Volume #18: After Zero
Originally a wacko, hippy-esque ideology, ‘sustainability’ – aka ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘green’ – has now become globally accepted. But as what – an environmental urgency, a political issue, a technical problem, a historic destiny, a new world order? And what are the consequences of this acceptance?
The sustainability consensus is dangerous since the concept has no political content and can be used for any cause. Carbon neutrality and zero emissions are like magic formulas, cover-ups for complicated ethical questions about the inequalities in our societies.Yet striving for zeros or hiding in neutrality does not lead to a better life in a more desirable house in a superior city for everyone. After Zero is not about design inspired by the fear of tsunamis or Katrinas. Volume proposes an understanding of our society beyond zero. To kick off we discuss two perspectives: sustainability in a post-capitalist city and the potential of urban agriculture.
Volume#18: After Zero
ISBN 978 90 77966 18 1
Price: € 19,50
Release: December 2008
Editor-in-chief: Arjen Oosterman
Contributing editors: Ole Bouman, Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley
Feature editor: Jeffrey Inaba
Editorial Consultants: Carlos Betancourth, Thomas Daniell, Bart Goldhoorn, Markus Miessen, Kai Vöckler
Design: Irma Boom and Sonja Haller
Publisher: Stichting Archis
Volume #18 includes contributions by
Jago van Bergen, Stefano Boeri, Clare Butcher, Katrin Bohn and Andre Viljoen, Steef Buijs, Christophe Catsaros, Thomas Daniell, John E. Fernández, Aetzel Griffioen, Andrew Herscher, Scott Hocking, Joost Janmaat, Sherry Lassiter, Aric Mayer, Christien Meindertsma, Koert van Mensvoort, Monica Nouwens, Michela Pasquali, Marjetica Potrc, Panayiota I. Pyla, Gianluigi Ricuperati, Mireille Roddier, Harriet Russell, Debra Solomon, Tokyo Genso, Michael Stanton, Peter Trummer, Piet Vollaard, Ronald Wall, Slavoj Žižek
Following Word War Two, London embarked on a highly prolific rebuilding campaign. But it wasn’t simply putting the pieces back together. The ambition of the welfare state combined with new ideas in architecture to produce radical new designs, altering the British landscape. The organization behind this was the London County Council, and in particular the Architects’ Department. Ruth Lang discusses the machinery of the bureaucratic system that enabled one of England’s most innovative periods in design.
Hong Kong and Macau aren’t independent nations, yet they appear at the Biennale regardless. As recent appendages to China, they are undergoing an often-uncomfortable transition to a new political reality. Thomas Daniell explains how both pavilions give different responses to the unification question. Hong Kong emphasizes its inclusion in a larger regional network, the Pearl River Delta, while Macau places focus on its cultural distinctiveness.
With Rem Koolhaas ‘couch surfing’ has acquired a new meaning. Anyone lucky enough to actually get an interview with Koolhaas will most likely end up on his couch. The back seat of his BMW that is. Some private conversation time, wherever the journey takes you, accompanied by the deep hum of the V12 sports engine. Volume became member of this back seat club to discuss some intentions behind Fundamentals and perspectives on architecture it produced.
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.