Just to keep this thing alive as I am fully immersed in work, here are random images from Hollein's website:

And to make us all feel better that success isn't dependent on your thesis, here's Hollein's "Masters Dissertation." I think we should start calling it that too. Also, we probably have to redefine success a little to make that joke work.



The League of Nations Competition
This competition drew an international field of architects. It was a very challenging program. The complex was to contain a giant assembly hall, lobbies a secretariat and a wide variety of bureaucratic functions for the newly formed world parliament, which had set itself the idealistic mission of restoring peace and order after World War I. Probably the two most intriguing designs were those of Le Corbusier and Hannes Meyer.

Le Corbusier placed the emphasis of his design on the assembly hall, with a processional courtyard leading up to the main entry and the rear elevation prominently expressed on the lakeside. The various bureaucratic functions of the complex were housed in linear blocks raised above the landscape, so that one could pass freely underneath the office buildings. The overall effect was that of “a communal machine for enlightened, well-meaning functionaries whose life would be daily nourished through contact with nature,” Curtis noted.

By contrast, Meyer sought a more Constructivist approach, with the emphasis placed on the secretariat in an open-framed tower that recalled some of the visions of the Russian avant-garde. He used a highly repetitive ordering system throughout the complex with the only expressive element being a bulbous glass roof over the assembly hall. Meyer intentionally played down hierarchical
associations as he saw the complex as being “an entirely open, egalitarian forum.”

Of the 337 entries, which were published in a catalog, Sigfried Giedion also noted
those by Neutra, Mendelsohn, and Polish Group Prezens. He felt that the new
program challenged conventional ideas and resulted in a victory for modernism.
However, the selection committee split over the diverse entries, declaring P.H.
Nénot’s “clumsy Beaux-Arts scheme” the winner, after disqualifying Le Corbusier’s
project on a technicality. This competition served as a catalyst for the formation of
CIAM in 1928."

Beyond the Spectacle

Beyond the Spectacle: "“There are a number of these parastatal development companies,” de Graaf says. “They are pri­vate companies but still majority-owned by the royal family, which creates a very interesting mix of business and politics that would be taboo anywhere else but makes them incredibly forceful and determined. These companies are not just active in Dubai; they’re active in a zone of very rapidly growing cities that stretches from Morocco to China—they’re even building in California. They’re often precisely the kind of cities that no one in the West talks about or has much time for. You could say that the formula of Dubai, whatever you think of it, is shaping the world.”"






"Let us also look to our own house. I am determined to ensure that the United Nations system is ready to act in a unified manner to support Member States, during both the negotiation and implementation phases. The United Nations Chief Executives Board is working on honing United Nations system coordination, and on an inventory of United Nations system capacities and activities. We will strive to go to Bali with a common message of what the United Nations system can offer to Member States. And we will come to the General Assembly in February ready to discuss what may be possible and what would be optimal for the future.

We will also strive to make the United Nations family lead by example, by moving towards carbon neutrality in our operations worldwide. This process has already started in parts of the UN system. Our upcoming renovation of the UN Headquarters in New York, under the Capital Master Plan, should dramatically advance this important agenda.

As you know, the Capital Master Plan is a monumental and historic undertaking to renovate and make safe our Headquarters. I am deeply grateful that Member States have reacted positively to my proposal for a revised strategy. If approved, this plan will mean that the disruption to the Secretariat will last for only three years instead of six, and the conference buildings will be done in two stages rather than three.

We have been providing Member States with details and information at a series of informal sessions of the Fifth Committee, which is now in the final stages of negotiating a draft resolution. Broad agreement is emerging on most aspects of the revised strategy, although there remain some concerns related to particular details.

Allow me to reassure you on one point in particular: the CMP process will ensure maximum transparency, visibility and adherence to the existing United Nations Procurement Rules. I very much hope there will be an agreement when the Fifth Committee meets this afternoon.

As Chief Administrative Officer, I am committed to translating financial resources into real achievements. This requires balancing varied and often conflicting priorities. It also requires careful fiscal management. I have submitted the regular budget for the biennium, along with several proposals that I believe will contribute to make our United Nations faster, more flexible, more transparent and more efficient in delivering better results with the finite assets at our disposal.

In this session, the management highlights are information and communications technology, revamping our internal justice system, and, as I mentioned earlier, the Capital Master Plan. Let me express my deep appreciation to Member States for the rigorous efforts and time they have devoted to the administration of justice. I am hopeful that we will have an agreement that will be a great improvement for the Organization as a whole."

Without Action Now, the UN Capital Master Plan Is Not Going Anywhere Anytime Soon - UN Reform - Global Policy Forum

Without Action Now, the UN Capital Master Plan Is Not Going Anywhere Anytime Soon - UN Reform - Global Policy Forum: "The initiative for the Capital Master Plan started in 1995 when the General Assembly decided to look carefully at the problem of the deteriorating building. The detailed review and analysis of the building status was completed by early 2001. Member states then considered two approaches to updating the building: an accelerated maintenance effort and a complete rebuilding. The later concept was endorsed and entitled the 'Capital Master Plan' in 2001. The plan has a rather simple goal: to make all the existing buildings code compliant by bringing them up to today's building standards. According to Reuter, 'The project was from the beginning defined as respect for the historical significance of the site, not an expansion of space or a new center for world government. The fundamental Capital Master Plan scope is: what you see is what you get, it just gets us up to the latest building standards, equipment and systems.'

The member states then considered what would be the best strategy for completely renovating UN headquarters: either in a single phase by moving everyone off-site, or a longer phased project with most functions remaining functional on-site. An architect was hired in 2001 to look at all the possible alternatives of each strategy and, in the end, it was decided that a single phase approach was more desirable. Simultaneous with this UN study, the UN Development Corporation, which is not affiliated with the UN, but acts as the landlord of much of the UN's office space that is located off of headquarters, indicated an interest in building a "swing space" building for the Capital Master Plan on the Robert Moses Park. The UN and the Development Corporation then embarked on an effort to make their two plans work together. But, by early 2005, these efforts were stalled. Early rental projections for the Development Corporation's "swing space" building had risen from $95 million to almost $250 million due to a number of factors, including construction cost pressures following the recovery from September 11th, 2001. Additionally, the New York State Legislature refused to approve the new building.

Ambassador Luers has been involved in talks about the capital master plan since 1998, largely due to his idea and push for a UN Visitors Center that would accompany a newly renovated UN campus. The center, which would be privately funded, would enhance the educational purpose of the organization and would be housed underground beneath the north lawn. The center proposal was received by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Secretariat with enthusiastic support, and was actually approved by the General Assembly as part of the 2001 Capital Master Plan. Like the rest of the plan, the center too has been held up by repeated setbacks. "If the UN's host government, the US government, does not get firmly behind this project," said Amb. Luers, "it will not happen no matter what the UN system tries to accomplish. Meanwhile, a great deal of money is being wasted, the UN's buildings are being put increasingly at risk and the project is losing highly qualified professionals who could get the job done.

As it stands now, the future of the Capital master Plan is problematic. In response to questions about opportunities for UNA USA to assist in moving the project along, Reuter talked about a number of efforts and ideas that might benefit the plan:

• Provide clear and factual information to the US public, Congress and the media;

• Consider involving an international body of architectural opinion—beyond that of the US—to encourage the preservation and restoration of the buildings. For example, Reuter recently traveled to Brazil at the suggestion of several South American countries to meet with original architect Oscar Niemeyer, now 98 years old; and

• Consider the development of the aforementioned Visitor's Center to provide information about the UN and capital master plan in advance of the renovation project.

"The dialogue that is currently going on, far above mere architects like myself, is what is the future of the United Nations and how is it to work going forward, and I think until that is done, the politics of the capital master plan may remain tied to that dialogue," said Reuter. "All of [the nations are], I think, holding their breaths that the buildings will still be there when they finish this argument.""

New York Architecture Images- United Nations Headquarters

New York Architecture Images- United Nations Headquarters: "s Built for an important international organization, this modern complex helped revitalize New York City at the end of the second world war. Located between First Avenue and the East River at the terminus of 42nd Street, the 18-acre site was donated to the newly-formed United Nations by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. To facilitate access to the UN site, Robert Moses (then the city's construction coordinator) diverted traffic from First Avenue. The centerpiece of the UN complex is the Secretariat, an International Style skyscraper based on plans by Le Corbusier, one of the most well-known modern architects. The actual design for the building was carried out by an international team of architects under the direction of Wallace Harrison. This 39-story building was the first major International Style building to be constructed in New York. Typical of the International Style are its simple, geometric form, the absence of historical references, and its glass curtain wall. The architects' use of green glass, marble, and bands of metal detailing are modifications to the modern architectural vocabulary. Located on a highly visible site and surrounded by open spaces, this tower is the only freestanding skyscraper in New York.

The International Style, which originated in Europe, had social and political implications as it was frequently associated with progressive, reform-oriented architects and patrons. Here it symbolizes the international, benevolent functions of the UN but its soaring height makes a specific reference to America and to New York in particular. Although the building makes an interesting formal statement, it is not necessarily functional. The narrow floors are too cramped for the office spaces and its large expanses of glass have caused problems with temperature regulation inside the building. Despite these problems, this building helped to revitalize Midtown and the neighborhoods along the East River during a period when it was most needed."

My First UN Visit

The pictures are nowhere near as informative as the visit was, but I figured I would post them nonetheless:

Gothamist: Schumer Calls UN Building a "Fire Trap"

Gothamist: Schumer Calls UN Building a "Fire Trap": "Senator Charles Schumer painted a grim picture of what could happen during an emergency at the United Nations' headquarters as he asked that the UN's much-delayed renovation to move ahead. Schumer noted that that if the Secretariat building 'were owned by a private company there would be so many violations the government could close it down.' The Secretariat has no internal sprinkler system and does not comply with many city fire and safety codes, plus asbestos could fill the area if old steam pipes explode and if many fire trucks were parked in a plaza, they could fall into the underground parking. At this point, there has been much talk of a U.N. building renovation, most recently with discussions about where the U.N. will or will not rent temporary office space, but nothing conclusive about the renovation has been decided. One thing holding up the renovation: The U.S. doesn't want to fund the $1.6 billion project."

Cost of U.N. Renovation Soars to $1.9 Billion - November 17, 2005 - The New York Sun

Cost of U.N. Renovation Soars to $1.9 Billion - November 17, 2005 - The New York Sun: "Initial planning for the project was conducted in 2000 and again in 2002, yielding a cost estimate of $1.2 billion. The United Nations determined it needed to empty its premises entirely during the renovations, citing dangers posed by asbestos and other construction hazards. Offices of the world body were to be temporarily housed in a 900,000-square-foot, 35-story 'swing space' to be erected by the United Nations Development Corporation, a city-state public benefit corporation, over a neighboring city park.

Because the New York State Legislature did not issue the approvals necessary for the U.N. to seize Robert Moses Playground, the U.N. sought to rent about 700,000 square feet of commercial office space as an alternative.

Today's report, however, states that the 'failure of plans for the UNDC5 building,' as the swing space is called by the U.N., render it 'no longer a realistic option for swing space in the foreseeable future.' Moreover, 'no commercial solutions were found to accommodate the activities of the General Assembly and other intergovernmental organs,' the report states.

As a result, the secretary-general is recommending that the world body undertake its renovation in stages, under one of the four strategies for the refurbishment project set forth in the new report. Under "Strategy IV," the option endorsed by the secretary-general, a "phased approach" is undertaken. Ten floors of the Secretariat building at a time would be vacated and renovated, and the United Nations would lease approximately 228,000 square feet of commercial space in Midtown Manhattan to house the displaced staff.

The world body would also rent commercial space in Long Island City to temporarily house the Dag Hammarskjold Library, and would erect temporary conference facilities on the U.N.'s North Lawn, a park on the world body's campus that is closed to the public. Under all four options, the U.N. would abandon plans to renovate the building occupied by the U.N. Institute for Training and Research, and today's report suggests the possibility of jettisoning that building as a U.N. property altogether, saying it "is not a cost-effective building to operate over the long term.


The project would be completed in 2014, four years later than the United Nations said it had hoped to finish the upgrades."

After 10 Years and 3 Plans, U.N. Renovation Is in Sight - New York Times


After 10 Years and 3 Plans, U.N. Renovation Is in Sight - New York Times:

"Cruise ships, barges, islands, tent settlements, a 30-story annex, a Wal-Mart-size building, even Brooklyn.

All of them have been proposed by increasingly desperate United Nations officials as the place to locate thousands of employees and delegates while the organization’s stylishly timeless but dangerously antiquated 39-story headquarters are refurbished.

This decade-long search has ended now with a decision to begin a five-year, $1.876 billion renovation of the complex in the spring and to house the 2,600 people who must move out in rented space in Manhattan, across the East River in Long Island City and a temporary conference building on the United Nations campus.


Those failings are serious, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg underlined in October by demanding that the organization immediately improve its fire safety plans with sprinklers, smoke detectors and exit signs or he would prohibit visits by city students to the building and alert the public to the danger. The United Nations has pledged to make the adjustments in the coming months.


The elaborate rehabilitation plan, which the General Assembly is expected to approve soon, is the third in a decade. Like many other urgent items on the United Nations agenda, the mission has met with repeated delays.


The first plan was halted in 2005 when the New York State Legislature, angry about diplomats’ unpaid parking tickets, mismanagement of the Iraq oil-for-food program and what lawmakers viewed as the United Nations’ anti-Israel bias, refused to pass enabling legislation to construct a new annex on an underused city playground next door.

The second was abandoned a year later after its architect, Louis Frederick Reuter IV, a veteran of large project management in New York, grew tired of fighting persistent objections from Congress and United Nations bureaucrats. He resigned.

The author of the new plan is Michael Adlerstein, 62, an affable Brooklyn-born former National Park Service architect involved in the preservations of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the New York Botanical Garden and the Taj Mahal and a man with 20 years of experience dealing with lawmakers in Washington.


“I took the job because it’s an ideal challenge for an architect at this point in my career,” he said. “It’s an iconic building of great stature in the world. You can show a picture of this building to people in remote, rural locations in the world and everyone will know it.”

While the famous exteriors will be unchanged, the insides will be brought up to 21st century standards of efficiency and security and reconfigured to consume 40 percent less energy.

The glass curtain wall will be replaced by a heavily laminated one that appears identical but is far stronger and able to withstand the blast of a bomb attack.

Energy-saving additions include sensors that turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and solar power systems.


“Ten years from now there will be no way to tell that the U.N. was renovated unless you look at the Con Ed bill,” Mr. Adlerstein said. He said that he was well aware of the bribery scandals that have scarred the reputation of the United Nations procurement department but that Skanska, the Swedish company that is the construction manager, and his own people would make sure nothing like that recurred.


The cost of the project will be borne by the 192 member states in supplementary annual dues over the five-year period, with the United States responsible for 22 percent, or $413 million. The United Nations has leased office floors in a building at 305 East 46th Street and is negotiating for space nearby and in Lower Manhattan and Long Island City."


Programming (the UN etc)

Ok, so the last few days have been considering program. To cut to the chase:

I had a brainstorming session (with AB) about program. I came up with 5 or 6 interesting ones. The big caveats were:
- "You are using the UN etc. to make arguments about architecture and agency, not about world peace and the like."
- "I should be able to distill program (that is interesting/important to me) from these, the arguments themselves are not the only things that matter (ie program is more important than argument/scenario)

Images of the blackboard (being as transparent and candid as possible here):

Based on this, I thought about 6 programs for a while. So far, the UN is the only one that has really gone anywhere fast. So in the spirit of ruthlessness and expediency, here is a slideshow ruminating on the UN as program, and Hong Kong and New York as sites. Its sort of all over the map and and loosely structured, but its doing something.

PLUS, ITS EXCITING! I am actually very into all this, and it dovetails really well with all my previous research. So, ruminations on other programs will proceed and summaries will be forthcoming, but for now,


Hong Kong - Ackbar Abbas

Hong Kong and the Culture of Disappearance
An Interview with Ackbar Abbas
By Geert Lovink

In a place like Hong Kong, different moments of history now seem to be out of step with each other.

What interests me is how to describe the little movements, certain happenings in the everyday life -- the unacknowledged historical processes.

In your lecture you spoke of the newly erected monument to the victims of Tiananmen Square in Victory Park, made by a Danish artist, as an ugly piece of kitsch which fitted into a series of spectacular events taking place during the Handover. This was within the realm of the simulacra of politics. On the other side, you said that there is indeed the possibility of a true form of modernity in local Hong Kong politics and aesthetics. You have found this in Hong Kong cinema. Do you see films from, for example, Wong Kar-wai, as an alternative to the political kitsch?

In the line of options that can be opened up, we could look at another dominant cultural form in Hong Kong which is architecture. Building infrastructure is one of the biggest projects going on, worldwide. However, there is very little reflection on building.

AA: When I came across the Koolhaas' article, 'The Generic City' I liked it because it was both against architectural snobbery and anti-identity. It discussed questions like repetition and seriality -- a whole new discourse on the city which might allow us to rethink the ways we produce it. Naming what is going on and by doing so, intervening in the process of creating a new urban space, bringing architecture in line with the artworld. However I was disappointed by the argument in the end. On the one hand, you have the anti-identity, which becomes the ruling one. It is a little bit like the Baudrillard argument of the silent masses where silence now becomes a form of imploded resistance. It can only be taken so far. In places like Hong Kong and Singapore, the 'generic' just means capital, low production costs and placing architecture outside the realm of other social values. Architecture becomes a purely practical process. One of the ways of avoiding the social question for the architect is by saying 'I am a builder.' However I think that Koolhaas is onto something that needs further development. I would like to see this urbanism as a genre, like in cinema. We should not celebrate it, but instead, within the genre of the generic city, make a twist, if architecture is going to make any claim to social responsibility. This is what we tried to do at the conference in Hong Kong about architecture and cultural studies -- to open up the dialogue with the architects. What kind of building would you like to see? How can architects work within the economic restraints? Once you asked these questions, you are already doing something. We all have a responsibility. It is also a question of specialisation. Architecture is not just engineering, it is not just construction, it is also social construction.

Opening up a dialogue is certainly what we want, but there are certain ground rules. It should not be a dialogue between East and West, simply because as soon as you say that, the positions are defined beforehand. By the same token, it should not be a dialogue between the Architect and the Theorist. It is the same issue: both are facing a common problem, which is how to deal with social processes. My model here would be Walter Benjamin's essay on translation. The translation, not just as a true copy of the original, but as the incomplete, full of faults. It would be an interesting model for what a dialogue would be. It is a question of cultural translation.



SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS MICHAEL ADLERSTEIN OF UNITED STATES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CAPITAL MASTER PLAN: "United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Michael Adlerstein of the United States as Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan at the Assistant Secretary-General level. Most recently, Mr. Adlerstein was the Vice-President and Architect of the New York Botanical Garden, America’s oldest and most respected centre for horticulture, botanical research and education.

In the 1980s, Mr. Adlerstein was the Project Director for the restoration of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the most ambitious historic restoration project ever undertaken by the United States Department of the Interior. He led the master planning team and managed the team of architects, engineers, landscape architects and other consultants through the planning and design process and later managed the complexities of construction on Ellis Island. The success of the project led to his promotion to Chief Historical Architect. As such, he was recognized as the national expert in the field of historic preservation, advising the National Park Service Director and the Secretary of the Interior on all historic preservation issues.

During his National Park Service career, Mr. Adlerstein managed the planning, design and construction programme for the north-east region, including complex partnership projects at Gettysburg, Valley Forge, Acadia and Jamestown. Throughout the north-east region, he directed the design and construction process for major rehabilitation, stabilization and restoration of public facilities, visitor centres, historic buildings, utility systems, exhibits and other infrastructure.

Mr. Adlerstein, a New York native, received his architectural degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia and has worked as a State Department consultant on preservation issues on numerous projects, including the preservation of the Taj Mahal. He has been recognized for his contributions to the field of architecture with numerous awards, and in 1994 was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects."


IBM Cloud Computing

"In recent years, I.B.M. has championed efforts to make data centers more efficient and to centralize more computing tasks in the data centers, with desktops and devices tapping in. These have had names like "autonomic," "utility" and grid computing.
Those concepts and research efforts have made a contribution to cloud computing. Experts say tools have been added to spread computing tasks across clusters of many machines and to make programming simpler. Advances likely to broaden the reach of cloud computing have often come from researchers tackling the challenges posed by Internet searches.
"In some ways, the cloud is a natural next step from the grid-utility model," said Frank Gens, an analyst at the research firm IDC. "What's different is the Google programming model, and that really opens things up. You don't have to be a Stanford or Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. to program cloud applications.""


Cunard: The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World (sm)

Cunard: The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World (sm):


1,132 feet


135 feet

Beam at Bridge Wings:

147.5 feet


32 feet 10 inches

Height (Keel to Funnel):

236.2 feet

Gross Tonnage:

Approximately 151,400 gross tonnes

Guest Capacity:

2,592 lower berths
3,056 maximum capacity (Including third and fourth berths)



Cruise Speed:

28.5 Knots


157,000 horsepower, environmentally friendly, gas turbine/diesel electric plant


Four pods of 21.5 MW each; 2 fixed and 2 azimuthing


Extra thick steel hull for strength and stability for Transatlantic Crossings


Two sets


Estimated $800 million

Some Comparisons:

  • QM2 is five times longer than Cunard's first ship, Britannia (230 ft.)
  • QM2 is 113 feet longer than the original Queen Mary
  • QM2 is more than twice as long as the Washington Monument is tall (550 ft.)
  • QM2 is 147 feet longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall (984 ft.)
  • QM2 is more than 3½ times as long as Westminster Tower (Big Ben) is high (310 ft.)
  • QM2 is only 117 feet shorter than the Empire State Building is tall (1248 ft.)
  • QM2 is more than three times as long as St. Paul's Cathedral is tall (366 ft.)
  • QM2 is as long as 41 double-decker London buses (31½ ft. each)
  • QM2's whistle is audible for 10 miles

More Interesting Facts:

  • In 1839, Queen Victoria awarded Samuel Cunard the first ever licence to deliver mail across the Atlantic, proudly granting his steam ship the honoured title RMS (Royal Mail Steamer). In 2004 RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Queen Mary 2 was awarded this privileged title and continues to celebrate this golden heritage.
  • Queen Mary 2’s kennel programme is available on all crossings between New York and Southampton in either direction, and is overseen by a full-time Kennel Master who takes care of responsibilities such as feeding, walking and cleaning the ship’s 12 spacious kennels. Travelling dogs and cats also receive a complimentary gift pack and other animal amenities.The kennels and adjacent indoor and outdoor walking areas are open throughout the day, enabling passengers to spend significant time with their pet. Reservations for the kennels may be made at time of booking, and are based on space availability. Contact Cunard for fees and additional requirements.

Paying a Premium Not to Mingle at Sea - New York Times

Paying a Premium Not to Mingle at Sea - New York Times: "Over the past few years, Norwegian Cruise Line has been rolling out a new category of luxury cabins called Garden and Courtyard Villas that offer a private-access pool, sun deck, steam room and gym. A few of these rooms, billed as a “ship within a ship,” have their own hot tubs and garden terraces. Guests can even order room service from any restaurant onboard and stay holed up in their own little enclave, away from hoi polloi, if they so choose.

And Cunard, which operates the Queen Mary 2, is taking the class divisions further. The ship’s top dining rooms are already reserved for guests in the so-called Queens and Princess Grill Suites. For its latest vessel, the Queen Victoria, scheduled to debut in December, guests staying in those top suites will get their own elevator to take them to dinner, so they won’t have to rub elbows with the underclasses."


One Last Columbia Studio Brief

One last Columbia studio brief:

Ed Keller

'WORLD GAMES' for a GENERAL ECONOMY of Information and Energy

In the broadest sense, our studio program will be to design an infrastructure, a game, buildings, or even a city within an inclusive general economy that we describe in this brief. We will look to the way that energy & information are stored in the landscapes of the world- cities, highways, airports, deserts- and attempt to inflect the paths they flow along.

Dynamic systems in relation to each other condition not only the basics of interaction in the world, but also the very structure of time itself. The project of architecture, of design- is by its very nature, the construction of 'time machines'.

'"information and form always appear in association with historic development. In a world already endowed with a certain structure, any interaction between matter and energy- which signifies increased entropy- alters the structure and makes future changes more predictable..." In urban development, or in a building's construction, every decision- tracing a roadway, situating a facility, distributing a floor plan- conditions subsequent building episodes, rendering them more predictable; the energy necessary to materialize each of these decisions is accumulated in physical structures that on the one hand condition future construction, and on the other hand can be used to interpret past construction. The energy stored in construction- both in the materials themselves and in the significant order in which they find themselves as a result of transport and installation- is therefore projected toward the future, which it helps form, and toward the past, which it interprets.'
Fire and Memory, Fernadez-Galiano pp. 63/64

We will use this idea of energy, information, form, and time in the studio to develop a program in relation to contemporary problems of infrastructure and territory. We will add to it the model of general economy offered by Georges Bataille in his volumes The Accursed Share, and we will place Bataille's thinking against the 'World Game' concept proposed by Bucky Fuller.

'World Game is a continuing scientific research and physical prototyping development. It is devoted to progressive discovery of how most efficiently and expeditiously to employ [1] the total world-around resources, [2] total accumulated knowledge, and [3] the total already-produced technological tooling of Spaceship Earth, all three to the ever advancing equal advantage of all its present and future passengers.'
Critical Path, B. Fuller, p. 202

One of the strengths of Bataille's model in The Accursed Share is his ability to think through cultural, infrastructural and ecological energetic systems using an inclusive model. This addresses one of the basic limitations of Fuller's World Game, which emphasizes the fundamental survival of humans. I won't deny that our basic survival is indeed at stake today; however we will propose that factoring informational systems into the energy equations is necessary. One of the possible weaknesses of Bataille's model is an insistence on the unavoidable expenditure of energy. Whether this is seen as a waste, or a use of the energy for previously incomprehensible gains- c.f. potlatch, which Bataille cites, for example- will be one of the themes the studio tests.

'On the surface of the globe, for living matter in general, energy is always in excess; the question is always posed in terms of extravagance. The choice is limited to how the wealth is to be squandered... Solar radiation results in a superabundance of energy on the surface of the globe...living matter receives this energy and accumulates it within the limits given by the space that is available to it... real excess does not begin until the growth of the individual or group has reached its limits.'
The Accursed Share, Bataille, pp23-29

We will ask how architecture and urbanism can participate in a game within a general economy and general system of the world. What possible futures can be accessed by the time machines we develop?

We will visit several case study locations on our Kinne trip, which will include airports, highways around LA, the city of LA, and the Owens Gorge and Salton Sea desert areas near LA. In our visit to the Owens Gorge area, we will be guided by Matt Coolidge, working with CLUI [The Center for Land Use Interpretation], based out of LA. We will also visit their LA headquarters.

Considering the project of architecture within this model of a general economy suggests the need for a wider net which can compass the 'invisible conspiracies' that theorists like Jameson have suggested we live surrounded by, in today’s unescapably geopolitical world.

The factors of mediation and migration described by Appadurai in his Modernity at Large parallel ideas that Foucault unpacked some 40 years ago, when he called the great variables of the post-modern and post-industrial world 'speed, territory, and communication'. These domains are not inherently part of the previous paradigm's vision of what an architect manages in their practice; however, one could argue that our current paradigm, shifts in technology, the sciences, global culture, politics and communication are indeed all vectors for a redefinition of what an architect or urban designer does, and in fact all those disciplines partake in the realms of mediation and migration- in the realms of 'speed, territory, and communication'.

The territories that architecture can establish- not just lines on the ground, or geometric composition, but networked energetic and material flows- the new speeds by which urban programs emerge, evolve, and propagate worldwide through social practices that are not part of buildings, but are nonetheless inseparable from space as a practice- the communications systems which are increasingly part of architecture- not in a semiotic process but in the ways that the construction of buildings increasingly offers the opportunity of construction within an intelligent system of manufacturing, financing, and use; these are all reasons why architecture as it has largely been practiced must undergo a paradigm shift on the practical and conceptual levels if it is to maintain or increase is value.

Appadurai's terms mediation and migration can impact design thinking on a very practical level. Much as Foucault changed the way we understand the work of language itself, in his text Archaeology of Knowledge, which redirected our attention away from a search from meaning, toward a search for the AFFECT of assemblies of words and concepts- similarly we have to consider the affect of mediation in today's world. This affect has little to do with the meaning or semiotic of architecture and space, and much more to do with the ways that space mobilizes ideologies, economies, cultures, and subjectivities. In this mode of thinking, it is irrelevant to argue about the meaning of a building, a facade, an urban space, a technology. The primary question leaps up in scale to ask how the design works, where it is relevant, what it moves. Affect addresses this issue.

Affect mediation is linked to MIGRATION. Migration of cultures, ideas, economies, information and energy. But also, migration of biomass and power. The biopower issue as engaged by thinkers like Foucault, Negri and Hardt, et.al., is key here, and today's architecture needs to address this fully.

Cities can inflect the massive flows of human bodies- by some accounts, in China alone hundreds of millions in the floating population, and worldwide some billions squatting on land they do not own- with entire nations depending on these 'illegal immigrants' to power economies, industry, agriculture. If cities can acknowledge, integrate, and inflect these masses, then they will be participating in an unprecedented manner.


The site for this studio will be a generic, extended global landscape of migratory
infrastructures, highlighting the contrast from the open energy fields of the desert,
through the channels of the highway and the airport, to the energetic reservoirs of the city.

Although a general range of sites is given- Deserts, Highways, Cities, Airports- this site is extremely open. This studio will ask the students to formulate a thesis in response to the challenges offered by the studio brief. Students will develop their own programs and choose specific locations in the global 'site' to design their projects. It is suggested that the design solution is positioned approximately ten years in the future.

Our travel will take us to several locations on our Kinne trip to do case studies in Los Angeles, several airports in transit and in LA, the highways we can study around LA, and the Desert south and east of LA: the Salton Sea and Owens Valley areas. We'll pass infrastructural and energy accumulation sites: the Windfarms near Palm Springs, the many power plants, irrigation networks and infrastructures outside of LA.

There will also be an optional hop to Seattle to investigate further airport infrastructures, and the recently completed Seattle Library.


Methodologically, we will begin with an analysis process and develop a predictive model .
This will involve the conversion of data from dynamic, analytical models which simulate
systems behaviors, into a set of rules for designing architecture, infrastructure, and urban space. This process also will demand the conversion of these models into a set of rules for
playing the game. In this world game, the dynamic models should tell us something about the flow of energy and information through that world system.

Fire and Memory: Fernandez-Galiano
Taking Measures Across the American Landscape: Corner & Maclean
Crying of Lot 49: Pynchon
Critical Path: B. Fuller
UBIK: Philip K. Dick
The Accursed Share: G. Bataille
City of Quartz, Dead Cities: Davis
Empire + Multitude: Hardt and Negri
A Thousand Years of NonLinear History: M. DeLanda
Structural Stability and Morphogenesis: R. Thom
Geopolitical Aesthetic: F. Jameson
Diamond Age: N. Stephenson

Koyanisquatsi: Reggio
Lessons of Darkness: Herzog
Once Upon a Time in the West: Leone
Mamma Roma: Pasolini
Chinatown: Polanski
Easy Rider: Hopper
Beau Travail: Denis
Playtime: Tati
Crash: Cronenberg
Lost Highway: Lynch
Paris, Texas: Wenders
Man With a Movie Camera: Vertov
Passenger, Zabriskie, Point, Red Desert: Antonioni
Repo Man: Cox
Until the End of the World: Wenders
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Gilliam
Polygraph: LePage

Shockwave Rider: J. Brunner
Electronic Disturbance, other texts: Critical Art Ensemble
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Thompson
Organizational Space: Keller Easterling
Tomorrow Now: Bruce Sterling
Anabasis: St Jean Perse
The Invisibles: Grant Morrison
Transmetropolitan: Warren Ellis
Lipstick Traces: Greil Marcus
Out of Control: Kevin Kelly
Smart Mobs: Howard Rheingold
Modernity at Large: Arjun Appadurai
Double Game: Sophie Calle
TechGnosis: Erik Davis
Watchmen: Alan Moore
A Thousand Plateaus: Gilles Deleuze + Felix Guattari

Peabody Air Slideshow

This is Peabody Air. A brief photo-documentary looking at air and its infrastructure in a Peabody Terrace apartment (mine). Almost identical to the one on the left:

I am attempting to bring together:
1) Modernism
2) State of Exception (?)
3) Peabody Terrace
4) Infrastructure
5) Air
6) Google
7) Tactics

Ambitious? I think not.
Let the images do the talking (composition does matter):


Yosemite Grid


BLDGBLOG: The bridged architecture of adjacent peaks and "the fallen man of letters"

BLDGBLOG: The bridged architecture of adjacent peaks and "the fallen man of letters":

"Awesomely, sci fi author and war correspondent H.G. Wells even did some reporting on the matter. For The New York Times, back in 1916, Wells wrote:

Mountain surfaces are extraordinarily various and subtle. You may understand Picardy upon a map, but mountain warfare is three-dimensional. A struggle may go on for weeks or months consisting of apparently separate and incidental skirmishes, and then suddenly a whole valley organization may crumble away in retreat or disaster.

Describing the Italy-Austrian mountain war as 'among the strangest and most picturesque [battlefields] in all this tremendous world conflict' –

– in fact, he adds, the "fighting in the Dolomites has been perhaps the most wonderful of all these mountain campaigns" – Wells goes on:

    Everywhere it has been necessary to make roads where hitherto there have been only mule tracks or no tracks at all; the roads are often still in the making, and the automobile of the war tourist skirts precipices and takes hairpin bends upon tracks of loose metal not an inch too broad for the operation, or it floats for a moment over a dizzy edge while a train of mule transport blunders by. (...) Down below, the trees that one sees through a wisp of cloud look far too small and spiky and scattered to hold out much hope for a fallen man of letters. And at the high positions they are too used to the vertical life to understand the secret feelings of the visitor from the horizontal.
One more long quotation – come on, how many of you knew that H.G. Wells was also a war correspondent? – because his descriptions of these mountain landscapes are just great:
    The aspect of these mountains is particularly grim and wicked; they are worn old mountains, they tower overhead in enormous vertical cliffs of sallow gray, with the square jointings and occasional clefts and gullies, their summits are toothed and jagged; the path ascends and passes around the side of the mountain upon loose screes, which descend steeply to a lower wall of precipices. In the distance rise other harsh and desolate-looking mountain masses, with shining occasional scars of old snow. Far below is a bleak valley of stunted pine trees, through which passes the road of the Dolomites.
In any case, it's the idea of the Alps being riddled with manmade caves and passages, with bunkers and tunnels, bristling with military architecture, even self-connected peak to peak by fortified bridges, the Great Moutain Wall of Northern Italy, architecture literally become mountainous, piled higher and higher upon itself forming new artificial peaks looking down on the fields and cities of Europe, that just fascinates me – not to mention the idea that you could travel up, and thus go futher into history, discovering that the past has been buried above you, the geography of time topologically inverted. "

Burying the Past | Metropolis Magazine | November 2002

Burying the Past | Metropolis Magazine | November 2002:

"Since October 2001 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has thrown out nearly 50 percent of its examiner collections of patents dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. Three things are being lost: a filing system, a specialized drafting technique, and a historical record of invention. And the history of an entire design medium is being destroyed."

"The patent examiner's former classification system contained almost 500 classes of technology, each with hundreds of subdivisions. It allowed researchers to easily learn the history of a patent and compare it to other similar designs. "Seldom does an invention come along that is as out of the blue as the first lightbulb, or electric motor, or laser," Rabin says. "Most are incremental improvements that fit in or between other similar patents. Being able to quickly span a decade or so of similar work in a matter of an hour provides an inventor a context and history he can't find anywhere else, and usually results in a better invention."

Unfortunately the computer system that will replace the paper library functions much the way a search engine does on the Web. Rabin explains, "You fish around with some selected words and hope the patent you are seeking (the one that may mean trouble for your invention) has the same words that you have chosen to look for it." If a match doesn't come up, a researcher is out of luck.

Three-quarters of the pate
nts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century contained beautifully lithographed drawings made by artisans that specialized in patent drafting; now their work is vanishing from public view forever. Beyond the delicate line quality and light and shade on display in, for example, Edison's 1893 patent for the Electric Locomotive (a recycling bin find), some of the patents, like R. S. Kibler's Continuously Variable Transmission, from 1936, were meticulously colored. The USPTO keeps a complete set of pristine patent drawings in the very same Iron Mountain facility as Corbis's collections. But the patent examiner's collection was a working one. Generations of examiners have added notes, new findings, and thoughts to the patent sheets, often in handwriting that can be dated by the style of its scrawl. This enabled each new examiner to see what his past colleagues thought of the invention, providing an invaluable picture of patent history. The black-and-white low-resolution scans available online at www.uspto.gov omit not only those notes (now lost forever) but the sheer beauty of the line quality, color, depth, and shade of the drawings.

"To save everything would," Rabin says glumly, "take a K-Mart"--about 75,000 square feet--to house the 6.5 million patents, which average 16 pages each. But he is doing his part via www.edisonsark.org, a Web site that includes color scans of the patents he has found, thus at least preserving the documents as they should be seen. For Rabin "the dilemma is how to preserve these patents and show what's being lost."

Iron Mountain

Freenet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Freenet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Freenet's founders argue that only with true anonymity comes true freedom of speech, and that what they view as the beneficial uses of Freenet outweigh its negative uses. Their assumption is that free speech is more important than nearly any other consideration and Freenet attempts to remove the possibility of any group imposing their beliefs or values on any other. Although many states censor communications to different extents, they all share one commonality in that a body must decide what information to censor and what information to allow. What may be acceptable to one group of people may be considered offensive or even dangerous to another. In essence, the purpose of Freenet is that nobody is allowed to decide what is acceptable. Tolerance for each others' values is encouraged and failing that, the user is asked to turn a blind eye to content which opposes his or her views. One analysis of Freenet files conducted in the year 2000 claimed that the top 3 types of files contained in Freenet were text (37%), audio (21%), and images (14%). 59% of all the text files were drug-related, 71% of all audio files were rock music, and 89% of all images were pornographic.[1] Due to the nature of Freenet, a typical user may unknowingly host this sort of information, which may hypothetically make them subject to severe civil and criminal penalties. Freenet attempts to prevent this through "plausible deniability", preventing the user from knowing what's on his or her own node and making it difficult to determine if a piece of information is in any given node without causing the distribution of that piece of information throughout the network to change in the process. No court cases have tested any of this to date.

Reports of Freenet's use in authoritarian nations is difficult to track due to the very nature of Freenet's goals. One group, Freenet-China, has translated the Freenet software to Chinese and is distributing it within China on CD and floppy disk."

NPR : A Los Angeles 'Hotel' for Internet Carriers

NPR : A Los Angeles 'Hotel' for Internet Carriers: "And like the guests in a regular hotel, these networks can get to know each other. So if one telecom company needed to link up with another, it's much easier when they're under the same roof. That can be particularly helpful in the event of a disaster like the December 2006 earthquake that struck Taiwan, severing critical undersea fiber optic cables. Most voice and data traffic into and out of Taiwan was slowed or halted, and connectivity to and from other Asian countries was drastically reduced. Getting to the bottom of the ocean and repairing the cables has taken months. But places such as One Wilshire were able to re-route some of that Internet and voice traffic through their facility within days. Some observers says the role carrier hotels play in the Internet's ability to cope with disasters, could make them an attractive target for terrorists. Could 'carrier hotels' like One Wilshire be targeted because of their importance in global communications? And what if an earthquake or other natural disaster hit Los Angeles, disabling this critical site?"

HavenCo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HavenCo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "HavenCo Limited is a data hosting services company founded in 2000 which operates from Sealand, an unrecognised self-declared 'sovereign principality' that occupies a man-made former World War II defensive facility originally known as Roughs Tower located approximately six miles from the coast of Suffolk, southeast England."

Hans Hollein

is crazy.


BLDGBLOG: "Surely someone with loads of money could finally do something interesting, for instance, putting aside the cocaine addiction and the personal fleets of Range Rovers and the Malibu mansions and buying land, buying lots of land, buying as many tens of thousands of acres as they can afford – and not developing it, not re-selling it, not clear-cutting it, not even necessarily preserving it, just doing something out there in their own private wilderness, whether it's opening a system of public trails – or maybe you can subscribe to the land the way you subscribe to a magazine, and so you get access to new trails every few months – or building radio astronomical research stations, or a summer camp for landscape journalists, or the BLDGBLOG Academy, or a human clone farm, or whatever. Build a private cave. Who cares. But, surely, with literally tens of millions of acres of land at stake here, and with more and more – and more – people becoming billionaires, let alone millionaires, someone with a little imagination will come along finally and do something interesting out there, away from the airports, alone in the darkness of North America, surrounded by maple trees, coming up with plans, changing history, supplying novelists with fodder for plots for decades to come. Otherwise we'll just build more houses."

The Return of Superfly

The Return of Superfly: "A couple of days later, eating at a T.G.I. Friday's, Lucas scowled through glareproof glass to the suburban strip beyond. 'Look at this shit,' he said. A giant Home Depot down the road especially bugged him. Bumpy Johnson himself couldn't have collected protection from a damn Home Depot, he said with disgust. 'What would Bumpy do? Go in and ask to see the assistant manager? Place is so big, you get lost past the bathroom sinks. But that's the way it is now. You can't find the heart of anything to stick the knife into.'"


Google Urbanism 1.0 - Proposition

So, the last few days have not been particularly productive on the speculation side; ruminating on Peabody Intervention has not produced much by way of fruitful architectural thought. As far as researching goes, I have had many more thoughts and frustrations and revelations, but I am still convinced (as was discussed last Friday) that some immediate, rapid, productive speculation is in order. Otherwise a downward spiral will begin shortly, and this will want to turn into a (bad) research paper. So, though I should have initiated this yesterday, I am now proposing an exercise in speculation. The bulk of it will be done before the weekend, and it will be analyzed and formatted over the weekend. The point is to make a proposal (which I am totally not sure of) and begin outlining an attack to it, which will hopefully allow me to bring in and frame the myriad of disparate thoughts and strands and blah blah blah.

In the spirit of the Daily Radical Proposal (yesterday's and today's of which this will count for),
I present:



The 700 MHz broadcast TV spectrum goes up for grabs early next year (Jan?). This is true.

What this means: the portion of the spectrum (2-51?) that was formerly reserved for the broadcast of analog television signals is available as TV stations were forced (asked?) to switch over to digital broadcasting by a certain date (2009?).

Google submitted a letter to the FCC stating that if 4 conditions of "openness" were imposed on the winner of the auction, they would submit a minimum open bid of 4.6 billion $ (what is this relative to current market value). More on this later, but it is basically a 'classical' economic response to a 'duopoly' that is being proposed, with all the attendant baggage. Plus Google wants in, obviously.

Perhaps a combo of cheap devices and free service based on an ad-centric model akin to that of their search engine is in store for nation-wide free wireless access, through any device, but especially a Google phone.

The other companies, cable TV and phones are pissed, AT&T the least (because they don't own the last mile to your home).

Good/Cool Things:

- It sounds so spatially evocative (think hydropower a little):

"At issue is a swath of spectrum in the 700 megahertz band"

"breaks up the 700 megahertz band into a five blocks of spectrum and requires the owners of a large, 22-MHz upper "C Block" to provide a platform that is more open to devices and applications."

"The FCC will soon auction off access to that spectrum, which is considered highly valuable because of its far-reaching strengths."
"leveled the playing field for companies that want to get into the network business but cannot break through the defenses erected by the massive incumbents who dominate the industry,"

- It's about networks

- Google is intense

- the internet, wireless communications, airwaves and the attendant metaphors are interesting: software v hardware, hacking, open source, open source community, docs, earth etc, massive multiplayer online universes, crazy networked physical infrastructure vs wireless infrastructure with mobile devices

- there is plenty of intense physical stuff to deal with

- Google has issues with censoring in China, is beginning to deal with global geographic issues

- maybe there is a wacky crossover between spectrums, comm waves and physical pollution as different emanations of the same stuff

- the whole ideas of communities (chat, email group, site, social progs, multiplayer lives and games) and forms of web-bing (blog, email, browsing, apps, storage, sharing, and so on) would seem exciting and spatial and you know

- s.o.e. is allover this

- this list goes on, and could get organized, but it all leads to


hmmm...its coming.

Small business - Patent Law - Prior Art Search and Existing Patents - USPTO Stopfakes.gov

Small business - Patent Law - Prior Art Search and Existing Patents - USPTO Stopfakes.gov: "The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) strongly recommends that all prospective applicants retain the services of a registered patent attorney or patent agent to prepare and prosecute their applications. The preparation of an application for patent and the conducting of the proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office to obtain the patent is an undertaking requiring the knowledge of patent law and rules and USPTO practice and procedures, as well as knowledge of the scientific or technical matters involved in the particular invention."


Thoughts and Columbia

Once again proving that it's all been done before, I sampled recent Columbia studio briefs and found outcroppings of my thesis interests under the surface everywhere. Or I'm just reading in to things. Either way, innovation is lame, so lets just consider this a confirmation of intelligence and a commitment to mastery. Perhaps excerpting some snippets will help me situate myself against alternate theses.

One big divide that seems lurking under the surface (if I may paraphrase and exaggerate a little, these things are probably mostly coming from my head anyway), is the split between:

(1) Briefs that put architecture in service of a de Certeau-like agenda of expanding room for free play within the product world of capitalism. The exercising of biopower as a tactical political move. This idea exacerbates the feelings of frustration I encountered on reading a chunk of de Certeau last night. While I think his conception of the world is elegant, captivating, and most importantly evidencing truth, or at least the image of it along with correctness, his conclusion that tactics must take the form of play seemed deadening, at least for architecture.
It seems like we are either on the side of the generic system (the side of production, the man), or we are forced to minimize our role in the interesting (at least per de Certeau) side of consumption, to disappear, leaving everyman as his own, kinda lame, spatial manipulator.
So, in order for this to work in such a way that interests me, the architect would need to increase agency such that, first, we actually increase the room for play, and second, we actually improve, expand, alter the definition of play to increase its potential effects. We make the biopower stronger and better. So architects could either (1) design the tactics of de Certeau's politics (designing them might already be a contradiction), (2) or they could willingly provide an infrastructure (his iambic pentameter analogy) that increases constraint to encourage creativity (but then aren't we still on the production/man side), (3) or they could open up intentional holes in something that doesn't at first seem like infrastructure, or even within existing infrastructures, which allow biopower to flourish in and capitalize on, and even expand.
One would be a strategy of designing consumption itself, one of designing an infrastructure of consumption, and one of producing holes for consumption (through parasitic, corruptive, deceptive, erasing, altering, hiding/revealing, making hackable etc moves within existing infrastructures (or architectures).
At first blush, the first seems somewhat tedious, with a scale too small for architecture (or maybe for me, thats what frustrated me when reading de Certeau, at least). The second seems to embody contradiction, and be somewhat pompous. The third seems the most immediately appealing. Not just because the quality of the architectural responses it seems to trigger for me sound cool, but because it also seems to actually define a role, an agency, for the architect within a given conception of the world. We are not the man, working on products. But we are also not just the people, working on our tiny zone in a sea. Rather we are a new agent that seeks to operate with the relevant techniques in favor of the people (and to some degree the man, by keeping some focus on production as well) with systems that are relevant, on the systems' own terms. This allows us to slowly encourage play, and then modify it as an appropriate architecture as it/we develop...

(2) Briefs that paint a roughly similar picture of the world, but respond not with biopower but with new network connections. They return political power and agency on a large scale, they believe it. So while some of the rhetoric in these studios sounds correct in framing a scenario, the approach, at least for now, seems less appealing to me. Still useful as oppositional framing devices.

Note: A lot of these also espouse a worldview of increasing statelessness, global-everything, and diffuse something-or-another that seems not so right. I prefer to think that these spaces are within relatively conventional definitions of the world (states, borders, etc) and rather can make a footprint through states of exception. There are weird parallel and/or overlapping conditions, but I don't think that the world is yet turning into a homogenized soup. I think. At least not at the scale I am interested in.

Ok, for fun, interesting (for better or for worse) snippets from Columbia's recent studio briefs. After writing all this the connections to below seem flimsier and less necessary, but have interesting smells and feels within little moments or ideas. The language is peppered with relevancies, which probably means either I have cast my net too wide and vague (surely a truth), or that my topic is super-awesome (also inevitable), or that my project is all-consuming in terms of its ability to materialize in my eyes, to change the forms of things (yup).
So here goes:

Reinhold Martin, Fall 2005
Governor’s Island, New York. In the spring of 2005, Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) issued a “Request for Expressions of Interest” to develop the island.

In response, we propose that:

1. The island be renamed Utopia (an island second in fame and influence only to Manhattan), and that all subsequent development be expected to live up to that name.
2. The new island’s urbanism be one of islands—individual units of space arranged to maximize programmatic mixture—of which Guggenheim: Utopia will be the first.
3. The resulting islands within islands be designed as an escape—“Escape to the Islands.”

Guggenheim: Utopia is therefore conceived as a beautiful object whose primary function is to attract visitors and investment capital to Governors Island through the public display of art and culture.

In particular, we will take notice of—and attempt to neutralize—their shared organicism. As a backdrop for the understanding of architecture as a self-referential aesthetic object...


The aesthetic model we will pursue will privilege enigma over communication and entropy over order.

Utopian Realism

The overall challenge of the studio will be to explore the architectural and urban potential of an approach that can be called Utopian Realism, which asserts that:

1. The further inside (architecture) you go, the further outside (the city, the world) you get.
2. Every building imagines a city.
3. Every building can imagine a better city, and a better world.

Laura Kurgan, Fall 2005
No such permanent institution -- with the ability to prosecute and jail individuals for crimes outside the jurisdiction of a single nation-state -- has ever existed in the history of humanity.

its spatial definition (as an institution with global reach and borderless jurisdiction. but housed in a particular place in built structures) is still being debated.

The institution can be interpreted architecturally, then, as part archive, part courthouse, part stage or broadcast studio, part research center, or as a complex hybrid of existing programs, some of which are not easily compatible, and one whose reach and public extends automatically beyond its temporal and physical location.

Your work should take into account the fact that the courtroom is always a built diagram. Do not confuse the minimal elements of the ICC courtroom's program (interpretation booth, robing chambers, etc.) with the basic diagrammatic structure of any courtroom -- it is the latter on which you should concentrate here, and hence distinguish between the diagrammatic and its programmatic aspects of the courtroom.

Consider what happens to these courtrooms-as-diagrams once inserted into the larger context of the ICC as an institution, and once the ICC is itself active in even larger contexts, i.e. networks of power, information, and ethics. As an institution (not a building), what is the ICC, what might it do or become, and what forces is or will it in turn be subjected to?

Although the building is made of a series of rooms, it is also constructed of a series of networks and remote locations, both visible and invisible, and looks backwards and forwards in history.

Scott Marble, Spring 2006
...we will consider the ubiquitous portable classroom that results from the chronic problem of fluctuating enrollment and general overcrowding of public schools. While they are always intended to be deployed temporarily as an interim solution to space needs, portable classrooms are very often used for many years becoming part of the permanent landscape of public schools. And while they are universally seen as architecturally inadequate and symbolically negative, they continue to expand in use.

Marc Tsurumaki, Spring 2006
At once a space of regimentation and control, the hotel is conversely a site of pleasure, play and social experimentation. In this sense, the hotel approaches an architecture of ludic excess, a technical and bureaucratic apparatus whose primary function is diversion. A provocative assemblage of itineraries, functions and performances, it offers an incubator for emergent forms of collective experience and new techno-social assemblages. Viewed opportunistically, the paradoxical mix of efficiency and excess provides a rich ground for intervention, revealing the complimentary relation between play and order, between the productive and the transgressive, between the conventional and the radically inventive.

Fred Levrat, Spring 2006
Geopolitical investment and brilliant marketing has allowed the small city of Dubai to recently become one of the major metropolitan players in the world. Fantasy and marketing has become a way to attract capital, generating a city not based on “demand” or “necessity” (there is absolutely no local population need) but on the satisfaction of the materialization of a “virtual environment.”

In Rem Koolhaas retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan “Delirious New York” the main reference for the iconography and driving force for the constitution of Manhattan is fuelled by the fantasy of Coney Island and the concept of New York as an attractor of new population and capital. If the Chrysler Building or the Empire State building are to be labeled as subconscious association to the Coney Island land of pleasure, one has to recognize the entirely conscious and meticulous planning of operations such as the Palm, the World or the Burj Dubai.

The double physical condition of the tabula rasa, on the desert sand and on the water has been quite helpful for this construction of dreams. The other tabula rasa is happening socially, where international capital and an imported “slave” labor allows almost any materialization.

Arab investors are not anymore interested to invest in the US stock market, and are looking for an outlet to develop their own “progressive” environment.

The role of the architect is not just to solve problems but to invent new environments. To constitute a package of virtual materialization – with the name, the design, the product, the materials, etc. Even invent the type of user that should use it. Not at an object level but on an environment level, on a neighborhood level…

Leslie Gill and Tina Manis, Spring 2006
the first studio focused on the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and the housing of its workforce in a regional outpost in the American Southwest. The following semesters examined a federally mandated agenda to increase security in the form of sanctioned programs to build barricades along the border. This year, we extend our focus to examine the role of the American Embassy in Mexico City and/or the role of a Mexican Office of Consulate Affairs in San Diego; both programs have historically represented two scales of the domestic and international identity at home and abroad.

The State Department’s mission for embassies is clear, yet the identity and presence of the embassy remains in a state of flux becoming increasingly a fortress of secrecy rather than that of a house of entertainment. The world’s perception of the US Embassy extends the country’s image abroad and is at once a symbol of American vulnerability and one of arrogance and excess.

Conversely, the role of the consulate is less directly tied to national identity and politics. Its smaller scale and flexible mandate provide for a nimble, bottom-up, organizational structure. As a result the consulate has been less architecturally emblematic, more accessible, and better integrated into the local environment. Ultimately its obscured status is more accessible than its larger sibling.

Ed Keller and Moji Baratloo, Spring 2006
Control of water, protocols for its treatment and distribution, and an evaluation of the overall influence on urban morphology will be a key factor for socio-political formations over the coming decades. The impact of these factors on urban use patterns, as well as developing architectural, urban and political morphologies will be the focus of this studio.

As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century, one thing is clear: a general economy and scarce natural resources ever more powerfully dominate global relations, and this economy subsumes all political, passional, and imaginative systems. A set of constraints with water, energy and resource management as their prime concern dominates global discourse, which still relies on the residual artifacts of an old school geopolitic, one that represents nation states are the primary arbiter for both global, political and personal agency. As global citizens we are facing a potential crisis of unprecedented dimensions, but also the opportunity for rapid response, growth and change at a pace never before possible.

recent actions by individual cities to adopt the Kyoto Protocol independent of their host nation’s actions on Kyoto point to a new kind of global association emerging that dissolves previous fixed relations and repositions cities as networked mini-states with global agency. [eg. the dozens of US cities connected through ‘Local Governments for Sustainability’.]

will investigate this new relationship between water, networks, and bio-power management and suggest emergent social, political, and economic bodies that can affiliate literally overnight, thus developing new tactics for program invention, landscape control, and indeed resource use.

By engaging in this project, we imply that the new, global, networked city is more than just a disintermediated cultural field that individuals can coopt for new forms of ‘play’, but indeed offers unprecedented opportunities - if cities such as Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Australia can prepare- to channel water and resource use such that they become real organs for social and political equity.

TECHNE- Tectonic and Organizational
The New York Waterfront: ed. Kevin Bone
City of Quartz, Dead Cities: Davis
Organizational Space: Easterling
Critical Path, B. Fuller
Once Upon a Time in the West : Leone Manhatta : Sheeler + Strand


Means Without End: Giorgio Agamben
Geopolitical Aesthetic: Jameson
Practice of Everyday Life: deCerteau
The Accursed Share: Bataille
Fire and Memory: Fernandez-Galiano
A Thousand Plateaus: Gilles Deleuze + Felix Guattari

Psychogeographies of Water and Landscape

Taking Measures Across the American Landscape: Corner + MacLean
Crying of Lot 49: Pynchon
Red Desert: Antonioni The Return : Zvyagintsev
The Kingdom, Element of Crime: Lars von Trier Repo Man : Alex Cox
Delicatessen, City of Lost Children : Caro + Jeunet Fitzcarraldo : Herzog
Mulholland Drive: Lynch Beau Travail : Denis
Stalker: Tarkovsky The Last Wave : Weir
Apocalypse Now : Coppola Bright Future: Kurosawa

Systems Behavior, Material Controls

1000 Years of Non Linear History: Manuel DeLanda
Emergence: Johnson
Hypersea: McMenamin and McMenamin
Smart Mobs: Howard Rheingold
Empire, Multitude: Hardt and Negri
Cymatics, Hans Jenny
Syriana: Gaghan Lessons of Darkness: Herzog
Chinatown: Polanski Videodrome, Crash: Cronenberg
Heat: Mann

Scenarios: Past, Present and Future

Modernity at Large: Arjun Appadurai
Electronic Disturbance, other texts: Critical Art Ensemble
Diamond Age: N. Stephenson
UBIK: Philip K. Dick
Transmetropolitan: Warren Ellis
Shockwave Rider: J. Brunner
Dune : Frank Herbert
Koyanisquatsi : Reggio Playtime : Tati
Apu Trilogy : Satyajit Ray The Day After Tomorrow : Emmerich

Jeffrey Inaba, Spring 2006
The term 'Bubble City' is used to describe the explosive development of urban areas throughout the world that we have experienced in the past three decades. Bubble cities have been of interest to planners and architects for revealing new professional conditions they must or will soon encounter, such as accelerated economic investment and divestment, fast-track planning, and 'instant' construction processes (e.g., Tokyo, Houston, Barcelona, Berlin, "Holland," Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai, etc.).

or every contemporary city that is hot, now there are several that are not. This studio explored the conceptual situation bubble cities face after the apex of rapid growth. With the growing number of major world cities that have recently hit a plateau, it is possible to examine the efforts of these bubble cities to re-bound in ways that previous cities have not, fueled in part by the not-so-distant experience of irrational prosperity.

The studio used Hong Kong as a case study. Students proposed new directions in light of its 1990s growth, its reunification with China, the 'Asian Economic Crisis,' and SARs. The 'One Country, Two Systems' mantra has effectively shifted from a policy to use Hong Kong as a laboratory to 'learn' from the market economy, to one largely limiting Hong Kong's economic power, expertise, and infrastructure. Hong Kong is an example of a major world city that must invent its future where the advantages of location and advanced infrastructure have been minimized.

HERE'S ONE BIG POOPER, I ALMOST DON'T WANT TO WRITE IT. Its really just the term, the rest seems undeveloped, even malformed. But still.
Ed Keller and Douglas Diaz, Summer
Historically unprecedented relationships emerge today as the centuries-old idea of a 'state of exception' finds increasingly networked channels of operation. The contemporary boundaries of global institutions create utterly new forms of territory, and these require a different range of urban and architectural solutions.

Today an emerging space of freedom and agency may have a chance to install the sociopolitical intensities envisioned by Constant in his New Babylon schemes; fully activated and responsive to Bataille's general economy, for better or worse: catalyzing unexpected transitive relationships in the world system of politics, culture, capital, energy, and information.

The studio began with a four-week project, analyzing precedent models of insurrections (historical or imaginary). A range of filmsâ€"Battle of Algiers, Code 46, Passenger, etc.â€"were screened and discussed to provide a theoretical framework for the design process. After the mid-review, the studio divided into two general camps: either anti- or pro-insurrection.

Projects operated at multiple scales and questioned how they might promote notions of control or freedom at the level of the city, crowd, or individual, through landscape, media, urban design, and architectural intervention. As the nation-state fades as a meaningful construct, the tectonic plates of sociopolitical drift govern all systems, behaviors and interactions. The studio tactically intervened within this geopolitical system to test the limits of architecture.

Ok, tomorrow I will go through last year, but frankly it is not getting that much more helpful. Writing that paragraph at the top was much more helpful.