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:
April 29, 2013
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!
April 23, 2013
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.
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).
Image made by Virtual water | facebook.com/virtualwater
Here are some examples of water footprints of daily products , calculated by Unesco-IHE Institute for water education, Netherland
Image made by Hoekstra and Chapagain 2008
These numbers are kind of shocking! Aren’t they?
So, let’s try to calculate our daily footprint and investigate the solutions to reduce the numbers as much as we can!
Image made by GOOD and Fogelson-Lubliner
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.
If you become really interested in knowing how much water you personally use per day, you can follow this link and make a simple calculation:
And you can also involve your kids into the idea of water preservation!
Here are some facts to convince you to be a water guardian:
And remember – Every Drop Counts!
April 1, 2013
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)
March 25, 2013
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.
March 22, 2013
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
March 21, 2013
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.
Among the contents and results of the workshop we highlight here an introduction to resolution planning and a lecture by Karen on the topic:
March 7, 2013
[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!
February 26, 2013
Today we are glad to announce that our project Plaza Ecópolis has been selected by UN-HABITAT for the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment.
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:
Plaza Ecópolis – Best practice 2012
Ecobulevar de Vallecas – Good Practice 2008
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.
February 12, 2013
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
January 28, 2013
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 Dreamhamar project, 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!
Photographers: Andreas Harvik and Børre Høstland.
Related post: Importing architecture | Exhibition in Oslo
January 15, 2013
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.
January 10, 2013
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.
Here is a short summary about Francesca:
Interests: Architecture-landscape-city, urban safaris, travelling, Illustration, fashion & industrial design
City/country: Cotignola-Ravenna, Italy
Online profiles: Facebook, LinkedIn
January 2, 2013
Desde ecosistema urbano os deseamos…
Si fueras “&”, ¿qué estarías pensando? Puedes hacer tu propia versión retocando el .svg original. (CC) BY-SA
December 19, 2012
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.
Here is a short summary about Blanca:
Both photos were taken at our office in Madrid. The first –amazing– one is by Emilio P. Doiztúa.
November 28, 2012
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”.
November 22, 2012
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.
November 13, 2012
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!
Here is a short summary about Serena:
November 7, 2012
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’.
Next you can see the prospectus of the Master:
There will be a roundtable next November 23 at RIBA, London, with the topic ‘What’s next in workspaces; designing with change‘.
November 5, 2012
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.
You can still register until 8 November 2012. Just a couple of days left!
September 27, 2012
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.
Photo above by flo – flickr.com
I am 34, Italian and I have been living in Paris for 9 years. 3 years ago I quit my job at Hugh Dutton Associates to move to Madrid and work with Ecosistema Urbano, Basurama, Meipi and other amazing people from Spain.
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.
Thanks to dreamhamar I’ve learnt more about complex systems and emergency phenomena.
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).
Département des Arts de l’Islam, musée du Louvre, Paris
Client: Etablissement Public du Musée du Louvre
Architects: Rudy Ricciotti et Mario Bellini
Muséography: Renaud Piérard and Mario Bellini
Facade and Structure Consultants: HDA | Hugh Dutton Associés
Photo: “La couverture de la cour Visconti, département des Arts de l’Islam, musée du Louvre”
© R. Ricciotti – M. Bellini / Musée du Louvre
© photo 2011 Musée du Louvre / Olivier Ouadah
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:
Montecanepino, (Italy), 11.47 AM August 8th 2012.
Here is a photo of my window right now.
September 24, 2012
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:
July 11, 2012
June 28, 2012
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.
June 27, 2012
Ecosistema Urbano has, together with the Norwegian architecture office 70°N arkitektur, the Danish landscape studio Kristine Jensen, the Swedish lighting firm Ljusarkitektur and Atkins engineers, been prequalified for the planning competition in Kiruna, Sweden.
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.
June 20, 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!
June 18, 2012
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.
We are really looking forward to it.
June 14, 2012
Last year, 2011, when we moved to Hamar and started working for the new Stortorget, we had the opportunity to meet Vandkunsten, the danish office responsible for the design of the new Culture house in Hamar. We then started to know more about their work and different and interesting projects.From this encounter, we cooperated together for the competition of Albertslund Syd, an intervention for the renovation of 1.000 courtyard houses in Copenhagen. The team also included other companies and professionals as Wissenberg, Transolar, Lise Gamst, Imagine Envelope, etc. The task was to develop the best suggestion for the renovation of the houses and to provide ideas for the urban architectural vision for improving Albertslund Syd.
Last week we found out we have won the competition. We are very excited about this, and we are looking forward to start this new cooperation!
June 13, 2012
Review of the paper “Urban land teleconnections” by Karen C. Seto, Anette Reenberg, Christopher G. Boone, Michail Fragkias, Dagmar Haase, Tobias Langanke, Peter Marcotullio, Darla K. Munroe, Branislav Olah and David Simon.
Recently a research paper was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) concerning the conceptual development of global sustainability, in relation to both urbanization (urban sustainability) and land change. The paper argues that land change and urbanization dynamics are explicitly connected, and suggests “urban land teleconnections” as a new framework for dealing with global sustainability.
“We propose urban land teleconnections as a process-based framework for integrating urbanization and land change, for revealing their linkages and pathways across space and time, and for identifying potential intervention points for sustainability. Through the lens of urban land teleconnections, new and surprising diverse urban forms and processes, such as periurbanization, can be better understood and foreseen. The urban land teleconnections concept could also be useful to the wider research community to anticipate implications for global land resource use.”
More and more people live in the cities. The increasing urbanization is raising many discussions about sustainable planning, and this recently published paper feeds the debate with new inputs. Encouraging a reconsideration of the terms on which we base sustainable policies, the research is widening again our perception of the relationship between the urban field and land. The term “teleconnections” refers to climate science, where it is understood that events have impact over large geographic areas – when the waters of the North Atlantic go through a warm phase, fire incidents increase in the western United States. Just such urban land teleconnections explain the interrelation and invisible bond between urban processes and land use processes, which we must consider when planning our sustainable future. The key to develop strong sustainable planning, is to stop thinking of urban sustainability and land use sustainability as limited to local scale and place, and instead start to take into account the processes and global connections merging urbanization and land use.
“The virtual shrinking of distances between places, strengthening connectivity between distant locations, and growing separation between places of consumption and production are emerging topics in “telecoupled” human–natural systems and tropical teleconnections of deforestation [...] In an increasingly urban world, characterized by global ﬂows of commodities, capital, and people, where land that provides goods and ecosystems services for people is becoming more segregated from the space of habitation, teleconnections captures links between distant processes and places, and can be used to explore consequences of urbanization and land changes at great distances from points of origin that would otherwise go unrecognized.”
Urbanization and land change have so far been treated as parallel processes. Apparently this has limited the progress of the concept of sustainability. The paper states that a simultaneously treating of urban sustainability and land change as interwoven, non-separable processes is the keystone to advance in developing sustainability:
“The magnitude and accelerating rate of contemporary urbanization are reshaping land use locally and globally in ways that require a reexamination of land change and urban sustainability. Worldwide, urban populations are projected to increase by almost 3 billion by 2050 and the total global urban land area by more than 1.5 million square kilometers—an area three times the size of Spain—by 2030. Urban economies currently generate more than 90% of global gross value added, meaning few rural systems are unaffected by urbanization (3). Given such trends, we must reconsider how we conceptualize the many connections and feedbacks between urbanization and land change processes.”
The paper is confronting three understandings of the urban – land relationship that so far have been key themes in sustainability policies.
One is the Land Classiﬁcation Systems, on which the paper states:
“By deﬁnition, because urban is human-dominated, urban areas “appropriate” natural ecosystems, ecosystem services, and natural capital. By this logic, urban cannot be natural capital. However, such a conceptualization contradicts underlying principles of urban ecology as well as sustainability.”
The second theme is Place-Based Deﬁnitions:
“The place-based conceptualization enforces the idea that urban sustainability requires urban self-sufﬁciency. [...] However, decisions and behaviors that are local or even regional in scope do not account for critical consequences of teleconnections, which may undermine sustainability efforts at great distances or inﬂuence the overall sustainability for the entire system. Eating locally might undermine livelihoods of distant farmers who may be using less energy-intensive methods to produce food than local growers. Put another way, sustainability initiatives often focus on the importance of place while ignoring the processes of urbanization that may have farreaching effects on distant places and people. These processes can generate uneven and undesirable outcomes that may be undetected when focusing solely on place.”
On the third theme, Land Transitions, the paper argues:
“[...] Although not always explicit, a common assumption is that land transitions in Europe and North America can help understand future trends in Asia, South America, and Africa. Such assumptions disregard the realities that cultural differences inﬂuence conceptions, codiﬁcations, and uses of space and land, and that use of distant land to meet demand for local populations can signiﬁcantly alter the pathways of change. As a result, there is no universal or linear transition process; phases identiﬁed in one context can be shortened, prolonged, overlapped, or even omitted or transgressed elsewhere.”
Urban Land Teleconnections is suggested as a new key theme, a framework to address sustainability. In an immediate invisible network, urbanization and land change are constantly in a process of affecting one another. The term itself indicates that the concept of sustainable urbanization and sustainable land use has merged. Conceptualization of sustainability should contain both processes at once.
“By using an urban land teleconnections framework, we move away from conceptualizing urban sustainability and land as attributes speciﬁc only to a place, to begin to link dynamic global processes to their spatial “imprint”.”
This means that changes in nonurban places affects urban places and that change in urban space affects nonurban space. In this way, urban and land relations are interwoven in a global network wherein neither the themes Land Classiﬁcation Systems, Place-Based Deﬁnitions nor Land Transitions can stand alone to define the framework for developing sustainable concepts.
“ [...] we can study multiple urban regions jointly, rather than trying to aggregate and generalize across many disconnected sets of case studies, and consequently provide a more organized way to integrate knowledge globally. A more holistic analysis of the underlying and spatial effects of production, consumption, and disposal will enable development of policies that promote viable and fair solutions, and ultimately global sustainability.”
Further reading: Urban Land Teleconnections paper – PDF
June 12, 2012
Ecosistema Urbano will lecture next Thursday in Tromsø, a city located 1.643 km north from Oslo. The lecture is hosted by the North Norwegian Architects Association and will take place at Drivloftet, starting at 8.30 pm on Thursday, 14th.
I will present Ecosistema Urbano latest works, including dreamhamar, the project we are currently developing for the main public space of Hamar, Norway.
By the way, this is the further north I have ever been to… I guess their summer is different from ours.