especially the music that is written, mixed or composed to perfectly capture the atmosphere of a situation in a physical environment — the city. A good example and one of my all time […]
Over the past years the Canadian artist Ross Racine has designed a series of digital fake suburbs. All drawings can hardly be seperated from real suburbs and so are their names, which include Cherry Meadows, Walnot Village and Happy Hollow. The collection called Subdivision is undoubtedly inspired by maps of real suburbs, which have become […]
Al Manakh: Gulf Continued launches tomorrow at 6 pm at Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi. Dubai Today spoke with Mitra Khoubrou, Partner at Pink Tank and one of the editors of Al Manakh. Listen to the first part of the interview with Mitra Khoubrou below. Click here to listen to the rest of the interview.
Starting September 19th, Sukkah City will pop-up at Union Square Park, New York City. Sukkah City consists of twelve radically temporary structures built by competitors form all over the world. Anyone is invited to submit designs. The sukkah is an ephemeral, elemental shelter, erected for one week each fall, in which it is customary to share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice.
“New York City will re-imagine the ancient Sukkah phenomenon, develop new methods of material practice and parametric design, and propose radical possibilities for traditional design constraints in a contemporary urban site. Twelve finalists will be selected by a panel of celebrated architects, designers, and critics to be constructed in a visionary village in Union Square Park from September 19-21, 2010. (…) One structure will be chosen by New Yorkers to stand and delight throughout the week-long festival of Sukkot as the Official Sukkah of New York City. The process and results of the competition, along with construction documentation and critical essays, will be published in the forthcoming book ‘Sukkah City: Radically Temporary Architecture for the Next Three Thousand Years’.”
More about the Sukkah and about the competition:
Two weeks ago northern European airspace was closed due to ash coming from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Data analysts of ITO World took advantage of this major air traffic reboot and created a fascinating video, based on the data retrieved from Flight Radar 24, that shows how the northern European airspace returned to normal use after being closed due to volcanic ash from Iceland. As you can see, a small number flights took already place on April 18. Two days later all airports were opened again.
Please read our press release announcing the release of Al Manakh Gulf Continued in Abu Dhabi. Stay tuned for more information about events to introduce the book.
Despite our skill and experience in manipulating space and material, architects are incapable of addressing the needs of society unless they have first been explicitly asked to do so. Unsolicited architects do not wait to tackle the big issues often overlooked by the market. They create briefs where none are written, discover sites where none are owned, approach clients where none are present, and find financing where none is available. Unsolicited architecture offers an alternative to a reactive, service-oriented role, and instead calls for a new, more socially-motivated approach to procuring projects.
Tomorrow Al Manakh Gulf Continued will be launched. In advance of its release Jonathan Hanahan created a series of data visualizations, of which this article is the last chapter.
All books have a table of contents, an introduction and an index to the document, but can it be more than just a directory? This third visualization in the series attempts to address an alternative view of the contents of a book, providing more than just title, chapter, and author. Here, the continent of where the article has been submitted from and the author’s perspective is also included. Working with a similar visualization strategy as in the previous sources visualization, the articles are distributed clockwise; each slice is proportional to the length of the article.
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Order your copy of Al Manakh Gulf Continued here, or subscribe to Volume magazine and receive Al Manakh 1, Al Manakh Gulf Continued and three Volume issues! (Please note: offer expires on July 1.)
‘Sources to Subjects’ explores the details behind how topics were developed for Gulf Continued and where the information guiding our conclusions came from. By breaking down our data archive to not only look at what news organizations reported the most frequently but also where globally those sources are committed and what types of perspectives they focus on. In light of perpetual media and political bias in the area, breaking down locations and perspectives help draw conclusions on how to address the overall presentation of issues within this edition of Al Manakh.
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—This visualization was created by Jonathan Hanahan.
As a team coordinating from multiple time zones, the most effective way to collect and distribute relevant articles into the pool of collective research was to use the online bookmarking service Delicious as a universal reference location. By the conclusion of research in March 2010, we had over 1200 articles and 143 different tags. This by no means qualifies the entirety of the research but presents a cross-section of materials utilized to the research community. Delicious provides a simple means of collection, but lacks the ability to view the material from an alternative perspective. The Al Manakh Research calendar is the first step in the development of a tool to investigate these relationships, a way to understand the volume of our research database. While still in its infancy of development as a research tool, it prompts insightful questions about both the content and our individual research activity.
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—This visualization was created by Jonathan Hanahan.
Cartagen, the institute that describes itself as “a framework for dynamic mapping”, has presented a new way of styling of geographical maps. GSS strongly reminds of famous CSS, the style sheets that are used to design the look and feel of webpages. Investigating a GSS file of a map of Rome, it even looks more or less the same.
“Just like CSS for styling web pages, GSS is a specification for designing maps. Adapted for dynamic data sources, GSS can define changing geographic elements, display multiple datasets, and even respond to contextual tags like ‘condition:poor’. (…) Instead of sending pre-rendered tiles for every zoom level, Cartagen draws maps dynamically on the client side. This means maps can move, adapt, and redraw, and can include as many layers of data as needed.”
Interesting to mention is that GSS follows the open up of maps and geographical data, and goes even further by placing an open source style layer upon it. It could be a useful tool for people to easily design maps, even without specific cartographic knowledge.
A while ago Jason Kottke spent an article on the mysterious Project Cybersyn, which is described as a “a Chilean attempt at real-time computer-controlled planned economy in the years 1970–1973”. Project Cybersyn existed during the government of president Salvador Allende and consisted of a network of telex machines that linked factories with a single computer center in Santiago. From here the principles of cybernetics were used to control the modes of production in real-time, or, as The Guardian describes it:
“Voters, workplaces and the government were to be linked together by a new, interactive national communications network, which would transform their relationship into something profoundly more equal and responsive than before — a sort of socialist internet, decades ahead of its time.”
By Jonathan Hanahan
It is out of our hands and soon into yours: Volume’s special issue Al Manakh Gulf Cont’d — 536 pages on the Gulf region from 139 contributors based in over 20 countries will be launched in just under a month, on April 18, both in the Gulf and beyond. Over a year of researching, questioning, commentating, and evaluating topics that have evolved from the Gulf have been collated into this edition, limited only by the size of your postbox.
For many of us, there is no finality in a topic that is eternally evolving, and as the title indicates, continuing. It would be very easy to wipe our hands clean, claim its completeness and move on. But with the excitement of the process and its result still fresh in our memory, we still look for ways to continue the dialogue this journey incited.
The project of Al Manakh collects narratives over the year. And with a year of research comes a year of data. The intention now is to engage an alternative vantage into the making of Al Manakh.
What we present is a series of visualizations – a quantitative appendix to supplement the qualitative publication – in hope that from looking back, and the reader looking forward, we can enhance the conclusions that represent this schism in time of a continuing Gulf. The forthcoming blog series focuses on the sources, content and relationships that develop through its making: From Process to Production.
Visualization 1: A Year of Research
A cross-section of the editorial research team: topics, activities, networks, and biases.
Visualization 2/3: Sources to Subjects
Illustrating where the source and type of information came from to what becomes of it in the print outcome. This prompts questions such as: if 48% of sources are from business news agencies, yet 61% of our content was written by cultural professionals, does Al Manakh what sort of commentary does the project make?
Visualization 4: Looking Back and Forward
What this analysis means to Al Manakh: Gulf Continued and how it may influence future publications.
Royal Haskoning, the Delta Alliance and the City of Rotterdam invite students from all over the world to enter the third edition of the DeltaCompetition and develop practical, innovative, sustainable solutions to the threats facing delta cities. The organization is looking for new, inspiring and daring ideas and practical solutions from a wide combination of disciplines that integrate urban development and flood risk reduction, fresh water provision and energy production, housing and sustainable infrastructure development, (water) transport and rainwater catchment, and/or smart tools to improve urban development policy, implementation and enforcement and water governance in delta cities.
The best three will receive an award with a prize of € 3,000 each. Furthermore, the three winning participants are invited to present their ideas to an international audience of decision makers and experts during the Deltas in Times of Climate Change symposium, to be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, from 28 September to 1 October 2010.
—Postcard of the ‘Executive Park Motor Hotel’ in Atlanta
Mockitecture features a small series of American ‘postcards from the future’. The cards are nearly fifty years old and unravel some nostalgic elements of modernism. Especially the text on the backside of the postcard of the ‘Equitable Life Assurance Society Pavilion’ for New York World’s Fair speaks volumes about the urbanist’s fascinations for showcasing data in the public domain as can be still found today.
“The Equitable Pavilion, a contemporary open strecture located on the Pool of Inndustry, houses the famous Equitable Demograph, a 45-foot electronically controlled map of the United States. See for yourself America’s growing population brought to life right before your eyes!”
Yesterday a new remarkable hotel opened doors in the Dutch city of Zaandam. The building embodies anew chapter in modern architecture making a solid design statement: modern design does not necessarily have to look modern and traditional design does not have to look traditional. We would call it neo-neo-traditionalism.
The new Inntel hotel is already the main eye-stopper in the revamped town centre and a building that has set many tongues wagging in the Netherlands. The iconic green wooden houses of the Zaan region were the fount of inspiration for the hotel’s designer, Wilfried van Winden (WAM Architecten, Delft). The structure is a lively stacking of various examples of these traditional houses, ranging from a notary’s residence to a worker’s cottage.
Wilfried van Winden envisages the hotel as a temporary home, alluding to that transience with the stack of houses. Visually speaking the structure is built up from a varied stacking of almost seventy individual little houses, executed in four shades of the traditional green of the Zaan region. The hotel is unique, familiar yet original and idiosyncratic. It is a design that could be realized only in Zaandam but at the same time transcends and reinvigorates local tradition. Interesting is the fun element in the design. It makes one think and wonder. It adapts to traditional regional style elements while ridiculizing it at the same time.
—On Thursday March 25, the Netherlands Architecture Institute will be hosting a debate on the role of traditionalism in current architecture practice. Volume Editor-in-Chief Arjen Oosterman is one of the seven debaters. More information here (in Dutch).
Why not map the contemporary search for gold in the United States? Using a U.S. Department of Interior database, Gold Maps Online has created a series of KML files to help highlight areas where gold is currently being found. The maps can be imported in Google Earth and provide an almost real-time look at America’s active gold deposits.
“It’s near real-time because gold mining claim holders are required to pay annual fees to maintain ownership. They wouldn’t do that if they weren’t finding gold on the property. This is a map of where prospectors are finding gold in 2010.”
Described as a “must-have planning and exploration tool for any gold panning adventure” the maps of 2010 contain 378,890 active gold claims and 181,134 abandoned gold claims. All claims are located on public lands spread across twelve western states. Maps of abandoned claims reveal activity from 1986 through 2010.
Unfortunately the gold maps are not available for free, but hey, the trips offered by the California Steam Ship were not either. Nevertheless, it is possible to download a free sample map to see what it looks like.
Last Saturday, the Studio Beirut collective launched Beyroutes in the city that it honours: Beirut. With many of the contributors packed into the tiny Papercup Bookstore, it became a happy, emotional, and shamelessly self-boosting affair.
From an upper shelve of a book cabinet, Chris Fruneaux speeched about the deep friendships that underlie the making of the book. In a talk with the Royal Netherlands Embassy’s Cultural Attache, Joost Janmaat revealed some of the inner workings of the beast we refer to as Studio Beirut. In a far corner, Rani al Rajji could be found recruiting stunningly beautiful girls into the ranks of the Bounyaks. Joe Mounzer got into a signing frenzy of his own; brazenly scribbling away at every blank spot of paper that got near. And all along, Steve Eid and Pascale Hares were standing on the pavement outside Papercup, between them the intimidatingly pretty latest addition to the squad: baby Noa.
Hardcore locals, engaged tourists and nostalgic diaspora: this guide was made by a broad array of committed amateurs that project themselves onto the city. For years, they have looked to this particular city to accommodate their dreams, ambitions, curiosities and insecurities.
Scientists of MIT’s Bits and Atoms Lab are helping people in the city of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to turn pieces of board, wire, a plastic tub and some cans into reflectors for a wireless network named Fab Fi. The team has put up 25 nodes in the city, with locals now having access to a stable internet connection. With a little training, they even figured out to how to expand the network by copying reflectors and making new links.
“You can’t always get nice plywood and wire mesh and acrylic and Shop Bot time when you want to make a link. Maybe it’s the middle of the night and the lab is closed. Maybe you spent all your money on a router and all you have left for a reflector is the junk in your back yard. That, dear world, is when you improvise.”
MIT is also shipping routers to Jalalabad to enable the city to further improve its network.
The Fab Fi project is very interesting, especially since it proves the relevance to rethink foreign aid in terms of injecting knowledge and expertise to accelerate local progress instead of an injection of externally-managed aid money.
“An 18-month World Bank funded infrastructure project to bring internet connectivity to Afghanistan began more than seven years ago and only made its first international link this June. That project, despite hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, is still far from being complete while FabLabbers are building useful infrastructure for pennies on the dollar out of their garbage.”
Sketches for future cities and utopian buildings are often circular-shaped. Apparently a huge group of futurists, architects and urbanists prefers society to be rounded-up and dome-like. It’s hard to find out why, but one of the main reasons might be that the future city in essence has to stay away from current urban forms. A utopian sketch containing family houses in a row would be pretty boring and not really interesting as a futuristic vision. Here’s a way to create your own circular utopian future city in 3D. The ForCG website hosts a great tutorial explaining step by step how to make a utopian dream into a pretty render while using Autodesk’s 3DS Max. Here’s part 1 and part 2 of the tutorial.
What to do with the big hole in downtown Chicago? That essentially is what the Chicago Architectural Club wants to know. Therefore they announced the competition ‘Mine the Gap’.
“‘Mine the Gap’ is a single-stage international design ideas competition dedicated to examining one of the most visible scars left after the collapse of the real estate market in Chicago: the massive hole along the Lake Michigan shore that was to have been—and may yet be—the foundation for a singular 150-story condominium tower designed by an internationally-renowned Spanish architect, a tower which was to have become a new icon for the city and region. What to do with the gap? Whether or not the project is resuscitated, what else can we do with this strategic and highly-charged site? Once the motor of real-estate speculation has stalled, what can we use to propel ourselves, and the discipline, forward?”
More information about entry fee, jury, deadlines and registration can be found at the Chicago Architectural Club’s webpage. Competitors may submit material online anytime between March 22, 2010 and May 3, 2010. Registration is open, and may be completed anytime before the deadline. The first prize is $ 3,500, the second is prize $ 1,500 and the third prize is $ 750. Up to 3 Honorable Mentions will be awarded.
Last week’s item on Foodprint NYC made me think of an article I stumbled upon some time ago. It deals with the topic of so-called agro-imperialism. Issues such as rising global food prices, growing populations and scarcity of water make financially wealthy but recource-poor nations in the Middle East and Asia feel uncomfortable about their food security. In order to attempt to ensure food security, a number of these countries decided to “outsource their food production to places where fields are cheap and abundant” by buying large pieces of arable land in Africa, mostly in regions that are “least touched by development”.
Via Yarbus, the new web project of former Volume/Archis web editor Edwin Gardner, we found this amazing presentation tool for architects and designers. Zebra Imaging 3D prints recently came up with a method to show virtual 3D models to a group of stakeholders. Zebra’s holographic images enables architects and designers to show their 3D model without taking it. All sorts of architectural data can be transformed into a mind-blowing holographic animation. According to its makers, this method is much more rapid, much more accurate and less expensive than a real model. Interesting is the fact that the panel is a flat piece of plastic which is easy to transport, in contrary to regular 3D models. The times that we see an architect struggling in public transport while carrying unhandy models packed in wrapped garbage bag foil, are over soon.
As the video explains we are not able to experience the whole effect as we are watching it on a 2D monitor. Nevertheless, this looks already amazing. All different perspectives can be shown — from street level to a bird’s eye perspective. The models are available in different sizes and are full color. Next to architecture, this application finds a use in showing 3D maps for military operations.
“The city lets us know what they are up to by creating billboards that announce their projects. The Studio for Unsolicited Architecture and DUS Architects have pasted over five of these signs in Rotterdam with their own suggestions of how to make these projects more sustainable, more social and more exciting.”
After buying a ghost town in the middle of nowhere, the new owner has to come up with a plan. The idea of privatizing property on this scale is a relatively new spatial phenomenon, which is exciting. Redeveloping a city that used to give home to 5,000 people with private money, is quite a job. According to the auction committee the new buyer can do whatever he or she wants with the area, as long as he will stick to the local environmental and building rules.
Taking a close watch at the history of housing and the principles of human settlement, it will be immensely difficult to attract people to live here. There are no services and no other people, and there is no particular promise or story. Therefore I think housing will not work here. Pure recreation will not work either since there is no special attractor in the close environment, apart from a river and a small lake.
Yesterday we paid attention to Skrunda’s auction and the new situation the east Latvian town has to deal with. A load of pictures of desolate cities and abandoned buildings inspired us to find out a little more about its history. A couple of professional news reports and home-made cinematic efforts, show a rather emotional situation. The Guardian reports about the rather mysterious history of Skundra-1:
“Built in the 1980s, Skrunda-1 was a secret settlement not marked on Soviet maps because of the two enormous radar installations that listened to objects in space and monitored the skies for a U.S. nuclear missile attack. Like all clandestine towns in the Soviet Union, it was kept off maps and given a code-name — which usually consisted of a number and the name of a nearby city.”
For three point one million dollar, in London, New York City or Moscow one buys a 300 square meters apartment in the city center, but on the grey Baltic country side one buys a complete city for this amount of money. A Russian investor bought the ghost town Skrunda-1 in Latvia at an auction in Riga, two weeks ago. The final price of 3.1 million dollars was far beyond expectation as the starting price was ten times less than that (310,000 dollars). Skundra-1 is an old military city that gave shelter to approximately 5,000 people during the Cold War. More than a decade ago the place was left as a consequence of the military and political collapse of the Soviet imperium.
It’s not clear yet which plans the buyer, Aleksejevskoje-Serviss, has for the property, which counts 45 hectares and is located in western Latvia, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) from Riga. The town consists of about 70 abandoned buildings including apartment blocks, a school, barracks, eateries, gyms and two night clubs.
What would Dubai have looked like, when it would have been built 150 years ago? That’s what Martin Becka shows in an amazing series of photos taken in 2008. The images were captured using Gustave Le Gray’s waxed paper negative process on an 1857 camera. Under the name of ‘Transmutations: Capturing Dubai Using the 19th Century Techniques in Photographs’, photos were exhibited in October and November 2009 at Dubai’s Empty Quarter Gallery. The exposition was completely dedicated to Becka’s work.
“By staging a collision between the historical and the present time, Becka creates a deliberate anachronism and therewith takes us far from the usual expectations we harbor towards Dubai. The architecture and the town planning of this emblematic city of the 21st century seem to span time, as if looking at them from a future we will not live to see. The result is strangely archaeological. The city, with its avenues, monuments, squares, bridges and roads takes on, to some extent, the appearance of ancient monuments. These photographs cloak the present in the permanence of an historic record and give the fleeting moment of the here and a semblance of eternity. In Becka’s earthly warm and exquisitely detailed salted paper prints a monument has been erected for the future generations of Dubai.”
On Wednesday 12:06 am EST, the astronauts on space shuttle Endeavour docked to the International Space Station. The STS-130 team will be delivering parts including the third connecting module known as ‘the Tranquility node’ to the station, as well as installing a seven-windowed cupola to be used as a control room for robotics. The mission will also feature three spacewalks. Under the name of Mission Control, online radio station SomaFM broadcasts live mission audio all this week, mixed with atmospherical ambient music.
Mission Control Radio is an artistic interpretation of a space mission that expands the listener’s imagination. SomaFM music director and DJ Rusty Hodge made a selection of the finest ambient tunes to musically reflect on the space mission. All live audio that comes right from the space station merges with music broadcasted from earth.
Hello, you probably know me, not necessarily me (Edwin Gardner), but at least you’ve been confronted with me one way or another. Through the Archis/Volume newsletter, posts on the Volume blog, bookmarks, tweets and facebook updates, in other words the whole social media arsenal which is at every web-editor’s disposal these days.
But alas, it is also Goodbye. In 2005 I started at Archis/Volume with a summer internship, and by making my first contribution to the Broadcasting Architecture issue (#3), and surely that won’t be my last contribution to the magazine, I’ll stay on the team as editorial consultant, I’ll stay blogging on the Action! blog (together with mr. Hyde), and dumping the occasional link through one of the before mentioned channels. Beside that you can follow my ongoings @edwingardner.
Then there is another Hello! A hello i’m proud and pleased to give. I would like to introduce you to Jeroen Beekmans and Joop de Boer from Golfstromen who will take over the helm of the Archis/Volume web-machine. Perhaps you know them from their prolific blog The Pop-Up City or Amsterdam’s Pecha Kucha night, If not you will become very ambiently aware and digitally intimate with them soon enough.
For now, adieu!
By Ana Catarino
In Paris: Invisible City Bruno Latour and Emilie Hermant invite us to look at the city of Paris from a rather unusual perspective, what is usually not showed in social theory studies, to look at a city and try to unveil all the layers that constitute its life, to try to understand the several levels of complexity and their existing and possible intersections.
A city is more than the urban or social environment. That is to summarize what this study tries to show, discussing a metropolis like Paris. Complementary to that, this study also exemplifies the main concepts of Bruno Latour’s theory of actor-networking analysis of the social (explained in his book Re-assembling the social, introduction to actor-network-theory), meaning: picking an object and starting to unveil all the layers like peeling a onion, one after the other, and see where the layers intersect, where they combine, but also where they diverge. Only when we take account of the totality of layers unveiled all together in one flattened perspective instead of a hierarchical one, can we achieve a full understanding of the object we intend to study. Flattening the perspective also means assuming the point of view of the insider according to Latour, and not anymore the scientist who detaches himself from the object. On the contrary, he must be fully embedded in it to fully understand it, to fully acknowledge what the object is made of and how it functions.
By Sietze Meijer
The Urban Qualities of Refugee Camps. / Report ‘Café Mediterranée X
Dare2Connect, a program by SICA and Felix Meritis, invites Middle East and North Africa experts to research the Arabic and Islamic culture in the Café Mediterranée series. Through discussions on current events the status-quo of Middle East culture and its relation to international developments are placed in a broader context.
In this edition, hosted by Chris Keulemans, Lebanese architect Ismail Sjeich Hassan spoke about his research “Urban Exaggerations and Exceptions – Palestinian Refugee Camp” (which he’s executing as Bakkema research fellow). He described architectural and urban possibilities of improving the life of people in the Palestinian refugee camp; Nahr el Bared in Lebanon.
Keulemans started by inviting Hassan to start with his presentation on a short history of the people living in Nahr el Bared.
Subtopia’s Bryan Finoki is doing some pioneering in terms of architectural education. He got invited to “teach his blog.” In a series of guest posts on the Volume blog, he will share his personal experiences as a first time teacher, leading a seminar on ‘military urbanism’ and ‘spatial justice’, in which he hopes to help architecture students become ‘spatial interrogators’.
Already a month has passed since I officially started teaching here at Woodbury University’s School of Architecture in San Diego and it’s been incredibly exciting! I was more than flattered a few months ago to have been invited. After all, I’m not exactly a seasoned vet. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever officially taught anything. Better, I’m no architect, nor do I have anything resembling one of those highfalutin backgrounds architects tend to flaunt, or really any formal connection to the discipline whatsoever. Yet, I’m teaching both a seminar framed around my blog—Subtopia—(by myself) and an urban design studio with my friend Rene Peralta.
This is the first of the FWD series, which summarizes hand picked content I find elsewhere on the web and would like to share with you.
from the In the Shadow of Progress a picture show on the GOOD website.
The stark reality of this moment in time is that many people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their ways of life. Yet amid what can seem like ceaseless news of loss, there are those who refuse to surrender hope. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Tent City, a temporary encampment below a freeway in Nashville, Tennessee, where hard-pressed and otherwise homeless strangers have come together to form a community.
– see the entire picture show on GOOD
From the harsh reality of Tent Cities we move to how the instruments with which we engage these problems are changing. In his piece The End to Movements on arthurmag.com(via Burak Arikan) Douglas Rushkoff poses a theory that the phenomenon of ‘movements’ as a means of civil activism has reached its limits. (Also check out the recent interview with Ruskhkoff and Kurt Andersen on Design Observer)
First of all, I must make a warning: I will not recur to airing a quick succession of 140 characters tweets, nor will I use the latest live-feed technology to try and let you understand how Beyond Media felt to me like a festival haunted by its very initial premises. Nope. Instead, I’ll go back to the very old means of putting up one word after the other, and one paragraph after the other, and try to telescope you into the heart of that simple argument by means of a very personal interpretation.
When I say that this Festival is “haunted by its very initial premises” I do not mean that showing the audiovisual media which are today quintessential to architecture representation should bear any special problem. On the contrary, it is only natural and logical that someone should be doing it. At its 9th edition, the Florence festival also has it in its curriculum to be one of the first to do so. The ghosts I am referring to, instead, are those of the so-called digital culture. When Beyond Media was initiated by multitasking Marco Brizzi in 1997, it was only too obvious to a given few that digital tools were there to change the way we worked, the way we designed reality, the way we represented it and also thought about it. By then, it was also acceptable to let yourself immerge in the fascination that is due to the enormous possibilities granted by these new tools.
The waning revenue of print-publishing in the arena of newspaper’s and magazine’s would suggest that the future looks grim for architectural journalism on paper, but the magazines and journals that have been launched over the last months would suggest otherwise. Why would one start a new publication when magazines are dying, and advertising revenues are down. Big advertising dependent boys like Domus are surely having a hard time right now. Although when one follows this argument: “When the markets are down and the economic indicators turn south, the architect begins to think, to write, to theorize. When the markets are up we “do” and don’t think much” which makes David Gissen wonder how to actually map this. Some of this seems to make sense, introducing this argument at least makes a good excuse to make a list of the periodicals that have captured my attention lately.
First up is Conditions, a Scandinavian quarterly and perhaps the best to prove the above theory, since it’s founded by three architects and not by historians, academics or full-time theorists.
The driving idea behind beginning a new magazine for them as stated in their manifest:
In opposition to ignorance and superficiality this magazine is conceived in order to search for knowledge and predicaments of our continuously evolving society. It is organized in a fluctuating network of agents reflecting the present globalized state of a dynamic society, economics, politics and culture which are the motivators of architecture. Through a play of thoughts in an open ended forum, predefined “facts” will be unsecured and constantly reinvented. The forum will gather the architect, client, politician and the public, a communion of ideas creating conditions for evolution.
Clearly a reaction against the bubble before it bursted. Their first issue is themed: “A Strategy for Evolution” which already bolsters a contradiction between conscious planning and the unconscious processes unfolding in nature. The issue is not a making a single argument but presents a variety of voices, approaches and interpretations to the theme. Check out the table of contents of issue #1, and their call for submissions for their second issue “Interpretation & Copy”
While Conditions’ existence is dependent upon advertising the next series of publications are supported by institutions.
Bracket is an annual publication with their first issue on Farming coming up this Winter, so we’ll have to wait and see what will be delivered. I’m curious what kind of publication it will be, because it the brainchild of not the smallest names on the web: Archinect and InfraNet Lab. Bracket will cover:
(…) issues overlooked yet central to our cultural milieu that have evolved out of the new disciplinary territory at the intersection of architecture, landscape, urbanism and, now, the internet. It is no coincidence that the professional term architect can also now refer to information architects, and that the word community can also now refer to an online community. [bracket] is a publishing platform for ideas charting the complex overlap of the sphere of architecture and online social spheres.
P.E.A.R, Paper for Emerging Architectural Research is the most recent addition to architectural publishing, they had their launch in London roughly a month ago. I haven’t seen it yet, but they call themselves an architectural fanzine which sounds refreshing: “P.E.A.R. aims to re-establish the fanzine as a primary medium for the dissemination of architectural ideas, musings, research and works.”
New Geographies is a new journal published by Harvard University Press, while I haven’t held one in my hands yet, the first striking encounter was that their first issue had an identical title to one of Volume’s, namely “After Zero.” Besides titeling, New Geographies also seems to be in sync with Volume’s efforts to go beyond the disciplinary boundaries of architecture, and to seek out new terrains which are mostly bigger in scale (‘geographies’) for the application of architectural intelligence.
New Geographies journal aims to examine the emergence of the geographic —a new but for the most part latent paradigm in design today—to articulate it and bring it to bear effectively on the agency of design. After more than two decades of seeing architecture and urbanism as the spatial manifestation of the effects of globalization, it is time to consider the expanded agency of the designer. Designers are increasingly compelled to shape larger scales and contexts, to address questions related to infrastructural problems, urban and ecological systems, and cultural and regional issues. These questions—previously confined to the domains of engineering, ecology, or regional planning—now require articulation through design. Encouraging designers to reexamine their tools and develop strategies to link attributes previously understood to be either separate from each other or external to the design disciplines, those questions have also opened up a range of technical, formal, and social repertoires for architecture and urbanism. Although in the past decade different versions of landscape and infrastructural urbanism have emerged in response to similar challenges, this new condition we call “the geographic” points to more than a shift in scale. (more here … )
Finally there is the already a bit older Footprint, established at TU Delft’s DSD in Fall 2007 (thus a pre-crash publication) is a typical academic journal. What makes it special is that all content is available for free download (pdf), all you need is a free registration.
Of course this is just a list, that happens to end here. I’m curious to know if there are more recently initiated publications worthy of knowing about? Leave a comment!
Register deadline: July 24, 2009 / Submit deadline: August 7, 2009
Student Edition Register deadline : October 16, 2009 Submit deadline: November 2, 2009
Paraphrasing the earlier WPA (Works Progress Administration) of 1939, this WPA (Working Public Architecture) is seeking to exploit the potential of the infrastructure investments of the Obama administration as a opportunity to exhibit the power of architecture’s imagination is applicable to more than generating icons. Architects are called upon to take back the streets, to apply their architectural intelligence beyond the traditional boundaries of their discipline.
cityLAB, an urban think tank at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design, announces a call for entries to “WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture.” WPA 2.0 is an open competition that seeks innovative, implementable proposals to place infrastructure at the heart of rebuilding our cities during this next era of metropolitan recovery. WPA 2.0 recalls the Depression-era Works Projects Administration (1935-43), which built public buildings, parks, bridges, and roads across the nation as an investment in the future—one that has, in turn, become a lasting legacy. We encourage projects that explore the value of infrastructure not only as an engineering endeavor, but as a robust design opportunity to strengthen communities and revitalize cities. Unlike the previous era, the next generation of such projects will require surgical integration into the existing urban fabric, and will work by intentionally linking systems of points, lines and landscapes; hybridizing economies with ecologies; and overlapping architecture with planning. This notion of infrastructural systems is intentionally broad, including but not limited to parks, schools, open space, vehicle storage, sewers, roads, transportation, storm water, waste, food systems, recreation, local economies, ‘green’ infrastructure, fire prevention, markets, landfills, energy-generating facilities, cemeteries, and smart utilities.
Too good, not to share. A beautifully crafted animated infographic clearly making the point in favor of eating local produce, and illustrating the consequences of our globalized food industry. The video was produced by Canadian food movement mayonnaise brand: Hellmann’s
Hellman’s – It’s Time for Real from CRUSH on Vimeo.
via information aesthetics
International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam: Open City
from 24-9-2009 to 10-1-2010
With its young architecture biennale, Rotterdam will again make an effort to grasp the attention of the architecture world. After three architecture biennale’s on mobility (2003), ‘the flood’ (2005) and power (2007) on the 24th of September the fourth biennale will open, themed: Open City and curated by Kees Christiaanse
(…) an Open City is a place where different social groups co-exist, cultural diversity is present, differences in scale are visible, and urban innovation and probably economic development are taking place. When all these factors come together, it can have a positive effect. We can then speak of an Open City.
Open City is not a city; it is a condition of a part of the city. The word ‘condition’ indicates that the situation is finite, that the situation changes owing to other influences. And I’m only talking about parts of the city because it’s an illusion to think that the whole city can be designed as an Open City, or that this can be engineered. Usually for political reasons, every city contains areas that are potentially open, and other areas that will never be open.
– Kees Christiaanse, interviewed by Archined
This main theme will be worked out by international teams of curators in six sub-themes: Community, Collective, Refuge, Squat, Reciprocity and The Make-able City
Volume will work with sub-curators Bart Golhoorn of Project Russia and Aleksander Sverdlov, who work on the theme ‘collective’ to make a collaborative Volume issue (#21). Also Partizan Publik’s project Social Housing after the Soviets will be part of this issue and the IABR exhibition.
Currently at the printer (dieKeure), and early next week distribution (Bruil & Van de Staaij) starts and subscribers can start to expect the next issue of Volume on Storytelling in their mailboxes:
This past year numerous dramas have competed for our attention: sub-prime mortgages, banking meltdown, bailout, stimulus, pandemic, bankruptcy. The all-consuming effort to follow these events seldom leaves a moment to contemplate the explanations themselves. What is the stated dilemma, context or motive for any one of these problems? And most importantly, how does a problem’s formulation determine its proposed solution? Volume 20 is dedicated to the art of storytelling. It presents the storylines of current events and architecture to show that while the truth is important, so is the ability of fiction to elevate fact. Perhaps the best way to understand our era is through narratives that distort, pervert and animate reality?
From next week on be on the lookout for an issue bringing old and new narratives evoking strangely familiar feelings.
Deadline: 1 august 2009
Crisis! What Crisis?
Suburbia is getting its fair share of attention currently and with reason. As prophesied Volume’s 2006 #9 issue, the urgency to reinvent the suburban mode of living has never been greater. In order to address this urgency Dwell Magazine and Inhabitat.com have announced the Reburbia competition: a design competition dedicated to re-envisioning the suburbs.
With the current housing crisis, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and rising energy costs, the future of suburbia looks bleak. Suburban communities in central California, Arizona and Florida are desolate and decaying, with for sale and foreclosure signs dotting many lawns. According to the US Census, about 90% of all metropolitan growth occurred in suburban communities in the last ten years. Urbanites who loathe the freeways, big box stores and bland aesthetics stereotypical of suburbia may secretly root for the end of sprawl, but demographic trends indicate that exurban growth is still on the rise.
In a future where limited natural resources will force us to find better solutions for density and efficiency, what will become of the cul-de-sacs, cookie-cutter tract houses and generic strip malls that have long upheld the diffuse infrastructure of suburbia? How can we redirect these existing spaces to promote sustainability, walkability, and community? It’s a problem that demands a visionary design solution and we want you to create the vision!
Calling all future-forward architects, urban designers, renegade planners and imaginative engineers:
Show us how you would re-invent the suburbs! What would a McMansion become if it weren’t a single-family dwelling? How could a vacant big box store be retrofitted for agriculture? What sort of design solutions can you come up with to facilitate car-free mobility, ‘burb-grown food, and local, renewable energy generation? We want to see how you’d design future-proof spaces and systems using the suburban structures of the present, from small-scale retrofits to large-scale restoration—the wilder the better!
for more information check the Reburbia competition website
Platform21 Prinses Irenestraat 19, 1077 WT Amsterdam (view on map)
13 March – 30 August 2009 / Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 – 18:00 / Free entry
Marty’s Camera Repair (via platform21)
Platform21 keeps on celebrating the DIY attitude, after they showed us how we could hack Ikea (as did some blogs), they now bring us a re-appreciation of the ‘repairing’.
Platform21 = Repairing starts with the idea that repair has been underestimated as a creative, cultural and economic force. If we don’t start looking at repair as a contemporary activity soon, an incredibly rich body of knowledge – one that contributes to human independence and pleasure – could be lost. The situation is especially puzzling when you consider current global interest in other ideas related to sustainability, such as recycling and the cradle-to-cradle philosophy.
With Platform21 = Repairing we aim to raise awareness of a mentality, a culture and a practice that not so long ago was completely integrated into life and the way we designed it. It is not too late.
Also check out Platform21’s Repair Manifesto in English or in Dutch and the commentary it got.
Only two years after the pioneering, arty visions of food production in cities featured in 2007 exhibition Edible cities at NAi-Maastricht, we can say that today urban agriculture is considered as an important feature in architecture design and urban planning. And that it’s a fashionable topic too.
’In the past if you were proposing to put gardens on top of your buildings, you were considered as crazy. Now you’re considered crazy if you don’t’, said architect Andre Viljoen, one of the speakers at the Foodprint symposium, hosted by Stroom, Den Haag on June 26.
Integrating food production with urban activities might sound strange, but in fact cities are always shaped after the type of food system feeding them.
Author of the influential book Hungry City, Carolyn Steele explained that the first cities were born in the so-called ‘fertile crescent’ in order to manage the surplus of food production in the surrounding countryside. In pre-industrial cities the wealth of the city was linked directly to the wealth of its countryside: Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s fresco ‘Allegoria del Buon Governo’ represents the ‘good government’ as a balance of city and countryside.
In pre-industrial cities food production had to be located in proximity to urban settlements – as German economist Heinrich von Thuenen formalized in his 1826 model. But after the introduction of railroad transportation, and the introduction of industrial processes in agriculture, food production started to progressively disconnect from cities, which in turn could explode in size and population.
Your web-editor is presently traveling around the former Soviet Union, last week in Tblisi and this week residing in Moscow doing research on how people are dealing with life the Microrayon, the large-scale social housing projects developed throughout the entire former Soviet Union. The Social Housing After the Soviets project is a comparative study of the opportunities and the urgencies of public and private use of the Microrayon. Research will be published in Volume and at the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam: Open City, as a part of the exhibition by sub-curators Bart Goldhoorn, Alexander Sverdlov and Anna Bronovitskaya under the sub-theme: Collective
Follow how the research is developing on the Social Housing after the Soviets blog
Bauhaus City – Get on Site!
The Bauhaus Dessau calls students from around the world to attend its anniversary year Summer School.
From 22 – 31 July, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation will hold an international Summer School entitled ‘Bauhaus City – Get on Site!’. On the occasion of its 90th anniversary, the institution invites young artists, architects, designers as well as the interested public to come to Dessau and explore the Bauhaus architecture on site. Parallel to the anniversary exhibition ‘Modell Bauhaus’ which will be shown in Berlin at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, the Summer School in Dessau offers students from all over the world the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the Bauhaus at one of its original sites.
In six workshops the examples of Classical Modernism built here will be examined through performative actions and urban interventions. Hidden traces and connections will be brought to light. The Summer School will look at the experimental housing estate Dessau-Törten, the Bauhaus buildings, the Masters’ houses, the employment office and the restaurant Kornhaus. The workshops are run by INTERBORO, New York; MUF, London; Michael Zinganel, Graz; Wochenklausur, Vienna; Kuehn Malvezzi, Berlin and Gods Entertainment, Berlin. A series of public lectures accompanies the Summer School programme.
In 1972 the Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth in which they explored the scenario of what would happen in a world driven by limitless growth using finite resources. About 40 years later we are experiencing the clash of these colliding vectors. The bigger the boom the worst the bust, and there is no place on the globe were the spatial implications of the unfolding scenario of The Club of Rome is more evident: Detroit, Michigan.
Detroitification is the fear of every American city. But Detroit is also giving birth to the ideas that will perhaps transform it from a symbol of despair into a beacon of hope. Detroit and other cities in the Rust Belt area have abandonned the idle hope for another boom. In the Detroit areaa a new paradigm is emerging that can help to break the negative spiral. This new spark that has entered the Detroit mind is the shrink paradigm. The spatial implications of this paradigm will be such that the urban landscape will become less urban, a hybrid between a rural landscape and the metropolis, a type of ’21st century countryside’.
Drawings, photo-montages, renderings and models have always been powerful means to convey ideas, present scenarios and research the future. The publication Beyond Architecture provides us with a bulky collection of sometimes intelligent and mostly enchanting and simply stunning imagery of how artists are dealing in their work with architecture and the city.
For architects it is interesting to see ‘their’ subject approached by other disciplines. Many artists are using similar architectural techniques, but the difference lies in that for artists the drawing, model and photo-montage is the final product, where for the architect it is a means to an end i.e. to build. According to Lukas Feireiss the book: “charts novel ways of discovering and negotiating the potential of the urban in visual culture, thus also providing alternative and valid critical insights into understanding the city” Where architects in general produce their imagery as means to project the future, the artists in Beyond Architecture are investigating the potency and problematics of the present. The book presents the imagery without accompanying judgement or analysis. The absence of accompanying essays or a framing of the content is a missed opportunity and result in confusion.
Imaginative Buildings and Fictional Cities
Beyond Architecture is the first publication of its kind to document the creative exploration of architecture and urban propositions in the contemporary arts. The projects collected in this book demonstrate how not only architects and designers, but also artists are taking architecture as a starting point for experimentation. They range from performance, installation art and crafted sculptures to architectural models, alternative ideas for living spaces and furniture, as well as illustration, painting, collage and photography. Through stunning photography, visuals and complementary texts, these visionary concepts reveal the hidden creative potential for architecture and urban environments in inventive ways.
Editors: R. Klanten, L. Feireiss
Release: February 2009
Price: € 44,00 / $ 65,00 / £ 40,00
Format: 24 x30 cm
Features: 208 pages, full colour, hardcover
get Beyond Architecture
Al Manakh launches its website at Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennial 9
16-21 March 2009
The team responsible for Al Manakh 2 is expanding its network in the Gulf with researchers, correspondents and photographers. Yesterday, March 16, Rem Koolhaas one of the editors of Al Manakh gave a lecture at the Sharjah Biennial 9, sharing his experiences in the Gulf region over the last five years. Koolhaas touched upon his respect for the region and how his insights to the Gulf have developed through professional experience. He approached the Gulf as a mirror for the Western mind set, as the ultimate extravaganza that architecture worldwide suffered from. Largely developed with Western stakeholders, Dubai heard its first dismissal from those same sources. Now when the credit crisis -generated by the West- is hitting the Gulf region, that same Western world that hugely profited from the wealth is now the first to proclaim its decline.
Last week(end) Volume has been present in an exposé of magazine culture around the world. Tokyo and Luxembourg to be precise. In Tokyo, Volume was exhibited in the We ♥ Magazines Library
which opened last week in Omotesando Hills, Tokyo.
Colophon2009 – Luxembourg (see slideshow full screen)
Another celebration of the independent periodical took place in Colophon2009 in Luxembourg. Magazine makers from all over the world gathered in a congregation discussing, lecturing and networking in concert with publishers, distributors, designers and other magazine enthusiasts. Volume was invited as one of the ten Magazines to outfit an exhibition space, capturing some of the spirit of the our publication. Volume’s exhibit was titled “The Situation Room,” referring to the crisis management space under the White House, and evoking imagery of Ken Adam’s War Room he designed for Dr. Strangelove.
On the 7 meter high walls of the Volume situation room two windows on the world were projected, one with imagery of the various RSVP events that were organized since 2004, on the other textual commentary and analysis of the RSVP events. A dialogue between image and text. Between these two projections an eight seat conference table where the agenda’s for architecture that emerged from these events be discussed. Surfacing one of the central drives of the Volume project: uncovering new urgencies an opportunities for architecture.
Did you know that the term Sustainability first appeared in a German forestry manual in the 1700s?
Did you know that some people feel paranoid about an alleged conspiracy plan of world domination behind global warming?
What did French philosophers in the Seventies think about ecology?
Discover all the different attitudes of humans towards Nature throughout history. Learn more on the architect’s approach to environmental design and get inspiration from a wide utopian fiction bibliography! Impress your friends with a full set of fresh notions!
The Complex History of Sustainability is a timeline of trends, authors, projects and fiction made by Amir Djalali, with Piet Vollaard. originally published in Volume #18 – After Zero, the timeline has been converted to an interactive website using mashing-up Google maps, using it as a way to navigate this extensive timeline. The technology to do this, Google Maps Image Cutter, has been developed by CASA Go to: The Complex History of Sustainability
Volume Bootleg Edition by C-Lab for Urban China
As the second installment in an ongoing editorial project between Urban China and Volume, we have produced this limited edition publication on the occasion of the exhibition Informal Cities at the New Museum. Inspired by the unofficial compilations sold by fans at music concerts, we offer a bootleg issue of Urban China. The bootleg is a DIY format for assembling and disseminating work within a circle of hardcore fans, typically consisting of live work recorded, sequenced and edited by the concertgoer. Unlike a pirated copy or fake which tries to assume the identity of an authorized product and is motivated by a desire for profit, a bootleg announces itself as an improvised, illegitimate work and is largely motivated by a wish to share. Given the urgency of the topic, C-Lab has borrowed the bootleg format to quickly distribute observations, initiated in dialogue with Urban China, on the crisis and its management.
The research on the ‘Post Capitalist City’ goes on, with a series of lectures at the Dutch Art Institute. Friday 12th Mireille Roddier (University of Michigan) will address DAI students with a lecture on Three forms of contemporary practices: Puppets, Vanguardistas & Guerillas – on various modes of creative operations in the city, and the various forms of occupation they attempt to resist.
Next workshops will include public lectures by Marjetica Potrc, and Design 99.
Urban Resistance 101 – By Mireille Roddier
[via: Detroit Unreal Estates Agency]
As announced, here are some notes on the Food and The City expert meeting held at the Amsterdam’s Academy of Architecture.
Our purpose was to collect ideas and data on the impact of food production on the environment and society, and to provide possible strategies to overcome the ongoing food crisis for VOLUME’s issue on Sustainability.
Three different models and ways of thinking the present and the future of agriculture were confronted, but some initial points were shared among our guests:
The era of the Green Revolution has come to an end: our agricultural model – as it is based on massive use of fossil fuel, – is today economically inefficient, and noxious for the environment
For this reason, the Green Revolution food system is no longer able to feed a growing world population and to deal with poverty and social inequalities
New models of food production, processing, retail and consumption are needed to overcome the present crisis
All the possible new models must get food production back to the urban environment
VOLUME has decided not to bring a positive contribution to the Sustainability debate.
VOLUME believes that too many matters, and essential ones, are not voiced in this debate, as regards the social and political status of Design, as regards the ideological functions and the mythology of environment.
In these circumstances, any participation could not but reinforce the ambiguity and the complicity of silence which hangs over this debate. So we prefer to present a text expressing our positions.
The burning question of Sustainability has neither suddenly fallen from the heavens nor spontaneously risen from the collective consciousness: It has its own history. In the Seventies, Reyner Banham has clearly shown the moral and technical limits and the illusions of sustainability practice. He didn’t approach the social and political definition of this practice. It is not by accident that all the Western governments have now launched this new crusade, and try to mobilize people’s conscience by shouting apocalypse.
VOLUME’s research on sustainability for VOLUME 18, perspectives beyond issues of CO2 emission and carbon fossil fuel consumption, inspired collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum. On October 4 its ‘Heartland’ exhibition opened. Ideologically there are clear links between these projects. The institutes share an interdisciplinary research approach and both teams attempt to understand social, cultural and environmental sustainability in a manner, which is disconnected from development discourse and market driven practice.
To exchange and discuss positions and findings an expert meeting was staged at the Van Abbemuseum. Two positions initiated the debate. These will be presented more extensively in VOLUME 18, here we present some core ideas.
Volume interviews Alberto Iacovoni from Ma0
At the occasion of Ma0’s presentation in Venice in the Italian pavilion, Volume had an interview on what proved to be the hidden theme of this year’s Biennale: sustainability. The Italian office Ma0 (emmeazero, acronym for Media Architecture Office) has for more than 11 years been engaged in research and design with special focus on architecture as medium and the interaction with media.
Usually we don’t regard Ma0 as a ‘sustainable’ architecture office in a strict sense. But you are always looking for new kinds of lifestyles and sociality in liberated public spaces. Perhaps sustainability can be achieved in other ways, maybe not thinking only in terms of carbon emissions and energy savings…
Interview with Pablo Georgieff from Coloco @ Venice Biennale
We live in an epoque in which the end of the resources and the rise of global population force us to choose between war or conviviality.
As declared partisans of the latter option, we need to learn how to economize all that it is not renewable, and to recycle everything as much as we can.
Time will be an essential component of our work, as we have to deal with life. Today, we are called to think at the reversibility of our manufacts, without capturing resources and creating constrains which will narrow the future choices.
Coloco is a Paris-based collective of “explorers of urban diversity”. Rather than a conventional architects, people at Coloco think themselves more as
Environmental regulations are generally based on compensation principles: you’re allowed to pollute the air or the water, but not beyond a certain level set by the regulation. If you want to pollute more, you can always buy extra pollution quotas. Environmental protection came always after ‘human development’ priorities.
But in places like Ecuador, as in the rest of Latin America, human development has always shown its dark sides
The country, which contains every South American ecosystem within its borders, which include the Galapagos Islands, has had disastrous collisions with multi-national companies. Many, from banana companies to natural gas extractors, have exploited its natural resources and left little but pollution and poverty in their wake.
The Dutch Pavilion site has published tons of data on the results of the working sessions held during the Biennale’s opening days.
Check the videos of the Round Table Discussions and the Speed Date Marathon. Also pdf versions of The Book are available (alas, only printer friendly versions)
Join the Neolithic Revolution!
EDIT: Comic strip by David Steinlicht. Here’s an interesting comment on Next Nature
Nature doesn’t exist, and it’s a product of our thought. Or, our thought is shaped by nature, as we are embedded in it. In each case, ecology is not anymore an ecology of nature, but it is an ecology of everything: environment, mind, society.
Human activities can be described with ecological models, and human activities have ecological consequences.
If there is no “nature”, no original “equilibrium” to be restored then GMOs, nuclear power, Geo Engineering, etc, are not intrinsically wrong. Paradoxically, they’re also functional to lowering CO2 emissions.
The wrong fact is that GMOs, nuclear power, Geo Engineering, etc, are a product of a not ecological vision of the world. The laws of Market are inherently anti-ecological
Yesterday, the Italian newspaper il manifesto published two very different opinions on the Venice Biennale.
The first is an enthusiastic article by Lucia Tozzi, pointing out the freshness of the young architects involved in the exhibition
… the architects selected by Emiliano Gandolfi [the curator of the Italian Pavilion exhibition] question security policies, land property, comunication systems, the established cycles of building industry, public space and energy resources management.
On the other side, the editorial by Maurizio Giufré shows a completely different mood. What does it mean to be ‘experimental’ nowadays, when as “Zygmunt Bauman pointed out, there can be no innovation, neither eresy, for there is no orthodoxy”?
Computer graphics is meant to represent an architecture which can resist consumption culture. On the contrary, architects are not aware that they are participating to it, and reproducing it at any time
Can architecture go beyond the ‘society of the spectacle’?
The debate on sustainability in architecture was in the past years dominated by energy saving and renewable energy production, transportation management, urban densification and other technical solutions.
While these solutions address important contemporary issues, they don’t provide a vision on what we mean with a ‘sustainable’ society and what is the future that we expect, or fear.
But some installations at the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale are opening the debate in other directions. Some architects are starting to propose different visions of nature, and of human relationships with the environment.
If sustainability is a global theme to address, the Venice Biennale 2008 must be the place to substantiate the claim of architecture to address our future needs and possibilities. Since this Biennale focuses on avant-gardes from the past and the present, practices that ‘go beyond building’, it comes as no surprise that many projects and presentations fall in the broad category of sustainability. What is surprising that sustainability equals green. Green cities, eco-zones, ecological futures. As far as design is concerned sustainability is basically about merging urban culture and nature, be it ‘natural nature’ or ‘productive nature’. Is that all there is to it?
You care for the environment. You try to use your car less, and you buy your food from the local farmers’ market. You keep your ecological footprint under control, and become vegetarian. You regard yourself as a progressive, leftist.
You read lots of newspapers, and the internet. Suddenly, you discover that GMOs and nuclear energy are good for the atmosphere, and your new Toyota Prius is not as sustainable as you thought. Perhaps, those biofuels are not so bio, and George W. Bush starts his war (yet another one) against global warming, while the best ecocities look like gated communities in the Emirates, or in China.
That’s too much. It is clear that something, somewhere, went terribly wrong. You need to take a break, and start to re-think the whole thing from the beginning.
Stay tuned. Sustainability Reloaded is here to help you.
Part of the installation at the Biennale is an archive of projects, news, definitions and opinions surounding the three scenarios presented. Here are some examples of the info cards made for each issue.