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Urban Yoga | Space Potential: The luscious ingredient of architecture

Category: architecture+creativity+research+⚐ EN

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Urban Yoga is an architectural experiment, discussing space in relation to human and architecture, if we perceive it with our whole being: with our muscles and bones while moving through space.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Urban Yoga is a new methodology, which I have been developing and discussing. It is a combination of various techniques and fields that I have been, in addition to architecture, professionally involved in for the past ten years. Thus, I have been living, studying and working between three continents: Europe, Australia and USA.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Urban Yoga is challenging the idea to diminish the role of plans in spatial analysis and planning and acclaiming the role of individual’s physical interaction with space through movement. What is more, it is acknowledging the importance of Spatial Sensuousness: information transmitted through senses, intuition, contemplation and reason.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

I see the potential of contemporary architecture in focusing more on user’s needs and less on the investor’s demands. In such way architecture will become more sensible towards an individual, who is the locus of perception, experience and interpretation of space. Every spatial intervention affects the way we live, think and function, therefore, architects need to understand their influence on environment and society and take the responsibility for the effects of their actions.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

I propose an interdisciplinary and multimedia approach to architectural design and planning, complementing our architectural knowledge and expanding our consciousness with methods and tools from other fields. Also, those that on the first glance have little or no connection to architecture. Actually, these are the ones that I find especially interesting and their potential immensely vast. At this point the idea of Urban Yoga steps in.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

With dominance of vision over the other senses and with informatization of society we are facing a lack of sensory experience of the real spaces, a loss of body-to-body relation and a decrease of cultural and intimate relationships to places we inhabit. However, individual’s basic principle is to live in harmony with oneself and with the environment. How to achieve and maintain such state is very well discussed and put into practice in Yoga, a discipline that I have been, in addition to architecture, professionally involved in for the past twelve years. On the other hand, architecture with all its constructive fields constitutes Urban Landscape – city, a natural habitat of a contemporary man. I believe cities will remain only if we take care of the survival of its citizens by building architecture that is designed with individual’s bodily identification and sense of self in mind. The name of the methodological experiment has been offering itself – Urban Yoga.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

The medium of Urban Yoga are series of photos, taken in New York City and Madrid, a series featured in this post. More photos are still to be taken in various metropolises around the world, such as Paris that is following next. It will be released in Cacao Magazine, the Paris Rebirth issue.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Urban Yoga is rediscovering the lost Spatial Sensuousness, a situation where city and body are in constant interaction and are thus mutually supplementing and defining each other. I believe that for as long as our bodies will relate to the real space, as the heart relates to organism, cities will remain, citizens will survive, and as for the architecture – it will continue to exist and work as architecture.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

More on the methodology of Urban Yoga, its development, observations and findings from metropolis to metropolis will be described in a book on Urban Yoga and Space Potential, The luscious ingredient of architecture that I am preparing.

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Space Potential: Urban Yoga Madrid, photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

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SPACE POTENTIAL: The luscious ingredient of architecture | Video Method PLES

Category: architecture+creativity+research+⚐ EN

How fatal would architectural discipline consider the idea to diminish the role of plans in spatial analysis and planning and acclaim the role of individual’s physical interaction with space through movement?

With the advent of the moving image, particularly within the new media, the notion of a precise reference image has become both relative and confused.1 Already in 1936 Walter Benjamin declared that since the beginning of the 20th century neither space nor time have been perceived and articulated the way they were from time immemorial.2 How we sense and perceive space is determined not only by our nature, but by historical circumstances as well.3 With the arrival of photography the relationship between reality and its representation was established anew.4 Photography announced the advent of the moving image, which gave rise to the further changes in our perception of space.5

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image: A.H.

The process of globalisation significantly changed the landscape of motion for the contemporary man. We may choose to travel at ever-greater speeds to any place in the world within a blink of the eye or we may choose to stay isolated in our domestic environment, connected to the rest of the world through the latest technologies. The need of the contemporary man to be informed about everything at any time and place is being fully satisfied with the expansion and evolvement of the new media, particularly of the moving image. If there is a medium in every epoch that stands behind the convergence of innovations and perceptual change, thus reflecting and impacting society at large, we can postulate that the moving picture is a visual reference for the contemporary representation of space.6

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

With the birth of the ever more rapidly moving man, we experience an extremely complex set of parameters that determine our daily choices and visions and delineate the reference frame to our actions. We are witnessing a situation in which we can see and experience space, urban or/and natural landscape, at different speeds and various times of day, be it through the windshield of a car, the window of an airplane, the screen of a mobile phone, or simply the TV screen showing the mesmerizing alpine grasslands selling us the new taste of chocolate.7 Phenomenon that sets both ourselves as well as our living environment in motion, impacts the relationship between man and his perceptual reality Christophe Girot calls: movism.8

Movism is the new visual theory of landscape in movement, dealing with the fleeting essence of our epoch. It forms a base for my creation of the Video Method PLES, using video as a possible tool for analysing, documenting and presenting Space Potential. The method is discussing interaction between an individual and urban or/and natural landscape, integrating a broad spectrum of viewpoints and stimulus, which can also appear distorted. Moreover, Video Method PLES is focusing on the notion that by moving through space we perceive and experience a variety of parameters, ranging from cultural, spatial and biotic habits all the way down to phonic, tactile, visual and kinetic parameters in the landscape. Due to a strong presence of motion in our day to day experiential reality, Girot claims that individual’s perceptions have become both relative and confused: some environments may appear extremely pleasant when experienced at certain speeds and become most disquieting at others. Considering that movism changed the relationship between individual and space to an extent, where it cannot be separated from our reality, it is utmost necessary to formally and aesthetically consider and integrate it in every design process to come.9

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

The moving image can enrich our perception, because camera has the ability of introducing us to the unconscious optics, as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.10 Moreover, it functions as an inclusive approach, blending direct physical experience and intuition with Space Potential research. As for the integration of the moving image into the design process, particularly to the Video Method PLES, I furthermost see it as a medium, which provides information by means of the peripheral, unfocused vision. Peripheral vision, as opposed to the focused vision, does not fixate and is opened for interpretation, moreover it has the capability to elevate our perception of space on a level of an existential experience.11 Peripheral vision is linked to individual’s subconscious perception, manifesting through our multisensory apparatus, reviving the information stored in our subconscious.12 The appropriate condition for perceiving Space Potential with our whole being, transforming it into a complete physical experience is through Spatial Sensuousness. It gathers information transmitted through ours senses, intuition, contemplation and reason, making an individual the locust of perception, experience and interpretation of space.

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

The aim of the Video Method PLES is to analyse, document and present the complete spatial experience – Space Potential. It can be verified directly on the field of action, conveying qualities of a given place that are both visible and imperceptible, but nonetheless significant, for example stories, memories and chronology. Video Method PLES combines the scientific, quantitative approach with highly intuitive, experiential and contemplative approach. The name of the method “PLES” is a Slovenian word for “dance”, which symbolizes the interrelationship between the architect and space, produced through a dynamic interaction between the two. Furthermore, PLES is an acrostic of the four phases we follow sequentially: P-rimary, L-atent, E-xperimental and S-ummary.

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

P-rimary phase presents the first contact between the architect and space – urban or/and natural landscape, whereby the interaction based on Spatial Sensuousness (information transmitted through senses, intuition, contemplation and reason) is established between the two. During the primary phase the architect is moving through the space, recording audio and visual information, using camera and microphone. The recorded material is not a reference for a clear and focused imagery, but documents the way architect experienced the intertwinement of existential and physical aspect of space. Primary phase represents the initial insight into Space Potential.

Video method PLES

Space potenital: Video method PLES, image: A.H.

L-atent phase evokes architect’s subconscious aspects of spatial experience. It begins when the architect returns to his or her primary environment and starts reviewing audio and visual material. Simultaneously, the architect notes down thoughts and concepts in a form of narrative monologue, which represents one reaction to spatial experience from the first phase.

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

E-xperiential: In the third phase, analysis, classification and selection of representative audio and visual clips takes place, as well as the recording of the narrative monologue from the second. This is the most important phase, because the discoveries about Space Potential and the given project are adjusted and unified.

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

S-ummary: In the fourth phase the final video is created. It may become both a reference piece and a tool of investigation, nourishing architect’s Spatial Sensuousness, revealing one’s view of space potential of the location. Furthermore, the final video can be a starting point of an architectural intervention into urban/natural landscape, offering the architect a possibility to always return watching it in order to refresh the memory about Space Potential.

Video Method PLES,

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

I postulate that the moving image, video in particular, is a visual reference for the contemporary spatial design. The accessibility and immediacy of moving images that are captured and manipulated in video, bring us closer to sensual and experiential depiction of the fleeting contemporary environment, and above all to movement, which is the perceptual phenomenon and experiential reference of our daily life. At the same time, video is much closer to subjective and intuitive description of any given place than a plan, which is utmost scientific and precise, but succumbs to its two-dimensional limitations.13 At this point I would like to make clear that no matter how subjective, thus relative our observations are they have a direct impact on subsequent design choices for any given place. Architect is allowed to internalize the objective realm, because “the only way to reach the objective representation of reality is by comparing various subjective images”.14

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

Video Method PLES is a possible tool for analysing, documenting and presenting Space Potential, because it has the ability to capture and to present qualities of both physical as well as of existential aspect of space.15 It reduces the Euclidean space and gives us an opportunity to operate with the dimension of time, which reveals qualities of Space Potential that are otherwise difficult to capture, such as rhythm, stories, atmosphere, the passing of time and movement.16 Interaction with space with a camera, creating and analysing videos, enables architects and designers to acquire the understanding of the existential aspect of space, perceiving more of Space Potential. This enables architect’s interventions to be in tune with general spatial characteristics in cultural dimensions of the contemporary landscape and the inhabitants of the time being.

 Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image: A.H.

I believe that returning to space acknowledging the importance of the moving body and its multisensory perception and their inevitable interrelation with the subconscious way of interpreting space is necessary for identifying utmost of Space Potential. As architects we need to acquire the understanding of Space Potential in order to be able to carry out our spatial interventions wisely and knowledgeably. Considering that introduction to a site and interaction with it has all too often been reduced to systematic and quantitative formulas for analysing the site indirectly, from a distance, ways that do not grasp the potentiality of the reality we leave in. We need to accept and internalize both the conscious and the subconscious means of gathering information about Space Potential and reconcile our senses with the science.17

Video Method PLES

Space Potential: Video Method PLES, image A.H.

The aim of Space Potential Plarform is to trigger thoughts and induce actions, leaving enough space for individual engagement and interpretation of suggested directions. Sensing and perception are inherently subjective, the only correspondence to reality is the one that what we as humans agreed upon. However, I believe we may use architecture as a vehicle to enrich and create experiences and interpretations of space that will be shared among our fellow human beings, sparking further changes in our agreement about Space Potential.

Footnotes:

1. Christophe Girot, Cadrages I. (Zürich: gta Verlag, 2002).
2. Christophe Girot, »Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture«, Recovering Landscape, Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture, James Corner, ur. (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 59-67.
3. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Illuminations, Hannah Arendt, ur. (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 217-252.
4. Ibid, p. 59-67.
5. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Illuminations, Hannah Arendt, ur. (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 217-252.
6. Christophe Girot, Cadrages I. (Zürich: gta Verlag, 2002).
7. Ibid
8. Ibid, p. 48.
9. Christophe Girot, Cadrages I. (Zürich: gta Verlag, 2002).
10. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Illuminations, Hannah Arendt, ur. (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 237.
11. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, Architecture and the Senses. (London: John Wiley & Sons, 2005), 10.
12. Ibid, p. 10.
13. Christophe Girot, Cadrages I. (Zürich: gta Verlag, 2002), 48.
14. Anja Humljan, video project at Aalborg School for Architecture and Design, department for Digital Design, Aalborg University, 2006.
15. Christophe Girot, Cadrages I. (Zürich: gta Verlag, 2002), 51.
16. Ibid, p. 9-52.
17. Christophe Girot, »Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture«, Recovering Landscape, Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture, James Corner, ur. (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 59-67.

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SPACE POTENTIAL: The luscious ingredient of architecture | Platform

Category: architecture+creativity+urbanism+⚐ EN

Space Potential is a conceptual platform, responding to questions on space and architecture: what is crucial for architecture today, what needs to be considered in architectural praxis and pursued in the architectural practice, what should we not give up on, so that architecture will continue to exist and work as architecture?

Space Potential is focusing on architecture as a dynamic relation and complex experience between individual and space. It is moving away from defining architecture as solely physical arrangement of objects and shapes towards the experiential reality that emerges on the threshold between objective reality (physical aspect of space) and subjective realm (existential aspect of space), placing an individual into the locus of perception, experience and interpretation of space.

Space potential

Space Potential: dynamic relation and complex experience between individual and space, image: A.H.

We perceive and experience space with all our senses, intuition, contemplation and reason in a complex way while moving through it.1 Physical aspect of space is defined by Euclidean geometry, autonomous forms and function, whereas the existential aspect of space stems from the intertwinement of multi-sensory bodily experience, intuition, memories, stories, archetypes, the passing of time and movement. Human body enriched by its multisensory apparatus is the locus of sensation, whereas the mind with its conscious and subconscious processes is the center of perception, experience and interpretation of space.2 Perception and experience of objective and subjective aspects of space intertwine and form an intense and unique spatial experience, called Space Potential.

Space potential

Space Potential: experience of “being in the word”, image: A.H.

Space Potential is inexhaustible and derives from landscape, which is the essential manifestation of space.3 The notion of landscape as an idyllic representation of aesthetic and soothing natural surroundings with meadows and fields, still has its place in our hearts today, but has little or no connection to the world that we presently experience.4 Contemporary landscapes can be natural as well as urban, or even a combination of both, including landscape manifestations, such as airports, high-ways, railways, technological and industrial parks and so called unmentionable landscapes, with no proper form or name that clutter our urban peripheries.5 Architecture with all its constructive fields constitutes urban landscape – city, a natural habitat of the contemporary man. Individual’s basic principle is to live in harmony with oneself and with the environment. Accordingly, cities will remain only if we take care of the survival of their citizens by building architecture that is designed with individual’s bodily identification and sense of self in mind.

Space potential

Space Potential: senses, specialization of skin tissue, image: A.H.

Space Potential is intensified by Spatial Sensuousness. It sums up information transmitted through senses, intuition, contemplation and reason. Every spatial intervention affects the way we live, think and function, therefore “Architects need to understand their influence on environment and society and take the responsibility for the effects of their actions.”6 Accordingly, architect’s task is to cultivate Spatial Sensuousness, hence it is the appropriate condition for experiencing the physical, as well as the existential aspect of space and thus perceiving a complex Space Potential7 – the intense, inexhaustible and utmost luscious ingredient of space. In architectural planning as well as in the use of architectural space in general one should reveal and consider utmost of space potential.8 The task of architecture is then to grasp Space Potential by perceptible means, creating new space with new Space Potential.9

Space potential

Space Potential: ”the hand wants to see, the eyes want to caress”, image: A.H.

Nonetheless, integrity of Space Potential cannot be revealed and analyzed solely through the general analysis of space, which is based primarily on the analysis of physical aspect of space.10 Ergo, the existential aspect of space remains unexplored and information about the complex quality of space incomplete, revealing only a small part of Space Potential.11 Architecture has become an increasingly interdisciplinary profession, offering fertile ground for us architects to design and create radically diversified languages that are based on a rather intuitive and experiential approaches to articulate our ideas and thus, create wholly unique tools, techniques and methods for analyzing, documenting and presenting Space Potential.

Space potenital

Space Potential: reconciling science with our senses, image: A.H

I have designed and carried out two interdisciplinary concepts in the Space Potential manner – Urban Yoga and Video Method PLES. PLES is the acrostic of the four consecutive phases (P-rimary, L-atent, E-xperimental and S-ummary), as well as a Slovenian word for ‘dance’, which symbolizes the interrelationship between the architect and space, produced through a dynamic interaction, when an individual is flowing through space. Urban Yoga is a series of photos taken in New York City and Madrid and are still to be taken in various metropolises around the world. Urban Yoga is rediscovering the lost Spatial Sensuousness, a situation where city and body are in constant interaction and are thus mutually supplementing and defining each other. Both concepts will be thoroughly presented in the two consecutive posts, as a sequel to this one.

Space potenital

Space Potential: Urban Yoga New York – rediscovering Spatial Sensuousness, photo: Jaka Vinšek

Space Potential is discussing possibilities and characteristics of space if we are engaging in it with our whole being, moving beyond the regular architectural analysis, tools and methods, towards an experience with an existential significance.12 It is then, when less obvious aspects of space open up, revealing new ways of thinking, living and functioning.13 The basic principle of the Space Potential platform stems from the notion that “architecture is the art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world”,14 the experiential process based on our senses and sensory perception of the space around us. Therefore, the architect is allowed to internalize the objective realm, because “the only way to reach the objective representation of reality is by comparing various subjective images”.15

Visual images of Space Potential theory in the post are deliberately left rather abstract, as my aim is to trigger thoughts and induce actions, leaving enough space for individual engagement and interpretation of suggested directions. Namely, sensing and perception are inherently subjective, the only correspondence to reality is the one that what we as humans agreed upon. However, we may use architecture as a vehicle to enrich and create experiences and interpretations of space that will be shared among our fellow human beings, sparking further changes in our agreement about Space Potential.

Footnotes

1. Christophe Girot, »Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture«, Recovering Landscape, Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture, James Corner, ur. (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 59-67
2. Alenka Kompare, Mihaela Stražišar, Tomaž Vec, Irena Dogša, Norbert Jaušovec, Janina curk, Psihologija, Spoznanje in dileme. (Ljubljana DZS, 2002).
3. Christophe Girot, »Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture«, Recovering Landscape, Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture, James Corner, ur, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 59-67.
4. Christophe Girot, Cadrages I. (Zürich: gta Verlag, 2002), 48.
5. Ibid, p. 48.
6. Brian Bell in Katie Wakeford, Expanding Architecture. (New York: Metropolisbooks, 2008).
7. Christophe Girot, »Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture«, Recovering Landscape, Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture, James Corner, ur, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 59-67.
8. Ibid, p. 59-67.
9. Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Co., Tokyo, Japan: http://www.nakam.info/en/
10. Christophe Girot, Cadrages I. (Zürich: gta Verlag, 2002), 50.
11. Christophe Girot, »Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture«, Recovering Landscape, Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture, James Corner, ur. (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 59-67.
12. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, Architecture and the Senses (London: John Wiley & Sons, 2005), 10, 11.
13. Christophe Girot, »Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture«, Recovering Landscape, Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture, James Corner, ur, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 59-67.
14. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, Architecture and the Senses (London: John Wiley & Sons, 2005), 72.
15. Janek Musek, Zgodovina psihologije. (Ljubljana: Oddelek za psihologijo Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani, 2003), 5.

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Alive Architecture | Urban installations to raise awareness and drive change

Category: creativity+urban social design+urbanism+⚐ EN

Alive Architecture

Earlier this year Belinda had the pleasure to meet Petra Pferdmenges and know about her practice, which is close to the concept of tactical urbanism and to our way of using urban actions or ‘mockups’ to test concepts in the city and trigger engagement. In her own words:

Quick and simple urban performances allow engaging with the local population and observing their reactions towards the performed project. In case of success the tests may stimulate a dynamic that forwards the initial action, often independent of the actual designer who generated the process.

The practice

Alive Architecture, based in Brussels and founded by her in 2010, is a research-based practice that celebrates design engagement through urban actions in order to generate urban dynamics. The applied tools are performances that establish a dialogue with the local actors. The intention is to enter into a feedback loop between testing a project (the expertise of the designer) and observing the local population’s reactions (the expertise of the local population) and allows furthering the initial project. Successful projects generate a more permanent dynamic in the neighborhood.

In commissioned projects this method is applied in order to test preliminary design proposals that will then be furthered through the observation of people’s reactions. In self-initiated projects the quick and simple actions are a way to raise a dialogue on the potential of a well-chosen site through engaging with the local population.

The use of popular media as Facebook, postcards, fanzine’s or flyers supports the construction of exchange among the different actors involved in the project. The dissemination of the work in form of publications, writings and conferences may expand the dialogue beyond the local scale.

In order to give you a glimpse into her work, here is a series of projects initiated and realized in and around Brussels red light district:

Visible Invisible

Visible Invisible by Alive Architecture

Visible Invisible by Alive Architecture

Collaboration with: Stijn Beeckman, photographer
Date: December 2010 – January 2011
Place: Vitrine 11, Brussels (Ixelles)

The request by the owner of the gallery ‘Vitrine 11’ to propose an installation to be set up in a display window leads us to the question: ‘How to make a window display alive?’ Reflection on domesticated windows in relation to the public domain brought us to the neighborhood of the Rue d’Aerschot, Brussels Red Light District. Here, the curtain behind the window allows cutting off the private sphere from public life. We proposed a copy paste of the lived windows in the Rue d’Aerschot to the window display in Ixelles, a sophisticated neighborhood in Brussels. The space becomes transformed and used in a way that is different from the original use, and provides for an encounter of the passers-by with the topic of prostitution that remains taboo.

The project provoked reactions and dialogue among people in the neighborhood. Some people became worried about their neighborhood becoming a red light district, others taking it with humor, few calling the police and again other people to try to meet the woman that never appeared behind the window. While a ‘finissage’ a series of experts on prostitution joined the discussion and were the source of the follow-up projects in the red light district itself.

Flash-Paint

Flash-Paint by Alive Architecture

Flash-Paint by Alive Architecture

Date: March 2012
Place: Brussels (Schaerbeek), rue d’Aerschot

One of the actions to advertise the vacant spaces was realized within the street itself. The intervention was inspired by the signs hung behind many of the windows on the ground floor announcing ‘Cherche Serveuse’. The papers indicate that the place has free window space for a woman to offer sexual exchange against money. I took this as an inspiration to place additional signs saying ‘Cherche Locataire’ on the windows of the vacant spaces on the ground floor to indicate the search for people to rent the place. An email address on the sign invited people to express their interest. A small number of emails were received but the actual encounter in space was much more fruitful. Singh, the person employed to run the night shop in the street, was getting exited to have his own shop in the street. A series of immigrants without papers stopped to ask for the price and were ready to pay a rather high amount of money to rent a studio in the street. Further, potential pimps started discussions to test if the spaces on the ground floor could be rented for the function of prostitution. The method of performing within the street rather than advertising space in the surroundings was a success: the direct relation between acting in the street and discussing with people became a way to exchange with those usually impossible to engage with otherwise. Therefore the same method was applied in the third action while spending more time on it to engage more in depth with people.

As in the action Flash-Paint, the intention to occupy one of the vacant ground floor spaces within the framework of the project ‘I love Aerschot’ is furthering this project and may, in case of success, generate occupation of several vacant ground floors along the street.

Food for love

Collaboration with: Piadina Wagon
Date: April – October 2012
Place: Brussels (Schaerbeek), rue d’Aerschot

Among a series of other actions responding to people’s needs in Brussels red light district I curated a pop-up restaurant Piadina Wagon in the street. The owners sold for the duration of a day their Italian specialties in the street. On one side the installation of the restaurant that expanded onto the sidewalk had a short-term value to improve the livability of the street. On the other side we recognized the socio-economic success of the project and it became evident that there is a potential for pop-up restaurants in the street that may have a long-term impact on the life in the neighborhood. The owners of the Piadina Wagon agreed to install their restaurant once per month in the street from June to October 2012, this time including a delivery service.

Dissemination of the project through local media announced the success of the project and the dates of the presence of the mobile restaurant in the street. After several articles and announcements were published a second restaurant with the name Pink Panther arrived to sell Lebanese specialties in the street. While the Piadina Wagon stopped their intervention this November, the Pink Panther continues selling Lebanese food once a week in the street.

In the follow-up project currently developed with Escaut architectures and OKUP, a series of public dinners and breakfasts will further the idea of food places in the street and contribute to the dialogue among the different actors.

Sweet Flowers

Sweet Flowers by Alive Architecture

Sweet Flowers by Alive Architecture

Date: April 2012
Place: Brussels (Schaerbeek), rue d’Aerschot

‘I wish for better clients’ – a wish expressed by several sex workers is a challenging task for a designer. The initial idea to respond to that wish was to curate a person who would sell flowers to potential clients. The seller may give the idea to men to bring a flower when visiting a sex-worker and therefore transform them, temporarily, into better clients. It turned out to be impossible to convince any flower seller to spend an afternoon in the street as they expected the financial profit to be low in that specific neighbourhood. In order to not abandon the idea I handed out the flowers myself and became therefore not only the initiator but as well one of the actors in the event.

Several men accepted the flower and were strolling with a flower in their hand along the street. Some of the big sisters were happy about receiving a flower for free and placed them in a vase inside of the bar. Some sex-workers behind the window ended up placing a flower behind their ears. Singh, the owner of the night shop, received several flowers that he fixed between the chocolate bars in the night shop.

Recording the relational performances allowed disseminating the project through the local TV station and Archiurbain. The project generated dialog on a future of this grey and abandoned street and contributed to the call for ideas that was published end of 2012. The chosen team to realize the project is Escaut architectures in collaboration with OKUP and Alive Architecture and is currently developed and realized by the team.

People’s Wall

People's wall by Alive Architecture

People’s wall by Alive Architecture

Date: April 2012
Place: Brussels (Schaerbeek), rue d’Aerschot

‘I wish for a less grey wall’ – was expressed by several big sisters as well as people from the local association l’Attitude Nord. To respond to this wish the series of collages of the ten micro-transformations for the street were exhibited on the wall. The intention of the exhibition was to activate the wall by transforming it into a more colorful space that could create encounter, interaction and attract people from outside of the area into the street. Invitations were sent to city authorities and local associations and flyers were distributed to the big sisters and the sex-workers.

Once the performance of placing the images on the wall started some passing-by people asked questions about the work and therefore engaged into the performance. Passing by people stopped to have a look at the exhibited work, Some sex-workers sneaked out of their window to see what was happening in their street, several big sisters crossed the street to find out what the exhibition was about, a series of office workers from the two associations joined the event and a group of eight people from the city of Schaerbeek made their way down to the rue d’Aerschot.

Moments of different situations occurred on the sidewalk, each having a different density of people transforming the space. Discussions were generated between passing by people and those visiting the exhibition. At the peak moment that was at the time of lunch break a crowd of about 25 to 30 people who joined the event and transformed the sidewalk into a collective performance in the street.

In the project ‘I love Aerschot’ the project is furthered through a projection on the wall throughout the summer 2013.

Displac(d)

Collaboration with: Piadina Wagon
Date: April – October 2012
Place: Les Ateliers Claus, Brussel, Belgium

‘The three short movies ‘food for love’, ‘sweet flowers’ & ‘people’s wall’ were exhibited in the showcase of ‘Les Ateliers Claus’ in Brussels. For the opening the window became a stage for performance in which people could engage and therefore become part of the making of the event. The engagement was filmed and exhibited behind the showcase that provoked further engagement of passing by people into the relational performance.

Mapping

Another interesting line of work is the mapping of existing realities, in which she redraws and annotates objects and spaces, making visible the way people live, the spontaneous solutions they use and the interactions that happen around them. An great example of this is her work on informal structures built by urban nomads.

Research on urban nomads in Kyoto by Alive Architecture

Research on urban nomads in Kyoto by Alive Architecture

For more information, you can check:

Website: www.alivearchitecture.eu
Video interview (French): ARCHI URBAIN | Alive Architecture – Installations urbaines

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Museum of Childhood, un espacio para los niños en pleno Londres | eu:KIDS

Category: art+city+creativity+design+eu:kids+⚐ ES

Museum of Childhood, London, UK

Museum of Childhood, London, UK

A pocos pasos de la estación de metro de Bethnal Green está la primera sede del Victoria & Albert Museum que hoy alberga el mismo museo dedicado a la infancia: ¡el Museum of Childhood!

leer más

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Guidelines to build participatory and inclusive societies

Category: architecture+art+city+creativity+placemaking+research+sustainability+⚐ EN

portada_654x254

In order to achieve the Post-Master called Urban Research Lab Sardinia – Environmental Design at the Università di Sassari (DAP), in partnership with the Dessau Institute of Architecture (DIA) of Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, an article will be published about the project made during the italian period, under the supervision of Ecosistema Urbano: Punto d’incontro.

This is an excerpt of the introduction, including some references and case studies.

The role of the architect

The role of the architect has always been, throughout ancient and modern history, a reference point for the city growth and development. Nowadays, this figure is undergoing a massive transformation, which cannot ignore social aspects. The modern architect helps to integrate production processes within the spaces users live and use in everyday life.

The article aims to present an experiment that was personally led in a very specific local community in Sardinia (Italy) which is affected by logistic, economical and management problems. Through theoretical studies and personal analysis of a variety of existing projects, a detailed process was drafted in order to suggest a strategic action plan.

Western society has scarce resources and the European architect often asks the following question, what can I do now without nothing? In this hard times, it is far more difficult for closed solution to be imposed by a power minority than for specific temporary actions to be applied based on grassroots talks, because sensitivity is high and social groups are highly resistant to accepting any changes which have not come from within their ranks. Ecosistema Urbano (2011). “Negotiating at all level”. A + T 38. 120

fountainhead_654

Strategy & Tactics

The first input to the change came with the drafting of Agenda 21, a voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It emphasises that broad public participation in decision making is a fundamental prerequisite for achieving sustainable development. The main goal is trying to involve the local communities in the construction process of the future of the cities. When public space is concerned, there are two ways to run over: strategy and tactics. Both are tools of equal value, but with different typology of method; they are usually known as top-down or bottom-up processes.

Tactics are actions which take place on enemy territory while strategy is always enacted on home ground. Which can lead to an immediate run-of-the-mill sharing out of roles: strategy is an instrument of power, tactics are used by citizens; strategy occupies space, tactics play out in time; strategy is used to control, tactics to protest. De Certeau, M.(1988). The Practice of Everyday Life. University of California Press

Recent developments of these concepts became well known under different name, but in essence they are all the same.

Tactical urbanism. It is defined as small-scale improvements in an effort to effect large-scale, long-term change.
Placemaking. It is the act of enlivening public spaces and places for the betterment of the community and its neighbors.
Participatory design. It is an approach to the assessment, design, and development of technological and organizational systems that places a premium on the active involvement of workplace practitioners (usually potential or current users of the system).

The following scheme represents the stages of the experiment:
Process_654

The Iberian trip

There was the necessity to analyze the theory, exploring some case studies and finding some references. This processes are already very disseminated all over the world, especially in USA and north Europe, where the citizens have a great sense of community and cooperation.

Nevertheless this research focused on the Mediterranean area, in this particular case in the Iberian peninsula, where the lack of organization meets high quality and creativity, typical of the Latin culture. Some of the cases shown here are real established structures, others are spaces under construction and constantly changing. The connecting link is always one of active participation.
iberian trip_654

LXFACTORY – Lisbon

An urban fragment, kept hidden for years, is now returned to the city in the form of LXFactory. A creative island occupied by corporations and professionals of the industry serves also has stage for a diverse set of happenings related to fashion, publicity, communication, fine arts, architecture, music, etc.

lx_factory

El campo de cebada – Madrid

A group of neighbours called Distrito Centro promoted a temporary use of the vacant lof of a former public pool demolished in a district of Madrid, during the time in which the work planned for urban reuse was not to be carried out. The intention is that the space will accommodate all types of proposals/activities/projects (cultural, social, artistic, sport) for the use and enjoyment of the people of the district and all the city.

cebada

Matadero – Madrid

The old slaughterhouse and livestock market, where Matadero Madrid is now located, was built according with the project of the architect Luis Bellido. The site was architecturally transformed.
Matadero Madrid’s mission is to promote creation in all its forms and expressions. With special attention to cross-sectorial propositions, it focuses on three main action areas: training, production and dissemination.

matadero

Fabra i Coats Creation Factory – Barcelona

Fabra i Coats is a multidisciplinary space which will be promoting artistic hybridisation to become a point of reference in artistic research and in the generation of new quality contents, as well as a meeting point for groups, creators and proposals from different spheres and backgrounds.
The goal is to give support to artistic creation and it has workspaces for the performing arts, music, plastic and visual arts, multimedia creation and also for projects related to information and communication technology.

fabra i coats

Sometimes these kind of actions are not supported by a physical space, but by the people that build their spaces through some collective iniziatives, occasionally supported by a politician organization or made by self-funded artistic groups.

Urbact

It is a European exchange and learning programme promoting sustainable urban development. They enable cities to work together to develop solutions to major urban challenges, reaffirming the key role they play in facing increasingly complex societal changes. URBACT spans over 500 cities, 29 countries and 7,000 active participants.

urbact

Collectif ETC

Born in Strasbourg in 2009, this collective gathered energy around a common dynamic questioning of urban space. Through different means and different skills it wants to be a medium for experimentation. They believe that the different users of the city (residents and professionals) can all be involved in its development to a wide range of scales. The purpose and importance of these urban experiments is not only the result but also the process that generates it, as well as the new environment and new behavior it generates.

colletif etc

Boa Mistura

It is an urban art group formed at the end of 2001 in Madrid, Spain. Its members have diversity of perspectives, distinct visions which complement each other, and combine to create something unique and coherent.

boa mistura

Madrid Street Art Project

It is a noprofit association that through the organization of various activities and initiatives (urban Safaris, workshops, lectures, recovery rooms) aims to contribute to these reflections, to encourage citizens to enjoy urban art, contribute to its dissemination and support its creators.

madrid street art project

Conclusions

The final article will aim to give some semi-scientific guidelines to build participatory and inclusive societies. The new frontier of the architect should be to drive local communities in the management of public and private space, involving them in the construction process of the urban renewal. This is when the architect, as a highly knowledgeable technician, plays an essential role to mend the relation between politicians and common people.

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Y.E.S., una nave espacial para la educación | Youth Educational Spacecraft project

Category: art+creativity+educación+engineering+EntornoEducativo+⚐ ES

red YES 6 2

Hoy comparto con ustedes un proyecto un poco especial descubierto mientras estaba buscando información sobre el festival Burning Man y educación: les presento el Youth Educational Spacecraft project (Y.E.S.). Se trata de un aula móvil con forma de nave espacial diseñada y construida por un grupo de artistas, ingenieros, niños y voluntarios. En el origen del proyecto encontramos a los artistas y educadores Dana Albany y Kal Spelletich.

En este espacio los niños podrán disfrutar de diferentes talleres como: grabación y edición de vídeo, fabricación de moldes, fusión y soplado de vidrio para los portales exteriores e interiores, mosaicos, robótica (vehículo lunar, el brazo tele-robótico), la electrónica, la construcción de instalaciones, carpintería, jardinería, cableado eléctrico, reparación de objetos, purificación del agua, vigilancia por vídeo, interfaces electrónicas, alternativas de cocina, la energía solar, la iluminación, sistemas de control remoto, historia del arte, promover y exhibir su arte. Para esto, la nave está equipada con unos “elementos robóticos de sorpresa”; generador de luz con manivela, un robot para tocar violín, etc.

Aquí, el proceso educativo de una obra en común permite despertar la curiosidad de los niños. Los expertos usan recursos técnicos específicos, digitales o analógicos, que controlan perfectamente y transmiten un conocimiento con la práctica.

El proyecto arrancó en el Exploratorium de San Francisco y siguió con Burning Man 2013. La movilidad de esta micro-arquitectura les permite aumentar su red de participantes. Su objetivo es trabajar con escuelas, centros artísticos, científicos, festivales o cualquier otra estructura que defienda la creatividad.

Ver más:
- Walker with hat and glass
- Spaceship design
- Dana Albany explaining de spaceship concept
- YES at Bruning Man 2013

Financiación actual: Maker FaireBlack Rock Arts Foundation, The Exploratorium, Black Rock City LLC, Burning Man Project, The Crucible y un business angel.

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MetaMap | Interview with Christian Nold on his mapping projects

Category: art+city+creativity+landscape+MetaMap+new technologies+⚐ EN

Biomapping device and GPS

Today, I present the interview with Christian Nold where he shares his experience with mapping projects such as Bio MappingGreenwich Emotion Map, and SanFrancisco. He describes himself with the following:

Christian Nold is an artist, designer, and educator working to develop new participatory models for communal representation. In 2001, he wrote the well received book ‘Mobile Vulgus’, which examined the history of the political crowd and which set the tone for his research into participatory mapping. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2004, Christian has led a number of large scale participatory projects and worked with teams on diverse academic research projects. In particular, his ‘Bio Mapping’ project has received large amounts of international publicity and has been staged in 16 different countries and over 1500 people have taken part in his workshops and exhibitions.
In 2007, Christian Nold founded Softhook Design, which is now providing large scale public discussion projects, such as the TownToolkit. Christian Nold teaches at the Bartlett University, College of London and is a guest lecturer at Aalborg University of Denmark and an active member of the Council for the Internet of Things.

Galvanic Skin Response in a busy traffic crossing

1. How did you get to the practice of mapping? 

Mapping for me is a way to understand shared places. I entered this area through psychogeography and the idea that there might be shared psychological and unseen, but political structures that underlie the physical environment around us. Mapping then becomes a way of trying to record this kind of exploration. The shared mental and physical spaces, which are shaped into the form of a map, are such a familiar way of recording spaces that we can all access.

2. In what way do you obtain and treat the data for your mapping?

I utilize different types of mapping in my work, but my main interest is trying to articulate the blend of space between mind and material. The sources of my data tend to be ambiguous, such as physiological arousal, smells, sounds, feelings of being in or out of control, or illicit behavior.  My real interest is trying to map things that are difficult to map, or for political reasons, are not being mapped at all.

3. What is the application of open source mapping you are interested in the most?

What interests me about open source mapping is the way it provides agency for people to redefine how things are done.  The openness allows people to redefine mapping in terms of what is being mapped, as well as how to do the mapping.

Greenwich emotion map

4. What is the next phase of development your research is undergoing?

I’m currently researching whether mapping is a device ethnography at the Extreme Citizen Science Group at UCL.  This means I’m trying to trace networks of knowledge and power being generated by sensing devices and trying to map and articulate what is going on there. The final results will not be maps, but will utilize the methodology and thinking of mapping to uncover the relationships between entities, which I think is the core of what mapping is truly about.

5. What are you personal references for the theme of mapping (from ancient to contemporary ones)?

 I love some of the pre-modern maps that blend stories and myths, as well as local plants, flowers, and animals that simultaneously describe the physical environment.  Many of those maps show a freedom of blending together and crossing between categories that you don’t see any more in modern maps. Nowadays, maps seem to focus more on what they exclude rather than focusing on what they represent.

San Francisco emotion map

You can see related posts in the metamap series.

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Fun as building material | Marielyst STRAND, competition proposal by Kristine Jensen and Ecosistema Urbano

Category: colaboraciones+competitions+creativity+design+ecosistema urbano+landscape+urbanism+⚐ EN

Marielyst is a small town in the south of Denmark well known for being one of the most popular holiday locations on the Baltic Sea. Since the beginning of XX century its 20 km of white sand beaches attracted an increasing number of seasonal tourists, up to host nowadays 6000 summer houses in its area. The spatial configuration of Marielyst appears chaotic and it’s lacking of a recognisable identity; the main element of the urban structure is the principal street, a traffic vein that allows people to reach the heart of the small town, and from which secondary narrow streets start connecting every single wooden house. The subject of Marielyst competition was finding and providing a spatial organization to this place in order to structure an urban articulation among its parts. Moreover, an important feature to be considered in this site’s revitalization was the “beachy” atmosphere of Marielyst, its main character.

As usual, we worked with a multidisciplinary and international team, with the Danish landscape Office Kristine Jensen, after being chosen among 4 other finalists.

plan

Plan

Our proposition started from the identification of the land’s shape, which changed its configuration many times until the present. In the past, the island of Falster -where Marielyst is located- was composed by three smaller islands and was crossed by water; the area had been also flooded and remained swampy for many years, until the late 1800, when it was drained. Inspired by this ancient situation, we conceived the idea of   “Delta“, a sinuous and porous path that connects the dynamic activities of urban space with the relaxed atmosphere of a beach context.

Summer time

Summer time

The landscape project focuses on the valorization of the great quality of the natural elements that characterize the site -pines, sea, sand dunes, dike, grass- making them stand out very clearly. The concept of  “Delta” appears with the intention of spreading many accesses to these natural landmarks, connecting them through physical and conceptual paths. The Delta structure allows to pull the beach ambience in the urban space, both melted in a fluid unity; the achievement of this atmosphere is possible by choosing very soft and discreet materials to create paths and furniture elements, by substituting the current asphalt with tracks, marks and signs that simplify integration between the two ‘souls’ of the place.

winter time

Witer time

We elaborated one of the main aspects of Marielyst STRAND proposition, the activity plan. “Let it be fun!” is the motto we’ve chosen to summarize our idea to regenerate this area, being certain that the requalification of an urban space could not disregard the involvement of people in making the place alive.

The activity plan during daytime

The activity plan during daytime

Activity plan for the night

Activity plan for the night

We’ve developed a series of entertaining and bizarre urban objects and we have settled them in the Marielyst area in order to provide several activities aimed to reinvigorate the site during summer as well as winter time. We have tried to get inspired by the surrounding environment to elaborate ideas that allow people to appreciate the visible and the invisible natural local elements.

catalogue

Catalogue

Our proposition for Marielyst urban contest mainly consisted in designing urban objects strictly connected with natural elements that characterize the site, like rich vegetation, long beaches, fresh water and strong wind. The objective of our urban design strategy for Marielyst was to transform this ordinary beach on the Danish coast in a unique and very attractive site that could easily become a reference point for people who want to spend funny holidays in sustainable way.

Catalogue

Catalogue

The catalogue includes elements to enjoy the view of landscape from above (the watching tower, the balloon in the sky); elements integrated in the vegetation that allow to take advantage of its amenity in an unconventional way (the hammocks, the spider net, the hanging chairs, the fireplace); objects that transform the beach in a big playground (the playful tower, the oversized playground); objects that use wind to catch its power and transform it into energy (the windmill lamp) or just exploit its strength to create ephemeral landmarks (the wind fish, the wind parade).

Catalogue

Catalogue

Other elements are mobile and contribute to constantly change the configuration of the place, like the rolling cabins -temporary supports for sport activities or refreshment bars-, or the vehicles on wheels, a kind of elaborated bikes that could be used to move along the city and create temporary stages, movable slides, or on the road benches. Moreover a big attention is given to the socializing areas, as the rooftop terrace of an existing building along the main street, the picnic area or the water cloud, a playful object very useful to refresh atmosphere during sunny days of Baltic summer.

Catalogue

Catalogue

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Design-Analyse-Build | A methodology put to practice

Category: architecture+creativity+sustainability+⚐ EN

I would like to share with you my personal experience  in a ‘Design-Analyse-Build’ way of design.  Some of you might think, that it sounds not so innovative and most of the architects work in that way, that’s probably could be the truth, BUT there are some specific tips that make this experience unique.

In this post I will refer to the workshop that I shared in IED Torino Master SUS with the main coordinators  ARCò and MCArchitects studio, about designing an off-grid sustainable school for Palestine, Gaza_Rafah.

Firstly, I want to meet you with a work plan, that we were followed:

1. Climate analysis of an area
2. Analysis of the state conditions and local features of the area
3. Understanding the type of users and their needs
4. Environmental strategies selection
5. Concept creation
6. Design process
7. Shadow, daylight and glare analysis using Ecotect
8. Model 1:1 scale prototype

The first step was to analyse the climate of the area to understand the possible environmental strategies we can use and make a list of parameters that is better to avoid or conversely exploit during design process. The most tricky stuff was to find the weather data for Palestine, because nowadays all the information about it is classified, due to the war. Finally we had to use  weather data of  Beer Sheeva that located nearby in territory of Egypt.

 

The result of a Climate analysis using  Weather Tool,  Autodesk 2011

During most of the year temperature is above the comfort zone.. The winter is short, but is noticed with a humid winds. The summer period  lasts almost 7 months and accompanied with high temperature of the air and wind.The difference between the highest and lowest temperature during the day is about 10°.With this climate is important to orient building to protect it from the direct sun during summer and to capture it during winter. Also the building should be covered from strong winter wind,but use the summer ones.

The second step was to find out the location of  Rafah city and underline  the main function of that place.  One of the most important thing was to see the actual state of the construction site, that was almost impossible due to the hostilities.

Site location. Palestine. GazaStrip, Rafah

Rafah is situated in the southern part of the GazaStrip in Palestine, at the border with Egypt. According to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel at Camp in 1982, Rafah was divided into two parts. One part was assigned to Egypt, the other part to the Gaza Strip. Nowadays Rafah is the only point of importance in the country.

The third step was to ‘meet’ the users. In this case we had to try being in their shoes, imagining lifestyle of a kid who was born and had been living all of his life in a war situation, always surrounded with fences and swaying wire in a lack of green safety spaces and entertainments.

The site is located in the central empty area of Rafah. It is surrounded with residential houses and a big warehouse.In the real-time the site is full of  excavated earth, because of the erasion of the previous construction, after the bombing.

From 1948 the population of Palestine live in the war situation.. So the country has problems in many different fields, one of it belongs to children and it is lack of schools and areas for children activities

The fourth step was to choose the environmental strategies to follow to reach the off-grid building. This phase is strongly related to the climate analysis. In this case, is very helpful to see the vernacular architecture of a place to choose the right strategies.

Ekaterina Kozhevnikova and Sara Cicinelli|">Image is made by Ekaterina Kozhevnikova and Sara Cicinelli|

workshop ‘Una scuola sostenibile’ in IED Torino

The fifth step is a sort of summary of all the strategies we chose for the building – concept creation. Concept is the phase right before the design process, so it was important to choose the right orientation, shape, functional zones etc. We were also advice to make a simple symbol or logo that would describe our project in few seconds, that finally could become sort of a brend.

 ‘The Earth is our school, so let’s make the school with earth!’

Image is made by Ekaterina Kozhevnikova and Sara Cicinelli | workshop ‘Una scuola sostenibile’ in IED Torino

One of the most important steps was analysis of the building with Ecotect, Autodesk 2011. For this project we had to make several calculations, such as: solar, shadow, daylight and glare analysis.

Usually  shadow analysis is calculated for the longest and shortest day in the year, such as 21st of December and 21st of June. In this case we also did computings for 21st of march to get proper results and see if the overhangs are useful during al the year.

Solar analysis shows us the amount of sun hours that building surfaces receive during the day. It gives us the idea of facade protection from the direct sun. It also could be very useful to see the best position for the PV panels to let them produce the maximum energy.

Daylight factor analysis is the ratio of internal light level to external light level.A low asks for classrooms a 5% daylight factor. For  art, craft, technological laboratories thatratio is even higher. Daylight can be used to offset the need for artificial lighting and hence reduce dependency and consumption on electricity and the greenhouse gas emitted. Effective daylight distribution must be achieved in a manner that brings visual satisfaction to the occupants.

Glare analysis is a calculation about number of direct sun or reflection coming from a very bright source outside the field of view. The reflection may cause discomfort as well as the additional annoyance of veiling or masking out the information which is being sought within that view.Ecotect Tool, Autodesk 2011">The result of  analysis usingEcotect Tool, Autodesk 2011

The final step was a model in 1:1 scale that we built-in one of the parks in Turin city. It was a great chance to ‘feel’ the construction and understand the weak and strong points of it. In my personal opinion, it was one the best parts of design, when you make the proof to your ideas and drawings, so you can be sure that the techniques you had chosen is stable and can answer to your expectations.

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Becas IAAC 2012-2013

Category: architecture+creativity+new technologies+news+urbanism+⚐ EN

IAAC scholarships

 

More information:

www.iaac.net
www.iaacblog.com
www.fablabbcn.org

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Shop with a concept: Unpackaged

Category: creativity+sustainability+⚐ EN

Unpackaged is one of the shops with interesting, environmental friendly, and ethical concepts. Their philosophy is simple and they are describing it with this statement: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” (Buckminster Fuller)



photo: www.flicker.com (c) Grainger Laffan (globalpressgang.com).
For The Social Enterprise Coalition

The model of “world with less wasteful packaging” was created in 2006 by Catherine Conwayin, and company is achieving it one customer at a time. Unpackaged was set because Catherine wanted to refill her groceries using her own containers. She set up shop that made it really easy for customers to come and refill all their daily essentials. The products they sell are usually seasonal and from local production, with minimal transportation, mostly certified organic, and fair trade. In Unpackaged shop in London you can buy the exact amount you need or want so you don’t waste anything and also save money. And in the end going packaging-free means also that less waste will end in landfills.

How It Works? They are giving us some instructions:

- Remember to bring your containers* from home (if you forget, you can buy reusable containers here)
- Come to Unpackaged & say hello
– Weigh your containers at the counter then choose the product & amount you want
– Take your goods home & enjoy
– When you’ve run out, come back for a refill, simple as that!

*Containers: bring anything you like, there’s nothing to date that we haven’t been able to refill (even our lovely friend who likes putting lentils in old water bottles!) Bring glass jars, tupperware, old takeaway cartons, brown paper bags, plastic bags, old packaging.. if it’s heavy, we’ll weigh it first, if it’s light then just refill and we’ll weigh at the end.


photo: www.flicker.com (c) Grainger Laffan (globalpressgang.com).
For The Social Enterprise Coalition

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URBACT | The city of our dreams

Category: creativity+urbact+⚐ EN

Chaos unceasingly invents lives never imagined
Boris Cyrulnik

Let’s accept the crisis. Personally, I accept it convinced that it has an important systemic character and that it urges us to act because we are still far from seeing signs of the crisis bottoming out.

As a society, we have neglected all the signs that forecasted the collapse of the economic system for decades, and we have insisted in pursuing till the end a development model that, besides being deeply unfair and unbalanced, has shown itself to be exquisitely hypocritical, in particular for those of us who have tasted it to a greater extent.

The population of the so called developed countries have placidly flown with the tide of the promise of individual happiness, of the illusion of personal fulfilment, of the glare of the American dream….

The blindness caused by the flashes of the consumer society has driven us to an individualized existence, to the point that we have forgotten every social or environmental compromise with our environment. Meanwhile, we were begging to establish economic links with external powers we don’t even know, nor understand, and, of course we don’t control. These links have made us accomplices of this human devastation and environmental pillaging our mortgaged planet is suffering. continue reading

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Third edition of Public Design Festival from 12th to 17th April

Category: creativity+design+⚐ EN


The event will take place in four main public areas that need to be re-designed around the citizens.

Public Design Festival is also get-together, exchange and occasion to create new opportunities for young designers to show up their ideas and projects. For that reason the festival is organizing.

PUBLIC MARKET is a marketplace entirely dedicated to self produced design pieces, processed crafts, limited edition objects.

PUBLIC MARKET is the chance to present new design ideas and sell them directly.

PUBLIC MARKET is the place where young designers can presents their works, in the contest of the design week.

PUBLIC MARKET is a market of ideas, experiences and stories from all over the world

PUBLIC MARKET will take place on Saturday 16th at Parco Esposizioni Novegro and will be the main content of Public Design Party event, the traditional closing party of the design week.

For more information: www.publicdesignfestival.org

produced by Esterni.

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2012Architecten and a little more about their ¨superuse¨

Category: architecture+creativity+⚐ EN

2012Architecten were recently featured in my ecological design fundamentals post for their ¨superuse¨ of building materials. Rather than an afterthought,  material usage plays a central role in the design processes of these dutch architects. Approaching each project with the unique mindset that local discarded materials will shape their final design, the creations of 2012Architecten are not only examples of sustainable architecture practice, they are also fun, exciting examples of  urban creativity at it´s best. 2012Architechiten are ahead of thier time and, fittingly, thier projects tend to have a futuristic feel.  The three projects featured  below utilize, for example,  rotor blades, cable reels, sinks and steel beams that once held a textile factory together.

Wikado: continue reading

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Local River: living room agriculture

Category: creativity+design+⚐ EN

With Local River, french designer Mathieu Lehanneur has introduced a whole new dimension of conscious eating for fish-eating locavores.  His freshwater aquarium-refrigerator design allows conscious foodies to raise their own fish and grow a vegetable patch in their living room. The system is supported  by the natural exchange and interdependence between fish and plants: The plants extract the nutrient-rich water for growth while simultaneously acting as a natural filter, purifying the water to provide a healthy environment in which the fish can grow themselves. This process mimics natural pond ecology and maintains the vital balance for the ecosystem in which the fish live. It also allows fish eaters to better trace their culinary footprint, which, in an age of fish-decline due to extreme overfishing, is something worth acknowledging. continue reading

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In Berlin: Reclaiming Dark Spaces

Category: creativity+urbanism+⚐ EN

Artists in Berlin utilize a forgotten beer cellar, an old soviet bunker and an abandoned power station.

Berlin is well known for it’s population’s frequent reclamation of abandoned tenement buildings, but the past couple of years have seen an even more impressive trend of the reuse of seemingly uninhabitable dark spaces for art showings and cultural gatherings.

Galerie Unter Berlin
Eight meters below ground, Galerie unter Berlin exists in the cellar of a former brewery. The 500 square meter space recently opened to the public in fall 2010 and serves as a venue for gallery art and performance pieces. continue reading

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Innovate, create

Category: #followresearch+creativity+⚐ EN

Innovation, creativity power fresh thinking at Harvard

The heart pacemaker. Surgical anesthesia. Facebook. Even breathable chocolate.

Harvard’s combination of questing minds, passionate spirits, and intellectual seekers tackling society’s toughest problems fosters a creativity that has produced a stream of innovations, from novel inventions to history-making devices that provide profound benefits to the public.

Creative thinking is a key component of Harvard’s Schools, centers, and institutes. Many innovations have come from looking at old problems in new ways, from recognizing the importance of serendipitous results, and from understanding that failures are steps to success. That innovative spirit has long been part of Harvard’s DNA, leading to the first use of anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846 and the development of the pacemaker by Paul Zoll in the 1950s.

President Drew Faust highlighted this University role when she took office, noting that an institution of higher education has an “accountability to the future.”

“One of the most significant things about our research universities,” she told a gathering of civic and higher education leaders in Boston, “is that they are engines that also produce the fuel — the scientists, physicians, and engineers, the thinkers and ideas … that spur the new products, new jobs, and new companies that will help renew our economy.” continue reading

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[im]possible living

Category: blogs+creativity+⚐ EN

Today we present [im]possible living: an interesting project made by Daniela Galvani and Andrea Sesta.

“Abandoned buildings are everywhere: in city centers, suburbs, countrysides, mountains, seasides, everywhere! They are left there, day after day, night after night.

They don’t scream, they don’t bleed, they just loose a little piece everyday, so you don’t really realize that a certain place is falling down, until one day it’s impossible to recover it and the only thing that is possible to do is … breaking it down!!

How is our society managing those buildings? Most of the time it’s ignoring them, preferring to leave them behind and build new buildings instead! This approach it’s cheaper in the short term, but definitely it is not in the long run. continue reading

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Bucky on stage

Category: creativity+⚐ EN

Photo courtesy of the American Repertory Theater

Harvard gave R. Buckminster Fuller a gift beyond academics, his biographers say: a lifelong preoccupation with human welfare, and the social, technical, and economic problems that vex the modern age. “R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe,” a two-act monologue performed by A.R.T. veteran Thomas Derrah, explores the life and ideas of the inventor and futurist.

R. Buckminster Fuller, the self-taught architect, inventor, and futurist who coined the term “Spaceship Earth,” entered Harvard College in the fall of 1913. But by 1915, he had been thrown out twice — he preferred the term “fired” — and never returned for a degree. continue reading

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Call for projects Public Design Festival 2011 Milan

Category: creativity+design+⚐ EN

Public Design Festival edition n° 3 will be held in Milan from 12 to 17 april 2011 with a new formula: site specific projects scattered all over Milan from the city centre to the outskirts of town (Lambrate, Cadorna, Porta Romana, Garibaldi). Young designers, architects and projects makers can submit their projects to realise interventions, services, installations and public design projects.

Deadline January 31.

Public Design Festival is made of a constant research that brings to Milan selected projects  from all over the world with the aim of giving space to public space in building future cities. Cities shall be citizen-friendly, they shall be built on people and relations, cities to live in, not to survive in. The winning projects for this edition will be presented in a urban course that will be visible for the whole city and ready to be experienced from the citizens and visitors of Public Design Festival. continue reading

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rifiuto con affetto

Category: creativity+sustainability+⚐ EN


Objective
The aim of this project is to make people aware of the increasing amount of rubbish we throw away and choices for its disposal. How many times have we thought to ourselves “What a pity to throw this away!”. It just shows how often people throw away items which can still be used. RCA wants to change our attitude towards these objects and offer them a second life: if we throw away something “with love”, then someone else may “love it again”. What has become useless to someone, can become useful to someone else.
RCA enables the public to think twice before getting rid of unnecessary belongings and points out the importance of “wasting” in a critical and conscious way. continue reading

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open calls for fellow European mobility program Leonardo da Vinci

Category: architecture+creativity

[ecosistema urbano] open calls for admission of candidates for a vacancy with fellow European mobility program Leonardo da Vinci.
Each year we support one or two trainees, and this year we have decided to make the call through the blog.

Date: From February to August 2010
Deadline for submissions: 03/02/10
Format: original presentation in pdf (no more than 5MB).
Send documents to michael@ecosistemaurbano.com

Leonardo Grants:
Since 1 January 2007 the Leonardo da Vinci is part of the Lifelong Learning Program, in conjunction with the Comenius, Erasmus and Grundtvig. Will be addressing the needs of teaching and learning of all participants in education and training, excluding tertiary level.

These are grants for placements in enterprises or in training institutions in other European Union country. They are addressed to students of Middle Level Training Cycles and people in the labour market (people who follow vocational training courses, recent graduates: college or vocational training background and degree courses, etc.).

The Leonardo da Vinci provides financial assistance to organizations that promote mobility projects.

To obtain a scholarship within the framework of the Leonardo da Vinci, you should contact one of these organizations witch have approved mobility projects (the Ministry of Education of your community, your University, your Institute, Chamber of Commerce, City Councils. ..).

Good Luck.

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what if…?cities:Obama's vision for Urban and Metropolitan Policy

Category: city+creativity+Uncategorized+urbanism+video+⚐ EN

“Now, the first thing we need to recognize is that this is not just a time of challenge for America’s cities; it’s also a time of great change.  Even as we’ve seen many of our central cities continuing to grow in recent years, we’ve seen their suburbs and exurbs grow roughly twice as fast — that spreads homes and jobs and businesses to a broader geographic area.  And this transformation is creating new pressures and problems”.
“So what’s needed now is a new, imaginative, bold vision tailored to this reality that brings opportunity to every corner of our growing metropolitan areas” (Obama) continue reading

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Yes, we camp!

Category: architecture+creativity+⚐ EN

palazzo del cgoverno terremoto
L’Aquila – Italy, earthquake

Yes, we camp! It’s the cry to denounce the crazy conduct of the after earthquake emergency.

For the first time in the recent history of earthquakes, after three months, people are still living under tents and they will have to stay there for a long time, according to the Government’s plans. continue reading

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[strategic issues] Clinton Climate Initiative series

Category: city+creativity+new technologies+sustainability+⚐ EN

The Clinton Climate Initiative, from the William J. Clinton Foundation, has decided to promote 16 good practices in sustainable urban growth. Everybody is making list, as Forbes, but they don’t present very well the meaning of thist list. Through the website, we can see that the Initiative push the urban regeneration and the improvement of green energy as goals to reach better cities and better life’s. From this first post, our aim is communicate information about those projects, receive comments from our community and in two weeks offer a critical overview and some strategic keys to understand why some of the presented projects are in this list, and why some have no reasons. I hope we will generate some group of discussion on the present of our cities and some positive criticism on the ways to improve them.
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[EU] spotify playlists #4

Category: creativity+eu:live+new technologies+open culture+⚐ EN

spotifyeu_logo3

This is our last daily playlist at the office, from now on we’ll post weekly or monthly playlists, so the first music brain-storming ends up here… the bright side is that weekly or monthly playlists are smoother and rested, and we have more time to select tracks for everyday work…

spotify:user:eiza1980:playlist:0iZq0jYXYYnqCggogvts9w

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imagine the future

Category: city+creativity+⚐ EN

27_011
Surfing the web I’ve discovered that number of colormagazine dedicated to the effects of climate changing and sustenible development in the island of Vörland, in the year 2057.
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the commons

Category: creativity+internet+open culture+⚐ EN

cc_365

In this innovative animation, filmmaker Laura Hanna, writer Gavin Browning and video artists Dana Schechter and Molly Schwartz examine the concept of The Commons as a means to achieve a society of justice and equality.

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THE GREAT CAKE ESCAPE

Category: art+city+creativity+⚐ EN

the-geate-cake-escape2

I’d like to present this curious group all composed by young women who invaded London’s streets with cakes.

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fisheye sessions #10

Category: city+creativity+urbanism+⚐ EN

fisheye10-bilbao

Glorieta de Bilbao [Madrid]

-fisheye view from top-

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re-biennale

Category: architecture+blogs+city+creativity+proyectos+sustainability+⚐ EN

rebiennale_365

Quite often grand cultural events, as the Architecture Biennale is, cross the city of Venice in a such imposing manner, rarely interacting with what stays out of the exhibition path. This applies to the citizens (inhabitants, students, workers) and also to the professionals and the artists officially invited.

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fisheye sessions #9

Category: creativity+cultura abierta+urbanism+⚐ EN

Jacinto Benavente Square, Madrid [Top view]

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KULER -explore, create and share color themes-

Category: art+creativity+design+findings+⚐ EN

the web-hosted application for generating color themes that can inspire any project. No matter what you’re creating, with Kuler you can experiment quickly with color variations and browse thousands of themes from the Kuler community…

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