Thesis Research: presentaties bij het Berlage Instituut

Voor ArchiNed een korte zomer-onderbreking gaat houden, besteden we nog aandacht aan de onderzoeksprojecten die onlangs werden gepresenteerd op het Berlage Instituut in Amsterdam. Op dit Laboratorium voor Architectuur wordt door een internationale groep jonge architecten gewerkt aan twee-jarige onderzoeksprojecten. Op 4 en 5 juli jl. werden de resultaten hiervan gepresenteerd door 12 van haar deelnemers. Waarop is de aandacht van deze jonge groep gevestigd? Een samenvatting van hun werk (in het Engels) is in het onderstaand artikel te vinden…

The series of presentations started with the work of Luciano Basauri (Chile), who advocates the incorporation of a local 'memory' in newly emerging cities. His research shows that memory patterns in new urban fabrics do not distinguish the difference between representation and reality – but they do produce the required comfort to attract and retain the potential population of a new city. They identify the consumer-citizen with the new place, thus producing a bridge between the new society and the consolidated one allowing the 'alien' to be understood. His work, Memory Inc., seeks for answers on matters as the possibilities for architects to facilitate and improve the way that memory has been manipulated on recent urban developments.

Navigating harsh dynamic transformations of urban environments is the focus of Genetics of Urban Forms by Ana Dzokic and Milica Topalovic (Yugoslavia). For this project they made an extensive research of the Yugoslav' capital of Belgrade, which during the last decade was exposed to conditions of instability and severe ruptures in society. As a result of this, a large number of non-regulated, emergent, self-organising processes have replaced the primary system. Now accounting for 70% of the total built space, this condition has produced an enormous impact on the city. It dissolves the classical boundary between institutional and individual participation in the creation of urban space through heterogeneous and evolutive organisations.

In particular, the research uses the logic or 'genetics' of the phenomena registered (such as street trade and wild building) for the incubation and navigation of specific parts of the city fabric towards a metropolitan character of space, thereby creating a new city.

Transnational professionals search for places of residence that assure a good quality of life, such as rural landscapes or picturesque city centres, while at the same time they don't hesitate in commuting frequently and over large distances to reach the level of their professional expectations. Carole Schmit (Luxembourg) researches in Borderland – territorial opportunism in Benelux the phenomenon of daily border-crossing, which creates a series of dynamic pockets along the borderlines. These pockets are identifiable as laboratories of a new urban lifestyle, asking for a reinterpretation of the notion of citizenship. In Benelux as in many other places in the western part of Europe, the simultaneous appearance of multiple borderlines is a result of the permanent fluctuations of various subspaces, such as regulations, tax differences, communication networks (radio and GSM), language, use of local credit cards or money, or political corporations… A continuous shift of those invisible lines produces a blurred image of the transnational regions in terms of identity. Within one transnational region, the aim is to keep the differences, in terms of image, economic sectors, cultural programmes and reglementations, alive. It is a dynamic process of permanent bouncing between socio-economic inequalities and required adjustments. The corporations are based on principles of mutual tolerance, but their dynamics essentially depend on their respective interest and on internal competition.

In Cluster Dynamics Koh Iwama (Japan) uses mathematical techniques to analyse and re-conceptualise the components of what can be identified as the 'urban condition', starting this research from the single object till the level of large groups of objects. He states, that if the components of an urban plan are understood on the basis of their degree of difference and similarity, it is possible to view in an urban plan different ranges of repeated elements and meanings. Through this eye, it would be possible to define urban conditions with the language of repeated elements and it's cluster dynamics. In this project a series of models which intensify, connect, and if necessary weaken certain clusters have been developed as tools for urban design.

Frank Tack (Belgium) with Emulating the Future provides a computer model that emulates the urban growth process for the Netherlands until the year 2100 to be able to test policies and plans for the future, to see where they collide or conflict. In complex decision processes where lots of parameters and factors need to be taken into account – as in planning policies where different opinions need to be linked – the use of modelling is often unavoidable. The thesis consists of a theoretical research about known modelling techniques and components, it provides an argument for looking at urban development in terms of algorithms, and researches three scenario's in animation until 2100 for the whole of the Netherlands.

Inside the Telematic Surface by Dirk Weiblen (Germany) redefines the role of the façade in an era of advanced telecommunication possibilities. By replacing the window by a Telematic Surface, projections of many different realities can take over the windows conventional projection of the surrounding. In this project the opportunities to integrate these telematic surfaces in newly designed office districts have been researched.

The Adriatic archipelago of Croatia is chosen in 'DAMN' (dynamic archipelago metropolitan network) as the site for a speculative development – the possibilities of metropolitan development 'from scratch' in contemporary Europe.

The grounds for this choice are cumulative – from the climate, the exceptional nature features and the geomorphology to its geopolitical position on the border between developed EU region and supposedly rapidly changing and growing southeastern Europe.

Dafne Berc (Croatia) discussed several models of metropolitan growth in her research, and DAMN is developed and elaborated as a model with sustainable urban growth, and with fewer harms done to the nature than in the conditions of expected conventional tourist growth. It is aimed at achieving dense stretches of development (landforms) with clear borders to the areas of intact nature. The project is identified by elaborated infrastructural cuts and its mobile inventory – series of artificial islands and open sea developments that upgrade the initial archipelago.

How to design an object, which contains the necessary provisions to suite the requirements of a domestic life pattern within the contemporary living conditions? Yukiko Nezu (Japan) developed her research project The Polysensotrop with these preconditions, for high-density urban fabrics such as Tokyo. Her solution is a mobile object, which implies that the spatial set-up can undergo alteration contingent to desires. Domestic furniture, ancillary equipment, and individual possessions are assembled into one object. The site for this is an empty enclosed space. The object enables the user to generate his/her own life styles.

Yuichiro Suzuki (Japan) starts his thesis from the suburban condition and wonders what makes our living environment often so monotonous. In Suburban Medium he states that as soon as we identify the singular elements which define our environment, we can start to consciously utilize them (as elements and as organization) to contribute on the level of the singular house and the level of the whole town – in much more combinations that we usually can utilize. Thus a far more exciting suburban landscape can arise.

UNPRECEDENTED IMAGES and the mirror stage by Elina Karanstasi (Greece) examines how sports and physical motion are facilitated in public space and how they interact. It borrows an experiment from the optical science, used by J. Lacan in his 'mirror stage' theory, to examine the relationship between cityscapes and social use in an organisation of infrastructure for re-appropriation. Through the research, new architectural types and programs have been developed on the borderline of private and public space.

The Manifestation of the power, horror, brutality and beauty of architecture is examined through the exploration of physical, social and metaphoric walls in a research by Shiuan-Wen Chu (Taiwan / South Africa) with the title The Exhaustive Examination of the Omnipresent Wall and its Unspeakable Other Side through 15,8 and Beyond.

The mechanism of the walls (prejudice, discrimination, self-imposed isolation, exclusion/inclusion, but also protection, connection and facades) are analysed with case studies of the Berlin Wall, the paranoid landscape of Johannesburg, the forced entity and self-isolation of 2 China's, the invisible wall between Houseless people and 'ordinary' society in Tokyo, and the historic façade dichotomise evolution and nostalgia in Utrecht, etc.

The final intervention takes the condition in Johannesburg into an extreme and explicit literary plot; narrative discourse and architectural literature are vehicles of analysis and proposition inverting the horror of the wall into calming, relieving, sympathetic and connective architecture. It took her some time to present the research – but the audience had already been warned by the compactness of the title.