Architecture in Urban Change

Designers are questioning what architecture of relevance could face ongoing change over a longer period in today’s most dynamic urban areas. Of course, answers are always specific and the search on how to respond to constantly changing urban conditions may be the only issue that is shared in all cases. Yet, still, there must be more commonalities in the wide range of answers. The set of design propositions as presented at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles (ENSA-V) underlines this, while designs display a few recognisable approaches. Projects put the emphasis on the importance of intervening at strategic locations, of programming adaptive and responsive, hence flexible, and of imagining and creating expressions that will enhance public interaction and experience over a longer period. As a guest of the school, I have the opportunity to review these thoughts and discuss emerging approaches with prof Nicolas Pham.

l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles
Champ disciplinaire de Théories et Pratiques de la Conception Architecturale Urbaine (TPCAU)
5 Avenue de Sceaux, Versailles
20 December 2019, 9:30-17:30h

Getting your Hands Dirty

Being a graduate student, active in the public space, doesn’t mean you never should get your hands dirty! Becoming a master can be and will be more than being an active listener in a lecture room: So, happy to see (once again) that my thoughts on a ‘living lab way of learning’ have come to life. Some things are changing in academia.


Pouring concrete, and placing the table tennis table. (photo credits resp. Marita de Vries, and Gwenhwyfar Spil)
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Conversations in the Anthropocene

Introducing the Anthropocene
Colin Waters is Secretary of the Anthropocene Working Group of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, the body investigating the Anthropocene as a potential geological time unit. His working group is putting forward a proposal towards the recognition of the proposed new epoch. They started in 2009 and up until last year, they were pulling together all information that was available. “For example the biological changes that have happened are irreversible. Once species are transferred across the planet, you can’t put them in a box and put them back in their indigenous state”, he has explained while being our guest in Delft: “Even things like carbon dioxide, this will last as a signal for thousands of years. Even if we are reducing our carbon emission immediately, we are still looking at emissions which are going to be elevated above natural levels for thousands of years. At the present, there is no indication that we are changing that trend.” The human impact may be like a meteorite impact. At the end of the Cretaceous Period when the dinosaurs became extinct, a spike of iridium (an extra-terrestrial element) changed the conditions on Earth. “You still find a layer of a few millimeters thick which is high in iridium, and we can use that as the basis of the start of the new Paleogene Period following the Cretaceous.” It has been “a state change, a game-changer, to a state which now is very different from what it was before and is not recreatable to a large extent either.” What is our share, as designers?

Architecture is perhaps one that we have not mined sufficiently in the past that can provide information that is new to us and help build the story that we are developing. – Colin Waters

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Made in Hong Kong

In collaboration with the GSAPP Columbia University, the School of Design’s Environment and Interior Unit organised an interactive colloquium on their ‘Made in Hong Kong’ research portfolio. Great to see the participants presenting challenging endeavours that currently feed into the contemporary urban entrepreneurial attitude. In a chosen 15 by 15 format (15 slides for 15 secs per slide), they introduced a wide variety of topics like the effect of citizens initiatives, community-centric approaches and neighbourhood redevelopment strategies on urban thinking and practice. As such the effect of planned and (to certain extent) unplanned enterprises are highlighted within frames like general entrepreneurship, urban (industrial) culture, social design, and human (inter)actions.

The event linked to the IFOU 2017 conference entitled ‘The Entrepreneurial City‘.

when:
14 December 2017, 19:30-21:30h

where:
PolyU: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
School of Design (Environment and Interior Unit)
Jockey Club Innovation Tower, V1201

Staccato of Place and Project


Staccato of Place and Project, by Maurice Harteveld (2011)
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