Riea.ch blogs on Cluster: Experiment, Experience, Explore, Exchange

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 11:32


Cluster is pleased to announce a new regular column on its blog edited by RIEA-ch – the Research Institute of Experimental Architecture.

The term “Experimental Architecture’ was first used by Peter Cook of the avant-garde architectural group Archigram in 1970 – long before the advent of interactive technologies. Archigram, pioneers in experimentalism, were intent on pushing through the traditional boundaries of architecture to radically redefine how people related to, perceived and experienced architecture and the space that we inhabit. The core was to think architecture before building it, to grant it consciousness.

Lebbeus Woods, considered one of the most visionary architects of our time, has since been carrying out extensive research work on the topic, broadening its scope internationally and establishing it as a field of study in further education institutes, continuing to pursue the power of the imagination as fundamental to the discipline.

Woods founded RIEA (Research Institute for Experimental Architecture) in 1988, an international institution dedicated to advancing experimentation and research in the field of Experimental Architecture. Under his direction, and co-directed by Guy Lafranchi, the work of RIEA covers promotion and training for experimental design, support and implementation of experimental projects in architecture, urban design and other related areas of science and culture through the organization and hosting of lectures, workshops, conferences, symposia; the launch of competitions; editing and promotion of formal and informal publications. (More on RIEA.ch here)

If architecture is to tackle the challenges posed by contemporary society then we need to search for a new vision, an architecture that is able to fulfil needs, to connect and communicate, to provide, to respond, to share, to transform and so on, and this requires fertile ground for experimentation. We need ideas.

This is why Cluster and RIEA.ch have come together. Over the past six years Cluster has focused its research on innovative forms of urban planning that respond to the needs of the ‘mutating’ city and the impact that new technologies have had on transforming (even extending) city life. We are interested in mobilising new ideas and encouraging intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogue on issues related to the built environment.

Both Cluster and RIEA.ch agree that architecture needs to address the complex and interconnected systems that have become an integral part of urban life, and to rethink the ‘role’ of architecture in a networked and global society, but most of all it needs to share and produce ideas, as the paradigms we inhabit have proven insufficient in anticipating and solving issues of conflict, instead often engendering them.

The RIEA.ch blog on Cluster will be organized as a multi-platform space for the discussion and dissemination of historical and current tendencies within the discourse of Experimental Architecture. It is an invitation to discuss, analyse and criticize ideas with the aim of developing the good ones and creating others from scratch.

The content of RIEA.ch will follow this scheme:

The “What Does it Mean?” section will feature posts, writings, and essays that explore the status of the discipline and its position within the discourse of Experimental Architecture, covering theory, practice and education. The Area will host dialogues and interviews with scholars and researchers in architecture and related fields, aiming to foster the creation of new fields of work and original lines of thought in Experimental Architecture.
This section will also be dedicated to the dissemination of RIEA events, activities and projects such as conferences, workshops, competitions, and books.

The “No place to Hide” section, will be structured as an ongoing, ever-growing archive of places where architectural and urban instruments has been deployed for confronting, re-thinking, and/or transforming crises (social, economical, ecological), border-conditions, and regimes of power (political, military, cultural). The archive will present practices explicitly addressing these three areas of interest, utilizing architectural and urban strategies as an agent of change and resistance.

The RIEA – Cluster blog is an open call for participation addressed to all individuals interested and engaged in to experimentation, in architecture and other fields.

Let the discussion begin!


¹The title of this Area of the blog is directly taken from the title of the introductory essay by Lebbeus Woods that opened the First RIEA Conference in Experimental Architecture in 1989 and later published by P. Cook. (1990). RIEA: The First Conference, New York/Berlin: Princeton Architectural Press/Aedes.

²No Place to Hide is the title of the 1995 Innsbruck Workshop.

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3 Responses to “Riea.ch blogs on Cluster: Experiment, Experience, Explore, Exchange”

  1. Marcia Caines says:

    March 3rd, 2010 at %I:%M %p

    Riea.ch blogs on Cluster: Experiment, Experience, Explore, Exchange http://tiny.cc/MczK4

  2. Marcia Caines says:

    March 3rd, 2010 at %I:%M %p

    Riea.ch blogs on Cluster: Experiment, Experience, Explore, Exchange http://tiny.cc/MczK4

  3. What Now? says:

    March 3rd, 2010 at %I:%M %p

    Out of Work? Cluster | City – Design – Innovation » Riea.ch blogs on Cluster … http://bit.ly/c9zE2U Utilize your Talent!

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