Wednesday, June 8, 2011 10:58

Post by Per-Johan Dahl| This post is a new entry on No Place to Hide: an online map of potential places


Title: Bombsite(s)
Place: Lund Institute of Technology School of Architecture, Sweden
Type: Event
Author: Guy Lafranchi, Per-Johan Dahl
Date: October 28 to 31, 2001

Description: Bombsite(s) was a four day workshop that gathered 39 graduate students from Lund Institute of Technology School of Architecture, Sweden. Commissioned by Professor Abelardo Gonzalez, RIEA faculty Guy Lafranchi and Per-Johan Dahl proposed to research and explore the spatial conditions and the architectural potentials of five so called “bombsites,” all scattered in the central parts of Malmö.

The bombsite is a property typology characterized by the absence of matter and the ambiguity of use. Being the victim of what Alison Smithson refers to as “politically-inspired destruction,” 1 these sites were cleared off during the post World-War-II period, and tabula-rasa conditions were established. Due to the prevailing ideals of CIAM urbanism, sanitation of historical districts preceded during the 1950s and into the ’70s with the purpose of modernization. After the economical turbulences and shifting ideologies of the 1960s and ’70s, modernization was cancelled and replaced by economic speculation. However, as successive development or cities often counters the short-termed premises of capitalism, the bombsites were generally temporary abandoned anticipating moments of capital accumulation.

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La Haban Vieja: Walls – Terrace – Metainstitute

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 9:53

Post by Corrado Curti | This post is a new entry on No Place to Hide: an online map of potential places


Title: La Haban Vieja: Walls – Terrace – Metainstitute
Place: La Habana, Cuba, 23°8′0″N 82°23′0″W
Type: Project
Author: Lebbeus Woods
Date: 1995

Description: The proposal by Lebbeus Woods for La Habana Vieja was developed during the workshop “Architecture Again” organised by Peter Noever, CEO of the Wien MAK, in 1995. According to Peter Noever the aim of the workshop was “to examine the specific and urgent project of Havana as a model that epitomized many of the problems that are facing and will face architects in cities all over the world in the later-20th and the 21st century”. (2)

Other participants were: Coop Himmelb(l)au, Morphosis/Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, Carme Pinòs, C.P.P.N. (Carl Pruscha/Peter Noever)
According to Lebbeus Woods’ description of the project for la Habana Vieja:
“A new urban wall is proposed along the line of the Spanish colonial city wall, in order to concentrate the energies in La Habana Vieja, intensifying at the same time the processes of decay and new growth. Other walls – called ‘urban batteries’ – contain energy cells and water purification units that can be tapped by adjacent dwellings. Structurally, they support new, spontaneous constructions that are made in the gaps opened up by the demolition of old buildings in the existing cityscape. Their use is not determined in advance but only in the idiosyncratic and always changing ways they are inhabited. As a provocation and an armature for change, the walls do not simply separate spaces, but sponsor new and experimental forms of building and living”. (3)

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011 12:08

Post by Lars Kordetzky | This post is the fourth entry on No Place to Hide: an online map of potential places


Title: Splitter
Place: Vienna 48° 12′ 29.99″ N, 16° 22′ 23.03″ E
Type: Project

Author: Lars Kordetzky
Date: 1996

Description: “The three pairs of towers form a triangle around the downtown core of the city [...] and [.] represent the last defensive wall of the 20th century in the city of Vienna. However, the wall is perforated, reduced to points, invisible, and has an entirely different orientation from the preceding ones.

The space to be defended is no longer a surface, the ground, but rather airspace. The towers establish, circumscribe a virtual, invisible spherical space consisting of several spherical segments. On one hand, the towers form a circle around the center, the downtown area, and on the other hand, they are each, individually, a center.

The perforated, point-shaped virtual defensive wall of the 20th century therefore embodies the first step towards a decentralization of a monocentric urban structure. The towers are elements of appropriation and simultaneously elements of disconformance. The razing or transgression of fortifications as a means of expanding the city is ongoing, does not happen once but again and again.
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A Call for Kami: Talking to Marcos Novak

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 11:45

On 12 February 2011, RIEAch’s Per-Johan Dahl met with architect and media theorist Marcos Novak at Novel Cafe in Downtown Los Angeles to talk about current conditions of space making. Sitting just a few blocks from SCI Arc, the discussion circulated around issues of algorithms, cultural connections, and the need for kami in contemporary discourse.

Marcos Novak

Per-Johan Dahl: I’d like us to start talking about spatial perception. It can be argued that our spatial perception was transformed during the 20th century with the introduction of montage theory. Beginning with Choisy’s Acropolis, artists, filmmakers, and architects deployed the montage, both for spatial representation and for spatial construction. Examples are Dziga Vertov’s movies, Eisenstein’s practice, Le Corbusier’s houses, Mallet-Stevens’s interiors, Rauschenberg’s Flat Beds, Ed Ruscha’s photo-strips, and zillions of music videos from the ‘80s to the present. Hence the successive replacement and juxtaposition of fragmented, overlaid, and augmented images, which characterizes montage space, became a common perception during the 20th century that shaped the way we understand and navigate buildings and cities.

Currently our spatial perception seems to be transforming again. You talked already in the late 1990s about montage being replaced by morphing. You explained the difference by arguing that “collage merely superimposes materials from different contexts, morphing operates through them, blending them.¹” Today, your argument is backed up by other media theorists, such as Lev Manovich who traces a new mode of spatial perception that is not so much about a series of frames (i.e. montage) but about exploring “the space in-between juxtaposition and complete integration” of different media². Hence, the way we understand and navigate space seems to be in transition and I am curious about how you think this will change the form and content of buildings and cities.
Marcos Novak: If you look at architecture right now, it has undergone a huge transition in form.

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Intervista a Reena Tiwari: Il simbolismo dell’architettura dovrebbe essere sociale

Monday, May 16, 2011 10:47

Post di Gricelys Rosario

Per leggere l’intervista in inglese clicca qui: Talking with Reena Tiwari: the symbolism of architecture should be social

Reena Tiwari, designer urbana, teorica di strategie di sviluppo delle città e docente  presso l’University of Technology di Perth, è stata una dei protagonisti della conferenza tenutasi a Torino il 16 aprile nell’ambito di Biennale Democrazia, organizzata dalla Fondazione OAT. Oltre alla docente di origine indiana, hanno preso parte alla discussione, guidata dall’Arch. Riccardo Balbo, Mario Cucinella e Riccardo Vannucci, che hanno presentato profili ed esperienze diverse. In particolare, Reena Tiwari ha portato la sua esperienza diretta, derivata dai progetti condotti nel suo paese natale, l’India, realizzati con gli studenti dell’Università di Perth e con l’architetto VB Doshi, anch’egli indiano. 

© Jana Sebestova, photo courtesy of Fondazione OAT

In quest’intervista Reena Tiwari illustra il suo punto di vista sull’impatto che le migrazioni hanno sull’architettura contemporanea e sul rapporto tra architettura e democrazia.

I suoi studi sono focalizzati sulla condizione degli slum indiani, quei bassifondi in cui vive circa il 60% della popolazione e dai quali deriva il 94% dell’economia del paese: nonostante la loro forte incisione quantitativa, queste aree non sono contemplate nei piani di regolamentazione. La sua esperienza progettuale in India è stata fortemente incentrata sul coinvolgimento sociale: il primo step è consistito nello stabilire relazioni con la comunità, calandosi idealmente e praticamente al suo interno, studiando gli usi ed esigenze. La partecipazione sociale è stato un elemento fondamentale anche per la realizzazione materiale dei progetti: gli abitanti hanno costruito i loro edifici, innescando un meccanismo di identificazione ed un senso di appartenenza alle nuove costruzioni. I risvolti non sono stati esclusivamente immediati e pratici, ma hanno ricadute a lungo termine, innescando un empowerment sociale a più livelli, oltre che la possibilità per gli abitanti di acquisire competenze specifiche. L’architettura così generata è un prodotto derivato dall’effettiva cooperazione tra architetto e comunità, attuando l’approccio che Reena Tiwari ha denominato PEP: Profile, Educate, Partecipate.

Tiwari riconosce la democrazia quando l’architettura è interattiva e flessibile, quando cioè è in grado di consentire a ciascun fruitore l’attribuzione di un significato proprio e la libera interazione con gli spazi che la costituiscono.

Gricelys Rosario: In termini di opportunità lavorativa, l’attuale situazione giovanile non sembra molto promettente, soprattutto per i giovani architetti che intendono lavorare in Italia. La crisi economica e politica è al centro dei  dibattiti e questa situazione è stata tradotta in una generale mancanza di speranza.

Reena Tiwari: Penso che il fatto stesso che siano architetti possa dar loro speranza. Parliamo di una professione che concerne la realizzazione di spazi, abitazioni per le persone, progettazione di diversi tipi di luoghi o edifici. Questo dovrebbe dare molto non sono in termini di soddisfazione per la realizzazione di un oggetto, ma considerando cosa una singola persona può fare per le altre, se lo fa nel modo giusto, e come si possa cominciare a influenzare la produzione sociale di spazi e la promozione di relazioni al loro interno. Ovviamente, avendo un’opportunità del genere, un impegno non ottimale sarebbe uno spreco. Ma se lo si fa nel migliore dei modi, possiamo contribuire notevolmente alla costruzione della società. Alcuni dei problemi, per quanto concerne la marginalizzazione delle classi più basse nelle nostre città, possono essere risolti con delle piccole azioni positive, che nella maggior parte dei casi possono essere portate a termine solo dagli architetti. Possiamo dare un contributo concreto solo se siamo in grado di capire la grande responsabilità che abbiamo sulle nostre spalle e, quindi, prendere decisioni giuste ed oneste.

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