New Magazines and Journals

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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!