Hello Wood is a multicultural and multidisciplinary art program. Their most well-known event is the one week creator camp held every summer, where recognized experts and artists share their knowledge with talented students.
All work produced is carrying two attributes: it’s mostly from wood and it’s characterized by an interplay of art and social commitment. Hello Wood integrates various fields of art, design and science; it creates community and encourages talent. It brings together students and professionals across borders, moreover connects everyday people with the designer community.
We are researching how could the bond amongst nature, our artificial environment and humans become tighter. With the tools of design and architecture we are looking for an answer to the question: How could we get at least a step closer?
Hello Wood will focus on designing and creating 8 wooden installations. Considering past experiences (everybody prefers to build) in 2013 they will not separate the workshops by profession.
Besides architects, experts from different fields of art are invited as well to apply. You can be an architect, painter, sculptor, landscape architect, graphic designer, musician, ninja etc. The application procedure offers an equal opportunity for everyone.
Next Saturday May 18th, Belinda Tato will be giving a lecture at the Dani Arhitekture, Days of Architecture 2013 in Sarajevo, Bosnia, presenting the most recent works of ecosistema urbano, among which is dreamhamar from Norway.
This year’s event title is Common space, inviting participants to reflect about the meaning of the common:
What is a common space on a city scale?
How do we create a positive interaction and encourage more citizens to an active use and participation in creating these areas?
What is the role of architects, urbanists, politicians?
Are architects simply creators, removed from the users, or are they mediators in this process, where every user himself becomes the creator of space?
These are some of the questions around which the different participants will discuss and share their experiences.
Other lecturers will be: Raumlabor, Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée, Glamourmanifest, Archipelagos and many others.
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.
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.
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!’
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.
Jose Luis Vallejo will be giving a lecture next week at the ia&l (Institut für Architectur und Landschaft) from the Graz University of Technology. He will also take part in the “Urban Legends” workshop as a guest:
One of the most important challenges over the 13 years of history of Ecosistema Urbano has been to communicate what we do in a readable and attractive way. However, in everyday work, the priority has always been the urgent, immediate projects, so we kept postponing the time for making a structured presentation of our professional activity online.
This “EU portfolio” task has been present in all of our task management meetings, always at the end of the “to do list”. But that’s over!
The Ecosistema Urbano Portfolio: What we do
We have finally put ourselves to the task with dedication and we are pleased to present our portfolio: a selection of our works and proposals, showing pictures, diagrams, plans, related links to publications, etc … A selection that, while not yet complete, is organized by categories, tags and years, making navigation more effective.
We carried an internal research on portfolio sites we liked, and as a result we have gone for a responsive layout, an adaptable grid structure showing all the projects at once, plus a sidebar menu, where you can find the main information about our firm as well as 3 different navigation systems:
- A general classification of projects by types
- A more specific classification according to themes
- A yearly index
We have chosen this simple web structure with the aim of keeping it updated (which, so far, we are managing to do!), and of course the website is a “work in progress” itself. This way, we didn’t have to wait til all the contents were uploaded to make it public. We have uploaded so far 20 of our most relevant works, but we plan to add more in the months to come, so that you can get an overall impression of “what we do”.
We invite you to check some of the presentation sections on the sidebar menu, that have been recently updated:
- About us is a complete presentation of Ecosistema Urbano, who we are and what we do.
- On Articles + Papers you can read some of our written contributions to international architecture magazines and other publications.
- Under the label Publications you can see where our projects have been published so far and have access to previews of some of these publications.
We find the typical architect’s portfolio websites, usually made in Flash (a legacy from the ’90s, but still very common), quite frustrating. They don’t allow you to link to a specific project, and forget about downloading an image! With such limitations the message of those websites is a clear “keep your hands off my stuff”… and we do want you to get your hands on our staff!
So we have made sure you will be able to easily link to any project, year, tag or category (or even a specific image), to view the images in a good resolution, and to download them.
Reconnecting our online presence
When designing the poftfolio page we noticed something else: On top of all our websites (about, portfolio, blog, video channel), we were missing a way to link and navigate between them.
Now we have tried to address this issue by creating a common header syle for all the sites, which includes a menu with links and a changing color that matches the ones displayed in our main page: ecosistemaurbano.com.
We hope you enjoy it! And please, feel free to make any comments on it, we will appreciate your feedback. Thank you!
The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.
The water footprint consists of three components: the blue, green and grey water footprint. The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater evaporated from the global blue water resources (surface water and ground water) to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community. The green water footprint is the volume of water evaporated from the global green water resources (rainwater stored in the soil as soil moisture). The grey water footprint is the volume of polluted water that associates with the production of all goods and services for the individual or community. The latter can be estimated as the volume of water that is required to dilute pollutants to such an extent that the quality of the water remains at or above agreed water quality standards.
The past century has brought a lot of changes, like the explosion of human population, the creation of an expansive global economy and the increasing technological development. All of them have put unprecedented pressures on water. More specifically, our growing appetite for water-intensive food and manufactured good, the construction of large dams for hydro-electricity and irrigation, and the massive discharge of industrial waste into limited freshwater sources, have made water an increasingly limited and expensive resource.
Despite this obvious fact, people use large amounts of water: drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, and almost every other physical product. This water can be named as virtual water.
The virtual water content of a product (a commodity, good or service) is the volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured at the place where the product was actually produced.
It refers to the sum of the water use in the various steps of the production chain. The virtual-water content of a product can also be defined as the volume of water that would have been required to produce the product at the place where the product is consumed (consumption-site definition).
Water footprints can be hard to calculate, depending on how far up the chain of production you go, since everything you eat and buy used some water to produce. With our latest Transparency, I give you some examples of how much water is used in some of your daily activities, so that you can begin calculate your footprint and try to reduce your gallons.
To help put things in perspective, think about this: your standard trash barrel holds 32 gallons and a mid-sized passenger car-if pumped full of water has room for a little more than 800 gallons. So, the difference in the amount of water it takes to produce a pound of chicken and a pound of beef is enough to fill almost two whole cars.
Which result have you got?
Let’s compare it with the water footprint calculation of one friend of mine, Croatian architect Ana Bilan that did some research in that field.
According to her calculations she was able to reduce her water footprint more than twice, which sounds really impressive! So it was a matter of changing her habits, decreasing the direct water footprint and also the types of food she eats and products she uses to get a better result with indirect water Footprint.
Speaker: Jose Luis Vallejo, Ecosistema Urbano | Introduction by Eugenio Pandolfini
Date/time: Tuesday April 9, 2013 at 7:00pm
Place: Palazzo dei Cerchi | Lecture Hall | Vicolo dei Cerchi 1 | Florence | Italy
Organizer: Kent State University | Florence Program College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Lectures are free and open to the public (seats are limited)
The people behind More Than Green have organized a great summer course on July 15-26, 2013 in the mediterranean city of Alicante (Spain), where we will also be taking part together with PLAYstudio, Transsolar and Urban Think Tank.
Sustainability is not just an environmental issue but, and above all, a social, cultural and economic one. This course about URBAN DESIGN and SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE proposes a complex incursion within the subject of sustainability understood not only as a problem but as an opportunity to meet new approaches to the city in a creative, innovative, playful and unprejudiced way.
Contents + Objectives
Improve your design skills: based on an open criticism of the “only green” approach for the construction of our future sustainable cities, this course offers a much wider, complex and playful perspective at the same time. Students will combine the design of a team project –about an specific case‐ with the supervision of guest experts and their master classes.
Build a knowledge frame –examples of good practices told by guest experts‐ where students take consciousness of the importance of broadening their understanding of sustainability according to the new world policies.
Create a typical multicultural situation of an international course where students coming from different places exchange their various backgrounds and modes of undertaking the sustainable urban project. The diversity of the faculties contributes to enrich this situation.
Methodology + Course Structure
Master classes, teamwork and project reviews within the context of four different ways of understanding sustainability: ENVIRONMENTALLY, SOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY and CULTURALLY.
DIRECTOR: José Luis Oliver Ramírez (University of Alicante) + TRANSSOLAR: Matthias Schuler (Harvard GSD) + URBAN-THINK TANK: Alfredo Brillembourg (ETH Zurich) + ECOSISTEMA URBANO: Belinda Tato y Jose Luis Vallejo (Harvard GSD) + PLAYstudio: Iván Capdevila y Vicente Iborra (University of Alicante)
Alicante + Free time
It’s summer, you’re by the coast… who would dare to keep you away from having fun? Within the course structure, it is programmed a considerable amount of free time so the students can visit other cities or some interesting spots on the surroundings, enjoy the sun and the beach, or take part in different summer activities organized by the University of Alicante.
The University of Alicante offers you a wide range of facilities and affordable accommodation in several lovely locations from the historic city centre to the university campus surroundings.
Today we introduce Christian, an architecture student who recently did an internship with us, getting involved in our latest projects… and giving us some more hints on Scandinavian culture! Here are his kind words about his stay with us:
Shortly about myself, I’m from Denmark. I have just started on my last year of my master at the architecture in Copenhagen, after having spent five months with Ecosistema.
Before going into the final stages of my education, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity of making an internship, being introduced to different ideas and ways of working and at the same to a different culture by moving to Spain for five months.
Ecosistema is very good at working in a socially responsible way and with those layers of architecture that are related to the process and networks. They take into account the humans involved, and at the same time make their dreams and ideas turn into very nice buildings. They master all the layers of architecture today and they have fun at the same time. Their way of thinking supplements my knowledge from the school in Copenhagen very well.
During my stay I was working with ecosistema on the competition about the new city centre of Kiruna. It was a very complicated issue which combined with the other things we have been working on have given me a lot to take with me back to my school and think about.
To me architecture is an opportunity to get into a wide range of knowledge and putting it to use. Hopefully giving something back, which will be helpful, inspiring and relevant.
Before coming I had only heard good things about Ecosistema. It’s all true and I feel privileged to have been able to make my Internship here. So thank you for this time, I wish you the best for the future.
Occupation: Student at The Royal Danish Acadamy of Fine Arts. School of Architecture.
Interests: Architecture and lots of other stuff
City/country: Copenhagen, Denmark
Online profiles: facebook.com/christianjhess
Is Peace a matter of design? Do designers have a role in it? During our stay at Harvard GSD last Fall semester, we had the pleasure to meet architect Karen Lee Bar-Sinai who is a current Loeb Fellow there. Last January she launched the workshop DESIGNING PEACE, looking into how designers can envision peace for the city of Jerusalem. Below is a description of the course and the links to some of the contents and results. We hope you find them inspiring.
Architecture and Planning may seem to be of little relevance to Conflict Resolution. However, territorial conflicts occur in space, and so are their solutions. It is time architects, planners and policy makers approach disputed territories together to plan viable, peaceful futures for disputed areas.
This workshop invites you to join an exploration of how design can aid envisioning peace in conflicted territories. We will explore the possible meaning of Resolution Planning – originally a concept and practice developed by “SAYA/Design for Change” (sayarch.com) . Together we will try to give broaden this term, and find new ways to encourage policy makers to think as architects, and to encourage architects to think as policy makers.
The 5 day solution-oriented workshop will focus on Jerusalem as a case study for other contested cities such as Belfast and Nicosia. We will plan, think and design at various scales, and propose innovative ideas for peace. Several sites will serve as case studies (one will encourage a landscape intervention, another an urban design strategy, and a third will call for a more general policy oriented vision for the future Jerusalem seam-line). The workshop is planned to be followed by a publication.
Goals and Outcome:
The goal of the workshop is to develop spatial-based concepts to aid peace. We also plan to gather the various proposals into a publication which will include both the theoretical framework and examples of various tools for planning peace.
Above all, we wish for this effort to truly aid overcoming the stalemate in the peace process, which we believe it is crucial to future of both Israeli and Palestinian. We therefore wish this event to be as interesting, meaningful and involving as possible, in order for its fruits and visions of peacemaking to be of highest impact.
Explosion 1965-6 Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997- Museum of Modern Art, New York 1976
[ES] Ecosistema Urbano lleva varios años trabajando principalmente para instituciones y administraciones en el extranjero (Noruega, Italia, Dinamarca, Francia…), de manera independiente o en colaboración con otras oficinas. A medida que conocemos más otros países y trabajamos con otros equipos, nos damos cuenta de que todavía nos quedan por explorar muchas posibilidades profesionales, lo que requiere una dedicación intensa en tareas de prospección, establecimiento de contactos y comunicación.
Por este motivo, buscamos una persona de acción, creativa y con iniciativa que se quiera incorporar a nuestro equipo (a tiempo completo) y contribuir a la creación y desarrollo de nuevas oportunidades.
Por la naturaleza del trabajo es imprescindible tener habilidades de comunicación y un dominio del inglés hablado y escrito a nivel profesional. También es valorable tener cierta experiencia internacional, habiendo estudiado o trabajado fuera de España.
Algunas características del perfil que estamos buscando:
Arquitecto/a o profesional próximo al mundo de la arquitectura / urbanismo / paisajismo con formación en españa o en el extranjero
Inglés/español: Imprescindible gran dominio hablado y escrito
Habilidades de comunicación, facilidad y afición por la escritura en distintos idiomas
Diseño gráfico y familiaridad con herramientas digitales en general
Soltura en rastreo de webs y bases de datos online
Persona activa y creativa
Preferible experiencia internacional previa (académica o profesional)
Si estáis interesados enviadnos (antes del 20 de marzo) un breve mensaje de interés (el mismo texto del correo) y muestras de vuestro trabajo+experiencia mediante enlaces (Dropbox, Scribd, Wetransfer, web…). Por favor, evitad los archivos adjuntos o carpetas compartidas, sólo un link de descarga al final del mensaje.
[EN] Over the last few years, Ecosistema Urbano has been mainly working for foreign public and private institutions (in Norway, Italy, Denmark, France, …), either independently or in collaboration with other offices. The more we get to know other countries and work with different teams, the more we realize that we still have many professional possibilities to explore. This requires an intense dedication to prospecting, networking and communication tasks.
For this reason, we are currently searching for an active, creative and resourceful person who wants to join our team (full time), contributing to the creation and development of new opportunities.
Because of the nature of the work, good communication skills and mastery of written and spoken English at a professional level are a must. It is also valuable to have some international experience, having studied or worked outside Spain.
Some hints on the profile we are looking for:
Architect or professional familiar with the world of architecture / urban design / landscape, educated in Spain or abroad
English / Spanish: spoken and written (professional level)
Communication and writing skills, as well as enjoying writing in different languages
Graphic design skills and familiarity with digital tools in general
Familiar with web and online database research
Active and creative person
Highly appreciated international experience (academic or professional)
If you are interested please send (before March 20th) a brief text expressing your interest (the very same text of the email) and samples of your work + experience through links (Dropbox, Scribd, Wetransfer, web…). Please, avoid attachments or shared folders, just a link included at the end of the email will be perfect!
The project, together with the Ecobulevar de Vallecas (which was awarded back in 2008) is now part of the Best Practices Database “as a way of promoting global exchange, learning and replication”. Here are the links:
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
Next Friday we will be in Reggio Emilia at the presentation of the Reggio Children educational project “A school as a learning community”, together with Graziano Delrio, Luca Molinari, Carla Rinaldi and Maddalena Tedeschi. We will talk about our proposal for the Reggio Children experimental learning centre, and after that an exhibition will be opened, showing the projects submitted to the competition.
Progettare Spazi per l’Apprendimento
Friday, February 15 2013 at 16.30
Centro Internazionale Loris Malaguzzi – Sala Kuwait
Coinciding with the rise of digital tools that foster participatory systems, Hybrid Space Lab is an entity that exists in the realm between architect and client, the traditional shapers of space. In this article, originally published here, Elizabeth Sikiaridi and Frans Vogelaar of Hybrid Space Lab share three of their projects and their thoughts on networked participatory design systems today.
The CITY KIT hybrid game by Hybrid Space Lab
CITY KIT is a combined urban-computer game to upgrade your neighborhood. The CITY KIT project was developed for the Hong Kong Social Housing Authority with as a target group young people that are familiar with computer games but hardly play outside.
This hybrid game revolves around city planning and urban redevelopment. CITY KIT turns the residents into the “makers” of the city, providing thus a bridge between the users of the urban environment and the experts – the architects and the urban planners.
The CITY KIT hybrid game by Hybrid Space Lab
Playing the CITY KIT game, the residents can adapt and improve their local physical environment by building a digital version of their neighborhood. Using modular building components that can be moved around and fixed in certain places in the environment, users can build micro-stages, exhibition decks, floating bars and theatres, swimming pools and other recreational facilities that make living in the neighborhood more fun.
The CITY KIT hybrid game by Hybrid Space Lab
CITY_KIT is an open-source medium in which participants can add elements and share their designs. An online platform in the form of a website allows residents to actively take part in the game. All it takes is a simple click of the mouse to interactively test your own virtual version of CITY KIT.
Residents and game users can design their own objects and facilities and can realize their ideas: A ‘real’ object, an analog version of the proposed CITY KIT element, can be built at the chosen location.
On the website, the user can also pinpoint exactly where a digital object should be located in the analogue world. This can be done using a mobile phone.
The CITY KIT hybrid game by Hybrid Space Lab
The goal of CITY KIT is to help you revalue your local surroundings and incorporate the new, imaginative layers created in CITY KIT’s virtual world. Making small modifications to the personal, physical environment in digital space changes the experience of living in the real world.
DIY Pavilion at the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-city Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture 2009-2010. Photo by Andy Tam
Outcome of the CITY KIT project was the DIY Pavilion, first presented at the waterfront promenade of Hong Kong within the framework of the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-city Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture 2009-2010 and later set up at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre and at the Kwai Tsing Theatre in Hong Kong.
DIY Pavilion at the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-city Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture 2009-2010. Photo by Andy Tam
Following the CITY KIT concept, users can co-create their design of the pavilion. The pavilion’s architecture is based on an architectural design principle with a flexible structure that can adapt to site and program requirements, to different content, context and spatial situations. The structure of the pavilion architectural design principle makes it possible to involve the users in the design, building and transformation of the pavilion.
‘Build Your Own Pavilion’ at the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-city Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture 2009-2010
The pavilion consists of triangular plywood plates sown together with the help of cable binders. It is a flexible mobile structure to be easily disassembled, transported, reassembled and sown together again, adjusting to the size of the site and the local requirements.
Detail of the DIY Pavilion by Hybrid Space Lab; photo by Andy Tam
Videos on urban issues were projected on the triangular crystalline structure of the pavilion’s interior as the pavilion travelled to the different locations for community education.
Model of the DIY Pavilion by Hybrid Space Lab. Photo by Julian Roeder
Both projects, CITY KIT as well as the DIY Pavilion, were recently presented within the framework of the SIMPLE CITY installation by Hybrid Space Lab at the MAKK Museum of Applied Arts Cologne from May to August 2012 and at the first issue of plan – Architecture Biennial Cologne (plan – Architektur Biennale Köln in German) in September 2012.
The SIMPLE CITY is an interface for the participative development of urban projects by professionals and laymen. The design of this simulated urban environment can be broken down to simple elements that can be copied and modified by the users of the city.
SIMPLE CITY installation by Hybrid Space Lab at the MAKK Museum of Applied Arts Cologne from May to August 2012. Photo by Hybrid Space Lab
Laymen and city-users by copying, pasting and modifying the basic elements can easily adapt the urban design in order to develop new urban settings.
With its modular setting SIMPLE CITY corresponds to the serially produced, global, generic city (with all the instabilities and breaks). SIMPLE CITY therefore refers to the city of the industrial age that was intrinsically related with the system of serial industrial mass production. The city of the industrial age was serially produced as the addition of generic urban elements. Therefore the model elements of the SIMPLE CITY installation were built with the help of modular building bricks that were sponsored by the Danish company Lego.
SIMPLE CITY installation by Hybrid Space Lab at the plan. Architecture Biennial Cologne, Sept. 2012. Photo by Hybrid Space Lab
SIMPLE CITY is an interface that enables the communication of dynamic and networked information on urban projects. It forms an environment for interactive collaboration and for communication of process-oriented urban and architectural projects. This includes projects on the energy and material cycles of the city, on urban conversion and on networked participatory urban and architectural design, such as the CITY KIT and the DIY Pavilion projects.
Networked Participatory Design Systems Today
The projects described above stand in the long tradition of participatory urban design, in the long tradition of the efforts of inserting the voice of the public into the process of shaping cities. Today these networked participatory design projects, such as CITY KIT, DIY Pavilion and SIMPLE CITY, are part of a general trend and of a paradigm shift.
Networked organizations and systems are today transforming our society in general. With new technologies and digital media currently transforming production and social communication, urban and architectural design is being redefined in a new context.
Participatory urban and architectural design systems are gaining –in the context of a networked society– in relevance. This is a general phenomenon as networked co-operation and open-source are to be found in many contemporary social and cultural expressions.
Current social-political are using social media tools and mobile media networks. Fluctuating networked political forces distrust established political parties and contest the concept of the ‘political expert’, creating independent self-publication channels and demanding ‘direct democracy’.
Networked systems are also transforming knowledge production; think of the Wikipedia, ‘the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit’. Co-operation, co-authorship and open-source are to be found in many contemporary cultural expressions and phenomena, such as, for example, Wikimedia Commons, the free media file repository making available public domain and freely licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone.
Users, aided by improvements in information-communication technology are increasingly developing their own new products and services, ‘democratising’ innovation. These innovating users often freely share their innovations with others, creating user-innovation communities and a rich intellectual commons.
The word “prosumer” is used in this context to describe the type of consumer who becomes involved in the design and manufacturing of products, so they can be made to his individual specification. The word “prosumer” blends the roles of producer and consumer and was first coined in 1980 by the futurist Alvin Toffler in his book “The Third Wave”.
Today the “prosumer” can be engaged in innovation and design as well as in the manufacturing of products that fit his individual specifications and needs. In the last years 3D printing has developed to a low cost technology that everyone can use to produce objects. 3D printing allows industrial production on a desktop scale enabling autonomous production for individuals and designers. This development of object production is enabled by the Internet and by the acceleration of technological developments and open source communities. The digital blue prints of objects are designed in 3D software and can be shared via digital networks. On special Internet platforms people share these open source 3D designs that can be produced via rapid prototyping with 3D printers.
Networked participatory design systems are replacing the logics of the industrial age, where the creative one designed for the non-creative masses. The architects and urban designers focus is shifting from designing objects and spaces to programming processes in interaction with users. The task of ‘designing’ processes for networks of people involved on the development of the urban environment is gaining in relevance. This means a shift from centralized to (distributed) participatory systems with ‘enabling solutions’ that involve users. This includes solutions and platforms that ‘enable’ users to interact, integrating users as participants into development processes of the urban environment – such as the CITY KIT, SIMPLE CITY and the DIY Pavilion.
Elizabeth Sikiaridi and Frans Vogelaar founded Hybrid Space Lab, a R&D and design practice focusing on the hybrid fields that are emerging through the combination and fusion of environments, objects and services in the information-communication age. The scope of our development and design projects ranges from those on urban games and planning to buildings, architectural interiors and industrial design applications and wearables.
Hybrid Space Lab is an interdisciplinary environment with an innovative and integrated approach to spatial issues. The focus of our work lies in fusing digital and analog environments, in embedding media networks in urban/architectural, social and cultural spaces. Hybrid Space Lab is a lab and a network in which architects, urbanists, landscape architects and environmental planners, designers, soft- and hardware engineers collaborate in the development of projects for combined analog and digital, urban, architectural, design and media spaces.
Hybrid Space Lab recently developed visions for the program of the new institute that will be formed by the merger of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (Nederlands Architectuurinstituut), the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion (Premsela) and the institute responsible for digital culture (Virtueel Platform). For an English text see here.
Today we are sharing with you some pictures of the impressive exhibition Importing Architecture which is on right now at the Nasjonalmuseet (National Museum for Art and Architecture) in Oslo.
We had the pleasure to be included in the selection and it was a great opportunity to attend the opening last November and get a chance to know more about the different projects which are under construction or have been just finished as well as the international offices who are behind them.
The exhibition raises the question of Norwegian identity in architecture and how ‘imported architects’ respond to it:
Are foreign architects reinforcing the trend toward a type of globalization that is dissolving national and cultural differences? Or are they even more concerned with formulating a Nordic or Norwegian identity than their Norwegian counterparts? Is it possible for an architect to create exceptional architecture in Norway without first-hand experience of Norwegian society, building traditions, climate or the natural environment? Or on the contrary, do foreign architects bring new ideas and ways of thinking that enrich the quality of Norwegian architecture?
Our installation is located by the ramp at the entrance of the exhibition. We tried to take advantage of the windows to display images of the Dreamhamarproject, along with four screens showing videos from the process. The physical-digital scale model of Stortorget (Main Square) was also brought from Hamar and installed on top of a vinyl that covers the floor resembling the pattern painted by Boamistura on the asphalt of the real square.
If you are in Oslo sometime between now and April, don’t miss it!
Under the motto “The Sound of Cycling – Urban Cycling Cultures”, the Velo-city conference 2013 will take place this year in Vienna, a city that has been recognized for its efforts towards a highly livable and sustainable urban environment.
Velo-city conferences in general serve as a global communication and information platform aiming to address decision makers in order to improve the planning and provision of infrastructure for the everyday use of bicycles in urban environments. They typically bring together more than 1,000 delegates such as engineers, planners, architects, social marketers, academic researchers, environmentalists, businessmen/women, and industry representatives who join forces with government at all levels in order to build effective transnational partnerships to deliver benefits to cycling worldwide.
This year, the conference has been organized in three generic themes: cycling cultures, cycling cities and cycling benefits. It aims to offer a variety of inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to cycling issues through different dialogue formats such as round tables, speed dating, open spaces and a world café, amongst others. To ensure a relaxed atmosphere and to facilitate networking, there will be also other activities like a Cycling Parade, a Bicycle Fashion Show, a Garden Party and some technical excursions.
In parallel to the conference, you can take part in the Cycling Visionaries Awards in the categories of Advocacy and Social Projects Science, Research and Development Design, Fashion and Cycling Equipment, Urban Planning and Urban Design Cycling and the Arts. We are curious about the entries, there’s quite a lot of innovation going on in the world of cycling but it’s not always visible to the general public.
On the conference’s website you can also read about some interesting cycling stories.
Today we introduce Francesca Rotundo, a young architect who is doing an internship with us, being mainly involved in our proposal for the competition in Kiruna and the Reggio Children experimental centre.
As she tells us:
I’m a quite curious person, careful observer of what is happening around me. My interests are many, but somehow the architecture field seems to contain or connect to a lot of them, giving me everyday something different to think over.
I’ve studied architecture at the University of Ferrara, graduating at the end of 2012, and, as Erasmus student, at Chalmers University in Göteborg, Sweden, a great experience that made me fall in love with the nordic atmosphere, and made me more passionate about my work, in particular about investigating the relation between citizens and the design of the city.
As I wanted to keep widening my horizons, I was especially excited about gaining a Leonardo-program grant and having the chance to join EU, here in Madrid. Participating with them in a university-workshop about the regeneration of borderline areas, organized by Ri-Generazione Urbana, I had the possibility to know them more and I found their way of working very inspiring. I think it’s awesome to collaborate with such a great studio, matching my interests.
Apart from the complexity of the city, which I enjoy so much, in my quite small home town I take part in a cultural association called Primola together with architects and artists, working to make vital the local territory and preserving its landscape. We organize events and activities related to culture, entertaining, designing and realize sets and installations using lights and “poor” building materials, like straw bales.
Trying to conceive design in a playful way, I always keep in mind the social impact of architecture and, as we never stop learning, I keep looking for answers and new questions as well.
Today we introduce Blanca Abramek, an architecture student who did an internship with us last spring/summer. She did a great work actively helping us with the design and selection of contents for a book about Dreamhamar that we are now (finally!) finishing.
In her own words:
I’m in my final year of Architecture and Graphic Design at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA. As researcher at the Positive Psychology Center, I am investigating the relationship between urban design and well- being.
Because of my interest in fine arts, cultural anthropology, psychology and film I like to look at design from a holistic perspective. In my opinion architecture relies on an interdisciplinary exchange in which lies the opportunity for architects to seek broader strategies for impact. I believe that in today’s world we, architects and urban designers, need to seek radical new channels of influence that move design away from focusing only on providing professional services and toward a more ambitious role of cultural leadership in the built and social environments.
The trans-disciplinary research initiative “Low-Budget Urbanity. Frugal Practices Transforming the City” invites PhD and post-doctoral researchers to their first Early Career Laboratory from March 25th to 28th 2013 at HafenCity University in Hamburg.
Low-Budget Urbanity is a research programme that explores contemporary urban phenomena such as ridesharing and online hospitality networks, water-saving infrastructures and DIY-practices of house owners, and second-hand consumer cooperatives as saving practices that transform the urban setting. These self-organized saving practices all involve “complex encounters, connections and mixtures of diverse hybrid networks of humans and animals, objects and information, commodities and waste“ (Sheller and Urry 2006:2).
Public budgets are slashed, many cities are burdened with near-paralysing debt, and for private households, too, saving money often is less a virtue than the order of the day. As a search term of an exploratory and multidisciplinary research project, “low-budget urbanity” provides a relational perspective on those seemingly disparate austerity phenomena. The research focuses on the question of how these phenomena are transforming cities.
What is new is not that saving money constitutes a principle of individual practices (rationalized building, economic or political action, individual budget planning, etc.), but that the austerity imperative for the assemblage, i.e. the confluence and interaction of these principles has become a force that shapes and defines cities.
Next you can find a call for papers that many of you may find interesting, with the topic “What is the value of saving costs? The urban economics and politics of everyday saving practices”.
Today, Thursday Nov. 22nd is the official opening of the exhibition Importing Architecture at the NasjonalMuseet of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo. The exhibition will be open to the public from tomorrow until April 2013.
Ecosistema Urbano team is pleased to be part of this exhibition with Dreamhamar project, a collective dream to redesign Hamar’s main public space, Stortorget. Other architecture offices included in the selection are: Steven Holl, MVDRV, Peter Zumthor, Renzo Piano, Vandkunsten, JDS, etc…
Here is the introduction by the curator of the exhibition, Eva Elisabeth Madshus:
An increasing number of foreign architects are winning competitions or receiving commissions in Norway. The exhibition takes up this relatively new and interesting development, which is primarily due to the introduction of the EU directive on competitions and more building activity in Norway than the rest of Europe.
This exhibition presents a selection of foreign architectural firms with projects in Norway. It also provides the basis for examining what this increasing internationalization means for Norwegian architecture’s identity and quality.
– Are foreign architects reinforcing the trend toward a type of globalization that is dissolving national and cultural differences? Or are they even more concerned with formulating a Nordic or Norwegian identity than their Norwegian counterparts?
– Is it possible for an architect to create exceptional architecture in Norway without firsthand experience of Norwegian society, building traditions, climate or the natural environment? Or on the contrary, do foreign architects bring new ideas and ways of thinking that enrich the quality of Norwegian architecture?
– Do the EU’s competition regulations, with their criteria for participation and ranking, ensure that the best architectural projects win? Or are foreign architects displacing their Norwegian counterparts in today’s highly competitive building market?
Debate about foreign influences on architecture is not entirely new. Craftsmen from the continent were involved in building Norwegian mediaeval churches, and after the dissolution of the union in 1814 the country’s new institutions were by and large designed by Danish and German architects. But since the beginning of the 1900s, once architecture was an established course of study at NTH (Norwegian Institute of Technology; today the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim), Norwegian architects have been responsible for the vast majority of building works in the country. It was not until the EU competition regulations were adopted in 1994 that foreign architects began to make inroads in the Norwegian market, and the trend has been sustained by the country’s strong oil-driven economy and numerous public sector building projects. In 2012 the results of these factors are striking: a dozen public building projects designed by foreign architects are either in preparation, under construction, or completed.
The architects included in this exhibition are consummate professionals. Their projects reflect exceptional quality at every stage – planning, design, choice of materials, execution – and many of them will become important sources of inspiration. Norwegian architecture is well served by intensified international competition. Every good architect can acquire competence about the particular context that a building project is always a part of, regardless of national origin. Thus, increasing globalization need not lead to uniformity in architecture.
Today we introduce Serena Chiacchiari, an Italian architect who’s doing right now an internship with us, being mainly involved in our proposal for the competition in Kiruna. Enjoy her introduction and the great photos from her trips around the world!
In November 2010 after graduating in Architecture in Rome I decided to go to Australia and New Zealand for a period. I was there 2 months, trying to visit as much as I could, from big cities to wild nature. When I came back I decided that what I had studied wasn’t enough so I started a professional master about sustainable architecture in IED Torino. The trip around Australia, where everything is so extreme, inspired me. I started asking myself “Is it possible to live without wasting what nature gives us?”, “Can we as architects help not to waste it?”. So I moved to Turin where I started studying the main elements of sustainable architecture.
Apart from theory, we had 3 workshops, one of which was held by “Arcò”, a young group of Italian architects, who helped us to understand how to build in extreme conditions with poor materials like earth, sand and tires. This workshop was awe-inspiring for me and I decided that I would like to start my architectural career in a young and active studio. I was very happy when I knew that I could have my internship in Ecosistema Urbano, which reflects perfectly my idea of what architecture should be: FUNNY, SUSTAINABLE AND PEOPLE’S.
This experience is very important for me because my passion has always been to travel and meet different cultures and this is the best way to do it!
Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo will be teaching at the Master in Work Space Design organized by the IE School of Architecture and Design, which will take place next year. They will be conducting the Design and Technology Lab with attended sessions in London and Madrid and on line sessions during winter 2013.
‘The Master in Work Space Design is a pioneering program based on analyses, skills and strategies for understanding and proposing creative ideas for the changing work place. The complex issues affecting the work environment, business and the individual today must take into account changes in technology, new forms of communication, increasing globalization, sustainability and of course, stakeholders’ expectations. Within the Master of Work Space Design all these issues will be explored and the most innovative solutions will be developed’.
On November 15th-17th leading architects, artists, scholars, and industry from all over the Globe will meet up in Aarhus, Denmark to shape the media architecture of the future, and to discuss how media architecture is about to change cities.
What happens when heat sensitive concrete ‘freezes’ the shadows of passers-by, or when a façade turns into a screen by means of thousands of tiny LED lights? What happens to architecture, people, and cities, when buildings turn into a type of digital media and allows citizens to communicate with each other in completely new ways?
Questions like these are increasingly relevant, as media architecture gains ground in cities all over the world. And they will be top of the agenda when media architecture experts meet up in Aarhus in November. Among the speakers will be media artists Ben Rubin, architect and designer Jason Bruges, Bjarke Ingels Group, Gehl Architects, professor of architecture Antonio Saggio, professor of media archaeology Erkki Huhtamo – and many more.
Tomorrow October 16 José Luis Vallejo and Belinda Tato –Harvard GSD Design Critics in Urban Planning and Design– will be speaking on the design of environments, spaces and dynamics in order to improve the self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities and their relationship with the environment.
¡Ya hemos comenzado el curso en Harvard! @jlvmateo y @belindatato somos este cuatrimestre de otoño profesores invitados en el máster del GSD de Harvard. Nuestro studio se llama “Networked Urbanism“.
El pasado día 30 de agosto fue la presentación del curso, el llamado “lottery day” donde todos los estudiantes de la escuela asisten a las presentaciones de los profesores invitados cada cuatrimestre y después eligen su grupo favorito. Esta vez, compitiendo por el favor de los estudiantes, podíamos encontrarnos con estrellas del firmamento arquitectónico de las últimas décadas (Nathalie de Vries de MVRDV, Christian Kerez, Ben van Berkel, …).
Esta es una foto del momento de la presentación del curso #networkedurbanism que nos hizo Blanca Abramek (@tendrebarbare) desde el auditorio:
Finalmente nos eligieron un grupo de estudiantes con perfiles muy distintos e interesantes, una mezcla de arquitectos, landscape architects y planners.
Si queréis estar al tanto de la producción de los estudiantes podéis seguir el curso en el blog del studiowww.networkedurbanism.com donde estamos compartiendo enlaces y referencias. En Twitter podéis seguir #networkedurbanism donde estamos compartiendo información permanentemente.
Os dejamos con el brief del curso y la presentación. Enjoy it!
The boundary between public and private is shifting. The one between personal and professional is becoming increasingly blurred. This rapid evolution has led us to conceive and experience physical space differently than in the past. Real-time connectivity, ubiquity, unlimited access to large flows of information and knowledge, have also altered the way we relate to and work with each other. However, despite those rapid social and technological changes, city planning processes worldwide remain dull, bureaucratic and insensitive to how humans experience the city.
This studio will bring an alternative to the traditional way of designing cities from a bird’s eye view, and a single designer’s perspective. It will not only examine the physical dimension of the city, but also its social processes and fluxes.
Students will be encouraged to use this data to develop individual and collective initiatives that generate spontaneous transformations and set up conditions for change instead of delivering a completely finished product.
In a connected world, an urban design should be the result of an open and multilayered network of creative designers, technical experts, citizens and stakeholders. The studio will challenge the students to develop designs that reconcile the existing physical conditions—that respond to lifestyles from the past—with the emerging needs of the citizens through network design thinking.
We will also explore the new role of a designer as an activator, mediator and curator of social processes in a networked reality in which citizens have shifted from being passive receivers or consumers to active producers or prosumers.
Main topics will include: communication and information technology, open data, mobility, open source, transparency/mapping, activism, design thinking and environment awareness.
La presentación original consta de una serie de GIFs animados que se reproducen en bucle mientras se explica cada apartado. Aquí, por facilidad de comprensión, hemos puesto cada animación por separado, acompañada del texto correspondiente de la presentación (en inglés).
We are presenting our option studio called Networked Urbanism:
Urbanism is the mirror where other aspects of society and layers of information reflect. Architects, Sociologists, economists, geographers, seem to be cloistered in their specificconceptual worlds and focus on developing only certain aspects of the problem linked to their interests and profession:
We believe that in today’s connected world, an urban design should be the result of an openand multilayered network of creative designers, technical experts, citizens andstakeholders, combining design with data, needs, inputs. As David Harvey states in his article The Right to the City:
“The right to the city is not merely a right of access to what already exists, but a right tochange it after our heart’s desire”
Within this new context, it is necessary to explore the new role of the designer as an activator,mediator and curator of social processes in a networked reality in which citizens haveshifted from being passive receivers or consumers to active producers or prosumers:
In addition, Internet is the “space” where the most successful models of collective creationand self-organization are taking place. Internet is the most democratic space, the platformwhere every citizen can express him/herself freely and horizontally, the space where ideasflow in every direction.This studio will bring an alternative to the traditional way of designing cities from a bird’s eyeview, and a single designer’s perspective. It will, not only examine the physical dimension of the city, but also its social processes.Students will be challenged to develop designs that reconcile the existing physical conditions-that respond to lifestyles from the past- with the emerging needs of the citizens throughnetwork design thinking.
In contrast with a more traditional way of teaching in which information goes unidirectionally from ‘knowledge-owners’ to ‘knowledge receivers’. We do apply the concepts of active learning, which focuses the responsibility of learning, on learners; learning by doing, an active constructive learning process, and networked learning, a process of developing and maintaining connections with people, information and communicating in such a way so as to support one another’s learning. The central term in this definition is connections. Connections among students as well as connections between students and information:
We will become a networked group using a studio Twitter network for sharing knowledge,experiences, references and comments throughout the whole process.
This course is for active, curious, versatile, open minded and creative people regardless their previous background, experience or computer skills.
We understand our role as designers is challenging since one has to overcome all kind of obstacles. So we want to make of this studio a training experience.
You could either be a MacGyver type of personality, being able to implement amazing devices from a piece of cardboard, a chip and chewing gum; or a computer geeky updated version of NEO in the movie Matrix, working on his own individually in a room but actively connected to the network community. You are all welcome.
From all the possible /fascinating cities worldwide, we decided to explore the city that surrounds us: Boston.
Students will be encouraged to explore and discover its community, economy, social networks, environmental challenges, digital layer, physical infrastructure, public space, and more. Creating connections and links between existing initiatives and their own projects.
Instead of experiencing just the physical sphere of the city, we will arrange an anthropological tour to meet interesting professionals who are dealing with urban issues in different ways and by different means. This will give us a different perception of Boston, revealing layers which are currently invisible to us.
Instead of air-commuting, parachuting and landing every two weeks, we decided to camp this time.
We will be based in Boston to share the experience with you and make the most out of it, so we will be available every week with studio meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There will be both collective and individual sessions.
In addition the group will be real-time connected with Twitter.
06 So what?
Outcomes from our different teaching experiences are diverse: from socially engaged projects working with the community to designing a responsive interactive façade and building a prototype of it. From working with Arduino electronics, to instantly transforming a deprived corner of the city by hand work getting new reactions from people.
From creating a digital interface to enhance community networking to building a mobile kitchen as a catalyst for the activation of a central city square.Spain, Norway, Denmark, France, Italy, Bahrein, US … different environments and different cultures but always a lot of shared energy and enthusiasm. We are very happy to say that some of these projects developed within the studios grew beyond the academic boundaries becoming professional investigations and businesses:
ecosistema urbano is a Madrid based group of architects and urban designers operating within the fields of urbanism, architecture, engineering and sociology. We define our approach as urban social design by which we understand the design of environments, spaces and dynamics in order to improve self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities and their relationship with the environment. We have used this philosophy to design and implement projects in Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, France and China.We have a background in architecture and urban design and we build buildings, we organize demonstrations, we design urban strategies, working in both the physical and digital spheres. We are currently exploring new ways of engaging citizens into urban design matters.
DREAM YOUR CITY is our latest project, developed for the city of Hamar in Norway. It was officially presented short before at the opening of the Biennale of Architecture in Venice:
We hope you enjoy it and get some inspiration for the Fall! We are thrilled to be back here at the GSD and we are looking forward to start!
Today we introduce Francesco Cingolani, one of our closest collaborators in the past couple of years. In the following post he explains some of his projects and interests, and his experience in Ecosistema Urbano.
Photo above by urban sociologist Andres Walliser, good friend and collaborator.
I have studied architecture and engineering and I’ve always been interested in the relationship between creativity and new technologies, more than in building. For the last 3 years I’ve been payed to work as an architect, professional blogger and creative project manager. Since 2012 I’ve been teaching parametric design in Paris at “École d’architecture de la ville et des territoires” in Marne-la-Vallée.
I recently started my first projects as entrepreneur: one is a creative cohousing in Madrid and the other is about going into Parisian apartments and create handmade Italian pasta; the project is called farine00 and I’m in this with Valentina, in the photo below. At the moment, people are just crazy about those projects but we still don’t get any income from them. Old story.
In Ecosistema Urbano, I was in charge of the DIGITAL COORDINATION of dreamhamar, a network design and participation process in Norway. It was the most interesting project I participated since I am working. It was also the most stressful one. Old story.
I think that the most interesting shift in recent design experience is that we have passed from designing object to designing networks and processes. That’s why for dreamhamar we’ve developed a network design methodology. As a project manager, I also applied minimalism as a management tool for highly complex processes which often tend to information overload.
At Ecosistema Urbano I also was in charge of the development of Urban Social Design Experience, a network learning experience focused on participatory processes and sustainability.
Before that, I took part in some more architectural projects. I especially like this one with Ecosistema Urbano and Koz and the new Louvre in Paris with Hugh Dutton Associates, that is opening in September (photo below).
Since january 2012, I am trying to work no more than 3 hours per day and check my email box only 3 times a week. The italian newspaper “Il Corriere della Sera” featured my story as an example of downshifting in its magazine “Sette”.
I am a walker, and last year I realised intraverso, a slowlife and storytelling project in collaboration with the Italian magazine whymarche. The project included a slow, walking trip through Italian countryside and a digital journal.
Since 4 months ago I am moving through Europe and working remotely without a unique location, even if I consider Paris as my principal home. I don’t have a clear idea of what I am doing in the next future. Looking for new stories.
When writing for the Internet like this, I like sharing details of my physical location:
The Cultural Rucksack (Den Kulturelle Skolesekken) is a Norwegian national programme for art and culture provided by professionals in Norwegian schools. The programme helps school pupils to become acquainted with all kinds of professional art and cultural expressions. Last year Hamar Kommune decide to connect it with the project Dreamhamar which was at that point under development. This meant that 1292 students from different local schools joined dreamhamar providing their own ideas for the square Stortorget.
From fountains to hot dogs, from ice skating rinks to dancing contests, all sort of ideas emerged through the process and some of them made it through influencing the final design.
This year, again, the Kommune joined Den Kulturelle Skolesekken with Dreamhamar and our colleague Liz Eva Tollefsen is working on site, sharing with a new group of students the whole creative process as well as the final design we delivered last July.
We are really looking forward to see this year’s ideas and we hope kids get interested on urban landscape and design.
If you are curious about last year’s activities, you can check our Flickr galleries, featuring a small selection of the more than 1000 drawings and models we collected:
From past August 27th to November 25th, the Venice Biennale of Architecture, titled “Common Ground”, is open to visitors; and so is SpainLab, the Spanish pavilion, in which we were invited to take part for this edition.
The curators Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa proposed us to show the way we work, according to the “lab” approach of the pavilion. We decided to do this with a single project, Dreamhamar, which incorporates many of the concepts, objectives and means that Ecosistema Urbano has been working on and is currently experimenting with: urban development, advocacy, citizen participation, workshops, digital tools, design, open culture, network learning, urban actions, network design…
We understand the role of the architect and urban planner is undergoing a huge transformation according to the new needs of contemporary society. This forces us to redevelop a whole “set of tools” to be able to meet these new needs and challenges. Under the title of DREAM YOUR CITY we explain these new tools or methods we are dealing with and the way we think network design can be applied to socially engaged designs for the creation of city spaces. This 90 seconds movie illustrates how we understand network design and how we specifically implemented it in Hamar or how it could be applied somewhere else.
Video by ecosistema urbano + forma.co
Considering the ephemeral nature of the exhibition, we chose to make it a simple, lightweight installation, consistent with the way we are used to work in this kind of projects: trying to get the most out of minimal resources and low-cost means. Almost all materials needed for the installation were taken to Venice by ourselves, as checked-in luggage.
The paint that covers the floor and the walls, made by urban artists Boamistura, transforms the perception and character of the space with a single intervention, bringing to the hall the look and feel of the previous PaintHamar urban action in Stortorget, the main square of Hamar. The natural light, the seats integrated on the floor and the trampoline all recall that outdoor public space and invite visitors to occupy it with their minds and bodies.
Seven small screens show videos telling different aspects of the network design process we deployed in Hamar, giving the visitor some brief glimpses of the variety and complexity of the project without trying to explain it thoroughly –which will be done soon in a more suitable format.
A series of real-scale pictures of various day-to-day objects that were used during Dreamhamar, some of them being physically on display, show the variety of work/life situations that the team had to cope with while working in this project both remotely from Madrid and locally in Norway. From the more disciplinary tools to objects related to social life or cultural events, they evoke the changing role of the urban professional.
Here are some quick photos we shot during the process, taken from the Flickr gallery.
We invite you to visit the installation, have some fun jumping on the trampoline and imagining you are in Stortorget, and share your thoughts –and your photos!– with us on Twitter, Facebook or just down here in the comments.
Siri is a Norwegian architect, and started working at Ecosistema Urbano for the urban design development of the dreamhamar project in march 2012. When she was told about the opportunity to work for Ecosistema Urbano, she literally jumped on the next flight from Oslo to Madrid. Siri is excited to be part of the EU and dreamhamar team, and she says her first impression was: “It’s is going to be an interesting experience. This is a great team of people!”
This amazing photo was taken by Emilio P. Doiztúa at the Ecosistema Urbano office.
Siri is specially interested in how the inputs from the participatory process based upon network design are going to influence the future development of both the particular square, Stortorget, and the mentality of the citizens of Hamar regarding their involvement and ownership to their local public spaces.
Siri hopes both to contribute to develop the physical realisation of the urban design project into a well-functioning public space, and to push the investigations of the possibilities of participatory elements after the completion of the physical design.
Back home in Oslo, Siri has her own small office, and she is dividing her time between working with architectural projects and on “Heimstadlære”, together with Ulrika Staugaard (architect). Heimstadlære is focusing on placemaking, urban development, discussions about public space and bottom-up/participatory processes. At the moment Heimstadlære is collaborating with other artists on the cross-disciplinary project “Bok på Veitvet”; an “Open Source Library” based on trust and self-organizing tools in Oslo.
Kiruna kommune has shortlisted 10 international teams —out of 56 that were applying— for the next phase of the competition.
It’s an unusual, but very interesting challenge the Municipality of Kiruna is facing after more than a century of mining by the LKAB company. The ground is becoming unstable as some of the main tunnels are localised right underneath the city, so the city centre and all other areas affected will have to be relocated. In a time frame of approximately 20 to 25 years, some 400,000 sq. m. of housing and non-housing development will need to be replaced within the forecasting line of LKAB’s next main level, 1,365 metres below ground.
The aim for the competition is to create a sustainable, distinctive and pleasant urban environment, a city centre linking together surrounding housing and industrial areas with the whole city and constituting the natural hub of the new Kiruna. This is an opportunity for creating something completely new, emanating from Kiruna’s unique history, to accommodate future needs and the desire for good living in an Arctic climate.
We are very excited to start working with the other firms in our team in this competition, and we look forward to develop the future Kiruna during autumn 2012.
Do you have a dream about planting your own mango tree? The statistic probability that you who are reading this live in the city is over fifty percent, and the number is increasing. This means that fewer and fewer of us have the opportunity to grow our own fruit and vegetables, but are entirely dependent on the increasingly industrialized and transport-based large-scale agriculture.
Urban food production is a growing trend in many cities, and productive green spaces emerge on rooftops, in ditches, between buildings and on the left-over spaces without a specific use. The motives for cultivating food are diverse, some see it as part of a strategy to increase awareness and knowledge about the food we eat (food safety), others will create a focus on local food as one of the solutions to environmental challenges, while others grow their own garden just because it’s pleasure and to save money. Jennifer Cockrall-King claims in the book Food and the City that we are facing a food revolution as we have passed both the oil peak and peak water, and this begins to affect a growing global population:
Food and the City examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their “food security” into their own hands.
In Oslo, Norway, urban farming occurs in a smaller scale, including the Geitmyra allotment garden where you can be assigned a soil patch for cultivation, and as guerrilla gardens, a more freely and actionist activity where the city’s leftover spaces are used for food production without formal permission of the landowners. The latest addition to this green trend where you can grow your own vegetables in Oslo is Herligheten (The Glory), an ecological initiative and project about urban food production initiated in April 2012 and developed during April and May 2012.
As part of a long-term development and urbanization of the waterfront in Oslo, the developer Bjørvika Utvikling has carried out several temporary projects from stunts to pavilions which have been standing there for a few years. The events and installations are bringing human activity into an area that for many years has been characterized by construction activities, but Herligheten differs from previous projects by a greater degree of activation of users and visitors, who are now shaping the new area of the city with green and consumable pleasures.
Herligheten is located at Loallmenningen in Bjørvika, a rocky “island” in the middle of a rough building site surrounded by roads, railway lines and the ventilation towers for the submerged tunnel underneath. It has found its home in an apparently gray and idle landscape between the Medieval park and the Oslo fjord, which has for many years been seen as a lifeless place in wait for better conditions. But during a few hectic weeks during spring the area has experienced a small, green revolution worked out by diligent volunteers who have transformed it into an oasis consisting of consumable plants, in what was previously a closed area for city residents.
As of today Herligheten consists of three main parts: Herligheten Allotment Garden with 100 allotments, a field measuring 250 m2 where several types of ancient grain such as spelt, emmer, einkorn and bere barley will grow, and an activity program consisting of a number of events and seminars for learning and exchanging ideas. As many as 3790 people applied in April to take part in Herligheten through the disposal of one of the 100 allotments, so it is clear that the people in Oslo have ambition to develop their green thumbs. We wish them good luck with the green revolution!
From the time of Heraclitus’ saying, “the only thing constant is change itself”, we have sought to make sense of our changing world. It can be argued that architecture in both the academic and professional realms is experiencing pressures as never before, and is shifting due to multiple factors. These forces include globalization, the expanding roles of technology, rapid urbanization, new energy policies, and regulatory agencies, among many others. What are the forces for change being exerted on our academic institutions and where do they come from? Are we still teaching in a way that is relevant to the contemporary practice of architecture, or perhaps we wish that practice would change?
The relationship between schools and the profession can be very permeable and often imprecise. Each informs the other, at times leading to greater relevance, at other times leaving disconcerting gaps. What role should schools and academics play in the face of our changing world? Will we be leaders or followers?
ACSA is The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, a nonprofit, membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. The 2012 ACSA International Conference will focus on CHANGE, and will explore these issues in relation to seven themes: Civic Engagement, Academia, Practice, Technology, Cities, Globalization, Sustainability and one flexible open category. The Co-chairs of the conference are Xavier Costa from Northeastern University and Martha Thorne, from IE University.