This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale breaks with two mechanisms that defined its presence over the last fifteen to twenty years. First is the setting of a grand, though conveniently abstract theme that suggests a connection between current development and the state of architecture. The ethics of architecture (or of the architect?), the architect as seismograph, architecture is for people, that kind of stuff. These past themes suggested a critical position of the curator on duty, but hardly succeeded in influencing the debate, let alone affairs. At best they added flavor to the core element of the Biennale: a presentation of who matters in architecture. And that brings us to the second mechanism: no matter the main curatorial theme, every pavilion was totally at liberty to present their best architecture and architects. Some pavilions succeeded in selling an idea more than products and some (rarely) attempted to raise an issue, but the ‘who’s doing what’ element was dominant.
We just launched Volume’s 41st issue, ‘How to Build a Nation’. In the coming weeks we’re going to publish a selection of articles, and for those who are interested how the issue looks and feels we have uploaded a preview.
For the first time, a general theme was given to the national pavilions at this year’s Architecture Biennale in Venice. They were to be historical shows, focused on the impact of modernity on a country’s architecture. What it produced was not just a global survey of twentieth century construction, but also heroic stories of nation-building. Yes, architecture can build nations. Today, we seem far from that notion. The nation-state is either giving up on itself, or exploited through tyrannical regimes. Meanwhile architects are hardly taking up the cause.
We’re celebrating the release of Volume’s 40th issue by holding a party at Post Office Rotterdam on Friday 29 August at 8 PM.
After thirty-six years of internal armed conflict, Guatemala presently faces an enormous inequity in housing and land ownership. Posconflicto Laboratory emerged as a long-term research platform to uncover how tactical architecture might address this imbalance. DPR Barcelona sat down with Posconflicto Laboratory to discuss the challenges of working in such highly politicized terrain, and the agency of architecture in addressing core issues of inequity and housing rights.
Volume #40 features an extensive article by Jan Willem Petersen on the reconstruction ambitions and efforts by the various contributing countries to the UN peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.
On July 31th 2006, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) assumed command over the southern region of Afghanistan (RC-S). It signalled the beginning of a four-year mission by the Dutch armed forces, designated as lead-nation for Uruzgan; a province roughly one-third the size of the Netherlands. After taking over the US base Ripley, renaming it Kamp Holland, the Dutch forces commenced with the daunting objectives set by the international community and Dutch government in particular to deliver reconstruction and development in this remote Afghan region. What did Task Force Uruzgan (TF-U) and the embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) encounter during their mission?
Last week, on Wednesday 16 July to be precise, the opening event of ‘The Good Cause: Architecture of Peace — Divided Cities’ took place at the Architekturmuseum der TU München. At the same time, Volume’s 40th issue, Architecture of Peace Reloaded, was officially launched.
The busier this globe gets, the more impact disturbances have. Take the recently published UNHCR figures on refugees. An all time record – for as far as these statistics date back to (1986) – of over fifty million refugees worldwide. This is a massive stream of people on the run, mainly caused by violence. More than the entire population of South Korea, or South Africa, or Spain. It is a disturbing and sad figure of course, but why did we pay attention, why did it hit the news? Because the exceptional attracts attention, not a condition per se.
Yesterday the opening event of ‘The Good Cause: Architecture of Peace — Divided Cities’ took place at the Architekturmuseum der TU München. At the same time we officially launched Volume’s 40th issue, Architecture of Peace Reloaded, that includes the catalogue of the exhibition. Four years ago we published Volume #26: Architecture of Peace to explore the […]
We’re very busy building up The Good Cause exhibition at the Architekturmuseum der TU München. Tomorrow at 7 PM is the official opening. At the same time we will be celebrating the launch of Volume’s 40th issue, Architecture of Peace Reloaded.
Architecture of Peace goes Munich! This Wednesday, 16 July, The Good Cause exhibition will be opened at the Architekturmuseum der TU München. At the same time we will also celebrate the launch of Volume’s 40th issue, Architecture of Peace Reloaded.
Last month we officially launched Volume’s 39th issue, ‘Urban Border’. In the past weeks we have published a selection of articles, and for those who are interested how the issue looks and feels we have uploaded a preview. Enjoy! Click here to learn more about Volume #39.
Shenzhen is currently upgrading its industry; this results in empty factory buildings and huge demographic changes within the migrant population. It also implies a transition from a blue-collar to a white-collar society. Shenzhen’s economic success is based on cheap labor. Nonetheless, blue-collar migrants are considered to be both problematic and vulnerable. But do we really understand and appreciate the economic and social value of the current generation of migrants in Shenzhen? ‘Da Lang Fever’ is a story about the potential of a self-organizing migrant society in the neighborhood Da Lang. It showcases the empowering nature of bottom-up activities for migrant workers.
According to official statistics China’s urbanization rate was 52.57 percent in 2012, but according to China’s Hukou system this number nowadays is still below 35 percent! The discrepancy is caused by at least 250,000,000 peasants without urban Hukou status living in urban areas, the so-called floating population. Without urban Hukou they cannot equally benefit from urban amenities such as education, employment, medical care, retirement programs, affordable housing, and other basic public services. In fact these urban-based peasants are excluded from living a complete urban lifestyle. Although China sees it as its primary task “to civilize the whole nation by turning its agricultural population into orderly citizens”, urbanization seems mainly used as an engine to stimulate economic growth. An essential tool to guide urbanization is the process of converting rural Hukous into urban Hukous. However, this process is complex, and receives loads of critique, nationally and internationally. There seems to be no easy solution, especially since economic forces are overruling the people’s quality of life.
It’s rare that a city’s birth certificate survives, but here it is: a map of Hong Kong full of marks and notes. It is an intriguing document, but our attention should go to the upper left corner, where in the ‘white space’ of mainland China the Shekou peninsula is encircled as the new harbor and industrial location of what was to become the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone; conveniently situated and easy to control. The map with personal marks and handwritten notes makes history tangible. It all started with an idea and a location.
The 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen took ‘urban border’ as its theme. For good reason. If there is a place to study ‘border’ as condition, it is Shenzhen. Demographic, territorial, economic, political, social, and legal borders created this fifteen million city in less than thirty-five years, and drive its further development. The transformation of this ‘factory of the world’ into a post-industrial economy and society, the disappearance of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen divide in 2047, and the reconciliation of state capitalism and communist rule, are but three of the challenges Shenzhen is facing, to which its role and position in the larger-scale development of the Pearl River Delta can be added.
Last December, the editorial team of Volume spent three weeks in Shenzhen to work on the official catalogue of the 5th Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB). The UABB Catalogue was presented on Friday February 28 with a special event during the Biennale’s closing ceremony.
The transformation of Melbourne has been dramatic. In the space of thirty years its dull city core metamorphosed into a lively center through a unique set of circumstances, including strong urban planning policies and the liberalization of liquor laws. Timothy Moore speaks with architect and urban designer Craig Allchin about the city’s recent history and how the confluence of law, planning, and activism provided a matrix with which to model urbanism.
Belgrade became famous in architectural circles in the 1990s for its ‘wildness’; its seemingly spontaneous and unruled spatial practices that at first glance appeared to be a product of a complete ignorance of existing laws. A longer gaze uncovers that the legal-illegal dichotomy in Belgrade was not so simple, and that, behind an exuberant form, the processes that made Belgrade seem wild, have much more to do with the re-regulation of laws, than with their disappearance.
Let’s talk about law and faith. The law requires a certain faith – faith that it will perform in our collective best interest. Last year in particular, it was easy to lose that faith. Several high-profile cases brought to light incongruities in our judicial systems that unduly exonerated some, while persecuting others. Take the case of Wall Street. Following the 2008 crash, the US government put together its best legal team to root out what went wrong and who were the culprits. In a case where rapacious greed and gross misconduct were clearly at play, the government failed to prosecute a single major banker. Or look to the cold-blooded murder of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman. Using Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, lawyers were able to justify the racially-charged murder of a defenseless boy. Then there’s Guantanamo Bay, a prison run by the ‘most democratic nation’ in the world, still holding people stripped of their rights. All of this is technically legal.
On January 31st we launched Volume’s 38th issue – The Shape of Law – with a special event at Post Office in Rotterdam. For those who haven’t seen the issue yet but can’t wait to get their hands on it, here’s a little preview!
For all of you who aren’t able to attend the Volume #38 launch event tonight at Post Office Rotterdam and who cannot wait until it reaches your bookstore and who -strangely enough – are no subscriber yet, you can order the issue here!
Join us Friday January 31st as we launch Volume’s 38th issue – The Shape of Law – with a special event at Post Office in Rotterdam.
Architecture relies on machines. They make the structures of our cities livable. In their absence, buildings would lack basic services like water and power. There would be no heating, cooling, lighting, fire safety, and elevators. Repairs and maintenance would be impossible; digital and communication technology also out of the question. The capacity to support life would be severely diminished. Architecture would be reduced to basic shelter.
Christian Kerez’s work is best known for the conceptual inventiveness he brings to ageold problems of form and tectonics. What is less known is the architect’s equally refreshing approach to mechanical systems. Here, Kerez talks about the Leutschenbach School in Zurich, and his ideas to integrate the air and other building services into this densely packed design.
One might argue that the development of mechanical technology has changed the way architects talk about the relationship between the environment and form. The story here is not that mechanical technology enabled healthier workplaces, greater productivity or more efficient use of resources; rather, it has given architects the chance to create new forms and typologies in relation to new narratives about the workplace as an environment.
We cannot beat Banham, but we can update you on what happened since 1972, when Rayner Banham published his seminal The Architecture of the Well Tempered Environment. C-Lab did extensive new research on the relation between installations, buildings and architecture…
The November storms in Amsterdam were no fun, but at least they produced enough wood to print our next issue. In two weeks Volume 37 will be released, dedicated to mechanical systems, but today we can already give you a sneak preview.
Remember our 35th issue, Everything Under Control? For a forthcoming exhibition at The New Institute in Rotterdam, curator William Myers has selected dozens of projects that illustrate new ways to harness living systems for art, design and production. Biodesign: On the Cross-Pollination of Nature, Science and Creativity will run from 27 September through 5 January.
The quest to integrate natural processes with design is as old as wood houses. However, the changing climate and rapid depletion of resources heighten its urgency, as humans face the necessity of reshaping their relationship to nature. Clever, usable new ideas present the prospect of a sustainable future and may provide ways to ease the long-running conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Biodesign: On the Cross-Pollination of Nature, Science and Creativity will glimpse into our possible future and provide inspiration for designers, artists and scientists in the form of varied, in-depth information on new materials and potential biological applications in architecture and design.
Last month we launched Volume’s 36th issue, ‘Ways To Be Critical’. We published a selection of articles from the issue here on the blog so you can get a little glimpse of what’s inside.
‘Ivory towers’ and ‘paper architecture’ are common put-downs used to question the agency of critical and speculative thought. After the theoretical hangover of a Deleuze et al architectural education, many young critical thinkers turned to practice as a means to put their thoughts into action. We sat down with Markus Miessen, who has spent the past several years researching critical and spatial practice, to see what this means for the field of criticism.
The internet gets blamed for a lot of things, our current crisis of criticism being just one of its victims. The explosion of free content, the rise of unpaid bloggers, a diffuse democracy of likes and retweets, has surely weakened the authority of traditional critics. But in this new landscape Mimi Zeiger sees a host of new possibilities for architectural debate. Explaining her notion of ‘collective criticism’, she shows how platforms like Twitter can help build momentum on critical issues that often fall through the cracks of the pressroom floor.
Italy has long been a powerhouse of architectural criticism and publications, with an intimate relationship to production. Never criticism for its own sake, the architectural publishing complex of Italy has a tradition of stance-taking, actively shaping the direction of the profession. But the glory days of Casabella and other noteworthy publications has faded, leaving a void to be filled. Luca Molinari paints a portrait of the country’s new critical landscape.
Last week we released Volume’s 36th issue, ‘Ways To Be Critical’, and we’re proud of it! Be sure to get your hands on a copy — order the issue online (hit ‘Order back issue’), or click here to find a list of bookstores around the globe that sell Volume. For all those people who can’t wait to check it out, we’ve compiled a preview of Volume #36.
Volume likes to think of itself as a critical magazine. Not in that it reviews and criticizes production, but in that it has a critical relation with architecture as practice and as notion. No problem up to now. Different worlds, different attitudes, the twain shall never meet, and they lived apart happily ever after…
The critic is dead. Long live the network! So it goes in our world of diffuse and shared knowledge. But if criticism has evolved into criticisms, how can we interpret and learn from the babble of opinions? This dilemma comes in tandem with another: the crisis of publishing. With declining print sales and slashed subsidies, many critics are out of work. Two fundamental tasks lie ahead: reviving the productive value of criticism, and finding new profitable ways to broadcast it to the world.
On Thursday July 11, the Vitra Design Museum organizes a public event where Archizines curator Elias Redstone and Archis director and Volume publisher Lilet Breddels will discuss the new culture of young and experimental architectural magazines.
Volume’s 36th issue will shed a light on architecture criticism. While the architecture discipline is changing slightly, also the way the discipline should be criticized changes…
The Dutch Rathenau Instituut started in 1986 as a technology assessment center to advise Dutch Parliament. It has since developed into a broader think tank studying the organization and development of science systems, while regularly publishing and stimulating debate about the social impact of new technologies. Volume talks to the Institute’s Rinie van Est and Virgil Rerimassie to hear about the main trends in synthetic biology and related disciplines. They paint a picture of the world where biology and technology have converged, and where our fundamental way of working through scientific problems has shifted.
For more than eight years artist Koert van Mensvoort has been working on a project to redefine our concept of nature. Through his platform Next Nature he has published books, held talks, ran workshops, maintained an active blog, and even developed a hoax, all in effort to communicate that there is no absolute nature, but that technology and nature are deeply intertwined; a biosynthetic nature so to speak. Can the development of a Gillette razor be considered in Darwinian terms of evolution? Is the fake nature of an indoor ski slope any less legitimate than the Alps? By fundamentally shifting the way we conceive nature, he believes we will be better able to cope with the oncoming climatic and environmental challenges ahead.
Somewhere between a vat of expensive face cream and a baby Neanderthal lies a probable future for synthetic biology. While synbio start-ups – large and small – struggle with the reality of scaling up microscopic cellular factories into profitable business models, stories of DIY anti-cancer research, Neanderthal cloning, limitless ‘green’ kerosene, and tumor-killing bacteria are told as outcomes of a likely future where humans have full control over biology.
We have seen the future, and it’s biosynthetic. More precisely it’s a future where biological systems are twisted, spliced, and altered, to such an extent that any distinction between synthetic and organic is lost. Gone are the days of blunt engineering as a means of total control – concrete dams and electro-shock therapy. Today science is moving us deeper into the nano-world of microchips and molecules, where new more refined forms of control are possible, where organic processes can be mimicked, modified, and augmented. In this new biosynthetic world, luminescent trees will light our sidewalks, massive oyster beds will defend us from the floods, and hacked Lyre birds will broadcast the radio. But with new powers comes new responsibilities. We’ve seen a thousand TED talks promising us these new wonders, but we’ve rarely discussed the human element. What does it all require of us? What are the new produced? The skill sets, knowledge, and codes of ethics required to maneuver in this brave new biosynthetic world?
In architecture a rat race is going on. Not another record-breaking tower – that wouldn’t be new(s). The race is about the application of a fairly new technology in the building industry. What at first seemed a cute and somewhat clumsy machine to produce architectural models and small objects, is now being tested to ‘go live’. I’m talking 3D printing of course and the ambition of at least two architecture offices, in Holland alone, to be the first to print a full-scale building. One is pursuing a pavilion, the other an Amsterdam canal house, complete with gabled roof.
There once was a time when designing new cities was one of the most ambitious and urgent tasks for any urban designer and planner. The second half of the twentieth century saw a plethora of new models, ideas, and designs specifically geared towards the design of the ultimate ‘City of the Future’. The construction of entirely new integrated urban systems and the writing of technocratic and ideological books on how to build new cities culminated in the building of hundreds of New Towns in Western Europe, the US, and the new nation states of post-colonial Africa and Asia.
It took awhile before Western design firms could believe that the building and design market in Asia was serious business, and also to come to grips with the ambition, scale and speed of development. By now they understand and are trying to pick some cherries from that trillion dollar tree; the more so now their home markets are slowing down or worse. ‘Going East Asia’ these days is not ´only´ about delivering housing quarters, railway stations, airports, fiber networks, waste water treatment plants and what not; it extends to the delivery of complete cities. It’s already been a long time that the West has been confronting the ‘building a new town’ theme, but today it is a business opportunity.
With Volume #34 we present the latest in New Town development: the city as enterprise. On Friday January 11th we launched the new issue at Athenaeum in Amsterdam. Click here for a photo series that was published on Facebook.
Dirk van den Heuvel sits in his home office contemplating the problem of stuff; more specifically, the rupture between the modern (architectural) urge to create a coherent interior space, and the modern (consumer) urge to accumulate and consume. From Andreas Angelidakis’ images of houses collapsing under the weight of piled up ‘things’, to the Smithsons’ efforts to reign in consumption through a form of ‘exquisite flower arrangement’, Dirk stares at has own unruly stacking of books, printers, and office supplies, adjusts his curtains, and begins his writing.
Receiving us in her office in a former school building one afternoon at the end of July, Petra Blaisse proposes to first show us around. Most of the Inside Outside team is on holiday or working on site, but we catch a glimpse of some of her collaborators and the work atmosphere of the office. The office is distributed over two sides of the corridor, with an Inside side (renowned for their large-scale curtains) and an Outside side (dealing with gardens, parks, and urban planning). We meet her to discuss her assignment to ‘do’ the Rietveld pavilion in Venice on the occasion of the 13th Architecture Biennale, but also to discuss her experiences as interior designer and how that relates to her outdoor work.
Less than sixty years ago, the battle for emancipation and class education was fought on private territory: inside the apartment. Today one’s house is supposed to be an expression of one’s individuality, but in those days the interior was subject to ideology and class struggle. During the first phase of the industrial city, newcomers in Western European cities had to be educated to behave like citizens: clean the house, manage waste, mind the children, in short conform to urban social rules. The right to live in a social rental apartment would be the reward for disciplined and confirmative behavior. After the Second World War, the focus of attention shifted to how to live a modern life: clean, healthy, and therefore happy, with simple, well-designed modern products in spartan, light, efficient spaces. One of Archis’ predecessors was dedicated to this very task. Inspired by social-democrat and modernist ideals, monthly magazine Goed Wonen [Good Living] showed what a good interior should look like as part of a program of education and emancipation.
Volume will be premiering its latest issue, Volume #33: Interiors, this Saturday in Maastricht at the opening of Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 at NAiM/Bureau-Europa. This issue will feature an insert edited by Beatriz Colomina following research on Playboy’s role in linking lifestyle with architecture in the postwar period.
Thanks to all who came out Friday to Mediamatic for the ‘New Futures Adrift’ combined book launch which included Volume’s 32nd issue, ‘Centers Adrift’, as well as Rory Hyde’s Future Practice, and Katja Novitskova and Rory Hyde’s New Order. Thanks also to Wouter Vanstiphout, Reinier de Graaf and Sandra Kaji-O’Grady for speaking at the event, and Rory Hyde and Arjen Oosterman for moderating.
For the next issue of Volume we will be partnering with the International New Town Institute (INTI) to explore new players in urban planning. In addition INTI will be hosting a conference on September 27th in Rotterdam, exploring this topic through four case studies, with invited speakers from around the world.
The financial world was once dominated by gossip, speculation, research and strategically-timed trades – by people, for people. With the introduction of computers and high-speed fiber optic cables however, the human grasp on trading is becoming evermore tenuous. Algorithms and bots are the new players on the stock market, engaging in high-frequency trading at nearly the speed of light, turning microscopic gains across a vast field into major profits. Matthew Tiessen explains how a new logic and geography is emerging from this unfathomably fast and complex practice.
To celebrate Volume’s most recent issue ‘Centers Adrift’, the featured insert ‘New Order’ from Katja Novitskova and Rory Hyde, as well as Rory Hyde’s new book Future Practice, Volume and Mediamatic will be throwing a very special launch party in Amsterdam. Speakers include: Reinier de Graaf, Wouter Vanstiphout, Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, Arjen Oosterman and Rory Hyde. Three publications, one event. Come one, come all.
Flanders has long been cast as a nebular city of hyper individualized sprawl – everyone with a house and a view to the landscape – the result of a welfare state ambition that flourished after the Second World War. Joachim Declerck wants to rethink the spatial logic of this situation, recalling the historical strengths of the original city-states, this time translated to new transnational realities. With his practice, Architecture Workroom, he’s brought two new projects to the International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam and the Venice Biennale, which discuss these issues. Volume sat down with him to discuss scales of intervention, re-situating production, and the metropolitan fabric.
New Order is a catalogue of future visions for a post-carbon world. Like all future visions, they are by turns tentative, speculative, exaggerated, and subjective. But this is not to say they are mere fantasy. As in the context of today’s contemporary ideology, living patterns, and political priorities, the six visions presented here should be viewed as prototypes for a future we need to create, or will be forced to confront.
‘Where is the center?’ must be the most commonly asked question when tourists enter a city. The center is where the action is supposed to be, where life is vibrant and interesting, where there’s lots to see, where you simply want to go. It is a matter of gravity and (functional) density that attracts visitors to ‘the center’. This tourist gaze is defining for our understanding of the city, any city.
Please join the Columbia Lab for Architectural Broadcasting (C-LAB) at Studio-X from 5:45 – 9pm on Wednesday 13 June for an evening event on aging and New York City.
It is typical for human beings to mould nature, justifying their actions by their aesthetic and economic aspirations. But nature cannot endure everything.
In Halso’s photographs, control over nature has acquired a concrete form. The elements of nature have been rethought and have, for logistical purposes, been packed into modules that are easier to handle. The whole of nature is stored in a gigantic warehouse complex and the most common types of nature from soil and flora to fauna can be easily assembled into working ecosystems. What is happening? Has nature been evacuated to await better times, or has it been simplified into merchandise and absurd tableaux? When Halso is looking into the future she doesn’t like what she sees.
For decades satellite imagery has provided data for, and insights into, a huge amount of different fields of science such as ecology, geosciences, meteorology, and urban planning. Nowadays the usage of satellite imagery has increased overwhelmingly as consumer applications have found their way to the market – think about Google maps, navigation apps and weather forecasts. Correspondingly governments have found the use of the footage interesting for a broad range of practices, both malicious and positive.
Positive applications include infrastructural planning, mapping of urban expansions and ecological surveillance, though more nefarious uses have been featured frequently over the last few months: malicious military practices, observed and recorded by satellites, have been revealed to the public via the media. The fact that satellite imagery is increasingly used when it comes to media coverage and public presentations concerning politics and warfare shows the established importance of satellites for a broad range of purposes.
‘Guilty landscape’ is a notion borrowed from the Dutch painter, sculptor, writer, and musician Armando, who wrote about such landscapes more than once. Living in Amersfoort before, during, and after the Second World War, close to a concentration camp situated in the woods, he was very aware that the innocent forest of his youth had witnessed the horrors of war and the Holocaust.
Labelling a martyr is, in a way, an expression of collective guilt. Martyrs are a simultaneous reminder of the hopes and ideals that an individual stood for, and also the oppressive nature of humankind to smother those ideals. Memorializing martyrs then is a way of atoning for this collective guilt and to give renewed hope that the dreams of the fallen can somehow be realized. A popular way of memorializing martyr is to name streets after them – creating a potentially difficult juxtaposition. To what extent can a street, subject to all the pressures of the city, live up to the lofty ideals of an individual? And what does it say of us when a memorialized street itself becomes a symbol of broken dreams? Guy Tillim and Susan Berger have both created photo series that examine this deep irony.
Garth Lenz is a photographer who uses his images to communicate larger environmental issues and broadcast clear messages for change. His work on the Athabasca oil sands, in the photo series ‘The True Cost of Oil’, aims at documenting the scale and scope of environmental transformation occurring due to oil extraction. As the title suggests, lenz asks the viewers to ask themselves what cost are they willing to bear, for their oil consumption.
It’s only been seven years now, since Volume started its quest of how ‘to go beyond architecture’. In this time where optimism, nearing indifference, was still the rule, and record after record was being broken, it seemed inescapable to rethink architecture’s contribution to society. And to check anew what society would need of architecture.
In the 1970s and 1980s, disappointment in modernism’s results produced postmodernism. More specifically, postmodernism targeted modernism’s inability to transform its program of rigorous equality to more individualized ways of working (despite brave, but all too fragmented attempts to do so). Modernism was born from industrial society and – using its methods of production – promised a better world for all. Postmodernism was born from consumer society and promised a better product for those who could afford it; the assumption being that society had reached a level of affluence in which everyone was able to purchase at will.
This shift from program to product came about during a period where the dominance of the market as the sole economic principle was paramount. The American model of creating ever more to satisfy everyone’s needs, irrespective of the distribution of goods and services between members of society had won over the European model of keeping everyone ‘on board’ first and then moving to higher levels of quality and affluence in society.* Solidarity had to give way to maximizing profitability; the ‘every individual contributes to his or her capabilities’ principle was replaced with a Darwinist competition model.
Like it or not, we’re seeing the end of that development, though at present the picture is still a bit blurred.
During the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, ‘the market’ was the path to a golden future and privatization was the way to go. There were some examples showing that privatization didn’t necessarily lead to cheaper, better products and services; but this didn’t change the general appreciation of the principle. Over the last five years of consecutive financial crises, the assumed superiority of neoliberal ideology has been questioned and debated more fundamentally. But it hasn’t ended privatization; for now it is still called upon as strategy to save what we have. The immense debts that were incurred from the festive consumerism-for-all from previous years necessitated a recalibration of private and public spending, with budget cuts and privatization as default prescriptions to cure the disease. Earlier, privatization was sold to the public as liberty and free choice, as the better option; today it is presented as a potentially painful but inescapable reality.
Up to this point, privatization is understood as the transfer of public services to the private sector. Instead of a local, regional, or national authority, a private company provides or produces the service or product. Low-income housing (formerly known as social housing), public transport, health care, higher education, and all sorts of social arrangements are being left or transferred to the market. But today privatization has yet another dimension. Now larger institutional and public investment has practically come to a standstill – especially the building sector, which is confronted with a thirty to fifty percent reduction in investments in Europe – and private initiative has to come to the rescue. Small-scale and bottom-up initiatives have to compensate the loss. By themselves or in small groups or entities, people can build their own home and workspace, can supply their own energy and security, set up their own schools, etc. The limits that governments, developers, and investors are running up against, because they cannot get a hold of funds or cannot sell their products, can be compensated by an accumulation of individual small-scale investments. Crowd funding for cultural products is yet another expression of this trend.
It is challenging to consider what frameworks are needed to make this work on a larger scale. Can the adding up of individual plots and houses produce more than a sea of differences, a monotonous diversity? Can mixed neighborhoods come into being without top-down planning and urban design? Or slightly more radical, can parts of the infrastructure (maintenance and maybe even construction) be left to bottom-up initiative? This produces the fascinating prospect of collective or communal interests being addressed by the stakeholders themselves; a bottom-up socialism, or at least local communality as a basis for action.
All of a sudden the unstoppable trend towards large-scale and global is complemented by small-scale and local. A new balance between local and global has to emerge from all of this with a new role for the government to guard communal and collective interests of the individual and the larger entities that together form the organism of our society. And it will come with a new role for design and the designer. Less focused on authorship, more on making things happen.
In this issue of Volume we’ve privatized parts of the magazine, taking a page from the rest of the publishing world. In black we present ‘Volume’ contributions (not necessarily produced by the editorial team), in red ‘private’ ones, presenting a personal take or position. The latter are often as much ideas as advertisements or advertorials for an activity, product, or firm. It’s to the reader to judge if the outcome is more than the sum of the individual parts.
* See the Timothy Mitchell interview in Volume #30.
Join Volume, Mark Wigley, Jeffrey Inaba, C-LAB, and guests at Project No. 8 (Ace Hotel location, 22 W. 29th Street, New York, NY) from 7-9 pm on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 for holiday cheer and urban conspiracy… i.e. the launch of Volume #29. Copies will be for sale, but drinks and music are complimentary. Click here for more information.
Join Printed Matter, Jeffrey Inaba and guests to celebrate the launch of Volume #29: The Urban Conspiracy! Friday 2 December, 2011, 5-7 pm, at Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami Beach Covention Center. Sponsored by Printed Matter.
Volume #29: The Urban Conspiracy will be previewed Sunday 23 October 2011 at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven.
The occasion is the launch of the third edition of the TRUST Design series, a collaborative project by Premsela and Archis. All editions are inserted in Volume Magazine and presented at special Trust Design breakfast events at several venues all over the world. This time we focus on TRUST Design and Faith. Faith and trust are the underpinnings of almost all our sociological and personal constructs, yet both are allusive and largely intangible qualities. What role does faith have in our relationship with design? Can the mechanisms of faith be used to enable trust through design? Apple has created an almost quasi-religion around its products through design, while contemporary faith-based organisations are turning to design as a way to increase and strengthen their role in society. In addition to discussing Trust Design’s central exploration of the relationship between trust and design, we extend the conversation to debate the role of faith – spiritual or otherwise – within trust and design.
Starring: Scott Burnham (researcher and writer), Mathieu Frossard (designer), Corien Pompe (Chief Designer Colour & Material from Volvo), Matthijs van Dijk (Professor of Industrial Design and author of Vision in Design) and Tim Vermeulen (program manager at Premsela).
Premsela Design Breakfast Trust Design, Faith
Date: Sunday 23 October 2011
Time: 10.00 – 12.00
Tickets: 5 euro (including entrance Designhuis)
Sunday 2 October 2011, 1 pm. MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave. at the intersection of 46th Ave. Long Island City, NY 11101. Click here to attend the event on Facebook.
When things start talking back to you…
Literally everything is getting connected these days, your children, dog, car, fridge, even the trees in the park. Data production and data collecting is key here. It has huge potential for creation, and likewise for control. Artists and designers are discovering new fields for exploration, commerce sees new potential and new markets, and governments take further steps in monitoring, mapping and ruling. So what is the role of the designer here? And how should we approach the tension between creation and control?
A discussion with Mark Shepard, Lilet Breddels and Arjen Oosterman, plus our mystery guest…
Excerpts from an interview with Volume, March 2010.
Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, Michelle Addington, now a professor at the Yale School of Architecture, approaches the field of architecture through the application and manipulation of technologies in terms of discrete environmental systems. Arguing against the corralling of forms and ideas into fixed stations, Addington proposes that, similar to work she was doing at NASA in the late seventies and early eighties, architects should approach their practice as the development of malleable, passing events – that which is material though not necessarily visible. Addington recently co-authored Smart Materials and Technologies for the Architecture and Design Professions (Architectural Press, 2005).
“We are learning how to have abstract conceptions of an environment no longer defined by straightforward output. I think we’re getting closer – through digital models that embed transience – but not fast enough. Technological development starts as a discrete phenomenon or single property. Then, the pushback follows. We, as a profession, are the wrong ones to be deciding what property we need; this is how we have been frozen. We should be generating the proof of concept, by testing and pushing back. Our way of exploring and understanding will open up ideas beyond the normative sequence of technological development, which is parsed down and atomized. The first step is to accept that the existing building, even the new building, is a dumb armature. The building itself becomes dumber, and cheaper and more of a commodity as we are able to focus on changeable and interchangeable technologies.”
“We also need to stop zealously guarding our territory. The more we try to maintain control over it, the more it continues to shrink. Ours is one of the few fields in which the profession (Architect) completely circumscribes the discipline (Architecture). Our desire to have everything defined by professional practice, as opposed to a disciplinary canon, is becoming obsolete.”
“An intelligent environment might no longer be an environment; it might be a set of autonomous and transient and discrete responses that will happen once and disappear. We need to get comfortable with the body as the entity that negotiates with our surroundings. That is our new baseline. That’s an architectural question – it won’t come up in neurobiology or physics or engineering.”
“The mode we should be working in? I don’t know yet. It’s tragic that the kind of open-ended imaginative thinking that I remember from thirty years ago when I was at NASA is pretty much restricted to the military now, to the Defense Advanced Researched Projects Agency (DARPA). Things they are doing with the human body are particularly interesting – it’s open-ended but designed to be implemented soon. This is something that I wish we, as architects, could get ourselves a little bit more involved in.”
This article is published as online part of ‘Volume #24: Counterculture’.
Last week the successful Milan Trust breakfast debate discussed the role of design in creating Trust (trust as product, not to be mixed up with trust as lubricant for sales) with the presentation of Volume 27: Aging and the insert Trust Design: Design, Trust, Aging. (click here for photo’s and ‘soundbites’ of the event A week earlier, the latest Archis book publication was presented at the TU Delft. 2067: The Legacy – Indesem explores the future of architecture presents lectures, debates and student designs from the Indesem 2007 workshop. Both Trust and The legacy reintroduce grand narratives in a discipline in crisis: trust as a major focus for architecture and design, Legacy as strategy to reposition the architects’ role. So, what was the idea behind The Legacy, and what did it produce?
When the credit crisis struck, the general response was one of sheer amazement. Fascinating to see billions and trillions of dollars evaporate at such speed. Despite experts´ warnings that things would never be the same, expectation in general was that normality would be restored soon. In our spectacle society we are used to the excitement of sudden change. We respond to these events like we’re watching a magician.
With the Western world heading towards a life expectancy of 100 years, the question is: with the realm of architectural invention ready for the taking, are you ready to face getting old?
George Elvin interviewed by Julianne Gola and Cameron Robertson.
Advocating the dynamism of nanotechnology and architecture, George Elvin contends that with the embrace of nanotechnologies, the field of architecture will no longer be based on static objects; rather, it will react or mutate according to environmental variables. The author of Integrated Practice in Architecture: Mastering Design-Build, Fast-Track, and Building Information Modeling (Wiley, 2007), Elvin speaks with Volume about the ethical and social implications of a spatial reality dictated by sensorial information.
Julianne Gola: Can you briefly describe nanotechnology and what you see as its consequences for architecture?
George Elvin: Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter at the molecular scale. The field is introducing a new breed of materials that are designed from the bottom up. Material engineers can start by asking, ‘what kind of material do we want? What do we want it to do?’ And then they are actually able to fabricate those new materials. So, for example, people can ask, ‘wouldn’t it be great to have a material that was many times stronger than steel but lighter and transparent?’ An architect could make a building supported by something that looks like glass with nano-composite plastics, for example. Eventually, in the long run, you could have materials that would seem to disappear.
Cameron Robertson: How pervasive are nanotechnologies in architecture today?
GE: There are already over 200 building products that incorporate nano-particles or nanotechnology. The two largest solar cell producers in the world print their cells using nanotechnology. There is a long list of nanotechnologies with considerable green or ‘de-polluting’ potential. For example, the precast panels in the façade of Richard Meier’s church in Rome are coated in nano-materials that, through photocatalysis, break down large amounts of atmospheric pollutants into benign elements on contact.
JG: In other words, nano-materials are responsive. Can you elaborate on their dynamic properties?
GE: We think of architects as makers of static objects – sculptural things that you create and then walk away from. When you start designing with the nano-materials that we will have available in, say, ten or twenty years, architects will be initiators of a dynamic process. You’ve even got things that show the changing state of what we typically consider static materials. In fact, to so they incorporate organic substances – literally living materials. There are bio-hybrid products such as protein-based biosensors that luminesce when stressed. Already, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco uses sensors to detect movement as an early warning system for earthquakes. You could have concrete beams in a building that glow when stressed.
JG: So nanotechnology offers functionality that exceeds what the public currently expects of architecture. What do you believe are ways to represent this?
GE: We’ve got to make 4D modeling – 3D plus time – really pervasive, because, frankly, nanotech demands it. We’re talking about a technology that allows whole interior and exterior environments to be programmable and continuously variable. We will have to express buildings as networks of intercommunicating intelligent materials, objects and systems. To talk about adequately representing that kind of thing with static media is just crazy.
CR: In addition to the representation of this emerging technology, there are questions of public reception and acceptance. How do you think it will change our daily experience of the built environment as its deployed?
GE: With the properties of carbon nano-tubes, for example, you could make a chair supported by legs almost the diameter of a needle. But would people really be comfortable sitting in it? In the same way, on the architectural scale, it will be possible to do away with the distinction between structure and skin, a standby not only of construction, but also perception. Would people be perceptually comfortable in that space? There is going to be a lag between material developments and people’s comfort level. The same thing happened when steel columns first came out. In Maison Domino, for example, people weren’t entirely comfortable standing under a concrete slab supported by just a few steel columns. It should also be acknowledged that consumers are apprehensive about nanotechnology. So while companies are very happy to use nanotechnology to improve the performance of their product, they don’t necessarily want the ‘nano’ name on them, because of concerns that if something went wrong, it would backfire in terms of public comfort with the idea of nanotechnology.
CR: You’ve focused much of your career on broadcasting the potentials of nanotechnology for sustainable design. Do you see nanotechnology as being inherently sustainable?
GE: Well, many believe that the responsible use of technology can get us out of the mess we got ourselves into through the irresponsible use of technology. Right now, because nano is a new and very powerful technology, we don’t know its impact on human health or the environment. There are concerns about bioaccumulation. For example, Samsung makes a washing machine that injects silver nano-particles into your wash. Even though it is a minuscule amount, silver is a heavy metal. So there is reason to be concerned about its accumulation over time in the body and the environment. Of course buildings would be a primary source of nano-particle pollution, as they wash off buildings into the larger environment. So we have to consider the large-scale effects.
JG: How might nanotechnology affect the urban scale and what is its capacity to change or manipulate the nature of public space?
GE: One thing this brings up, particularly in the case of sensor technology, is privacy. As we get further along in our ability to control matter and materials, objects become more malleable and responsive. As people want more intelligent and interactive environments, this implies a give and take of information. With what they call ‘push technology’ in Japan, for example, your cell phone will ring as you’re walking past the Gap, telling you that the jeans you bought last week are now on sale. Or consider the University of Illinois Computer Science building: when a faculty member swipes his card to enter into the building, the lights and heat in his office kick on. Nanotechnology would amplify that kind of intelligence, and you would get a much more personalized environment. We’re talking about buildings and urban environments that are much more dynamic and changing. On the one hand, it has the potential to put people more in touch with their environment. But if all of these sensors are communicating with each other, the environment, and users, then an important question is: who controls this information? Who has access to it?
This article is published as online part of ‘Volume #24: Counterculture’.
In the midst of the snow blizzard which turned Amsterdam white and matching with the cover of Volume #26, the Architecture of Peace issue was launched in SPUI25 with a lunch time debate. Editor-in-Chief Arjen Oosterman pointed out some of the dilemmas involved in working in post conflict areas and looked at the ethical codes used in the design field. Architect Rory Hyde wondered whether and how aesthetics played a role when ethics are so badly needed. It leaded to a lively discussion that will be put online in the coming days for those who couldn’t make it through the snow.
Click here to visit a gallery on Facebook with pictures of the event. Below you can find a live registration of the Lunch Launch.
Friday December 17, 2010, from 12:45-14:00, at SPUI25 (Spui 25-27, Amsterdam). Click here to register.
Can architecture establish and perpetuate peace? Does it have anything to offer on that level? Often architecture has been accused of causing tension, social unrest and even segregation. To be accused of such effects it must be powerful. So let’s explore this strength in a pragmatic positive direction: architecture’s contribution to post-conflict reconstruction. For the presentation of Volume 26: Architecture of Peace a debate on two themes will be held at Spui 25, Amsterdam:
Is an ethical code for architects needed and if so, what should it look like?
What is the relation between ethics and esthetics?
Presentations by Rory Hyde and Arjen Oosterman.
Door open: 12:15 w/ sandwiches.
This event is kindly supported by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
After its successful launch in Amsterdam, Archis will organize a special Asian launch of Volume #25 on December 19 in honor of the Moon Life Concept Store by Alicia Framis in Shanghai.
The launch at the Dutch Design Workspace in Shanghai will be followed by a PechaKucha-style Night with Voyager 3 as a special theme. Participants are asked to give short presentations on a concept or object that they suggest to send with an imaginary Voyager 3 — the spaceship that will be sent into deep space and might be found by ‘other intelligent life’. What should those ‘aliens’ know about Earth? And what is worth keeping, telling about or remembering from our small planet? PechaKucha has invited 15 creatives form the art and design world to present their ideas and hope we’ll evoke a discussion on the values of current design.
For more information, please download the flyer (PDF).
Yesterday Archis officially launched Volume issue 25, ‘Getting There Being There’, at Athenaeum Bookstore in Amsterdam. ‘Getting There Being There’ is about the Moon as an extreme architectural ambition. It puts forward the question what the role of the architecture could be in the collective adventure of further Moon discovery. Editor-in-Chief Arjen Oosterman explained some about the editorial decision to investigate the possibilities of future Moon colonization. Artist Alicia Framis spoke about the catalogue of Moon products that comes as a supplement with this issue. The catalogue shows all products made for the project MoonLife Concept Store which will open its doors in Shanghai in December this year. Volume #25 is for sale at your local bookstore and online at NAi Booksellers.
We’re going to the Moon! Join us for the launch of our jubilee issue, ‘Volume #25: Getting There Being There’ and Alicia Framis’ MoonLife Concept Store Catalog. Come along on Sunday 24 October at 3 pm at Athenaeum News Centre, Spui 14-16, Amsterdam.
We invite you to join us for the launch of our latest issue, VOLUME #22 The Guide, and the special supplement publication Beyroutes: A guide to Beirut.
Athenaeum News Centre, Spui, Amsterdam, December 22, 5-7pm
Both publications come together in a single packet, and form part of your subscription.
About this issue
Guiding – as it is commonly understood – is not about creating; it’s about helping. The guide has no goal other than to lead someone safely to the destiny of their choice. The guide is skilled; he or she actually can lead the way, but does so without ambition beyond delivering quality service. The guide sells safety where risk is involved.
With The Guide, VOLUME presents a diverse collection of guides and attempts to guide. From strange maps, bike tours and magnetic navigation belts to the conception of Paris’ 13th arrondissement as a series of islands; here, the guide is understood as not simply a service or selling point, but as an exploratory tool, a generator for a proactive engagement with the city.
As a supplement to this issue of VOLUME, we also present the separate publication Beyroutes, a guidebook to Beirut, one of the grand capitals of the Middle East. Beyroutes presents an exploded view of a city which lives so many double lives and figures in so many truths, myths and historical falsifications. Visiting the city with this intimate book as your guide makes you feel disoriented, appreciative, judgmental and perhaps eventually reconciliatory. Beyroutes is the field manual for 21st century urban explorer.
The Guide: Arjen Oosterman, Jan van Grunsven, Ole Bouman, Rory Hyde, Atelier Bow-Wow, Michael Kubo, Edwin Gardner, Filip Mischelwitsch, Jonathan Hanahan, Louisa Bufardeci, Sunny Bains, Anastassia Smirnova, Thomas Daniell, Kate Rhodes, Naomi Stead, Thomas Kilpper, Lucy Bullivant, Christian Ernsten, Charles Esche + The Detroit Unreal Estate Agency (Andrew Herscher a.o.)
VOLUME Magazine #22 was conceived and edited by Archis. Supported by the Mondriaan Foundation and the University of Michigan.
Beyroutes: With contributions by Maureen Abi Ghanem, Romy Assouad, Hisham Awad, Cleo Campert, Joane Chaker, Tony Chakar, Zinab Chahine, Steve Eid, Christian Ernsten, Christiaan Fruneaux, Edwin Gardner, David Habchy, Mona Harb, Pascale Harès, Jasper Harlaar, Janneke Hulshof, Hanane Kaï, Karen Klink, Niels Lestrade, Mona Merhi, Elias Moubarak, Tarek Moukaddem, Kamal Mouzawak, Joe Mounzer, Alex Nysten, Nienke Nauta, Ahmad Osman, Haig Papazian, Pieter Paul Pothoven, Rani al Rajji, Joost Janmaat, Jan Rothuizen, Ruben Schrameijer, Reem Saouma, Michael Stanton, George Zouein
Beyroutes was initiated by Studio Beirut in collaboration with Partizan Publik, Archis and the Pearl Foundation. Supported by Prince Claus Fund, Fund Working on the Quality of Living and the Netherlands Embassy in Lebanon.
Saturday, 19 September, 7-9 pm
Studio-X, New York
Please join us for the launch of “Volume 20: Storytelling,” edited by C-Lab on Saturday, 9/19 from 7-9pm at Studio-X. Mark Wigley will offer an introduction and comments on the occasion of Volume’s milestone 20th issue. Drinks and music to follow. Sponsored by Studio-X.
With Contributions by: Lewis Lapham, Tom McCarthy, Bjarke Ingels, Neil Denari, Nicholas Lemann, Roger Dean
Catherine Hardwicke, Smiljan Radic and more…
180 Varick Street, Suite 1610
Between King and Charleton Streets
1 train to Houston Street
212 989 2398
Storytelling communicates facts, but it also builds upon real-life accounts to enrich public expectations and elevate beliefs. To these ends, it is worthwhile to get reacquainted with the children’s story. Although regarded as a vehicle to escape reality, the children’s story, and in particular the fairy tale, could again help to elucidate larger social and political storylines. This issue of Volume responds to the global crisis, continuing a series of inquiries started in Volume #9, Urban China 31, Urban China Bootlegged by C-Lab and Volume #19. Here, we present storytelling as a means of understanding our time and constructing a narrative of response.
How to understand the geography of social suffering in Detroit? One startling way is to understand it globally– to correlate indices of social suffering in Detroit to those places around the world with identical statistics. These maps advance such correlations; what they reveal is that, in terms of infant mortality, Detroit appears to be what […]
Throughout the last century, the practice of architecture has been closely related to the practice of publishing by architects. Just as architectures produce discourse in and of themselves, so the discourse of the book has often been used by architects to frame a related space in which (their) projects can be produced, received, and understood. […]
For every decision made by a city – to build, to demolish, to extend, to renovate, to replan, to rezone – there exists countless alternate possibilities. The store rooms, plan drawers and hard drives of every architect’s office contain speculative proposals that, due to any number of reasons, will remain unrealized; destined to gather dust […]
It is a well known saying that you see your habitat anew through the eyes of a stranger. It’s a cliché so it must be true. Take a guide of your own city. For once try to follow its instructions and become a tourist in your home town. Everything will be different. First of all, […]
In this project I undertook a series of ‘actions’ – interventions – during a week-long residency in an apartment in Gropiusstadt, Berlin. During my stay I became interested in the strong ‘ghostly collectivity’ that emanates from Gropiusstadt’s architecture and its influence on my subjectivity. I researched Walter Gropius’s initial concepts for the residential area. After […]
Supersudaca Reports #1 From Big Boxes to Little Boxes An essay by Mario Marchant Massive changes have been taking place in Latin America since the 1990s when the re-democratization process began to replace most of the continent’s military dictatorships. Regardless of the ideological orientation of the new democratic governments neo-liberal politics were implemented. That decade […]
In architecture, to use the word “standard” seems to be a taboo. Bringing up standardization in a positive context in a presentation or lecture guarantees an active participation from the public in the Q&A afterwards, reactions reaching from puzzlement, moral indignation or plain outrage. The experiences of the 1960s and 1970s in mass-produced architecture have […]
Hanoi, Vietnam Soon after Vietnam gained independence from France in 1954, the Soviets began to impose a strong influence on planning and architecture in the new socialist state, especially in Hanoi. Among the imported ideas were the principles of the microrayon. From the ‘60s to the ’80s, adaptations of the Russian microrayon, called a Khu […]
On the extensive introduction of industrial methods, improving the quality and reducing the cost of construction Excerpts from a speech by Nikita Khrushchev at the National Conference of Builders, Architects, Workers in the Construction Materials and Manufacture of Construction and Roads Machinery Industries, and Employees of Design and Research and Development Organisations on December 7, […]
Blockbuster A few years ago when the figures on Chinese urbanization first made it to the West little by little the general reaction was one of silent amazement. 20×20 sounded like a cultural program, but this code evidently stood for providing housing to the equivalent of perhaps twenty entire countries: cities for 400 million people […]
Interviewed by Jeffrey Inaba and Talene Montgomery How do journalists decide how to tell stories? What are their responsibilities when reporting a story? And to what extent do they write in the public’s interest? New York University journalism professor and press critic Jay Rosen discusses these issues in the context of the long-standing debate about […]
Interview with Stephanie von Stein by Gavin Browning and Kate Meagher. Spanning 185 countries, Waterkeeper Alliance was born in New York State in 1966, when local fisherman banded together to patrol the health of the Hudson River. Other communities soon took note of this effective and transferable model of advocacy: one person, in a boat, […]
In the otherwise unwatchable 2005 film Fun With Dick and Jane actors Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni watch in dismay as their front lawn is repossessed. The turf is literally peeled off the surface of the earth, rolled up like wallpaper and carted away in the back of a pick-up truck. The natural landscape of […]
As the newly crowned Architect of Change, Barack Obama must convince and inspire a wide range of groups, factions and movements. His inauguration address attempted to reunite what the preceding administration left fragmented and to address each and every group in order to underline that Obama is the president for all Americans. Brendan McGetrick dissects […]
According to Nicolai Ouroussof, architecture critic for the New York Times, the economic recession combined with the investment in new infrastructure that president Barack Obama has promised could potentially lead to a reassessment of architecture in the uS. ‘If a lot of first-rate architectural talent promises to be at loose ends, why not enlist it […]
Regina Bittner believes urban spaces are undergoing a visibility crisis which is causing a boom in images of the city. By looking at strategies of depicting the city as an adventure playground she argues for an interdependency between image production and post-industrial deregulation. Akin to Henri Lefebvre, Bittner suggests that the ‘use value’ of a […]
At the design meeting for Volume 19 we told our people, ‘this issue must express hope!’ ‘That’s a challenge,’ was the somewhat mocking response whereupon it was decided to publish the next issue entirely in black and white. No rainbows, no eye candy, no chaotic, everyday multicolors, no shock and awe with a surprise onslaught […]
Is C2C really the concept to successfully balance ecology and economy? Although it promises to do away with the problem of scarcity, one likely consequence is a severe restriction of the use of raw materials, as well as of the knowledge necessary to make C2C work. For these reasons an open source approach to ecology is urgently needed.