Architecture

Sustainability’s Image Problem

Contributors Esther Choi, Bryce Wilner
The discourse of sustainability in architecture is often associated with eco-capitalism: the theory and practice of a free-market economy in which natural resources are regarded as capital. Since profits are partially dependent on environmental protection, nature is treated as a commodity that needs to be restored after it is exploited for economic growth. This results in a looped accounting cycle of checks and balances… Likewise, the economic incentives for using “green technology” to create new markets rarely consider how these competitive, profit-driven scenarios will necessitate (new) forms of social mistreatment in order to flourish. Herein lies the crux of the ...

Stones Against Diamonds

Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992) was a prolific architect, designer and thinker, whose work, absorbing her native Italy and then after 1946 her adopted home-land, Brazil, spans across architecture, furniture, stage and costume design, urban planning, curatorial work, teaching and writing. This collection of essays is the first-ever English anthology of her of writings. It includes texts written when she was still living in Italy as well as later contributions to a number of Brazilian newspapers, journals and magazines. An acute critic and a creative thinker, Bo Bardi proposes a series of new parameters for design thinking and practice, such as the ...

Flux

One book two projects. [Un]Plug CLa Défense, Paris, 2001 Architect: R&Sie.D/B:L, Paris Creative team: François Roche, Stephanie Lavaux, Alexandre Boulin, Olivier Legrand, Gilles Desevedavy; Collaborators: Benoît Durandin, Etienne Feher, David Topanni Key dimensions: 10 000 m2. Client: EDF Design of an office building in La Défense area, Paris. Command by the research department of French Public Electricity Company (EDF), to develop a building that gains its energy from the sun. Scrambled Flat Evolene, Switzerland, 2001 Architect: R&Sie.D/B:L, Paris Creative team: François Roche, Stephanie Lavaux, Alexandre Boulin, Olivier Legrand. Collaborators: Benoît Durandin, Etienne Feher, David Topanni Key dimensions: 450 m2 Creation of a farm of dwellings, of 450 m2 in a Village of Evolene, Switzerland Program: ...

Switzerland: Deep Urbanism for an Age of Disruption

Switzerland is a conceptual dream that has been realized in part due to geographical and historical circumstances, but first and foremost by conscious and robust design efforts. The country’s journey in search of identity unfolds in this essay as a consistent quest for reconciliation of traditional dichotomies between rural and urban, state and community, culture and nature. In this context, Markus Schaefer develops an argument for a multi-dimensional approach to design called “deep urbanism”.

Failed Architecture Podcast 07: Incompiuto: Italy’s Most Prominent Architectural Style

Italy’s landscape is dotted with unfinished structures. For a myriad of reasons, the construction of these buildings and pieces of infrastructure stopped half-way, leaving the often concrete and often striking remains of hitherto incomplete plans. The ‘Incompiuto Siciliano’ (Unfinished Sicilian) project has been mapping and researching these many structures, on Sicily as well as in the rest of the country. And, to draw attention to the phenomenon, started to refer to them as “Italy’s Most Prominent Architectural Style”. In this episode, we join Incompiuto on a trip to one of the largest unfinished objects, ‘La Diga di Blufi’, 130km south of ...

Urban Planning for Murder

Contributors Aristide Antonas, Nick Axel
In this title, Aristide Antonas approaches the city through its exceptional moments —investigating urbanity through alegal, unaccounted incidents that take place in various locations of a city. It does not constitute an attempt to highlight the accidental event, as if it would emerge from a neutral backdrop of urban uniformity. It does not seek the exception by renouncing the rule, but instead organizes the exception as a function of the rule. We should not then see the neutrality of urban scenery as a symptom demonstrated by the city while its civil character supposedly becomes more and more inauthentic; neutrality is ...

A Place in the Shade

Charles Correa (*1930 in Secunderabad) has played an instrumental role in the shaping of postcolonial architecture in India. He has also been a pioneer in addressing crucial issues of housing and urbanization in the Third World, including the proliferation of squatters. This anthology assembles a selection of essays and lectures whose subjects range from the metaphysical to the decidedly pragmatic and deal with architecture, urban planning, landscape, and individuals such as Le Corbusier, Isambard Brunel, and Mahatma Gandhi. It also contains a reprint of his seminal book The New Landscape (1985), long out of print, on urban development in the Third ...

Accattone 6

Accattone #6 explores a renewed relationship with land, matter, ‘nature’ and localities against the backdrop of the new climatic regime. Situated at the intersection of architecture, representation and editorial-curatorial practices, the magazine is also permeated by a continuous research on methods and forms of practice. In particular, this issue addresses the use of film-making as a tool to foster and disseminate architectural positions; editorial devices and contents used by fellow little magazines; and the representation of nature in research, artistic and design practices. This issue is based on meetings and conversations that took place over the past year. Driven by ...

African Cities Reader 1

Pick up any academic or popular publication that deals with urban life in Africa and be prepared to be overrun by caricature, hyperbole, stereotypes and moralistic hogwash. Urban Africans are either bravely en route to empowering themselves to attain sustainable livelihoods or the debased perpetrators of the most unimaginable acts of misanthropy. Explanations for these one-dimensional distortions vary from historical path dependency perspectives, to the vagaries of the peddlers of neoliberal globalisation agendas, or to the glorious agency of digni ed actors who persist with their backs straight, chin up despite the cruelties bestowed by governmental neglect and economic malice. ...

African Cities Reader 2: Mobilities & Fixtures

The aim of this second instalment of the African Cities Reader is to provide a space to illuminate emergent urbanisms of Africa in its continental and diasporic richness. The leitmotif of the contemporary globalising era is mobility, which references the incessant circulation of goods, services, ideas, technologies, imaginaries and money. African cities are uniquely marked by disjunctive ows and circuits, but in ways that amplify both the intensity of mobility, and its shadow, xity. The violent reverberations of colonialism in the processes of city living and building ensure that most urban dwellers are entangled in relationships of movement – as protagonists ...

African Cities Reader 3: Land, Property and Value

The third African Cities Reader explores the unholy trinity of land, property and value – the life force of cities everywhere. In an era of late modernity marked by a speculative compulsion that takes on a spectral character as it instigates adventures of city imagineering, deal-making and symbolic reinvestment, the material effects are often displacement, violence, daylight robbery and yet another round of elite seduction. The incessant (re) making of the African city is a game that leaves few untouched or unmoved and literally prepares the ground for the inhabitation of another 400 million urban dwellers over the next two ...

Another Column

Material circulation encompasses architectural production and de-production when considered within geological time. Architecture is a fleeting construct—a temporary, unstable container of increasingly-valued minerals that is always in a state of settling. You say to brick, “what do you want, brick?” Brick says to you,”I want to be mud.” Aggregates, especially with the rise of modern concrete, have become our second most-used resource. While sand, gravel, and small rocks account for up to 75% of concrete’s composition, sand alone accounts for over 85% of global mining activity. As a finite resource, aggregates on the market wield consequences from land-reclamation driven conflicts to ...

Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Time, Science and Philosophy

Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Time, Science and Philosophy, edited by Etienne Turpin, brings together a provocative series of essays, conversations, and design proposals that attempt to intensify the potential of the multidisciplinary discourse developing in response to the Anthropocene thesis for contemporary architecture scholarship and practice. Research regarding the significance and consequence of anthropogenic transformations of the earth’s land, oceans, biosphere and climate have demonstrated that, from a wide variety of perspectives, it is almost certain that humans have initiated a new geological epoch, their own. First labeled the Anthropocene by the chemist Paul Crutzen, the consideration ...

ARPA Journal 02: The Search Engine

The idea of being online is in danger of extinction from redundancy. The Internet has become the principal site of construction, defense, storage and dissemination of new knowledge and social identity alike. Facebook’s population will soon eclipse that of China, and its holdouts nonetheless have well-formed electric selves in the servers of the NSA. As our physical world is increasingly tapped, scanned, streamed, imaged and mapped in realtime, the province of offline is a shrinking territory. In each wave of digitization—the archival, the social, the physical—the evidence of its arrival and its path to maturity are the same: search. For David Joselit, ...

Banking, Botany, and Bibliothéconomie: On the Science of Keeping the Books

Contributor Edward Eigen
On the ledger and the herbarium: the settling of financial and botanical accounts.

Before and After: Documenting the Architecture of Disaster

Contributors Ines Weizman, Eyal Weizman
A nuclear facility in Iran before and after an explosion, a village in Pakistan before and after a drone attack, a Cambodian river valley before and after a flood. The before-and-after image has become the tool of choice for analysing events. Satellite photography allows us to scrutinise the impact of war or climate change, from the safe distance of orbit. But one thing is rarely captured: the event itself. All we can read is its effect on a space, and that’s where the architectural expert is required, to fill the gap with a narrative. In this groundbreaking essay, Eyal and Ines ...

Biozentrum

This publication presents Peter Eisenman’s Biozentrum project, an expansion of Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, from 1987. In the competition brief, the program of the complex included biotechnology, molecular biology and biochemistry research laboratories and support spaces. The design process used biological concepts and procedures to generate the geometrical pattern that establishes the location, dimension and form of the complex. The iterations of DNA molecules in the production of the protein collagen were at the base of the fractal geometry guiding the project design. These pairs of figures, with a gap in between them, were the base forms Eisenman adopted ...

Black Lives Matter

Inspired by the scholars, activists, and everyday citizens who spoke out, marched, and protested against police killings of African-Americans, we present this collection of short essays that put Black lives at the center of our thinking about architecture and its history.

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