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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge

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Abstract

Architecture is usually defined through intent while cities come into being out of multiple human actions over a long period of time. This seems to trap us between a view of architecture as authored object, and a view of the city as authorless, evolutionary process. The debate about the autonomous and the contingent object thus, goes back to the separation of architecture from its skill base in craft and building practice that took place in the Renaissance. This separation also includes the operations through which buildings and cities are produced by designers, clients, users, regulatory codes, markets and infrastructures. The resurgence in the debate on the competing claims of autonomy and contingency testifies that since the Renaissance we have failed to develop theories and techniques that address the relationship between authored architecture and authorless contexts. As a result, coupled with commercial forces, recent advancements in digital technology and complexity theory claim architecture and the city as self-organization, dismantling architecture and depriving it from relevance in shaping social capital. If in the Renaissance, architecture was separated from the city, which was the relationship between the ways in which a city was built and the urban fabric? How can we better understand the relationship between the architectural project and the processes that configure the urban structure in which it is situated? This paper argues that for architecture to reclaim its scope as a social discipline it needs to theorise its relationship with the social, the political and the economic processes of its context.
DESIGNED AND EMERGENT
TECTONICS: RESITUATING
ARCHITECTURAL
KNOWLEDGE
THEORY
SOPHIA PSARRA, FANI KOSTOUROU, KIMON KRENZ
Analysis of Le Corbusier’s project for the Hospital in Venice, 1964-65.
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
ABSTRACT - Architecture is usually defined through intent while cities come
into being out of multiple human actions over a long period of time. This
seems to trap us between a view of architecture as authored object, and a
view of the city as authorless, evolutionary process. The debate about the
autonomous and the contingent object thus, goes back to the separation
of architecture from its skill base in craft and building practice that took
place in the Renaissance. This separation also includes the operations
through which buildings and cities are produced by designers, clients,
users, regulatory codes, markets and infrastructures. The resurgence in the
debate on the competing claims of autonomy and contingency testifies that
since the Renaissance we have failed to develop theories and techniques
that address the relationship between authored architecture and authorless
contexts. As a result, coupled with commercial forces, recent advancements
in digital technology and complexity theory claim architecture and the city as
self-organization, dismantling architecture and depriving it from relevance in
shaping social capital. If in the Renaissance, architecture was separated from
the city, which was the relationship between the ways in which a city was
built and the urban fabric? How can we better understand the relationship
between the architectural project and the processes that configure the urban
structure in which it is situated? This paper argues that for architecture to
reclaim its scope as a social discipline it needs to theorise its relationship with
the social, the political and the economic processes of its context.
Keywords: architecture, authorship, autonomy, design research, disciplinarily
This paper is based on our contribution to the recent ACSA Fall
conference posing the question of the autonomous and the contingent
object. 1 We argue that this problem should begin by examining the
theoretical paradigms underlying the opposition between the two
concepts. In this paper we argue that it is a binary that falls within a list
of other philosophical binary-problems. As Bill Hillier explains, “it is no
surprise that philosophers have been fascinated by architecture, since
architecture is an actual-world application of philosophy. But if architecture
had an overarching theory that addresses these binaries it would be as
though it had solved all problems in philosophy at once.” 2 The aim in
architecture is to see them not as formulas or problems to be solved,
but as research questions, opening up possibilities, whether we are in a
theoretical or design mode.
Our suggestion is that the autonomous and the contingent object carry
the deeper question of who authors a work, a philosophical problem that
takes its most intensified form in the Renaissance. Is knowledge and
architectural authorship provided from outside or is it actively invented
from within? More analytically, this question translates to: what is the
source of the architect’s design ideas? What is the origin and what is the
structure of the architect’s knowledge? How does authorship work? Who
is the author of a work?
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
In the first part of the paper we explore these questions by looking at
the logical paradoxes inherent in the autonomous-contingent question,
and attempt to provide a reconciliation between the two opposing
concepts by examining three artifacts: Venice and two authored works
which Venice gave rise to: Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and Le Corbusier’s
Venice Hospital. The second part of the paper brings the Venice project
and a design studio in the context of the “Spatial Design, Architecture,
Cities” MSc i course (The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL) as a way
of addressing the autonomous-contingent problem. We argue that the
autonomous and the contingent object carry the deeper question of “who
authors a work,” a philosophical problem that takes intensified form in the
Renaissance with the emergence of the Albertian model of design.
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF DESIGN IDEAS?
If we support the autonomous object, we accept that ideas originate within
the architect’s mind and operations internal to the discipline. If on the
other hand, we believe that architecture is contingent to external factors,
such as socio-economic conditions, evolution, historical influences, or
even chance then it cannot be aided by the discipline or the designer.
None of these positions seems to give a convincing account of the source
of architectural ideas on their own. For Mark Gelernter, “if a theory can
explain the role of the creative author in the generation of form, then it
cannot explain how individuals seem to fall under the coercive influence
of a prevailing style or a predominant ideology.” 3 And if a theory accounts
“for how architects attend the idiosyncrasies of context, it does not
explain why they often generate versions of familiar forms throughout
history for many different functions and contexts.” 4 We can of course
use one, or both the autonomous and the contingent object, but how can
we avoid pursuing a narrow conception of design, particularly when the
complexities of architecture demand rich, rather than shallow positions?
Viewed from the perspective of the humanistic idea of architectural
authorship, the idea of architecture as authored and autonomous
object is the subject of the artistic imaginative processes of inventing.
In contrast, the view of buildings and cities as authorless evolutionary
processes is at the core of scientific or technological processes of taking
in existing external information as guidance to design. The paradox
has resulted in opposing world-views in design and educational theory,
in which architecture is caught in the divide between the Arts and
Humanities on the one hand, and the Sciences on the other. Design-
research approaches have recently emerged (such as the design-PhD
programme at the Bartlett School of Architecture), approaching design
as research with an inter-disciplinary emphasis. However, the dichotomy
still compartmentalises architecture and education into humanities-based
and science-based research in many educational programmes around the
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
world, each seen as being intrinsically different from the other. We argue
that none of these two positions gives a convincing account of the source
of architectural ideas that is powerful enough to claim social and political
agency for the discipline.
Gelernter argues that the autonomous-contingent problem goes back
to our thinking heritage arising from a conceptual paradox built deeply
into the Western system of knowledge. Known to philosophers as
the “subject-object” problem or the “body-mind” problem, this dualism
is responsible for similar confusion in many other fields, such as
psychology and the philosophy of science. The paradox has originated
with the ancient Greeks who devised a cosmological system to explain
the workings of the universe that later evolved into a theory of how
knowledge is possible, or otherwise to an epistemological system. This
system suffered from a dualistic conception of the individual which
allowed for two simultaneous but mutually exclusive interpretations: on
the one hand, the individual is a physical object in nature whose actions
and behavior are completely determined like all other physical objects
by universal laws. On the other hand, the individual can be considered
as a creative subject, acting and behaving by his own personal desires
and free from external influence. For Gelernter designers identify
themselves with the creative side of this equation, while epistemologists
with the opposite. The underlying ambiguity of the subject-object problem
has allowed the two sides to blend into one another in the Western
production of knowledge. There are theories of creation that look like
theories of knowledge and vice versa. 5
AUTHORED AND AUTHORLESS
Having discussed the subject-object problem and the way in which it ties
theories of design to theories of knowledge, we move to the humanistic
idea of modern authorship. We suggest that this idea forms a variation on
these themes, subjecting architecture to another crucial dualism, which
establishes two things: first, the superior status of architectural design
to that of building craft and more generally to inherited, collective, non-
authored and tacit systems of spatial production; second, the superior
status of the design original to that of variances to which the original
might be subjected otherwise. For Mario Carpo, with Alberti, the design
of the building became the original, and the building its identical copy. 6
Design might have a fluid state but for Alberti, when revisions stop, they
should stop for good and forever. Our argument is that the Albertian
model has deeper and wider repercussions than this. It sets the superior
status of architectural design to buildings and cities as found, because
they are mosaics of accidents, adaptations, adjustments, additions,
subtractions, revisions and other errors, most significantly by not having
an author.
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
But we know, even if we don’t know why or how, that architecture and
found architectures, such as buildings, building assemblages, urban, sub-
urban, peri-urban, landscape or infrastructural contexts, are not separate
from each other. In Hillier’s view, “we are bound up by the clear logic of
various designs, but we also depend on exactly the absence of this. We
delight in architecture produced by minds, but also in architectures, which
are produced not by the ordering capacities of human minds, but emerge
from the accumulation of unrelated acts of building spread over years.” 7
The problem of designed and emergent architectures entails the danger
of another duality, with the binaries in the last architecture Biennale in
mind. Rem Koolhaas’ 2014 Biennale exhibition (The Elements) posed
architecture as assemblage of elements based on market forces that
mindlessly operate over and above architectural intention. This view also
marked his approach in his book Delirious New York reading the city as
self-organizing grid that maximizes programmatic potential. 8 Focusing on
how architecture is produced on a systemic scale, The Elements suggests
that we need to understand architecture as assemblage. Assemblages are
bottom up and blind to the eventual outcome of design. In contrast, the
Albertian model of architecture is top-down, clear in its intention but blind
to evolutionary process. Koolhaas’ exhibition drew attention to the gap
between buildings that are architecturally conceived and those that are
dispersed to multiple points of production. From the interaction of planning
codes with urban plots and infrastructures to informal urbanization there
is a growing gap between the artistic aspirations of architects and the
systemic operation of architecture as it happens on the ground.
In the 1970s Manfredo Tafuri claimed that capitalism stripped architecture
of its ideological purpose. Today the split between the architectural avant-
garde, land values and profit has turned architecture to “form without
utopia.” 9 But if architecture has social significance, how can we address
the separation between mindful buildings and mindless production?
THREE ARTEFACTS
We will now discuss the three artifacts as the means of exploring these
questions. We chose to analyse Venice for the following reasons:
Venice is the result of the intersection between organic urban growth
and conscious architectural intent manifested in the medieval fabric,
the monuments and urban spaces in the city. It was also the centre of
Vitruvian studies, decisively opening up to the Renaissance during which
the humanistic idea of architectural authorship developed in the early
sixteenth century. As such, Venice can illuminate the interaction between
architecture – seen as the “autonomous project” - and its socio-economic
aspects – or the contingencies of context - including the origin of the
relationship between the two. As to the Venice Hospital and Calvino’s
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Invisible Cities, these are greatly influenced by Venice, and thus, can
help to explain the origin of creative ideas, whether these are ideas that
are created in the mind or ‘discovered’ in buildings and cities as ‘found’.
Analysing Venice’s urban networks, we will argue that they capture a
pattern of evolution from an archipelago to an urban complex. As the
city annexed new lands, local requirements such as the need for dual
access from water and land led to a network of urban squares and global
scale effects. The modularity and interconnectivity of this network are
the characteristics that have informed Invisible Cities and Le Corbusier’s
Venice project.
The analysis of Venice’s street network 10 shows that the squares are
all linked by a property known in graph theory as “betweeness” (and in
space syntax as “choice”) capturing the paths that are frequently crossed
when moving from one street to all others. 11 This characteristic is also
observed in the combined street and canal network in Venice, suggesting
that the squares are nodes in the intersection between the two systems
(Fig. 1). This pattern captures an evolutionary pattern, since early times,
as the churches and squares were the social nuclei of parish islands,
semi-autonomous community centres, which contained a market and
were serviced through their proximity to water.
The squares also facilitated water collection through cisterns and
channels. The continuous network of through routes indicates that
bridges were built so as to link the squares with each other producing a
network of multiple interconnecting centralities. Another key characteristic
of the squares is that they belong to a combinatorial syntax of elements:
(square-church-cistern-canal-bridge-stepped access), leading to the
emergence of a recognisable order devoid of preconception.
Moving to the analysis of the Hospital (Fig. 2), the analysis of the
building using the same method shows that an analogical relationship
between the building and the network structure of Venice is at work
based on a modular scheme, and on networks of routes (which Le
Corbusier called calle in an analogy with Venice’s streets) intersecting
Figure 1. Left: Choice (3000 radius) network of street system. Right: Street-canal system.
The two networks intersect in Venice’s squares.
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
in the square areas at the centre of the Unité de battise (described
by Le Corbusier as campiello in reference to the squares of Venice).
In response to the question of the source of architectural form, this
is a clear case in which the architect has retrieved the non-designed
architecture of Venice (an urban system) and creatively embedded it in a
new designed reality (a complex building). The source of the Hospital’s
form is neither inside nor outside the creative faculties of the designer,
neither autonomous not contingent, but in the interaction between the
mind and the world whose logic it retrieves and innovatively changes to
produce new patterns.
Moving to Calvino, the structure of the book is often discussed as a
diamond shape. 12 Previous analysis of the individual texts it consists
of, shows that each text evokes conceptual relationships that express
variations of the four symmetries in the tessellation (reflection, translation
glide, reflection and rotation). 13 Plotting these transformations on the
diamond shape captures the interplay between algorithm and literature,
integrating combinatorial possibility with conscious intention (Fig. 3).
All three artefacts are modular. All three consist of local-scale rules that
produce modular and combinatorial patterns at the larger scale, casting
light on the emergent and generative logic of bottom-up architectures.
The morphological affinities between the three works bring along two
main ideas: one is “relatedness,” that is, that architecture is about
elements simultaneously entering into relationships with other elements,
which our minds read and translate creatively; the second is that there
are alternative and intersecting types of authorship that interact and
influence one another, as the diagram in Figure 4 illustrates. Taking
Venice as the main subject of the illustration, the horizontal axis plots
variance of artefacts based on whether they are built or un-built (or
virtual), while the vertical axis locates variations of designed and non-
designed (or found) artefacts. The three squares in the diagram capture
differentiation of scale to include buildings, building complexes and cities.
Figure 2. Left: Axial analysis of permeability. Right: Visibility. The two networks intersect on
the square areas of the Hospital (in an analogical relationship with the networks of Venice).
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Works by eponymous architects in Venice, such as Palladio, Sansovino,
Codussi, Scamozzi, are found on the right top corner of the diagram
representing individual authorship that led to the production of built and
authored designs. Venice is located on the bottom right corner, as a
city, that largely speaking, was not the outcome of a singular design but
emerged from evolutionary collective authorship. The Venice Hospital
is located on the top left side of the figure by virtue of being a designed
building complex that was not materialised. Sforzinda by Filarete, Invisible
Cities by Calvino and other fantastic creations fall into the same quadrant
with Venice Hospital, being characterised by ‘design’ intent, but having not
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Figure 3. The networked structure of contents of Calvino’s Invisible Cities with the
‘operations’ of transformation superimposed.
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Figure 4. Schematic representation of architectural production and built structures,
according to typology of authorship (designed/non-designed) and materialisation (virtual/
built).
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Non-Designed
BuiltVirtual Digital
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Authorship
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Venice
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Hospital
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Sansovino
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Scamozzi
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been implemented. In contrast, the ideal Renaissance city of Palmanova
occupies the opposite quadrant having been realised as a military
planned city for the Venetian Republic in the late Renaissance. Finally,
hybrid cases such as speculative architecture fall onto the right side of the
(x) axis, designed by architects but lacking individuality and intentionality
of the architectural kind. Similarly, digital designs conceived in a digital
environment as algorithmic models through collaborative authorship (and
remaining virtual informational models) belong to the left side of this axis.
Once we have the concepts of “multiple alternative authorships” and
“relatedness” we can begin to see how society and culture get into
the form of the “designed and the found, the build and the un-build
architectures” or objects. The example of the Hospital can help us
see how found architectures such as Venice get into architecture, and
what architecture adds to them: abstract comparative knowledge of
the designed and the found. For Hillier, this knowledge is raised to the
level of conscious reflective thought, and made the object of creative
attention and innovation in a field of possibility expanded by this mode
of thought. 14
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
The example of Invisible Cities shows the generative effect of
preconceiving the general structure of the work (in the form of the
diamond shape), but releasing enormous amount of potentiality that
trains the readers’ imagination. The combinatorial aesthetics of Calvino’s
Invisible Cities is neither top-down or bottom-up, but combine intentional
design with rules that are bottom-up and systemic in nature, encouraging
the readers to construct their own invisible cities, and training their
imagination. The three examples demonstrate that ideas travel from the
external world of artefacts to the mind and to the world again through
creative transformation. As to the autonomous and the contingent
question, this is a matter of dynamic interaction of the bottom-up
evolutionary recombinant logic of the mindless with the top-down logic of
the mindful at different degrees of actuality, virtuality, and presence.
DESIGNED AND CO-AUTHORED – THE ROCINHA DESIGN STUDIO 15
Having established the theoretical premise of the discussion we move
to the example of a design studio that explores how this model can
inform design practice.The studio travelled to Rio de Janeiro to explore
an educational approach in the context of the long history of informal
settlements in the city. Located in Rocinha, one of Rio de Janeiro’s
informal settlements, the studio had the general purpose of overcoming
polarizations between the “designed” and the “found,” the “built” and
the “unbuilt,” the analysis of found architectures and the design of new
structures. 16 Drawing from Venice as an example of a city that grew out
of a collection of semi-autonomous communities, the specific purpose of
the design was to understandthe ways in which communities have in an
autonomous and resourceful way created their own settlements.
The pedagogical approach was based on the observation that when
designing in many different parts of the world the Albertian model of
architecture needs new theories, new tools and substantial revisions.
Based on thetheoretical idea of multiple authorships, the model proposed
was based on the following revisions:
- The idea of negotiation between diverse types of authors, from
architects, users and social groups to socio-spatial infrastructures.
- The idea of the interaction between found architectures and
designed architectures discovering patterns in built structures
through analysis, and creating new patterns through design
propositions.
- The idea of avoiding linguistic models which tend to convert
fuzzy problems about the city into simple definitions, failing to
capture complexity. For example, by comparing urban space
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
to the human body, certain elements of the city have been
considered as pathological. As a result, they were either ignored
or considered to be in need of replacement.
- The idea of generating knowledge about the city through the
non-discursive techniques of mapping and drawing (using space
syntax analysis, GIS mapping and field work).
- The idea of enriching the knowledge generated by these non-
discursive techniques with discursive methods based on theories
and critical discussions.
- The idea that in organically grown systems (such as informal
settlements) individual agency ‘thinks’ and acts locally, but
collective action produces larger structures over time.
- The idea that there are design outcomes that accommodate
adaptation as time-based process.
- The idea that in order to re-imagine the city creatively we need
to understand the relationship between transformations that work
bottom-up in a systemic way and the creative mind that acts top-
down in a designedly fashion.
Instead of producing fixed outcomes such as buildings, or configuring
open spaces by physical means, students developed designs that worked
as social, economic and environmental infrastructures. These ranged
from appropriating the cable car to service the residents of Rocinha (Figs.
5, 6), to devising waste management networks to reduce environmental
risks and boost the cultural identity of the community (Figs. 7, 8); from
do-it-yourself water infrastructure (Fig. 9) to inventing the hybrid typology
of football - housing in order to improve safety and housing conditions
(Fig. 10). This hybrid typology consists of two types that are found in
the settlement, in the sense of urban voids where children play football
and houses that oversee these fields serving a supervisory role. Here
the new typology is invented out of two found ones in a mindful process.
The combination of analytical and design explorations was based on the
interaction between the two kinds of knowledge avoiding any hierarchical
bias in their relationship. On the contrary,analytical and design ideas
were intertwined through feedback loops linking mappings that generate
various kinds of evidence with intuitive desires. Analysis and design
propositions were each altered by outcomes that emerged from both sides
in the design process. Street network analysis or volumetric analysis for
example, was adapted to investigate properties that were not previously
explored, such as the steepness of streets affecting senior residents
in Rocinha and transportation. Similarly, design ideas were adjusted to
knowledge emerging from street network analysis as a way to interrogate
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Figure 5. Active forms from the individual infrastructure to the collective and the spatial
network. Project by Fok Chun Wing.
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
design intentions, and identify the most advantageous urban locations.
Moving between analytical knowledge, theoretical speculation, and
different models of authorship, students developed design approaches
that worked as alternatives to the inherited top-down models of immutable
interventions.
Figure 6. Proposal of a new cable car station and appropriation of public space. Project by
Fok Chun Wing.
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
CONCLUSION: FOUR PROPOSITIONS FOR RESITUATING
ARCHITECTURAL KNOWLEDGE
It is crucial though not to lose sight of the forces within which these alternative
approaches can operate both inside and outside educational environments.
Socially engaged architecture and evidence-based information may ultimately
be generated and appropriated by parallel discourses of optimization – the
attainment of an efficient outcome – be it via adaptive social ecologies, or
innovation networks at the service of the knowledge economy, or an implicit
approval of the market’s ability to adapt continually to satisfy consumer needs.
In his paper presented at the conference “Production Sites” 17 in 2015, Sean
Weiss argues that “neoliberalism’s historical relationship with architecture has
made the discipline justify its economic relevance, undergirding the field’s
current emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation, collaboration, pragmatism,
and process as the bases for socially engaged practices.” 18 This means that
alternative design models need to be weary of how architecture’s political
agency is not subsumed by the economic motivations of clients, or the
distributed interactions of regulatory codes, markets and infrastructures. The
second difficulty with socially engaged projects is the fact that they might
concern localized interventions and sidestep more systemic problems, social,
political, and economic situations.
We propose that in order to channel the transformative potential of
architecture and reclaim its scope as a social discipline we need to
Figure 7. Community participation in active waste management system. Project by Miriam
Fernández Ruiz.
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Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Figure 8. Consideration of time, space and social actors involved in the proposed network
of recycling centres and infrastructure. Project by Miriam Fernández Ruiz.
LEGEND
Recycling centres/main collection points
Waste collection by motorbike
Based on NACH R: 800m (Values > 1.1)
Waste collection by truck
Metric Step Depth <200m
from Recycling Centres /collection points
Metric Step Depth 200m < x < 500m
from Recycling Centres/collection
points
1
DON’T WASTE IT!
EVENT CALENDAR
SOCIAL GROUPS & ACTIVITIES
SOCI0-SPATIAL PROCESS
SPATIAL NETWORK OF INFRASTRUCTURE
RECYCLING CENTRES
SYSTEMIC PLAN
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26
Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Figure 9. Proposal of a waste management network that combines both top-down and
bottom-up resources. Sketches that show the application of water pipes and possible
appropriations of them. Project by Weijie Zong.
move away from the autonomous-contingent question and theorise its
relationship with the social, the political and economic processes of
context. Combining theoretical, analytical and design research, we do
not proposean overarching theory but rather a theoretical and practical
provocation based on the following four propositions.
First, architecture is about things entering into relationships with other
things, which our minds grasp and creatively translate, rather than
hierarchical separations into discovering patterns based on analysis or
research, and freely creating patterns based on design.
Second, there are multiple intersecting authorships through which
architecture and culture get into the form of the “authored” and the
“authorless,” the complex ecologies of the “designed” and the “found.”
Third, at the level of design practice, this model requires negotiations
between diverse types of agencies, from architects, users, stakeholders
www.theplanjournal.com
27
Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Figure 10. Exploded axonometric of hybrid typologies. Left: Football field - Housing. Right:
Alternative attractors. Project by Pablo Juica Yantén.
PUBLIC SCHOOL
CHURCH
LOCAL COMMERCE
COMMUNITY BUILDING
GENERIC SPACE
HYBRID TYPOLOGIES
Proposal for a hybrid typology: football eld - housing Proposal for alternative hybrid typologies of housing
and social groups to socio-spatial infrastructures. Compared with the
Albertian model of authorial centralization, this model has less control
over production, but gains in reclaiming architectural agency through
collaboration and interaction.
Finally, we argue that architectural pedagogy needs revised theories and
tools preparing students for the “authored” and the “bespoke” as well as
for collaborative authorships, systemic design environments, emerging
technologies and rapidly changing contexts.
Notes
1 Fall ACSA Conference, organised by Roger Hubeli and Julie Larsen, Syracuse
University, School of Arcihtecture, October 2015.
2 Bill Hillier, Specifically Architectural Knowledge, unpublished lecture, Spatial Design,
Architecture, Cities MSci Course, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College
London, 2015.
3 Mark Gelernter, Sources of Architectural Form: A Critical History of Western Design
Theory, (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1994): 18.
4 Ibid.: 20.
5 ibid.: 29.
6 Mario Carpo, The Alphabet and the Algorithm, (Cambridge MA, USA: The MIT Press,
2011).
www.theplanjournal.com
28
Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge
Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz
The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016
doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Sophia Psarra is Reader of Architecture and Spatial Design at the Bartlett School of
Architecture, University College London. Previously, she was Associate Professor at
the University of Michigan and Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University. Her collaborations
with cultural institutions on the relationship between layout, exhibition narratives and
visitors’ experience (MoMA, New York, The Natural History Museum, London) resulted in
publications, (Architecture and Narrative – The Formation of Space and Cultural Meaning,
Routledge 2009), creative installations and design projects. She is Associate Editor of the
Journal of Space Syntax and co-investigator of a Leverhulme grant, Visualising Social
Inequalities. Sophia has won first prizes in international architectural competitions. Her work
has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the George Pompidou Center, NAi Rotterdam,
London, Berlin, Milan and Athens. E-mail: s.psarra@ucl.ac.uk
Fani Kostourou is an architect and urban designer with degrees from the National
Technical University of Athens, the ETH Zürich and the University College London.
Currently she is an EPSRC funded doctoral student and a teaching assistant at the Bartlett
School of Architecture (UCL). Recently her work has been published in Minha Casa, Nossa
Cidade: Innovating Mass Housing for Social Change in Brazil (Ruby Press 2014) and
featured in group exhibitions at the MoMA New York, Columbia GSAPP’s Studio-X Rio,
Museu de Arte do Rio and X São Paulo Architecture Biennale among others.
Kimon Krenz is an architect and urban designer with degrees from the Bochum University
of Applied Sciences and the University College London, he is currently undertaking
a PhD at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. He holds grants from The German
National Academic Foundation, The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the
EPSRC. As well as working as a course coordinator and teaching assistant for the MSc
Spatial Design: Architecture & Cities (SDAC), Kimon is an architect and consultant for the
architectural practice Archwerk Generalplaner KG, Bochum.
7 Bill Hillier, cit..
8 Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, (Oxford,
UK: Oxford University Press 1978).
9 Justin McGuirk, Radical Cities, (London and New York: Verso, 2014): 14.
10 We use “space syntax”, a theory and a method for describing buildings and cities and
relating them to the patterns of movement, use socio-economic activity and movement.
Bill Hillier and Julienne Hanson, The Social Logic of Space, Cambridge (Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984); doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511597237 and Bill
Hillier, Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture, (Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1996).
11 Sophia Psarra, “Beyond Analytical Knowledge – Intersections of Generation and
Explanation,” Istanbul Technical University’s ITU Journal of Faculty of Architecture, A/Z.
2014, also, Sophia Psarra, “Beyond Analytical Knowledge – intersections of generation
and explanation,” (The International Space Syntax Symposium IX, Sejong University,
Seoul, 2013), Korea, http://www.sss9.or.kr/paperpdf/saat/SSS9_2013_REF065_P.pdf.
12 John Peponis, Χωρογραφίες: Ο Αρχιτεκτονικός Σχηματισμός του Νοήματος,
(Athens, Gr.: Alexandria Press, 1997, in Greek).
13 Sophia Psarra, cit.
14 Bill Hillier, Space is the Machine: cit., (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press,
1996).
15 Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz, (eds). E-merging Design Research:
Rio@Rio, London: The Bartlett School of Architecture Publications, 2015.
16 In the context of the E-Merging Design Research module in the Spatial Design,
Architecture Cities (SDAC) MSc course, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, (January-
March 2015).
17 A conference hosted by Sophia Psarra and Sandra Löschke (University of Sydney) at
The Bartlett UCL, 29-30 July 2015.
18 Sean Weiss, “Architecture: Between Social Engagement and Neoliberalism,” in
Production Sites, conference proceedings, Sophia Psarra and Sandra Löschke (eds),
London: Bartlett School of Architecture Publications, 2015.
... Koolhaas' 2014 Biennale made a similar proposition through a systemic view of architecture based on standardised production. The underlying proposition was that architecture is multi-authored or mindlessly produced by the interaction of building components, technology and services, communication, informatics, financial and political structures and self-organising speculation over and above architectural intention ( Psarra et al, 2015). ...
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The Genesis of architectural science (in the framework of the development of the theory of architecture) is accompanied (clarified, supplemented, changed) by the conceptual and semantic meaning of tectonics — one of the main categories of composition (architectural composition). In the theory of architecture (as a special field of architectural science), the concept of “tectonics” is associated with various aspects of the architectural image: the expression of artistic and aesthetic concept; display of the interaction of the structural basis and form; the implementation of exclusively utilitarian features of the object, without taking into account the established laws and the place of tectonics in the composition, the Systemicity of the architectural environment is formed by the system of the human activity itself, focused on the analysis of the surrounding world (space). Architectural practice involves the formation of artificial systems, which are usually understood as organized material structures and related functional processes of life and production activity, which allow to implement certain efforts to achieve this goal. The architectural systems intended for a certain type of utilitarian and functional activity acquire the status of architectural (production, town-planning) object and are systematized according to certain typological signs and classification rules.
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Full-text available
As more than one billion urban residents around the world live in informal settlements we need a body of investigation that addresses the relationship of urban informality with architecture and the profession. And where better can we find a more striking combination of modern architecture with some of the world’s most resilient self-built settlements than in Rio de Janeiro? Based on this idea, in February 2015 students and staff from the SDAC programme undertook their investigation of informal settlements in Rio in 2015. Given both the prominence and the permanence of this particular urban form in this city, their hypothesis might be easily stated as 'the favela is the city'. Focusing on Rocinha, one of Rio’s informal settlements, the projects in the book present speculations about what kind of contributions architecture can make to informal urban conditions and what forms these contributions might take. Since its inception in the mid 70s, the MSc Spatial Design: Architecture & Cities (formerly Advanced Architectural Studies) has looked at architectural research through the prism of space, combining analytical theories and methods known as space syntax. In 2014–15, the MSc course has integrated design research in the form of an optional studio module (e-merging design research), with the aim to provoke thinking about experimental intersections between generative and analytical explorations. The module investigates innovative links between design research and laboratory research using theories and techniques of spatial visualisation, mapping and analysis. The wider purpose is to overcome the fragmentation of architectural research to an analytical (science-based) and a speculative (arts-based) practice.
14. 10 We use " space syntax " , a theory and a method for describing buildings and cities and relating them to the patterns of movement, use socio-economic activity and movement The Social Logic of Space
  • Justin Mcguirk
  • Radical Cities
Justin McGuirk, Radical Cities, (London and New York: Verso, 2014): 14. 10 We use " space syntax ", a theory and a method for describing buildings and cities and relating them to the patterns of movement, use socio-economic activity and movement. Bill Hillier and Julienne Hanson, The Social Logic of Space, Cambridge (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984); doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511597237 and Bill Hillier, Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture, (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
Beyond Analytical Knowledge – Intersections of Generation and Explanation Istanbul Technical University's ITU Journal of Faculty of Architecture, A/Z. 2014, also, Sophia Psarra Beyond Analytical Knowledge – intersections of generation and explanation, " (The International Space Syntax Symposium IX
  • Sophia Psarra
11 Sophia Psarra, " Beyond Analytical Knowledge – Intersections of Generation and Explanation, " Istanbul Technical University's ITU Journal of Faculty of Architecture, A/Z. 2014, also, Sophia Psarra, " Beyond Analytical Knowledge – intersections of generation and explanation, " (The International Space Syntax Symposium IX, Sejong University, Seoul, 2013), Korea, http://www.sss9.or.kr/paperpdf/saat/SSS9_2013_REF065_P.pdf.
  • Weiss
Weiss, " Architecture: Between Social Engagement and Neoliberalism, " in Production Sites, conference proceedings, Sophia Psarra and Sandra Löschke (eds), London: Bartlett School of Architecture Publications, 2015.
Resituating Architectural Knowledge Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou
  • Emergent Designed
  • Tectonics
Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou, Kimon Krenz The Plan Journal 0 (0): 11-28, 2016 doi: 10.15274/TPJ-2016-10000
Istanbul Technical University's ITU Journal of Faculty of Architecture, A/Z. 2014, also, Sophia Psarra
  • Sophia Psarra
Sophia Psarra, "Beyond Analytical Knowledge -Intersections of Generation and Explanation," Istanbul Technical University's ITU Journal of Faculty of Architecture, A/Z. 2014, also, Sophia Psarra, "Beyond Analytical Knowledge -intersections of generation and explanation," (The International Space Syntax Symposium IX, Sejong University, Seoul, 2013), Korea, http://www.sss9.or.kr/paperpdf/saat/SSS9_2013_REF065_P.pdf.