Cities were founded because societies are better than the individuals that make them. A society needs places to operate, manifest, recognize, and reproduce. The city is the place of society, opportunity, exchange and, therefore, of knowledge. In these few lines, one could explain the reasons of the secular phenomenon of the massive urbanization that seems to have no limits or exhausts its scope. Through its expansion, over time, the city from limited conurbation has become a region, then a whole territory. Since long time, the historical clear separation between Urbs and Orbs, between the city and “the everything else”, has been outmoded.
As the corona pandemic spread around the world, our homes became critical for safeguarding our health.
But what very quickly became apparent was that many people, particularly in cities, did not live in suitable environments to cope with this new-found reality.
As we look towards the future of housing in light of corona, what do our homes need to best provide for our health and wellbeing? And how can we rapidly increase the amount of quality, affordable housing at a cost that is economically feasible for cities?
The construction of informal housing has a global demand of approximately 43.98% (UN Data – World Bank). The majority of informal housing is located in sectors or areas with fewer economic resources and development processes. This is how it expands, develops and forms our cities worldwide, creating and defining models and types.
Since time immemorial, informal housing – buildings that do not conform to the parameters of zoning or construction techniques based on summation – was the housing method used by many people with limited economic resources; this method generated an uncontrolled expansion of our cities. This approach will not change; on the contrary, it will continue to grow within cities that are becoming increasingly urbanized. This phenomena is occurring worldwide with different degrees of complexity, scale and territorial characteristics.
The project is located in the Rigot park in Geneva, alongside the Avenue de France, near the Sismondi school. The choice for the location in the park was driven by an urgent, temporary measure aimed at accommodating 370 migrants.
The project consists of two symmetrical five-story buildings made from 230 prefabricated wooden modules. The dwellings are accessed by an external gallery open to a public courtyard, which connects to the Sismondi streetcar stop and to the Rigot park.
Autonomous, profit-driven and constrained by thorough regulations, Manhattan blocks can reveal unexpected urban possibilities. On 100 Norfolk, an inner lot was meant to host a through-building, 70 feet away from the corner with Delancey St. In a fluid give and take between the governing rules and development ambitions, 100 Norfolk takes the typical building model and flips it on its head, creating a new relationship in the New York development parameters. Rather than growing vertically, 100 Norfolk grows diagonally, enjoying increments of area every two floors.
Creating resilient communities is key for any city to thrive, but also for a university campus, a business and other realms. In this session, Jeanne Gang and Cristina Mateo talk about how to boost community building in an increasingly digitalized world.
Architects: Studio Gang
Location: Beloit, USA
Area: 11.000 m2
Looking to enhance the student experience and help revitalize the local riverfront, Beloit College partnered with Studio Gang to reinvent a former coal-burning power plant as a student union centered on recreation and wellness.
Located in one of the most compact and densely populated downtown areas of Buenos Aires, with more than 650 inhabitants per hectare, the Dr. Bernardo A. Houssay Plaza was created in 1975 on the grounds of the former Buenos Aires Hospital, based on a project by a multidisciplinary team that included landscape designers Pradial Gutiérrez, Aldo Mario Liberatori and Román Wellington Peñalba. Surrounded by the Faculties of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Dentistry, Social Sciences, Economics and Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires, which together with the nearby Hospital-School of Clinics José de San Martín, host approximately 100,000 students, the square was progressively disfigured by partial and uncoordinated actions that fragmented its spatial and environmental condition, making it uncomfortable.
More than 50% of the world’s population currently lives in cities. By 2050, this figure is expected to climb to 68%. Africa is experiencing one of the highest rates of urbanization across the globe. Though most of the continent’s population is rural, with only 40% living in cities, the number of urban dwellers is increasing faster than any other region on the planet.
Tokyo in 1994 was already a city with one of the lowest crime rates. With only 60 crimes per 100.000 population, it has earned a reputation of one of the safest cities. Unfortunately, not everyone is not experiencing the same sense of safety, at least 70% of women commuting has experience harassment. Join Prima and Hagar as they examine problems faced by female commuter in the city, with our guest human rights issue researcher Puri Kencana Putri.
Mute Icons is, at its core, a book that interrogates images: historical, contemporary, and — more importantly — speculative. This examination concentrates on the increasingly dichotomic state of architectural practice, discourse, and contemporary culture at large. Through the analysis of images that exist and some that we propose, we aim to develop a language and a sensibility for discovering simultaneous, contradictory, and even unexpected readings of images in architecture.
We are often unaware of the power of design and its effect on human behavior. Michael Leube and Elvira Muñoz consider the cultural impact of any project or intervention in our environment in order to ensure sustainable development.
Everything around us has changed these past years, but the spaces we inhabit are structured in the same way they were 50 years ago. Recent changes ask for structures that are not only sustainable, but have the ability to regenerate their environments.
Each year, hundreds of magazines around the world issue their own “most livable city” surveys. These questionnaires attempt to measure urbanism by the vague idea of quality of life. Vienna is perpetually at the top of this list, followed in short order by Vancouver, Zurich, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Sydney, and other places that we might have enjoyed on a vacation but are not lucky enough to live in. Most of us inhabit perfectly functional cities that will never appear on a “livability” list. These are places that the tour books tell us to skip, ringed by industrial sectors, agglomerations of infrastructure, nondescript suburbs sprawling out into the landscape. Their historic evolution has not been an attempt to preserve some fictive past but to provide a staging area for future developments. Houston is one of these. It is unlikely to ever rank on a “most livable” list, because it lacks the historic districts, quaintness, and walkability that seem to be prerequisites for inclusion in this club. Instead, it is comprised of mirrored glass towers, broken pavement, abandoned storefronts, ubiquitous strip malls, and other detritus of contemporary urban life (which are, incidentally, qualities that many Houstonians have affection for). It feels, at moments, much more like a relic of the developing world than a gleaming, wealthy northern metropolis.
At the very first edition of the World Architecture Festival China, the design of the Forest Sports Park was granted no less than two awards. During the live ceremony the project was first rewarded with the WAFChina 2020 for Excellent Design, later followed by the overall Best Landscape award. This new park for play, sport and relaxation is the result of a mutual design by LOLA Landscape Architects (NL), Taller architects (COL/NL) and Land and Civilization Compositions (CN).
Jordi Vivaldi: Since the end of the 20th century, we have been experiencing a shift in relation to our understanding of the notion of nature: we are moving from a conception of nature understood as Mother Nature (that is to say, a harmonic, perfect and secularized garden of Eden that only humans can disrupt), to another understanding of nature as being highly manipulable through technology (like in the recent cases of artificial DNA or the unfolding of the human genome). How do you think the notion of ecology should be interpreted given this new understanding of nature?
These materials and methods were developed at the Tufts University Living Materials Silklab, led by Dr. Fiorenzo Omenetto, and are part of a current effort to bridge science, technology, and art with design and the fabrication of living material everyday products. They were commissioned and supported in part by the Art and Science seed fund from the Office of the President at Tufts and by the U.S. Office of Naval Research and were performed in collaboration with the Center for Applied Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
The world of advanced materials is a highly competitive arena, but there is one company that could never fail. (…) That company is Life, and its materials the most advanced on the planet. — Phillip Ball 
RAU Architects, in collaboration with Ro&Ad Architects and with the Droomfonds project as the client, designed a huge wooden construction that lets people watch a rich variety of birds in a beautiful way. Thanks to the use of sustainable and circular materials and a unique shape, the fully rebuildable structure offers a genuine experience for every nature lover.
The hemp-built project Sunimplant took part in the recent edition of Solar Decathlon, the first to be held in Africa. The biannual editions of this international competition challenge teams, which include students, to develop highly efficient and innovative buildings, exclusively powered by solar energy. Sunimplant aims to be truly sustainable and therefore does not use technology alone to resolve higher energy-efficiency requirements, climate emergency demands considering environmental health by using corrective knowledge. Comfortable spaces let habitants maximize their well-being.
“It is said that architects always design the same building. In a sense I have always rewritten the same essay.”
In 1980, just a few months before the opening of the first International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, British architectural historian Kenneth Frampton resigned from the curatorial team. His co-curators, Paolo Portoghesi, Robert A. M. Stern, Charles Jencks, Christian Norberg-Schulz, and Vincent Scully, had settled on an approach that emphasized the glorification of the past and positioned postmodernism as an architectural style of historicist eclecticism, in fierce opposition to Frampton’s ideology. Although Frampton was critical of the legacy of the modern movement, he shared Jurgen Habermas’s commitment to “the unfinished project of modernity” and argued for an architecture that would resist the universalizing hegemony of the postmodern times he was witnessing.
Frampton’s “criticism from within,” as Léa-Catherine Szacka has suggested, prepared the field for alternative sensibilities in architecture through which his interest in the ground becomes apparent. In reaction to impending universalization, the historian argued for the specificities of place. In reaction to the postmodern reduction of architecture to images, he reclaimed expressive forms of architectural structure and tectonics. In reaction to the modernist tabula rasa, he emphasized the importance of site and topography. Frampton elaborated his vision in a sequence of texts, articles, books, lectures, and teaching modules, an exploration that had started a decade before his involvement in Venice and would climax in his seminal essay “Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance,” published in 1983.
Addressing the social component in the urban milieu is key, as we look to goals of sustainable development. Deborah Berke and David Goodman talk about the role of architects in crisis times, everyday architecture and how to be an engaged professional.
I meet with Eleni Gigantes and Elia Zenghelis in the inevitably spectacular golden haze of a late Athens afternoon. My hosts are waiting for me in the terrace of a bar across the street from the Athens Hilton, and I arrive a bit out of breath after having walked too briskly from Plaka, across Syntagma Square—where the entire Greek National Police force seemed to be marshaled in anticipation (or provocation?) of anti-Troika protesters—past the presidential palace and the remnants of the 1896 Olympic games, down a busy boulevard choked with smog and French hatchbacks, and through a quiet neighborhood of sturdy and dignified neo-modernist 1960s housing blocks, where roughly half of the street-level storefronts stand empty and for rent.
I am greeted with a sincere warmth and familiarity that feels at once entirely natural and somehow surprising, as I have never before met Eleni, and have only met Elia once, a few months earlier, for a lecture and jury in Segovia.
At some point in our conversation, I take an absurdly large microphone out of my bag, turn it on, and we begin to discuss the first of the many questions I’d prepared. This is the only one of those questions we would address, as the conversation moves in fascinating turns I’d not anticipated, complete with brief engagements with psychic healing, Communists, snakes, and exploding mountains. Through it all: a focus on tourism, territory, infrastructure, and the possibility of intelligence in planning.
It is dark and we are hungry by the time I put the microphone away.
As a continuation of the research into growing soft roots for use in living structural applications, we intend to design and fabricate a lightweight, modular alternative to the aeroponic system constructed with Treenovations in June 2016. Conceptualized as an individual ‘spacesuit’ for each plant, this apparatus generates and maintains a precisely conditioned adaptable environment in which growth can be promoted, monitored and controlled. Utilizing more sophisticated materials and technologies enable this system to become a transportable and deployable solution for growing programmable architectures on-site, as well as a smart monitoring device linked to an online database of life cycle analyses – aiming to iterate, discover and optimize the environmental conditions for maximally accelerated root growth over generations of plants. The eventual aim is to develop a living structural system, from which entire architectures can be ‘grown-to-order’; pleaching the individual trees to form a composite structure.
With its precarious relationship to water and lack of disaster preparedness, Southern California is in need of innovative architectural ideas that are simple to integrate into everyday life. In response to this real-world challenge, graduate students from a research seminar at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, led by Chair and Associate Professor Heather Roberge, in collaboration with Mary and David Martin’s MADWORKSHOP, have unveiled two prototypes that present a potential solution: Succulent Walls.
The Voxel is a project developed by the team of students and researchers of the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) of the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) which takes place at Valldaura Labs, under the direction of Daniel Ibáñez and Vicente Guallart.
The Voxel is a prototype of an advanced ecological building constructed with natural km.0 materials and industrialized techniques in the natural park of Collserola (Barcelona, Spain). The project proposes a space for confinement as an architectural solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interview filmed within the Responsive Cities Symposium organized by the Advanced Architecture Group of IAAC, Barcelona November 2019.
Interview by Marta Bugés.
Filmed by Chiara Cesareo.
Edited by Sara Traba.
urbanNext interviews Rachel Armstrong on microbial architecture and new technologies that could turn users into producers of their own resources.
The last few decades have confirmed the evidence of a spectacular change of scale (and paradigms) in the definition of our spaces of live and sociability – of our own habitats and our cities – linked with the accelerated increase in mobility and long-distance communication, the delocalization of exchanges, and the technological and material capacity of transformation of our environment.
A global process connected, also, with the digital rising capacity to combine overlapped and simultaneous parameters of information. The contemporary multi-city evidences, more and more, its dynamic and complex condition, that is the nature of a territorial and informational system.
Ibai Rigby interviews Mason White at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture about his practice and the idea of Architecture as a byproduct of complex networks within ecology and culture.
MVRDV has completed construction of Concordia Design, a mixed-use building containing co-working spaces, an event venue, a food hall, a café, and a rooftop terrace on Słodowa Island in Wrocław, Poland. The project is a renovation and extension of a 19th-century listed building, retaining the façade of the existing building and adding a contemporary extension to create a focal point for the neighboring park and a destination that will enhance the experience of the island for visitors.
‘When I speak of complexity, I use the elementary Latin meaning of the word “complexus” — “that which is woven together”. The constituent parts differ, but the overall effect is as in a tapestry. The real problem (with reforming thinking) is that we have learnt too well how to separate things. It would be better for us to learn how to bind things together. “Binding together” is more than creating an end-to-end connection: it means establishing a connection that forms a loop. Indeed in French the word for “binding together” (relier) includes the syllable re, meaning “return”, which represents the loop turning back on itself. A loop is autoproductive. Life originates with the creation of a kind of loop, a kind of natural machinery that loops round on itself and produces increasingly diverse elements that make up a complex being that will be alive. The world auto-produced itself in an extremely mysterious fashion; knowledge today has to have instruments — fundamental concepts — that are necessary before any binding together can be possible.’ 
In 2008, 23 public schools were about be closed by D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, whose political agenda included aggressive educational reform, claiming that public education in the US, particularly in troubled urban neighbourhoods, had been broken for a long time. At the beginning of his term, public schools in DC were considered the lowest performing in the US. Collapsed infrastructure, non-merit-based teacher salaries, and bloated central office bureaucracy were said to be the main causes of low performing students. He had defined the problem and aimed to fix it.
Location: Plateau de Saclay, France
Area: 23.000 m2
Photography: Maxime Delvaux
Room with a View
– What do you see?
– I see the air full of ideas, the trees undulating, the inhabited void, the boundaries evaporating, the city and its blocks, the dawn, the day, the twilight and the night, the images scrolling by, the garden in the center, the inner landscape, the memory of the cloister, the passing time, the suspended time, the erased time, the wind weavers weaving, people walking, people waiting, people interrupting, people talking, things evolving, the weft that governs, the weft that rhymes, the weft that arranges, the weft that distances, the reversible floors, the near and the far, the generous rigor, the concrete slabs and columns, the subtle variations of registers and atmospheres, the love at first sight and the reason, temporal collisions, inevitable ambiguity, the same old songs, the range of surprises and wonders of the world, the identical that is declining, the mix of activities, those who were there before, those who are there and those who will be there, those who would like to stay there forever, the theme and the variation, economy and efficiency, the collective and the individual, variety and nuance, accident and surprise, la fièvre d’Urbicande, the light levelling off the ground, the unthought and the unexpected, the expression of all, the appropriation of each, the functional spatial logic, the potential conversion, the possible infinity and much more.
In the harbor area, a narrow stretch of land along a dock is freed from port activities. A very simple ‘chop stick’ urban plan is developed by O.M.A. in which green open pockets alternate with dense construction. In order to offer a notion of centrality to the linear plan, a public path is meant to cross the whole strip.
The vertical apartment building, or so-called PH [which stands for the Spanish phrase “propiedad horizontal,” or horizontal property in English] is perhaps the most intellectually underestimated architectural program in Argentina, an uncanny combination of both economical speculation driven by private developers and construction companies, and the constraints of an over-subdivided urban grid that provides very narrow plots for actual interventions. A major percentage of the city has been, and continues to be, built according to a typology that celebrates homogeneity and monotony.
One year after the national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and still far from re-establishing the usual urban pulse, it is worth stopping to observe some aspects in the transformation of the behavior of cities during the days of stricter confinement. Beginning on March 14, 2020, only essential services were allowed to continue operating: food stores, pharmacies and health facilities were, during a period of eight weeks, part of the few shutters that were raised at ground level in the city. The new “stay at home” routine radically changed urban performance with an unprecedented reduction of mobility and a radical shift of social circles into the digital scene.
The deep-seated global transformation currently underway has challenged assumed notions of the relationships between people and their environments. Urban in character and based on everyday life observations and visual documentation, the images in this essay speak about the triggers of this transformation in New York City: namely the pandemic and social movements in 2020 after the lockdown was lifted. Taken close to the one-year anniversary, from this temporal vantage point these images are illustrative, not in a comprehensive way, but as a snapshot of the awakening to economic stress, psychological and cultural shock, and social justice. Overarching in tone and impact, this selection points at the complexity of a reckoning with established patterns, in many instances forced and prompted by the cultural transformation provoked by the pandemic and its concomitant repercussions, collectively phased.
The Fai Chi Kei social housing project is an investigation of the role of a single building in the broader context of a high-density city, of the role of public space within the plot, and the role of the common areas in the overall economy of the project. It is an exercise in the orderly stacking of over 700 apartments and the definition of a vertical neighborhood.
The complex is located at the northern end of Avenida Juárez, which links the historic district with the university area. This new construction arises as an opportunity to concentrate the dispersed activity around this area and to create a new hub for cultural and economic activity, both at the local and metropolitan level.
This new mixed-use building is located in the Parc d’Activitats de Viladecans. The aim of this project is to build a new building that offers multipurpose spaces for rent, with the ability to embrace the diversity of purposes that were planned. These are complemented by common areas that interact, including parking lots and other services.
The commission was an office building project located in Curuguaty, 350 km from the capital, Asunción, in an area dedicated to agriculture and raising livestock. The dilemma is how to build in the middle of nowhere.
The membrane of the [inflatable] structure becomes an extension of one’s skin, seen from inside the body, as it indents, sweats and changes shape, as the person inside moves over and through various locations. . . . We are all part of an energy continuum throughout the universe. . . .Understanding of energy processes is reaching the point where the wave emissions of the body and brain can be registered and measured, opening up the possibility of ultimate environmental control. . . . We are not alienated by technological hardware, but freed by technological forecasting, control and simulation of the elements. —Graham Stevens, “Pneumatics and Atmospheres,” Architectural Design
This is the second in a series of articles which explores the complexities of moving in Nairobi through the eyes of four commuters as they walk, ride motorcycles (boda boda), take buses (matatu), and hire Ubers from the wealthy neighborhoods adjacent to the United Nations to the low-income communities in the city center. Three and a half million people move through this East African capital every day, and the lack of coordinated transportation planning often causes the city to grind to a halt. Our second story is about Kevin Karani, the conductor of the famous Mad Cow matatu.
UrbanNext talks to Ricky Burdett, Urban Age and LSE Cities Director, and Philipp Rode, LSE Cities Executive Director, about how cities have evolved in the last 25 years and how they understand and address the issues that are affecting urban environments in the book Shaping Cities in an Urban Age.
The design is for a two-family house for the owner, who runs a tropical plant farm with the whole family. In the countryside of Japan, farmland and residential land are adjacent to each other and are mixed. The owner of this project purchased a site consisting of three types of land: residential land, farmland (with a road) and farmland (without a road).
Selected and built as the winning proposal resulting from a design competition organized by the American Institute of Architects New York, the Structural Engineers Association of New York and Figment, the Head in the Clouds Pavilion on New York City’s Governors Island originated with the desire to create a “place to dream in the city of dreams”. Made from 53,780 recycled plastic bottles – the number of bottles thrown away in New York City in one hour – it is a space that visitors can enter to contemplate the light and color filtering through the “cloud” from the inside out.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Peter F. Drucker
Colab-19 is an architecture laboratory based in Bogotá and London. We design sustainable spaces for post-pandemic situations with low-cost and innovative architectural solutions. We contend that these interventions must be coordinated and connected with the vision and needs of the city. In doing so, collaboration between the public, private, and academic sectors is necessary to empower our cities in a more resilient way.
This chapter discusses a series of projects that revolve around the Pleat, a fashion and textile technique I have explored to develop an understanding around where fashion, textile design can be used to develop architecture, and how the differences in these approaches can be used to develop an architecture that considers material, structure, skin and form at the same time and not a separate processes. Through the design and fabrication explorations of the Pleat, I have applied the lessons learned from the previous collaborations with fashion and textile design, discarded peripheral directions, and established a way of operating for future projects. The projects discussed in this chapter include the Pleat Pod, Pleat Pavilion and Pleatent. These projects have used the process of developing smaller tests or croquis developed through the collaborations to inform the larger architectural propositions of the Pleat projects. The images in this section document the processes taken, problems encountered and resolutions to communicate the benefits and possibilities of working in the space between fashion, textile design and architecture.
Excerpt from AA Files 76 published by the Architectural Association.
Architecture is in need of care – dependent on maintenance, cleaning and daily upkeep to sustain its existence. From its beginnings architecture has been conceived of as a shelter for the protection of human life. Architecture protects us and therefore we care for it. By understanding architecture and care in this manner, it is possible to connect it to the concepts of social reproduction and its everyday labour as well as to the deficiency of a reproducible resources at an environmental scale. From this perspective, care inarchitecture is thus concerned with a ‘politics of reproduction’ – a political critique of the current struggles not only with respect to the global labour force but also within the terrain of climate change.
The city can be discriminating, from its policy to its infrastructure, or public space to private toilet space. It can sometimes designed without considering women and the most vulnerable member of society. Join us as we talk how the city can be a safe space for everyone with our guest: the author of ‘No Place to Go’, Lezlie Lowe.
Eight members of the Spaces of Commoning research group sit around a large office table. They are organizing a summer school called “Commoning the City” and it is one of their last meetings before the event. They are still undecided on how to organize the provision of food:
A: So, I spoke to the organic food store and they said they could deliver a meal each day including salad for quite a reasonable price.
B: I still like the idea that summer school participants prepare food together. It’s a way of getting to know one another and it could become part of our knowledge production.
C: On paper this sounds great, but if you think about it, there would always be a group spending the whole morning organizing and preparing food. When you think of our dense program, we just don’t have enough time …
D: Have you ever organized collective cooking as part of an event? It eats up all the time and attention and pretty much dominates the entire setting. Do we really want this? We have so many interesting guests coming!
C: And cooking is one thing, but afterward, washing the dishes?
E: Still, I think it would be great if everyone is involved in the reproductive parts of the summer school—it’s part of the issue at stake. If each person attends one shift during the week it could really work. It’s half of a day you would miss.
F: I think C is right, I didn’t think about dishwashing. That’s a hassle. It really puts me off.
A: I can ask if the organic food store can take care of the dishes as well.
For centuries, architecture and gender has been a silent debate but in the last decades there has been a very fruitful conversation about how design can have biased implications. This has awaken the need to find which strategies can lead to the building of more gender inclusive cities.
Inés Sánchez de Madariaga, director of the UNESCO Chair on Gender and professor of urban planning at Technical University of Madrid, talks about designing a gender inclusive urban environment and women in participatory processes.
In his article “1980–2000: Pomofobi och uppsving,” the architect Thomas Hellquist (2001) argues that an avoidance of postmodernism, what he calls “pomophobia,” ruled the architectural establishment in the early years of the 1980s. This interpretation seems reasonable, as few practitioners would have called themselves postmodernists, but revisiting the period today, can we reframe the postmodern turn in Swedish architecture to broaden the picture? Looking more closely into the international postmodern discourse, another picture develops, one where the Swedish case is not an exception but an important historiographical piece influencing the understanding of the bigger picture. If the concept of “postmodernism” was unclear from the start—as Charles Jencks wrote in 1975, “The only way to kill off the monster is to find a substitute beast to take its place and decidedly ‘Post Modern’ won’t do the job” (Jencks 1975: 3)—revisiting the discussion today is even more confusing. The attempts to define the concept all share a critique of modernism, and they signify that a shift could be formal, social, or political. Otherwise, the lowest common denominator seems to be the contradictions inherent in the discourse. However, postmodernism has left us (as modernism did) with a sedimented idea of a “style” in architecture and certain conceptions of a discursive content.
In 1994, Tokyo was already a city with one of the lowest crime rates. With only 60 crimes per 100,000 people, it had earned a reputation as one of the safest cities. Unfortunately, not everyone experiences the same sense of safety: at least 70% of women commuters have experienced harassment. A women’s group in Osaka, Japan’s second-largest city, says three-quarters of women in their 20s and 30s who responded to a questionnaire reported encountering a groper— or chikan in Japanese, at least once.
We as Voices of Women are building conversations and taking actions to raise awareness to combat pervasive prejudices and disrespectful behaviour that appears to be systemic in our culture and discipline.
In the 7th session from Nature of Enclosure, Jeffrey S. Nesbit is joined by Daniel A. Barber, Daisy Ames and Mae-ling Lokko to reflect on climate change, air quality, and cultures from within the architectural envelopes as the Nature of Enclosure.
Located in Rotterdam’s Museumpark, the depot features a new type of experience for museum visitors: a sturdy engine room where the complete collection of 151,000 objects is made accessible to the public. In addition to the various storage and care areas, the depot has a restaurant and an award-winning rooftop forest at a height of 35 meters. The construction completion paves the way for interior furnishings and the long process of moving the museum’s complete collection into its new storage facility.
Our built environment is in the process of reorganizing itself, redistributing densities of buildings, population and activities. Cities are expanding, growing and sprawling, while at the same time their centers and downtowns are shrinking, disappearing, voiding out. This process of growth and redistribution has been partially described by terms such as sprawl, suburbs (with roots in the American context), wild living and the diffuse city (‘città diffusa’, mostly referring to the European context). Dispersal functions as an umbrella term for these phenomena, by zooming out and describing them as part of a larger global tendency. In this context, Cities of Dispersal can be recognized as an emerging type of low-density environments; decentralized, heterogenous, radically different from traditional definitions of the city in their spatial organization and patterns of growth.
Pontsteiger (‘ferry pier’) is a large-scale residential project in Amsterdam, NL. The building is located at the end of a 200-metre dam that projects into the water of the River IJ. The ‘Big Friendly Giant’ foreshadows Amsterdam’s growth of high-rise buildings around the River IJ. The design creates not just an iconic object but a public space within itself.
Last December, the Catalan Generalitat passed a law regulating the construction and rental of community housing, known as co-housing. This defines a type of micro-house that allows the interior to be reduced to a minimum of 24m², adding another 12m² (to reach the minimum space standard of 36m²) of shared spaces, which would optimise functional spaces such as laundries, work areas or communal living rooms. This model is based on continuous interaction between users and aims to promote social cohesion.
Recently this type of housing was partially tested in tutored housing for older people or in cooperative housing projects such as La Borda, in the Sants neighbourhood, or the Xarxaire building, which is starting to be built in Barceloneta.
However, the idea of attributing urban qualities to housing using external spaces and co-use of some of its areas has a long history.
La Borda defines itself as the first housing cooperative following the model of cession of use to be developed in Barcelona and built on public land. The initiative emerged in the context of the urban renewal of Can Batlló, a former industrial site located in the district of Sants-Monjuïc (Barcelona).
In June 2011, after 30 years of waiting for the transformation of Can Batlló, the neighborhood of Sants took the initiative and occupied the site with the aim of organizing it themselves.
Location: New York, USA
Area: 92.900 m2
Situated on the former site of Brooklyn’s historic Rheingold Brewery, Denizen Bushwick will generate 1,000,000 square feet of apartment units in Bushwick, 20% of which will be affordable. The project will host a multitude of communal spaces open to the neighborhood, while a 17,850 square foot public park will bisect the development creating a green promenade and two 400 feet by 200 feet blocks. These masses are further perforated by a sequence of meandering, interconnected courtyards which ultimately lead to the promenade. Over the pair of these NY city blocks, ODA superimposed the layout of woven streets in a typical old town core. Denizen Bushwick features a fragmented façade with rust-colored, deeply recessed windows.
The terms block, superblock, and megablock indicate an increasing capacity and scale of urban form and organization over time. This ascending sequence marks the block as an element in a clear urban hierarchy associated with ever-larger cities: the historical city, the modern metropolis and megalopolis, and now the emerging megacities of Asia.
The scale of block dimensions has shifted over time as the block’s area has been enlarged from its small-scale, early beginnings to grid formations with 0.6-hectare blocks, 6.5-hectare superblocks, and megablocks of 65 hecatres or more. Blocks can form regular or irregular networks of streets, designed by collective use or by landowners intent on development. In each case, the block design is often devoted to a single use as the scale increases, reducing the mix of uses in the name of efficiency. At the same time, the grid, or network of streets, provides a framework for nesting multiple blocks of single uses within the city. As the scale of the city expands, regular blocks nest inside superblocks, which in turn nest within megablocks.
Historically, the nesting of blocks provided a potent system of urban organization that only changed when the increasing pace, scale, and sequencing of development created new hierarchies, allowing modern cities to expand in superblocks across open territories. Initially this new approach required the segregation and sorting of all functions, but with more advanced communication and information systems, new hybrids and mixtures have become possible in the megablocks of both rapidly expanding and shrinking cities.
Kleiburg is one of the biggest apartment buildings in the Netherlands: a bend slab with 500 apartments, 400 meters long, 10 + 1 stories high.
Kleiburg is located in the Bijlmermeer, a CIAM inspired residential expansion of Amsterdam designed in the 1960s by Siegfried Nassuth of the city planning department. De Bijlmer was intended as a green, light and spacious alternative for the inner city, which was degraded at the time.
The Bijlmer was designed as a single project, a composition of slabs based on a hexagonal grid, an attempt to create a vertical garden city.
This article focuses on the EPM or Portuguese School of Macau and on the building’s struggle to “survive” as a post-classic monument in a city that navigates a fragile balance when it comes to heritage conservation.
The Portuguese School of Macau, previously known as Escola Pedro Nolasco, or Escola Comercial, designed by the Portuguese architect Raúl Chorão Ramalho, is a significant building included as part of the continued infrastructure interventions in the colonial territories by the GCU – Gabinete Colonial de Urbanização. It reflects the conflict of discourse of the 20th century, trying to re-invent a place for architecture through the management of light, open space (the open plan), orientation, natural ventilation, proportion, submission to a total system of order and universalism. The plastic expression of the materials (concrete, glass and steel), and the urban situation of the complex are solid manifestations of both the paradigm of Modernism and its re-discovery of the East as a purifying journey.
The challenge was to reinvent one of Australia’s most visited public places – the Darling Harbour precinct in central Sydney.
The new precinct is a ‘people magnet’ where Sydney comes together to relax, to do business, to be entertained, to enjoy city living – and to share their experiences (hello, Instagram).
The transformation of this 20-hectare precinct was a pivotal urban renewal project for Sydney. A once-in-a-generation chance to create a ‘must see’ destination complete with convention centre, theatres and events spaces – all tied together with an array of parks, water features, plazas and paths for walkers and cyclists.
urbanNext interviews Huw Turner and Mauro Baracco on Repair and the Weave Youth and Community Services at the Australian Pavilion of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia.
Emergent Topographies is a collaborative work by Firas Safieddine and Yasser Sinjab and was a winning project at the AI Artathon. It was recently showcased at the Global AI Summit in Riyadh, KSA.
Through a very wide lens, Emergent Topographies is a video installation and a collaborative digital artwork that deals with current clinical elements of the spatiotemporal ecosystem of data objects, topographically demonstrated through geodata and biodata examined by artificial intelligence.
The artwork explores the artistic applications of artificial intelligence, specifically using a generative adversarial network (GAN). The data that is generated is ultimately illustrated using an agent-based behavioral algorithm to visualize the morphing behavior using the mapping aesthetic of a connectome.