Circular Buiksloterham report

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This report contains the final results of a study on Buiksloterham’s potential to
become a leading example of Circular City development in Amsterdam. The study was commissioned and executed by a consortium of local stakeholders who are active in the area of Buiksloterham and see its potential as a global example for a new kind of sustainable urban development (…) Though Buiksloterham is unique in Amsterdam, it also has many features that make it a good case study for the transformation of other post-industrial neighborhoods in cities around the world (…) Its polluted lands and open spaces can become the center of the implementation of new clean technologies and a hub for the closure of urban material cycles. The activities needed to close these local material flows can be used as a driver for local industry and the strengthening of local social networks.

Action Plan

  • Designate Buiksloterham as an official experimental zone or Living Lab
  • Develop an inclusive governance and management structure for Buiksloterham
  • Create new incentive structures and financial vehicles
  • Build capacity for urban sensing and open data
  • Implement a Circular Neighborhood Action Plan

Technical Interventions

  • Fully Renewable Energy Supply
  • Water Innovation
  • Alternative Mobility
  • Soil as Natural Capital
  • Close the Loop

Full Report and Image available here

ZARCH Publication now available!

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I am very pleased to see our articlePedagogical approaches to embodied topography: a workshop that unravels the hidden and imaginary landscapes of Elaionas,‘ get published in ZARCH Journal and I am also very happy to share this with you. It is based on a collaborative project that began in 2015 with Prof. Nelly Marda and Christos Kakalis from the University of Newcastle along with the students of our postgraduate course in NTUA.

The article highlights the importance of mapping in urban design and uses the concept of embodied topography to describe how activating the human body through a series of sensory motor tasks can help individuals immerse themselves in the landscape to acquire a better understanding of the urban phenomena. This process is presented here as a tool of mapping and managing the complexity of the urban landscape as it enables the individuals to recover the more hidden or even imaginary aspects of the city and their own relation to it.

As this is an ongoing research I hope that there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss what we are doing with more people involved in this kind of research in urban design. So, feel free to comment and write back your own experiences on the matter.

ZARCH: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Architecture and Urbanism, Num. 8, image available here

Teddy Cruz-Fonna Forman

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Teddy Cruz has spent a number of years studying the growing divisions and inequalities evident in the neighboring communities of Tijuana and San Diego in the region spanning the US/mexico border. He claims:

It is, in fact, in the most depressed, disenfranchised and underrepresented neighborhoods that some of the more interesting social and political agendas have begun to emerge (…)  In slums and other informal spaces, there are certain procedures— social, political, and economic actions, exchanges, and transactions —that suggest an alternative political economy (…) The notion of the neighborhood as a site of experimentation is fundamental to rethinking our institutions in the wake of the economic crisis (…) This is what I consider to be the political in art or architecture: not the production of political architecture, but the construction of the political itself, towards an architecture of social relevance (…) I’m not interested in the image of the informal, but rather what’s behind it: the procedural, political, social, and economic characteristics of a place, and the process of translating them into operational devices that enable us to rethink urbanization

 

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On the schism between architecture and technology, by S. Giedion

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1806 Napoleon founded Ecole des Beaux Arts (…) the program maintained the unity of arch with the other arts as in the baroque period (..) bad administration caused an increasing isolation of the arts from the conditions of ordinary life

the Ecole Polytechnique had been founded during the French Revolution in 1794 as an ecole speciale (…) it offered a uniform scientific preparation for the higher technical schools (…) it combined theoretical and practical science and it directly influenced industry (…) the school set itself the task to establish a connection between science and life (…)

the gap was between science and its techniques and arts (…) the separate existence of Ecole des Beaux Arts and Ecole Polytechnique point to the schism of architectural and construction. the schism revolved around two questions: a. along what lines should the arch training proceed at the time and b. what was the relation between engineer and architect.

Rondelet was the first to insist that scientific techniques had an important role to play in arch and that constructional methods had to be allowed much more influence upon the character of a building design (…) Van de Velde recognized that the engineer promised the regeneration and not the destruction of architecture (…) LeCorbusier in 1924 marked the solution between the two by saying that the century of the machine had awakened the architect…

Even before Le Corbusier, Henri Labrouste, born in Paris in 1801, was the first to have united the abilities of both the eng and the arch. In 1830 he objected to the curriculum of the Ecole des Beaux Arts and thus he opened his own atelier. The Ecole, isolated Labrouste until 12 years later when he was finally commissioned to design the Library of S. Genevieve in Paris in cast- and wrought-iron and the National Library just after that.

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Markets: Hall of the Madeleine 1824, Hungerfort Fish Market (London) 1835, The Grandes Halles 1853 by Baltard (rejected 1:Horeau rejected 2:Flachat)

Department Stores: Bon Marche (by Eiffel and Boileau)

The great exhibitions: A’ period 1798-1849_National/B; Period 1849-1900_International (…) They represent the history of iron construction and the important changes in aesthetic response (…) it became all the more difficult to differentiate between load and support (…) the vaulting problem has always brought forth the greatest architectural expressions of every epoch (…) Crystal Palace in 1851 and the Galerie des Machines of 1889 represented the two most prominent buildings of the great exhibitions (…) Crystal Palace in particular was an application of mass serial production (…) Paxton used the ridge and furrow system (…) The design of the building was planned around the largest standard sheet of glass (four feet long) (…) The CP realizes the intention to dematerialize landscape and dissolve it into infinity. 

 

References

Giedion, S., 1982 (1941), Space, Time and Architecture, Fifth Revised and Enlarged Edition, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, pp. 146-191

  • Image of Ecole Polytechnique available here
  • Image of Library Reading Room available here

Urban Memory Infrastructure by Ben Vershbow and Shannon Mattern

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NYPL Labs’ work provide a new, and deeper, understanding of city streets, buildings, and society, over centuries of change (…) Turning vast collections into usable data, connecting maps, photographs, menus and community memories, NYPL Labs created a series of multilayered projects that point the way to a new information ecosystem.

Full article available here/ Image available here

UNMAKING or HOW TO RETHINK URBAN NARRATIVES

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UNMAKING departs from a local area in the city of Utrecht: Werkspoorkwartier, a former industrial zone. This part of town is the departure point for contributions by artists, biologists, architects, thinkers of all sorts. They delivered drawings, speculative scenarios, photos, memories, subjective atlases, essays and interviews.
UNMAKING therewith reflects on the contemporary love story of humans with their cities.

Click here for more