City as Commons

Commons is not something that just exists out there, nor is it something that is objectively present in certain resources or things. It is a relation of people with the conditions they describe as essential for their existence, collectively,” writes Stavros Stavrides, architect, activist, and author of Common Space: The City as Commons. Stavrides understands the creation, development, and maintenance of commons as a social practice that radically challenges capitalist values and hierarchical forms of social organization. Constructed in this way, urban spaces differ both from private enclosures and from public space as we know it: common spaces are permanently inviting ...

The Avery Review Issue 46

The Avery Review is an online journal dedicated to thinking about books, buildings, and other architectural media. We see the genres of the review and the critical essay as vital but still underutilized ways of exploring the ideas and problems that animate the field of architecture, and we hope to push these genres beyond their most familiar forms, whether journalistic or academic. Our aim is to explore the broader implications of a given object of discourse (whether text, film, exhibition, building, project, or urban environment), to expand the terrain of what we imagine architectural discourse to be, and to broaden ...

Modernity Unbound

For almost 20 years, Detlef Mertins has been a critical voice in renewing our understanding of architectural modernity. Architect, historian, professor, his essays have often taken up familiar themes in order to redress inaccuracies and release energies that we were unaware of. These essays elaborate on such key modernist tropes as transparency, glass architecture, organicism, life and event, sameness and difference. Previously published in a variety of different venues, from journals to anthologies – including such noted books as Lars Spuybroek’s NOX: Machining Architecture and FOA’s Phylogenesis – they are now assembled for the first time in this volume.

Eyebeam Atelier Museum

Greg Lynn and Preston Scott Cohen discuss the Eyebeam Atelier Museum, a project for an art space in New York developed through 3D modelling to define a structure based on tensegrity. The project was developed for a competition in 2001 and was intended as a space for exhibition, education, and design in the domain of digital art. Preston Scott Cohen’s design defines distinct planes, chords, and stacked toroidal volumes in a segmented structural system that nevertheless allows for continuous and non-repeating circulation. Cohen’s use of digital technology for the Eyebeam project originated in his formal interests—specifically in geometry that could not ...

Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth

The Oslo Architecture Triennale, 2019

http://oslotriennale.no/en/aboutoat2019

For the last two centuries, the engine of architectural production and the basis of societies around the world has been the pursuit of economic growth. The desire for infinite growth has forced aside common and ecological goals measuring acts of culture and community as mere bumps in GDP. Yet the limits to this paradigm have become abundantly clear. As equity, wellbeing and non-monetary measures of prosperity falter, rising sea temperatures, extreme weather and other indicators of climate breakdown converge on the conclusion that the days of growth’s predominance are running out.

Architecture is no exception. The promise of a meaningful life’s work harnessing the transformative power of design to mix beauty and social justice is deeply felt. Yet for many, our daily practice looks very different to the work we aspired to. The majority of urban practitioners are not the agents of social change they might have been, but cogs in a vast value-producing machine whose hunger for expansion is never abated. Homes have become vehicles of capital speculation, galleries have become billboards for attracting investment, streets have become the infrastructure of consumption, universities export enlightenment for profit.

In our bones we know that infinite economic growth is impossible. We know that money cannot buy happiness. We know that change is coming. Yet our professions continue to toil at the coalface of economic expansion cultivating consumption in pursuit of a prize that is never enough.

ENOUGH responds to an era of climate emergency and social inequality by proposing alternatives to the unsustainable and unfair paradigm of growth. The festival explores the architecture of Degrowth, an economy of shared plenty in which human and ecological flourishing matter most. It is time to call time on too much for the few and too little for the many. Join us as we propose a vision of Enough for all.

Having Words

Having Words collects together for the first time ten essays by the pioneering architect and urban planner Denise Scott Brown. Educated in the 1940s and 1950s at Witwatersrand University, the AA and the University of Pennsylvania, Scott Brown has, since the 1960s, taught and led her Philadelphia firm, Venturi Scott Brown and Associates, in collaboration with Robert Venturi. The essays in this collection extend from her 1969 text, ‘On Pop Art, Permissiveness and Planning’ (written three years before the publication of Venturi, Scott Brown and Izenour’s seminal book Learning From Las Vegas) to ‘Towards an Active Socioplastics’ from 2007, which offers ...

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, ...

ARPA Journal 04: Instruments of Service

“Instruments of Service” is a class of legally protected work products defined in the American Institute of Architects’ “A201-2007 General Conditions” as “representations, in any medium of expression now known or later developed, of the tangible and intangible creative work performed by the Architect.” In practice, instruments are any drawing, model, calculation or specification created for a client, copyrighted by the architect as a design “recommendation” and trafficked between intellectual, digital and real property. As research, everyday and experimental instruments are assemblages of tools and materials, allography and autography that move from Skype to ‘the street’ through theaters of peer ...

ARPA Journal 05: Conflicts of Interest

“Conflicts of interest” are said to compromise the impartiality of research, but what would it mean to be disinterested? Ethical codes warn us that researchers’ objectivity can be corrupted by a clashing set of interests—those of funding agencies, clients and publics, as well as researchers’ self-interest in professional advancement or personal gain. If the resolution of such conflicts might typically call for avoidance, recusal or disclosure, what would such strategies mean for the design disciplines and research on the built environment? What varied interests, expressed in the form of money or other manifestations of influence, do designers contend with? Who ...

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, Eval 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 ...

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.

BMW Welt

In this publication, Greg Lynn and Wolf Prix discuss Coop Himmelb(l)au’s BMW Welt, a corporate-event and car-delivery centre whose iconic form was realized with sophisticated structural analysis and visualization software. The project is located on the BMW campus in Munich, near the Olympic Park; among other corporate functions, it offers the opportunity for new BMW owners to learn more about their cars before driving them away from within the building itself. The design extends Prix’s interest in a cloud-like architecture without ties to the ground. Anchored in one corner by a twisting “double cone” made of nearly nine hundred unique steel ...

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