Call for competition | Territories | Money || Think Space

Zagreb-based Think Space announced last week the new curators for the 2013/14 cycle. Barcelona-based dpr-barcelona will be in charged of the curatorial development of this year. The publishing and curatorial platform has chosen Money as main topic to this new edition. What if our cities were able to evolve without money? How economic flows reflect in the configuration of cities? How would it look like a "right of the city" initiative in a tax haven state? Can we design new territories that operate outside the traditional economic guidelines? Which is the role of the architect within this scenario (if there's one)? are a few questions that the curators will be exploring.

The whole presentation can be read on Think Space for further information.

Tonight will be the launch event and you are invited to participate in the discussion by submitting questions, or comment, to the curators, team, guests at 6:00 pm either at Think Space — if you are in Zagreb and nearby — or right in their Facebook page.

As usual, this edition is articulated around two parts: competition and call for papers. These call for submission will be examined by a jury composed of Keller Easterling, David Garcia and Pedro Gadanho.

Money 2013 Competition consists of three themes: Territories (curated by Map Architects' founder David Garcia), Culture and Society (not yet announced), and Environment (not yet announced).
Territories is the first competition to be launched earlier today. An open call for a design competition to discuss, address the economic and geopolitical future of the Arctic lands. As presented on Think Space — and I merely summarize the outline of this call for submission — Territories looks for a design proposal that tackles the present economic and territorial challenges in the present and future of the Arctic lands.

How can these seemingly antagonistic fields of action and clear political strategies be engaged via a clear design proposal? In communities where everything, except fish, has to be flown or shipped in, what alternatives can be devised to cur down on subsidy dependence? Is there a strategy that can circumnavigate natural resource exploitation, alternate sea routes to the economic advantage of each of the Arctic lands? In a land where 65% of the territory is protected, who owns the territory, polar bears, scientists or other future tenants?

About the competition general guidelines, I encourage the future participant to check out Think Space where she will find the information she needs for her submission including fees. Registration will be opened October 1 to December 3, 2013.

Any questions should be sent before September 30. Then, submission deadline is by November 4. Finally results will be announced December 3.

If you are interested or have any questions to the curators, go to Think Space's website. I will go back to this cycle in the near future, at least, when I'll have more information on the two other competitions.


Competition | San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, a Proposal by The Open Workshop

San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters is a proposal by The Open Workshop for the Fire Department Headquarters Competition, San Francisco.

The Open Workshop is a multidisciplinary architecture firm that aims at exploring the concept of an open work, first coined by Umberto Ecco, through the intersection of architecture, urbanism and landscape design. I'm planning an email conversation with his founder Neeraj Bhatia, also founder of Petropia, member of InfraNet Lab (with Lateral Office's Lola Sheppard), author of the forthcoming book The Petropolis of Tomorrow (co-edited by Mary Casper), and co-editor (with Lola Sheppard) of the second volume Bracket.

I am curious about Bhatia's practice within these structures and his research on infrastructure, more specifically on social infrastructure, and related topics. As we will see, Neeraj Bhatia elaborates a new form of practice based on the integration of architecture, landscape, infrastructure and urbanism. In addition, he addresses the interrelations of the human system and the ecological system, the local and the global, the transformation of territories for industrial purposes. The conversation will be focusing on two projects among his growing projects within respectively Petropia and The Open Workshop: Oil Endpires and Recon-Figure.

Below The Open Workshop's entry he just shared on archinect for the San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters Competition:

Inflected Frontality
A fire station typically has two distinct zones — one that reaches outwards to the city and acts as a monumental symbol of protection, and one that contains the hidden inner workings of the station. In a large headquarters, with a diverse set of programs each with their own unique spatial requirements, such a strategy untenable. Instead this proposal divides select components of the fire station and arrays them onto the pier to activate two zones — a surface and a voided room. Seeking definition in an expansive site, the pier's rectangular depression, which was originally a slip, offers a formal and organizational axis around which all built form oscillates. These zones are separated by a manifold façade that inflects its form to establish an understanding of the site as always in the bound to the center, reaching both outwardly and inwardly, and challenging a clear understanding of a 'front' façade. Instead, our proposed façade inflects to reveal the inner workings of the fire station as well as its monumental civic image the create a multifaceted headquarters that involves the city's residents into the life of the station.

And a few images of The Open Workshop's entry:
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> Rendering of the Station from Embarcadero
Image initially appeared on archinect
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> Birdseye/ Wormseye Axonometric
Image initially appeared on archinect
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> Building Plan
Image initially appeared on archinect
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> Inflected Space vs. Form
Image initially appeared on archinect
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> Pier Plan
Image initially appeared on archinect
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> Program vs. Facade Diagram
Image initially appeared on archinect
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> Rendering of Interior inscribed zone
Image initially appeared on archinect
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> View looking North
Image initially appeared on archinect
San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters, Competition, 2013 | Courtesy of © The Open Workshop
> Concept Diagram
Image initially appeared on archinect

Source: archinect

Exhibition: Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age

An exhibition among a long list of events for this fall: Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Below a few examples of research projects by the architects selected for this exhibition.
Health Hangars, Nunavut, Canada, 2010 | Courtesy of © Lateral Office
> Proposed new network of air travel and airports for medical care in these Nunavut communities with no roads and insufficient health clinics.
Health Hangars, Nunavut, Canada, 2010 | Courtesy of © Lateral Office
> Axonometric showing relationship of roof to 'ice courtyards' as well as separation of airport and health clinic.
Casablanca ANFA Airport, Casablanca, Morocco | Courtesy of © Agence Ter

Curated by Charles Waldheim and Sonja Dümpelman, the exhibition will be displaying research projects by Agence Ter, Gross. Max., Hargreaves Associates, James Corner Field Operations, Lateral Office, LCLA, Mosbach Paysagistes, Office of Landscape Morphology, OpSys, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Topotek 1, West 8, and Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect:

Airport Landscape claims the airport as a site of and for landscape. Airports have never been more central to the life of cities, yet they remain peripheral in design discourse. In spite of this, landscape architects have recently reasserted their historic claims on the airfield as a site of design through a range of practices. Airport Landscape presents these practices through projects for the ecological enhancement of operating airfields and the conversion of abandoned airfields.
In addition to the exhibition is a two-day conference on the airport as landscape, on November 14 and 15, 2013. The discussion will feature sessions on airport cultures, infrastructures, and ecologies. Participants include Peter Galison, Adriaan Geuze, Christophe Girot, David Pascoe, Henri Bava, Philippe Coignet, Eelco Hooftman, Mary Margaret Jones, and Ken Smith.
Quito 3Km Airport Park, Quito, Ecuador, 2008 | Courtesy of © LCLA
> Lake park international competition to transform Mariscal Sucre airport in a Metropolitan Park.
Caracas Airport Park, Caracas, Colombia, 2012 | Courtesy of © LCLA
> Competition La Carlota. Transformation of an aerial platform into a metropolitan park

If you're around Harvard University, visit this exhibition. Airport Landscape starts on October 30 to December 19, 2013 at Harvard GSD
More information on Airport Landscape: here.


Book Review | Bracket [Goes Soft], edited by Lola Sheppard and Neeraj Bhatia

The second volume of Bracket entitled [Goes Soft], a publication co-founded by InfraNet Lab, archinect and Actar Editorial, addresses the topic of Soft Systems, including the contribution of Benjamin Bratton, Geoff Manaugh, Neeraj Bhatia, Philippe Rahm, Jeffrey Inaba, and Lola Sheppard. The publication is organized into six sections: sensing/feedback, interfacing/enveloping, subverting/hijacking, formatting/distributing, contingency/resilience, and diffusing/generating. The common denominator of these essays and research projects resides in their speculative approach — the editors believe “in truth, not the truth, but an unexpected truth”. Bracket [Goes Soft] looks at a series of questions that ranges from obsolete infrastructure to forces that are re-shaping our society: ecological crisis, economic globalization, the digital revolution, climate change, natural resources shortage, population expansion, technological and scientific advances.
Bracket [Goes Soft], cover

The central idea of this volume lies in the notion of 'soft'. Soft means smooth, flexible, agile, malleable, shock absorbing, responsive, non-linear. Unlike hard, soft talks about indeterminacy, performance, contingency, uncertainty, proposition. The legacy of the 1960s, in particular, soft architecture strategies, is relevant in this second volume. Reyner Banham, for example, encouraged postwar architects to look at research including cybernetics, environmental studies, science, technological progress, and disciplines focused on human behavioral systems, as Chris Perry, co-principal of Pneumastudio, convincingly writes in his article Fast Company: Architecture and The Speed of Technology. Today, as illustrated in these projects, architects are engaged in elaborating a new language borrowing from science fiction, robotics, Internet, social networks, information technologies, ecology, specific technologies (neuro-technologies, synthetic biology, genetics, cybernetics).
Bracket [Goes Soft], spread

These projects and essays — including proposals of rvtr (Colin Ripley, Geoffrey Thün, Kathy Velikov), Dan Handel, Bionic, m.ammoth (Stephen Becker and Rob Holmes), Tim Maly and Free Association Design (Brett Milligan), or Mariela de Felix, among many other fascinating proposals —  account for the interconnection of infrastructure, energy economy, politics, and ecology, that ecological system and engineered system are articulate, and that an articulated cohabitation of cultural, social, political, climatic, ecological, energy, economic, and landscape-architectural-urban is required to engage architecture in a society that will be facing a range of uncertainties.
Bracket [Goes Soft], spread

Bruno Latour has convincingly posited a shift from a time of time to a time of space, in his discussion with New Geographies in 2009. The time of time, he said, consists of “you destroy the past and then you have something else” while the time of space implies that “cohabitation of all of things that were supposed to be past are now simultaneously present.”
Bracket [Goes Soft], spread

In this current era of time of space, the shift from site to territory, namely, from a specific field — architecture/ science/ politics/ ecology — to an articulated collective — transdisciplinarity — can be a possible means of problem-forming this avalanche of challenging contexts. Lola Sheppard, in her essay From Site to Territory, posits that “architecture can no longer define its parameters and responsiveness at the scale of its immediate site, but rather, must operate at the scale of the broader territory, a space expanded and thickened with environmental data, competing social and political claims, economic forces, systems of mobility, ecological systems, and urban metabolisms.”
Bracket [Goes Soft], spread

Or, to put this statement more simply, architecture must operate at the scale of an articulated collective, as Neeraj Bhatia states, that supposes to re-evaluate the role of the architect as an active agent, an enabler, as all the authors attempt to demonstrate in this second volume.
Bracket [Goes Soft], spread

All these design proposals ranging from Dredge, Soft Goes Hard, Arctic OpeningAqua_Dermis, to Soft House, Estuary Services Pipeline and Swamp Thing emphasize this paradigmatic shift of architecture as becoming an interface with the environment. Architectural boundaries are becoming flexible, soft.
Now, as Lola Sheppard forthrightly mentions, in the current epoch of globalization, social, ecological and technological changes, the concept of territory, which seems to be more appropriate, more accurate than that of site, «has become the necessity scale required to register and engage the complexity of networks and information at play in a given physical environment».
Enlarging the boundaries of its site allows architecture for a better understanding of, or better, an engagement in the changing world. To say it with Lola Sheppard, «to represent the territory is to understand it, is to operate within it, is to (re)design it» but in the very softest way.

Book: Bracket Goes Soft
Editors: Lola Sheppard and Neeraj Bhatia
Publishers: Actar Editorial


Operationalizing the Geo-Energy Space: Call for Papers

I'm finishing the preparation of an interview on the questions of resource extraction infrastructure, geo-energy space, among others, that I hope for the two following weeks of September.

I was in search for articles for this interview and I found this call for papers: Operationalizing the geo-energy space. This call for papers is for the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, 8-12 April 2014, organized by Stefan Bouzarovski of the University of Manchester and Narmiye Balta-Ozkan of the University of Westminster. Below is the details of this call for papers.
Recent years have seen a resurgence of efforts to provide novel
perspectives on the ways in which nature and society are interlinked via
multiple and vibrant materialities (Bennett 2010). The notion of the
‘geo-social’ has been used to explore some of the connections that can be
identified in this context, emphasizing the need for a new politics of
responsibility and justice. At the same time, the emergence of ‘energy
geographies’ as a distinct disciplinary field is helping foreground new
explanations of the hydrocarbon circulations and consumption practices
that underpin planetary challenges such as climate change and resource
In this session, we hope to connect these two distinct developments inorder to scrutinize the materially contingent nature of contemporarycirculations and assemblages in the energy domain. Following on from MañéEstrada (2006) we use the notion of ‘geo-energy space’ to interrogate thespatial and territorial embeddedness of energy flows. While Mañé Estrada’soriginal conceptualization primarily refers to large-scale geopoliticalrelations, this session aims to extend the idea to a wider range ofspatial scales and material sites, so as to highlight the diverse ways inwhich anthropogenic energy flows are both predicated by, and themselvesshape, the geophysical environment. Papers in the session can include, but are not limited to:
- Energy landscapes: using the framework to explain relations beyond itsconventional origins – in spaces such as the home, community ortrans-national organisations;- Low-carbon technologies: how do differences between, for example, urbanand rural locations, account for different social practices and patternsof energy use (both on the supply side – e.g. microgeneration and off-gridcommunities – and in terms of demand: heat pumps, electric vehicles etc.);- Energy infrastructure: what is the agency of non-human actors in shapingthe evolution of current patterns of energy delivery, as well as new developments such as unconventional oil and gas exploitation?  
The deadline is the 15th of October. For further information: here.
By the way, Energy Geographies Working Group is composed of Stefan Bouzarovski, Stewart Barr, Danielle Gent, Andres Luque and Gavin Bridge, one of the authors of New Geographies Landscapes of energy.

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