LUP (Laboratoire d'urbanisme participatif/Participative Urban Planning Lab)

LUP (Laboratoire d'urbanisme participatif, participative urban planning laboratory) is atelier d'Architecture autogérée (aaa)'s irregular periodical.

Founded in 2001 by Doina Petrescu and Constantin Petcou, Atelier d'Architecture Autogérée is Paris-based collective platform, which conducts actions and resurch on urban mutations and cultural, social and political emerging practices in the contemporary city. Not only architects, but also artists, students, activists, researchers, theoreticians, and residents work with aaa. Their goal is to valorise the position of the resident/user as political condition and to develop strategies to reterritorialise residents' space of proximity, decision and action within the city.

Since summer 2008, aaa has been working on Rurban, a project that explores the ecological, economic and social complementaries between 4 axes of territories : collective/shared housing, local development, bio-agriculture and inter-culture. Rurban is accompanied with workshop and discussion with guests, participants, as mentioned above. These programs constitute the framework of LUP Peridodical. aaa's philosophy is that a 'self-managed architecture' can provoke assemblages and networks of individuals, desires and different manners of making. So should LUP Periodical be considered: a self-made magazine, a simple A3 Newspaper-style format, including a glossary for urban planning and architecture non-specialists. The design is made by Anne Desrivières (aaa).

I have two samples (#10 and #12) of this periodical, unfortunately in French, and I am not sure that the periodical includes English-version. The first one presents their project entitled "Rurban", the second one has been made with Katrin Bohn. I am waiting for a possible new issue made in collaboration with Ecosistema Urbano who took part in their workshop last June.

LUP can be downloaded in aaa's website : www.urbantacticts.org.

LUP #10 and #12 and their latest publication "Urban Act. A Handbook for Alternative Practice" can be ordered here. Therefore, in their website, one can find English-version of articles written in collaboration with Philosopher Tony Negri and on their manifold projects such as ECO-box.


New Suginami ward ? New Itô Tôyô's Za-Koenji Public Theater

In the 1990s, I have had the chance to live in Tôkyô, a wonderful city that I felt in love with. I've lived in Suginami ward, a suburban ward located in the west side of Shinjuku, and Nakano. I've lived, precisely, in Iogi district (Seibu Shinjuku Line). At this time, I was fond of this ward but I found it a little bit polluted (asthma has not helped me at this time). Suginami was a high densety residential ward with small and medium scaled-houses (mostly single-detached houses and medium-scaled apartments). Recently, large-scaled buildings raised out : Suginami is now an heterogeneous landscape like most of Tokyo wards (a Urban village to quote Tsukamoto Yoshiharu of Atelier Bow-Wow).
I was reading 5 minutes ago Julian Worrall's article entitled "A Sculptured Chunk" (Icon Magazine, August issue). My eyes stopped on an wonderful curved meteoritic, implanted between small, medium and large-scaled houses and buildings.
Za-Koenji Public Theatre is Itô Tôyô's latest project. The building is a community theatre with international aspirations. The volumes are vertically stacked with 230-seat auditorium and, 250-300 seat conventional theater. It articulates studio, foyers, cafe and ancillary spaces.
I am attracted by the form of this building. The skin looks like a turtle carapace. It is made of homogenous metal skin shelters.
As Julian Worral notes, Itô Tôyô explores the potential of forms and structure : Sendai Mediatheque, Tower of Winds Yokohama, Tod's Omotesando, Mikimoto Ginza are several examples that illustrate his interest for the relationship of the structure and the form. The goal of his reseach is to find new spatial conditions.
Londoners may remember of his project for Serpentine Gallery, that he realised in 2002. The building was made of a composite of panels composed of a primary member and secondary stabilizers, all forming part of the pattern. But Za-Koenji Public Theatre form is more modest. Another and last particularity is the skins that have been perforated with small glass circle, a strategy that permits light to penetrate the building — light is one of Tokyo major problems due to high density of its urban fabric, legislation and regulation of construction, in Japanese cities, require, therefore, a rate sufficient of light for houses and buildings.
I am planning to go to Tokyo for a research that concerns the urban design of its residential and commersidential areas, specially the residential and commersidential tiny plots and buildings. I will go to visit Za-Koenji Public Theatre site. Sounds exciting.

Source : Julian Worrall, "A Sculptured Chunk", in Icon Magazine, August 2009.
Pictures are from Coolboom website : http://coolboom.net/architecture/za-koenji-public-theatre-by-toyo-ito/


WPA 2.0

WPA 2.0, or Working Architecture Public is an open competition that seeks to explore the Obama Government's urban renewal consisting of infrastructure investments, new housing, etc. WPA is a paraphrase of WPA or Works Progress Administration of 1939. Register Deadline is July, 24, 2009.
I post here the content of the competition :

Jury: Stan Allen,Cecil Balmond, Elizabeth Diller, Walter Hood, Thom Mayne, Marilyn Jordan Taylor

WPA 2.0: an open design competition for working public architecture organized and sponsored by cityLAB

cityLAB, an urban think tank at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design, announces a call for entries to “WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture.” WPA 2.0 is an open competition that seeks innovative, implementable proposals to place infrastructure at the heart of rebuilding our cities during this next era of metropolitan recovery. WPA 2.0 recalls the Depression-era Works Projects Administration (1935-43), which built public buildings, parks, bridges, and roads across the nation as an investment in the future—one that has, in turn, become a lasting legacy. We encourage projects that explore the value of infrastructure not only as an engineering endeavor, but as a robust design opportunity to strengthen communities and revitalize cities. Unlike the previous era, the next generation of such projects will require surgical integration into the existing urban fabric, and will work by intentionally linking systems of points, lines and landscapes; hybridizing economies with ecologies; and overlapping architecture with planning. This notion of infrastructural systems is intentionally broad, including but not limited to parks, schools, open space, vehicle storage, sewers, roads, transportation, storm water, waste, food systems, recreation, local economies, 'green' infrastructure, fire prevention, markets, landfills, energy-generating facilities, cemeteries, and smart utilities.

Objectives and Priorities

Beyond the mere replacement of obsolete or overtaxed infrastructure, WPA 2.0 seeks design ideas that exploit the opportunity for such solutions to be leveraged, through nested scales of thinking, into strategies that catalyze a larger and more visible public benefit. In this respect, it is looking for proposals that put architecture back to work through designs that:

- are embedded with added value (multifunctionality, imageability, public presence),
- represent potential prototypes, adaptable for use in numerous locations,
- are locally self-regulated and controlled (i.e. which “unlock” the grid),
- strategically attract investment and/or generate community stability, and
- generate new sustainability practices.

More About the Competition

Designers of all fields are eligible to submit for this competition, which is staged in two phases. Multi-disciplinary teams are particularly encouraged, in the belief that design invention comes from more integrated approaches to problem-solving--whether by applying new thinking to old problems, or old thinking to new ones--to yield visionary hybrid forms and relationships.

From the first stage submittals, up to six proposals will be selected by a jury of world-renowned design professionals to advance to a second stage. Each finalist team will receive $5,000 in order to develop its preliminary design in greater detail. Team representatives will travel to Los Angeles for a workshop in which they will present their proposals to and receive feedback from leading experts in fields relevant to infrastructure and urban redevelopment, such as policy, energy, infrastructure systems, urban agriculture, planning, market analysis and land use development.

The fully-developed proposals will be presented on Monday, November 16, 2009 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. in a day-long symposium that includes jury members, nationally-recognized experts on infrastructure, and a selection of officials involved with recently-passed stimulus plans and their implementation.

The final projects, along with video from the workshops and symposium, jury commentary, and media coverage, will be featured in a web exhibition launched by cityLAB in February 2010. The proposals will also be featured as part of a larger coverage of the symposium in The Architect’s Newspaper."

For further information please see WPA 2.0 website : http://wpa2.aud.ucla.edu/info/

The competition is organised into 2 stages. The first one could be considered as a consultation as following :

"Stage 1: Request for Proposals

Proposals shall consist of a digital design sketchbook that outlines and illustrates your proposal's
- core premise and objectives (the problem you are addressing and how you intend to address it),
- inventiveness,
- design approach, developed at a conceptual level, and
- opportunities for implementation (qualities that are tangible and concrete, such as why or how it might be financed)

The proposal can be for a real or speculative project, for one or more real sites, so long as it is as yet unbuilt, and located in the U.S. Further, the proposal need not be generated exclusively for this competition, provided that it addresses the intent of the competition. It may be the result of earlier research or the reworking of an unrealized project.

Submission Requirements

The sketchbook should include both visual and textual information, with pages formatted vertically 8.5” by 11”: either in single sides or as double-page spreads. Its length must not exceed 10 sides. The digital file, in PDF format @ 300 dpi, should not exceed 10 MB. No identifying information should be included, as entries will be presented and judged anonymously. The presence of identifying information will be grounds for automatic disqualification. To identify submissions, each applicant will receive a registration number that must appear on the first page of the proposal, lower right corner.

Supplemental information may be included in a separate digital file of the same dimensions and format as the sketchbook, not to exceed 4 pages/sides and a total of 4 MB. Letters of support from those who might have a role in realizing the proposition, or can testify to its plausibility, would be useful here, as long as those letters are about the project itself, and not about the team or its ability to execute it. This additional file may also be used as an opportunity to allow entrants to give evidence of past projects, research, or publications that enable the jury to see how they think. In no case, however, may the file, (projects, letters, etc.) contain any information that might reveal the identity of any team members. Doing so will result in the disqualification of the entire submittal.

Submissions may be sent on DVRs to:

Department of Architecture and Urban Design
1317 Perloff Hall, Box 951467
University of California
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1467

Submissions may be emailed, using YouSendIt (http://wwww,yousendit.com) to transfer the files to hhiggins@ucla.edu.


All submissions are non-returnable and all registration fees are non-refundable. Decisions regarding finalists and winners are at the discretion of the selected jury and cityLAB.

cityLAB and UCLA retain the right to use any and all submitted work for press, publication, and/or exhibition purposes. Copyright to the work is retained by the original author teams. It is the responsibility of all entrants to verify the viability and quality of their CD/DVD submittal and files. cityLAB will notify teams if their submissions are damaged or corrupt, but take no responsibility for loss or damage to files or mail. Please proofread, spell check, and test all files prior to final submission.

There is no maximum number of submissions that may be made by any one team or individual team member, however the same proposal may not be made to both the professional and student categories of the competition; doing so will result in the disqualification of BOTH submittals. Every submission must be individually registered, with fees paid. Members of the Board of Advisors and regular employees of cityLAB, their immediate family members, and competition jurors are ineligible to submit proposals to WPA 2.0 or WPA 2.0 (SE)."

as for the second stage, it is as following:

"Stage 2: Design Development

Up to six finalists will be selected from the first phase submissions to advance to the second stage of the competition. Their proposals will be further developed and refined for presentation and discussion at the November 16 symposium in Washington, D.C., at which the jury and national policymakers will be present to discuss them. Deliverables for the final submissions will center around the production of a roughly 10 minute digital animation sequence illustrating the project from differing vantage points and scales, as well as its strategy of implementation over time, if relevant. Other requirements, if any, will be determined in consultation with the finalists themselves (drawing types and scales, etc.)

A representative from each team will participate in a cityLAB-organized experts’ workshop in Los Angeles during the first week of September. Winning entries will be announced at the symposium's conclusion, and up to two representatives from each team will be invited to share their work at a press conference on Capitol Hill the day after the symposium."

And the jury is: ELisabeth Diller (Diller, Scofidio & Renfro), Thom Mayne (Morphosis), Cecil Balmond, Walter Hood, Marilyn Jordan Taylor, and Stan Allen.

Of course competition is followed by awards :

"Over $30,000 in prize money to be awarded!

WPA 2.0

$5,000 to as many as six professional competition finalists to continue to develop their proposals. Fully-developed, second phase proposals will be presented on Monday, November 16, 2009 at the National Building Museum to an audience of policymakers, practitioners, critics and scholars.

WPA 2.0 (SE)

Up to six WPA 2.0 (SE) student submissions will be chosen to be exhibited in Washington, DC, and their authors will be invited to attend the symposium. At the symposium event, the jury will select a first prize with a cash award of $500. All exhbited projects will be included in the cityLAB web exhibition."

The WPA 2.0 website contains also a pdf format document that develops and sums up this programme. Please download it. Don't forget one but important thing : the register deadline, I repeat, is July 24, 2009. As for the proposal, the proposal deadline is August 7, 2009.
As the programme is based on Obama Government's urban policies, I invite you to see my.barackobama.com that will give you more information on his programme for new American cities. You may have an first look on the WPA 2.0 competition, especially if you are not American, (so directly concerned but interested on American urban design). Also CityLab Website where you can find other informations.

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