Book – Building as Ornament

The ornament is returning slowly to the architectural discourse. It has not really been absent though merely denied, but it is returning as a more prominent topic now.

A key text is Adolf Loos’ Ornament and crime (Ornament und Verbrechen) (1908) that was widely interpreted as at the easement of ornament in architecture. More recent interpretations (for example Gleiter, 2012) however is more differentiated. Already the title in which Loos uses and hints at this. Nevertheless ornament was denied a role in modernist architecture and is still a minefield for architects today.

BE the buildingsImage taken from designboom / A proposed project spelling out the letters ‘BE’ for buildings in Brussels by JDS in 2007.

The way for the reintroduction of ornament has been paved by technology interestingly enough. In the late 80ies and especially the 90ies CAD tools have presented the tools to begin to design with patterns including options to manipulate the pattern based on conditions. This has also the been linked to production and printed glass or pierce metals facades or even brickwork layer by robots (Bearth & Deplazes with Gramazio & Kohler, 2006).

This has been accompanied by theoretical writings, exhibitions and journals. For examples the exhibition at the SAM Re-Sampling Ornament in 2008. The architecture journals ARCH+ (1995/2002), l’architecture d’aujourd’hui (2001) or AD primers, Ornament: the politics of architecture and subjectivity (2013) for example have published on ornament during this early phase. Authors who have contributed to the now re-emerging discussion on ornament include Jörg H. Gleiter ((orig. German, 2002. Die Rückkehr des Verdrängten)), Michael Dürfeld (The Ornament and the Architectural Form (orig. in German, 2008. Das Ornamentale und die architektonische Form)) or Farshid Moussavi (The Function of Form, 2008).

The new possibilities in design and production using new technologies have allowed to re-imagine the relationship between design, production and product. Whereas at the time Loos wrote Architecture and Crime the industrialisation introduced the production of exact replicas into the thousands of one single product, the new technologies based around computers allow for a trance dent workflow and individually adapted and styled objects whilst still machine and mass produced. Hence the conditions have fundamentally changed.

What can be observed is, though very slow moving, a shift from an understanding of ornament as decoration to an interpretation of ornament as process in the sense of structure and narrative.

A special take on this is presented by Michiel van Raaij in his new publication Building as Ornament. Whilst van Raaij focuses on iconographic architecture he proposes building as ornament as a term to frame part of this discussion in a new way implying links to a theoretical discussion with references to a long tradition.

Fire station 4Image taken from 52weeks / The Fire Station 4 in Columbus by Venturi Scott Brown and Associates in 1968.

Van Raaij’s idea is to try and focus on the story the architect tries to tell through an iconic building. He argues that “Iconography is the use of images from outside architecture in architecture” and that the focus of the book is on “iconography that explains the function, social status, organisation, load-bearing structure and/or context of the building”. He makes the link to ornament using the narrative in the sense of explaining something.

The book brings together over 100 examples to illustrate this notion. This ranges from the Yokohama International Port Perminal by FOA, 2004, to the Bird’s Nest Stadium by Herzog de Meuron in 2008 or the People’s Building in Shanghai by BIG, 2004.

Whilst the book does not offer a theoretical framework for the introduced terminology or a broader discussion on the theoretical dimension of such a ‘new’ aspect of ornament in architecture, it presents a conversation. The publication is on one had a collection of projects that fit the description iconographic architecture and it is on the other hand a collection of interviews in which the author van Raaij discusses iconographic architecture with architects and architectural historians.

Signal BoxImage taken from architecture.com / The Signal Box in Basel, Switzerland by Herzog de Meuron in 1994.

The interview partners are, in order of appearance: Auke van der Would, Charles Jencks, Denise Scott Brown, Adriaan Geuze, Michiel Riedijk, Alejandro Zaero-Polo, Ben van Berkel, Steven Holl, Winy Maas and Bjarke Ingels.

All of the interview partners of course have a different angle on the topic and in some conversations the focus is more on icons, narratives, construction or material. Some do specifically discuss ornament as in the recently emerging debate, so for examples the interview with Denise Scott Brown where she discusses aspects of the design for Fire Station 4 in Columbus. She emphasises the very same topics of structure and narrative the ornament discussion is moving towards. Other interviews do however not even touch ornament.

There is loads of material and a very interesting discussion around icons in architecture and iconographic architecture to be found in this book. This is clearly the focus of van Raaij’s work and his personal interest. He has been running a blog on iconic buildings for a long time and he knows the projects in this field. The real contribution of this book is definitely to hear the architects, as described by van Raaij as the Generation OMA, to talk about icons and iconographic design processes in architecture. There are some very personal statements in these discussions that shed light on some of the famous icons this current generation of architects have developed. It demonstrates that there is more to the discussion of iconic architecture than it just being a land mark put up by an architect to make a bold statement.

Through out the book the terms ornament and icon/iconographic architecture are used interchangeably. And it turns out that ornament only plays a small role setting the stage in this nai010 publishers book. Even though one could have expected quite some potential in this take on ornaments, not as a complete explanation, but as a special case of ornament on the level of the building. More contextual material would be needed to define a clear standpoint.

However, the chosen title, it has to be said, is very cleverly chosen. It is catchy, provides a lot of historical context, touches the nerve (both of time and architects still hating ornaments, as they have been told to do in architecture school?) and it is simple enough to be self-explanatory whilst allowing room for imagination. Nevertheless for the reader who is looking for the specific topic on ornament it might mean to be disappointed, but not without discovering an interesting collection of personal discussions on iconic architecture.

Building as ornament coverImage taken from designboom / Book cover.

Van Raaij, M., 2014. Building as Ornament. nai010 publishers, Rotterdam.

Continue reading »

Book – Building as Ornament

The ornament is returning slowly to the architectural discourse. It has not really been absent though merely denied, but it is returning as a more prominent topic now.

A key text is Adolf Loos’ Ornament and crime (Ornament und Verbrechen) (1908) that was widely interpreted as at the easement of ornament in architecture. More recent interpretations (for example Gleiter, 2012) however is more differentiated. Already the title in which Loos uses and hints at this. Nevertheless ornament was denied a role in modernist architecture and is still a minefield for architects today.

BE the buildingsImage taken from designboom / A proposed project spelling out the letters ‘BE’ for buildings in Brussels by JDS in 2007.

The way for the reintroduction of ornament has been paved by technology interestingly enough. In the late 80ies and especially the 90ies CAD tools have presented the tools to begin to design with patterns including options to manipulate the pattern based on conditions. This has also the been linked to production and printed glass or pierce metals facades or even brickwork layer by robots (Bearth & Deplazes with Gramazio & Kohler, 2006).

This has been accompanied by theoretical writings, exhibitions and journals. For examples the exhibition at the SAM Re-Sampling Ornament in 2008. The architecture journals ARCH+ (1995/2002), l’architecture d’aujourd’hui (2001) or AD primers, Ornament: the politics of architecture and subjectivity (2013) for example have published on ornament during this early phase. Authors who have contributed to the now re-emerging discussion on ornament include Jörg H. Gleiter ((orig. German, 2002. Die Rückkehr des Verdrängten)), Michael Dürfeld (The Ornament and the Architectural Form (orig. in German, 2008. Das Ornamentale und die architektonische Form)) or Farshid Moussavi (The Function of Form, 2008).

The new possibilities in design and production using new technologies have allowed to re-imagine the relationship between design, production and product. Whereas at the time Loos wrote Architecture and Crime the industrialisation introduced the production of exact replicas into the thousands of one single product, the new technologies based around computers allow for a trance dent workflow and individually adapted and styled objects whilst still machine and mass produced. Hence the conditions have fundamentally changed.

What can be observed is, though very slow moving, a shift from an understanding of ornament as decoration to an interpretation of ornament as process in the sense of structure and narrative.

A special take on this is presented by Michiel van Raaij in his new publication Building as Ornament. Whilst van Raaij focuses on iconographic architecture he proposes building as ornament as a term to frame part of this discussion in a new way implying links to a theoretical discussion with references to a long tradition.

Fire station 4Image taken from 52weeks / The Fire Station 4 in Columbus by Venturi Scott Brown and Associates in 1968.

Van Raaij’s idea is to try and focus on the story the architect tries to tell through an iconic building. He argues that “Iconography is the use of images from outside architecture in architecture” and that the focus of the book is on “iconography that explains the function, social status, organisation, load-bearing structure and/or context of the building”. He makes the link to ornament using the narrative in the sense of explaining something.

The book brings together over 100 examples to illustrate this notion. This ranges from the Yokohama International Port Perminal by FOA, 2004, to the Bird’s Nest Stadium by Herzog de Meuron in 2008 or the People’s Building in Shanghai by BIG, 2004.

Whilst the book does not offer a theoretical framework for the introduced terminology or a broader discussion on the theoretical dimension of such a ‘new’ aspect of ornament in architecture, it presents a conversation. The publication is on one had a collection of projects that fit the description iconographic architecture and it is on the other hand a collection of interviews in which the author van Raaij discusses iconographic architecture with architects and architectural historians.

Signal BoxImage taken from architecture.com / The Signal Box in Basel, Switzerland by Herzog de Meuron in 1994.

The interview partners are, in order of appearance: Auke van der Would, Charles Jencks, Denise Scott Brown, Adriaan Geuze, Michiel Riedijk, Alejandro Zaero-Polo, Ben van Berkel, Steven Holl, Winy Maas and Bjarke Ingels.

All of the interview partners of course have a different angle on the topic and in some conversations the focus is more on icons, narratives, construction or material. Some do specifically discuss ornament as in the recently emerging debate, so for examples the interview with Denise Scott Brown where she discusses aspects of the design for Fire Station 4 in Columbus. She emphasises the very same topics of structure and narrative the ornament discussion is moving towards. Other interviews do however not even touch ornament.

There is loads of material and a very interesting discussion around icons in architecture and iconographic architecture to be found in this book. This is clearly the focus of van Raaij’s work and his personal interest. He has been running a blog on iconic buildings for a long time and he knows the projects in this field. The real contribution of this book is definitely to hear the architects, as described by van Raaij as the Generation OMA, to talk about icons and iconographic design processes in architecture. There are some very personal statements in these discussions that shed light on some of the famous icons this current generation of architects have developed. It demonstrates that there is more to the discussion of iconic architecture than it just being a land mark put up by an architect to make a bold statement.

Through out the book the terms ornament and icon/iconographic architecture are used interchangeably. And it turns out that ornament only plays a small role setting the stage in this nai010 publishers book. Even though one could have expected quite some potential in this take on ornaments, not as a complete explanation, but as a special case of ornament on the level of the building. More contextual material would be needed to define a clear standpoint.

However, the chosen title, it has to be said, is very cleverly chosen. It is catchy, provides a lot of historical context, touches the nerve (both of time and architects still hating ornaments, as they have been told to do in architecture school?) and it is simple enough to be self-explanatory whilst allowing room for imagination. Nevertheless for the reader who is looking for the specific topic on ornament it might mean to be disappointed, but not without discovering an interesting collection of personal discussions on iconic architecture.

Building as ornament coverImage taken from designboom / Book cover.

Van Raaij, M., 2014. Building as Ornament. nai010 publishers, Rotterdam.

Continue reading »

Book – Inside Cern Science Lives

What does science look like? This might evoke black and white images of the cities and sixties showing male scientists in white lab coats bent over a table where some assistant has layed out various tools and models. Materials are steel, chrome, glass and colourful plastic. Shown in the background is probably a black board with some formulas and equations written on.

But what does science really look like, today? In a new Lars Müller Publishers publication Andri Pol shows the reader some inside glimpse of one of the biggest scientific research labs in the world. In Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research he has been documenting work and live in and around CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

Inside Cern 'layered equations' p.233Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘layered equations’ p.233.

Andri Pol is a Swiss freelance photographer with a specific focus on the everyday. This is also how he portraits the places, labs, offices, scientists and atmospheres at CERN, with great curiosity and respect.

There are no pretty pictures to be found in this documentation and there are no glorious moments. Its all about the effort, the struggle and the dedication. Flipping though the pages only unveils a great range of colours and oddly chosen angles or frames. The book does not work that way. The photographs are actually rather complex compositions with a lot of depth each with not just one but often a number of aspects.

Whilst there is a lot of equipment and machines visible there is an emphasis on the people who are involved at CERN in some way. Being this the scientists, indeed sometimes in white overcoats and blue shoe protectors, technical staff or students. People from all over the world come together at CERN working in teams. This is often shown, science is discussion and exchange.

The documentation portraits also the atmosphere at CERN. Beside the highly technical installations there is very little shiny and new infrastructure. In fact most of the facilities seem to be rather pragmatic and often improvised. It is clear the focus is somewhere else. This place is not about design and style, but about customablilty, flexibility and improvisation. That does not mean that self expression is absence. On the contrary the numerous portraits of individualised desks, doors, books and computers themselves tell a story.

Inside Cern 'calibrate' p.243Image taken from klatmagazine / ‘calibrate’ p.243.

Only on the last few pages the photographs stet to show some of the machinery of the actual Large Hadron Collider (LHC), photographs that look similar to what is usually circulated in the meadia. By that point the reader is already so deep immersed in the atmosphere at CERN that is seems to be most natural thing to walk past this monster of infrastructure that doesn’t even fit on a photograph. In many ways all the other photographs tell a much more telling tale of the LHC than the tons of steel, cable and concrete.

Inside Cern 'thinking' p.249Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘thinking’ p.249.

This being a Lars Müller Publisher publication it does not come as a surprise that this is a very beautifully made book. A lot of care has gone into the design of the book and the selection of the photographs. Even though it is mainly a picture book a real narrative is being told here something that captivates the reader. This book certainly tells a very different story about science today. It is of course documenting science in a unique biotope of research and collaboration creating a special place between Switzerland and France. But what it shows is the fascination and dedication of the individuals working in this field and manages to transport this.

If this is not quite yet enough. Google has collaborated with cern and it features on Street View. Try this link to go on a virtual walk around CERN and the LHC.

Inside Cern book coverImage taken from amazon.com / Book cover. More details also available on the book website at insidecern.com.

Pol, A., 2011. Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research. Lars Muller Publishers, Zürich.

Continue reading »

Book – Inside Cern Science Lives

What does science look like? This might evoke black and white images of the cities and sixties showing male scientists in white lab coats bent over a table where some assistant has layed out various tools and models. Materials are steel, chrome, glass and colourful plastic. Shown in the background is probably a black board with some formulas and equations written on.

But what does science really look like, today? In a new Lars Müller Publishers publication Andri Pol shows the reader some inside glimpse of one of the biggest scientific research labs in the world. In Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research he has been documenting work and live in and around CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

Inside Cern 'layered equations' p.233Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘layered equations’ p.233.

Andri Pol is a Swiss freelance photographer with a specific focus on the everyday. This is also how he portraits the places, labs, offices, scientists and atmospheres at CERN, with great curiosity and respect.

There are no pretty pictures to be found in this documentation and there are no glorious moments. Its all about the effort, the struggle and the dedication. Flipping though the pages only unveils a great range of colours and oddly chosen angles or frames. The book does not work that way. The photographs are actually rather complex compositions with a lot of depth each with not just one but often a number of aspects.

Whilst there is a lot of equipment and machines visible there is an emphasis on the people who are involved at CERN in some way. Being this the scientists, indeed sometimes in white overcoats and blue shoe protectors, technical staff or students. People from all over the world come together at CERN working in teams. This is often shown, science is discussion and exchange.

The documentation portraits also the atmosphere at CERN. Beside the highly technical installations there is very little shiny and new infrastructure. In fact most of the facilities seem to be rather pragmatic and often improvised. It is clear the focus is somewhere else. This place is not about design and style, but about customablilty, flexibility and improvisation. That does not mean that self expression is absence. On the contrary the numerous portraits of individualised desks, doors, books and computers themselves tell a story.

Inside Cern 'calibrate' p.243Image taken from klatmagazine / ‘calibrate’ p.243.

Only on the last few pages the photographs stet to show some of the machinery of the actual Large Hadron Collider (LHC), photographs that look similar to what is usually circulated in the meadia. By that point the reader is already so deep immersed in the atmosphere at CERN that is seems to be most natural thing to walk past this monster of infrastructure that doesn’t even fit on a photograph. In many ways all the other photographs tell a much more telling tale of the LHC than the tons of steel, cable and concrete.

Inside Cern 'thinking' p.249Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘thinking’ p.249.

This being a Lars Müller Publisher publication it does not come as a surprise that this is a very beautifully made book. A lot of care has gone into the design of the book and the selection of the photographs. Even though it is mainly a picture book a real narrative is being told here something that captivates the reader. This book certainly tells a very different story about science today. It is of course documenting science in a unique biotope of research and collaboration creating a special place between Switzerland and France. But what it shows is the fascination and dedication of the individuals working in this field and manages to transport this.

If this is not quite yet enough. Google has collaborated with cern and it features on Street View. Try this link to go on a virtual walk around CERN and the LHC.

Inside Cern book coverImage taken from amazon.com / Book cover. More details also available on the book website at insidecern.com.

Pol, A., 2011. Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research. Lars Muller Publishers, Zürich.

Continue reading »

Book – Inside Cern Science Lives

What does science look like? This might evoke black and white images of the cities and sixties showing male scientists in white lab coats bent over a table where some assistant has layed out various tools and models. Materials are steel, chrome, glass and colourful plastic. Shown in the background is probably a black board with some formulas and equations written on.

But what does science really look like, today? In a new Lars Müller Publishers publication Andri Pol shows the reader some inside glimpse of one of the biggest scientific research labs in the world. In Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research he has been documenting work and live in and around CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

Inside Cern 'layered equations' p.233Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘layered equations’ p.233.

Andri Pol is a Swiss freelance photographer with a specific focus on the everyday. This is also how he portraits the places, labs, offices, scientists and atmospheres at CERN, with great curiosity and respect.

There are no pretty pictures to be found in this documentation and there are no glorious moments. Its all about the effort, the struggle and the dedication. Flipping though the pages only unveils a great range of colours and oddly chosen angles or frames. The book does not work that way. The photographs are actually rather complex compositions with a lot of depth each with not just one but often a number of aspects.

Whilst there is a lot of equipment and machines visible there is an emphasis on the people who are involved at CERN in some way. Being this the scientists, indeed sometimes in white overcoats and blue shoe protectors, technical staff or students. People from all over the world come together at CERN working in teams. This is often shown, science is discussion and exchange.

The documentation portraits also the atmosphere at CERN. Beside the highly technical installations there is very little shiny and new infrastructure. In fact most of the facilities seem to be rather pragmatic and often improvised. It is clear the focus is somewhere else. This place is not about design and style, but about customablilty, flexibility and improvisation. That does not mean that self expression is absence. On the contrary the numerous portraits of individualised desks, doors, books and computers themselves tell a story.

Inside Cern 'calibrate' p.243Image taken from klatmagazine / ‘calibrate’ p.243.

Only on the last few pages the photographs stet to show some of the machinery of the actual Large Hadron Collider (LHC), photographs that look similar to what is usually circulated in the meadia. By that point the reader is already so deep immersed in the atmosphere at CERN that is seems to be most natural thing to walk past this monster of infrastructure that doesn’t even fit on a photograph. In many ways all the other photographs tell a much more telling tale of the LHC than the tons of steel, cable and concrete.

Inside Cern 'thinking' p.249Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘thinking’ p.249.

This being a Lars Müller Publisher publication it does not come as a surprise that this is a very beautifully made book. A lot of care has gone into the design of the book and the selection of the photographs. Even though it is mainly a picture book a real narrative is being told here something that captivates the reader. This book certainly tells a very different story about science today. It is of course documenting science in a unique biotope of research and collaboration creating a special place between Switzerland and France. But what it shows is the fascination and dedication of the individuals working in this field and manages to transport this.

If this is not quite yet enough. Google has collaborated with cern and it features on Street View. Try this link to go on a virtual walk around CERN and the LHC.

Inside Cern book coverImage taken from amazon.com / Book cover. More details also available on the book website at insidecern.com.

Pol, A., 2011. Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research. Lars Muller Publishers, Zürich.

Continue reading »

Book – Inside Cern Science Lives

What does science look like? This might evoke black and white images of the cities and sixties showing male scientists in white lab coats bent over a table where some assistant has layed out various tools and models. Materials are steel, chrome, glass and colourful plastic. Shown in the background is probably a black board with some formulas and equations written on.

But what does science really look like, today? In a new Lars Müller Publishers publication Andri Pol shows the reader some inside glimpse of one of the biggest scientific research labs in the world. In Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research he has been documenting work and live in and around CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

Inside Cern 'layered equations' p.233Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘layered equations’ p.233.

Andri Pol is a Swiss freelance photographer with a specific focus on the everyday. This is also how he portraits the places, labs, offices, scientists and atmospheres at CERN, with great curiosity and respect.

There are no pretty pictures to be found in this documentation and there are no glorious moments. Its all about the effort, the struggle and the dedication. Flipping though the pages only unveils a great range of colours and oddly chosen angles or frames. The book does not work that way. The photographs are actually rather complex compositions with a lot of depth each with not just one but often a number of aspects.

Whilst there is a lot of equipment and machines visible there is an emphasis on the people who are involved at CERN in some way. Being this the scientists, indeed sometimes in white overcoats and blue shoe protectors, technical staff or students. People from all over the world come together at CERN working in teams. This is often shown, science is discussion and exchange.

The documentation portraits also the atmosphere at CERN. Beside the highly technical installations there is very little shiny and new infrastructure. In fact most of the facilities seem to be rather pragmatic and often improvised. It is clear the focus is somewhere else. This place is not about design and style, but about customablilty, flexibility and improvisation. That does not mean that self expression is absence. On the contrary the numerous portraits of individualised desks, doors, books and computers themselves tell a story.

Inside Cern 'calibrate' p.243Image taken from klatmagazine / ‘calibrate’ p.243.

Only on the last few pages the photographs stet to show some of the machinery of the actual Large Hadron Collider (LHC), photographs that look similar to what is usually circulated in the meadia. By that point the reader is already so deep immersed in the atmosphere at CERN that is seems to be most natural thing to walk past this monster of infrastructure that doesn’t even fit on a photograph. In many ways all the other photographs tell a much more telling tale of the LHC than the tons of steel, cable and concrete.

Inside Cern 'thinking' p.249Image taken from uncubemagazine / ‘thinking’ p.249.

This being a Lars Müller Publisher publication it does not come as a surprise that this is a very beautifully made book. A lot of care has gone into the design of the book and the selection of the photographs. Even though it is mainly a picture book a real narrative is being told here something that captivates the reader. This book certainly tells a very different story about science today. It is of course documenting science in a unique biotope of research and collaboration creating a special place between Switzerland and France. But what it shows is the fascination and dedication of the individuals working in this field and manages to transport this.

If this is not quite yet enough. Google has collaborated with cern and it features on Street View. Try this link to go on a virtual walk around CERN and the LHC.

Inside Cern book coverImage taken from amazon.com / Book cover. More details also available on the book website at insidecern.com.

Pol, A., 2011. Inside CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research. Lars Muller Publishers, Zürich.

Continue reading »

The techniques of urban design- Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, Projects

 
Image 1. The book cover of ‘Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, Projects’
 
What is the basic knowledge for urban design? Which techniques are necessary for designing decent urban spaces? ‘Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, Projects’, written by German architect Leonhard Schenk, is navigating the answer of these questions.

The book is structured along three parts,
1) General principles of urban design
2) Practical techniques for designing cities with relative examples

3) Three sensible examples that are recently constructed and well evaluated   – Hamburg (Germany), Tubingen (Germany) and Belval (Luxemburg)
When people want to make an overview from the basic theory to the completed projects, it seems a well organised book to look through all parts. 
 
The author argues that the most urban design projects have been realised by competitions, and two factors should be incorporated to win the competitions. On the one hand, projects need to satisfy the demands of the client and the jury. On the other hand, the functionality, the design and the representation capacity of projects have to be promoted by themselves. This argument clearly indicates the direction of the book. Over 350 pages, the author illustrates in detail the systematic methods for creating urban spatial organisations and visually attractive designs.
 
What an interesting point of this book is the explaining principles of urban design step by step, particularly in the Chapter 1 and 2. For example, ‘the law of similarity’ describes that ‘elements that resemble one another in the form are more readily experienced as belonging together than elements are. In addition, similar elements result in more uniform groups than dissimilar ones’. (P.21, See image 3) The principles demonstrate not the characters of each element but the natures of the group as a corporate body of the elements. These rules are underestimated because too simple and too obvious. But, we could easily deep in troubles during the design process if we do not keep them in mind. And then, from the Chapter3, the author starts to explain the practical ways of urban design such as designing urban blocks, various grid structures, organising building lots, road systems, designing public space and representation skills. 
 
Image 2. The sample page of Chpter 2. Page 18 and 19

Image 3. The sample page of Chpter 2. Page 20 and 21
 
 
A variety of example images are helpful to understand the intention of the author. The project images of international offices like OMA, BIG and KCAP, and other competition images were considerably selected, and are provided in the right positions depends on the topics. When the possibilities of diagrams are expressed to show complex relationships, for instance, the KCAP’s first prize winning diagrams for FredericiaC competition are suggested as a suitable case.(See image 8) This brings good chances not only for analysing some parts of each project but also for watching highly correlated site plans with the parts.   
 
Image 4. Good project images are helpful to understand the intention of the author. Page 40 and 41

Image 5. Sample pages. Page 74 and 75

Image 6. Sample pages. Page 110 and 111

Image 7. Sample pages. Page 276 and 277

Image 8. Sample pages. Page 280 and 281
 
 
The final chapter is a weak side of the book. Much writing about the ways of urban design is focusing on the designing physical urban spaces through the pages. However, planning issues, such as the process of urban regeneration and the consortium structure, are primarily discussed rather than design issues in the last chapter which analyse successful cases of Hamburg, Tubingen and Belval. If the book places more emphasis on the design issues like the spatial characteristics of each city, it would be more adequate with the original intent of the book. Also, most project images are from the European context while some Asian projects are included. In other regions where have different geographical and societal backgrounds, more careful approaches would be demanded to apply the ways of the book. 
 
Overall, ‘Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, Projects’ provides a good level of overview for urban design. Definitely, it is a nice reference for people who are interested in urban design and its methods. This book was honoured the best architectural books among 242 participants from DAM Architectural Book Award that was held by Deutsches Architektur museum and the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Here is the basic information of the book, and you can find more information from the links.

Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, ProjectsHardcover: 356 pages


Publisher: Birkhauser Verlag AG (25 July 2013)


Language: English


ISBN-10: 3034613253


ISBN-13: 978-3034613255


Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 17.5 x 3 cm


Amazon UK http://bit.ly/KRenmV


 

Continue reading »

The techniques of urban design- Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, Projects

 
Image 1. The book cover of ‘Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, Projects’
 
What is the basic knowledge for urban design? Which techniques are necessary for designing decent urban spaces? ‘Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, Projects’, written by German architect Leonhard Schenk, is navigating the answer of these questions.

The book is structured along three parts,
1) General principles of urban design
2) Practical techniques for designing cities with relative examples

3) Three sensible examples that are recently constructed and well evaluated   – Hamburg (Germany), Tubingen (Germany) and Belval (Luxemburg)
When people want to make an overview from the basic theory to the completed projects, it seems a well organised book to look through all parts. 
 
The author argues that the most urban design projects have been realised by competitions, and two factors should be incorporated to win the competitions. On the one hand, projects need to satisfy the demands of the client and the jury. On the other hand, the functionality, the design and the representation capacity of projects have to be promoted by themselves. This argument clearly indicates the direction of the book. Over 350 pages, the author illustrates in detail the systematic methods for creating urban spatial organisations and visually attractive designs.
 
What an interesting point of this book is the explaining principles of urban design step by step, particularly in the Chapter 1 and 2. For example, ‘the law of similarity’ describes that ‘elements that resemble one another in the form are more readily experienced as belonging together than elements are. In addition, similar elements result in more uniform groups than dissimilar ones’. (P.21, See image 3) The principles demonstrate not the characters of each element but the natures of the group as a corporate body of the elements. These rules are underestimated because too simple and too obvious. But, we could easily deep in troubles during the design process if we do not keep them in mind. And then, from the Chapter3, the author starts to explain the practical ways of urban design such as designing urban blocks, various grid structures, organising building lots, road systems, designing public space and representation skills. 
 
Image 2. The sample page of Chpter 2. Page 18 and 19

Image 3. The sample page of Chpter 2. Page 20 and 21
 
 
A variety of example images are helpful to understand the intention of the author. The project images of international offices like OMA, BIG and KCAP, and other competition images were considerably selected, and are provided in the right positions depends on the topics. When the possibilities of diagrams are expressed to show complex relationships, for instance, the KCAP’s first prize winning diagrams for FredericiaC competition are suggested as a suitable case.(See image 8) This brings good chances not only for analysing some parts of each project but also for watching highly correlated site plans with the parts.   
 
Image 4. Good project images are helpful to understand the intention of the author. Page 40 and 41

Image 5. Sample pages. Page 74 and 75

Image 6. Sample pages. Page 110 and 111

Image 7. Sample pages. Page 276 and 277

Image 8. Sample pages. Page 280 and 281
 
 
The final chapter is a weak side of the book. Much writing about the ways of urban design is focusing on the designing physical urban spaces through the pages. However, planning issues, such as the process of urban regeneration and the consortium structure, are primarily discussed rather than design issues in the last chapter which analyse successful cases of Hamburg, Tubingen and Belval. If the book places more emphasis on the design issues like the spatial characteristics of each city, it would be more adequate with the original intent of the book. Also, most project images are from the European context while some Asian projects are included. In other regions where have different geographical and societal backgrounds, more careful approaches would be demanded to apply the ways of the book. 
 
Overall, ‘Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, Projects’ provides a good level of overview for urban design. Definitely, it is a nice reference for people who are interested in urban design and its methods. This book was honoured the best architectural books among 242 participants from DAM Architectural Book Award that was held by Deutsches Architektur museum and the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Here is the basic information of the book, and you can find more information from the links.

Designing Cities: Basics, Principles, ProjectsHardcover: 356 pages


Publisher: Birkhauser Verlag AG (25 July 2013)


Language: English


ISBN-10: 3034613253


ISBN-13: 978-3034613255


Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 17.5 x 3 cm


Amazon UK http://bit.ly/KRenmV


 

Continue reading »

Book – Urban Fabrics Inside Out

Two new publications set out to investigate the urban structure from a different angle than the ever same physical structure perspective. Whilst it might not as such mark a general shift in the way cities or urban areas are investigated these two publication both take a very strong position stressing the social aspects, the experiential and the lived city. It is about people, individuals as much as society and culture.

Both books are part of much larger ongoing research project supported by large national bodies, but operating internationally.

The first of the two books is Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century. edited by Roger Keil published by Jovis. It is in fact some kind of half time summary of the ongoing project (2010-2017) Global Suburbanisms: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century. Here the group not only reports on findings, but it is also a tool to define the status quo and look ahead at what is to be achieved further down the line. The project is mainly supported by Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada but investigates case studies from around the world. One of the very striking themes in this project is to bring case studies of all those areas of urban sprawl from around the globe together and compare/contrast them.

The second book is Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town edited by Marco L. Rosa and Ute E and published by Jovis. Weiland and is a publication that draws on the Urban Age project at home at LSE and famously sponsored by Deutsche Bank. Here the Project is already into its sixth year and a number of books where published in its context. Most prominently the Endless City (2008) and Living in the Endless City (2011) both by Burdett and Sudjic. This new publication specifically focuses on the Urban Age Award which is organised by the Alfred Herrhausen Society as part of the Urban Age Conferences. With a focus on what is happening on the ground it is based on interviews with different stakeholders in each of the projects world cities. Those five cities are Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Cape Town. The editor of this new publication Ute Weiland has for the past five years coordinated said awards and worked closely with the local contributors in all five cities.

What is special on those two publications is the angel they portrait the urban world and the focus they chose for the respective research projects. The main topic is the rapid urbanisation, the fact that 80% of the world’s population will be living in urbanised areas by 2050 that urban means collective and that cities are in constant flux.

The publisher house Jovis has already a bit of a history with similar publications. There is for example Matthew Gandy’s Urban Constellations (2011) as one of the recent publications in this area. In fact Keil does specifically refer to Gandy in his introduction and the two books even share partly the same title.

Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century. being a work in progress brings together a body of writings much more experimental and investigative in comparison. Whilst this might be interpreted as a lack of focus or clear scope at times, it does surprise the reader with raw concepts and very direct lines thought making for a joyful read. Further more it does not require to be read from cover to cover, rather it can be picket up to read just one of the essays and read others maybe later.

It is structured along four topics: Foundations, Themes, Essay and Images and Regions. The first topic presents some ‘foundational thinking on suburbanisation’. The second topic ‘elaborated on those themes with emphasis on redevelopment, risk, boundaries, water, sewage, and transportation. These topics intertwined with the research project’s main points of Land, Governance and Infrastructure. Whilst this organisational structure whilst they might make sense from a project point of view it not as easily accessible for the generally interested reader.

book coverImage taken from the bad-news-beat.org / The waste lands of Fort Mcmurray AB.

The are pieces like “Forth McMurray, the Suburb sat the End of the Highway” by Clair Major describing the context of one of Canada’s two purely business driven settlements just north of Edmonton fuelled by the large oil sands. Or on the other hand an Essay by Alan Mabin “Suburbanisms in Africa” where he discusses not just the suburbs as places but mainly suburban as a term and its meaning in a culturally very different context. He for example points out how difficult it is to translate the term suburb or indeed suburbanises to other languages. For example in places such the urbanised areas of South Africa where beside the local/traditional languages plus English, French and Portuguese all compete for the meaning full expression such terminologies become very fluid in deed creating a complex concept of their own undermining all efforts to frame the topics with key terms.

The project plans a very comprehensive dissemination strategy including conferences and article, but also summer schools. So there will be much more to come from this project and research collective. Preview PDF for this publication is available HERE.

book spreadImage taken from the perfact.org / Book spread Handmade Urbanism showing sketch illustrations.

Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town has its focus on what is happening on the ground in each of the five metropolis regions and is being supported by the worldwide operating initiative Urban Age Award sponsored by Deutsche Bank.

The premise of the initiative is that empowering the local population and supporting them to organise their own projects will lead to more sustainable and lasting projects and increases the communities resilience. These aspects are investigated through the interviews and discussions each locations is portrayed by. This is frased by Wolfgang Nowak, the initiator of the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award in his interview as: “I am not one of these people, like a Florence Nightingale, who stands and gives out soup to the poor (she has in fact done a whole lot more, for people and science). What we want is to enable the poor no longer to accept soup queues and produce their own soup.” (annotation added)

The book structure is organised along the cities. This main body is introduced by a series of essays creating a context for the project. These are by Wolfgang Nowak, Ute E. Wieland and Richard Sennett. These essays are not extensive in length, but try to be very concise.

The main part of the book presents a range of information about each location. There are basic statistics and data key figures information, and a short introduction to each of the three shortlisted projects. This is then followed by a series of interviews with local stakeholders. Experts from the jury, the local government as well as the project initiators.

The book also comes with a cd so you can in addition watch the documentary about the award and hear a bit more about community-driven initiatives. Runtime only 5:30. Also the publisher offers a online preview in PDF for this publication, available HERE.

Both books provide a good overview and outline of these kind of projects. Both projects have a large scope but the struggle between global level of organisation and local level of operation is very apparent. It leaves the reader wondering what exactly do we take from all this? Urban Constellations is the one that makes for a good read with experimental thoughts and Handmade Urbanism is the more descriptive discussion type of publication.

Graphically the two books have very different approaches. Handmade Urbanism translates the topic literally and all illustrations are hand drawn sketches and symbols. Urban Constellations makes extensive use of photographs documenting places mainly views onto or into suburbs. It however a rather weak part of the book, the illustrations do not live up to the surprises the essays manage to challenge the readers with.

book coverImage taken from the Perfact / Handmade Urbanism book cover.

Keil, R. ed., 2013. Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century., Berlin: Jovis Verlag.
Rosa, M.L. & Weiland, U.E. eds., 2013. Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town, Berlin: Jovis Verlag.

Continue reading »

Book – Urban Fabrics Inside Out

Two new publications set out to investigate the urban structure from a different angle than the ever same physical structure perspective. Whilst it might not as such mark a general shift in the way cities or urban areas are investigated these two publication both take a very strong position stressing the social aspects, the experiential and the lived city. It is about people, individuals as much as society and culture.

Both books are part of much larger ongoing research project supported by large national bodies, but operating internationally.

The first of the two books is Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century. edited by Roger Keil published by Jovis. It is in fact some kind of half time summary of the ongoing project (2010-2017) Global Suburbanisms: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century. Here the group not only reports on findings, but it is also a tool to define the status quo and look ahead at what is to be achieved further down the line. The project is mainly supported by Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada but investigates case studies from around the world. One of the very striking themes in this project is to bring case studies of all those areas of urban sprawl from around the globe together and compare/contrast them.

The second book is Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town edited by Marco L. Rosa and Ute E and published by Jovis. Weiland and is a publication that draws on the Urban Age project at home at LSE and famously sponsored by Deutsche Bank. Here the Project is already into its sixth year and a number of books where published in its context. Most prominently the Endless City (2008) and Living in the Endless City (2011) both by Burdett and Sudjic. This new publication specifically focuses on the Urban Age Award which is organised by the Alfred Herrhausen Society as part of the Urban Age Conferences. With a focus on what is happening on the ground it is based on interviews with different stakeholders in each of the projects world cities. Those five cities are Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Cape Town. The editor of this new publication Ute Weiland has for the past five years coordinated said awards and worked closely with the local contributors in all five cities.

What is special on those two publications is the angel they portrait the urban world and the focus they chose for the respective research projects. The main topic is the rapid urbanisation, the fact that 80% of the world’s population will be living in urbanised areas by 2050 that urban means collective and that cities are in constant flux.

The publisher house Jovis has already a bit of a history with similar publications. There is for example Matthew Gandy’s Urban Constellations (2011) as one of the recent publications in this area. In fact Keil does specifically refer to Gandy in his introduction and the two books even share partly the same title.

Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century. being a work in progress brings together a body of writings much more experimental and investigative in comparison. Whilst this might be interpreted as a lack of focus or clear scope at times, it does surprise the reader with raw concepts and very direct lines thought making for a joyful read. Further more it does not require to be read from cover to cover, rather it can be picket up to read just one of the essays and read others maybe later.

It is structured along four topics: Foundations, Themes, Essay and Images and Regions. The first topic presents some ‘foundational thinking on suburbanisation’. The second topic ‘elaborated on those themes with emphasis on redevelopment, risk, boundaries, water, sewage, and transportation. These topics intertwined with the research project’s main points of Land, Governance and Infrastructure. Whilst this organisational structure whilst they might make sense from a project point of view it not as easily accessible for the generally interested reader.

book coverImage taken from the bad-news-beat.org / The waste lands of Fort Mcmurray AB.

The are pieces like “Forth McMurray, the Suburb sat the End of the Highway” by Clair Major describing the context of one of Canada’s two purely business driven settlements just north of Edmonton fuelled by the large oil sands. Or on the other hand an Essay by Alan Mabin “Suburbanisms in Africa” where he discusses not just the suburbs as places but mainly suburban as a term and its meaning in a culturally very different context. He for example points out how difficult it is to translate the term suburb or indeed suburbanises to other languages. For example in places such the urbanised areas of South Africa where beside the local/traditional languages plus English, French and Portuguese all compete for the meaning full expression such terminologies become very fluid in deed creating a complex concept of their own undermining all efforts to frame the topics with key terms.

The project plans a very comprehensive dissemination strategy including conferences and article, but also summer schools. So there will be much more to come from this project and research collective. Preview PDF for this publication is available HERE.

book spreadImage taken from the perfact.org / Book spread Handmade Urbanism showing sketch illustrations.

Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town has its focus on what is happening on the ground in each of the five metropolis regions and is being supported by the worldwide operating initiative Urban Age Award sponsored by Deutsche Bank.

The premise of the initiative is that empowering the local population and supporting them to organise their own projects will lead to more sustainable and lasting projects and increases the communities resilience. These aspects are investigated through the interviews and discussions each locations is portrayed by. This is frased by Wolfgang Nowak, the initiator of the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award in his interview as: “I am not one of these people, like a Florence Nightingale, who stands and gives out soup to the poor (she has in fact done a whole lot more, for people and science). What we want is to enable the poor no longer to accept soup queues and produce their own soup.” (annotation added)

The book structure is organised along the cities. This main body is introduced by a series of essays creating a context for the project. These are by Wolfgang Nowak, Ute E. Wieland and Richard Sennett. These essays are not extensive in length, but try to be very concise.

The main part of the book presents a range of information about each location. There are basic statistics and data key figures information, and a short introduction to each of the three shortlisted projects. This is then followed by a series of interviews with local stakeholders. Experts from the jury, the local government as well as the project initiators.

The book also comes with a cd so you can in addition watch the documentary about the award and hear a bit more about community-driven initiatives. Runtime only 5:30. Also the publisher offers a online preview in PDF for this publication, available HERE.

Both books provide a good overview and outline of these kind of projects. Both projects have a large scope but the struggle between global level of organisation and local level of operation is very apparent. It leaves the reader wondering what exactly do we take from all this? Urban Constellations is the one that makes for a good read with experimental thoughts and Handmade Urbanism is the more descriptive discussion type of publication.

Graphically the two books have very different approaches. Handmade Urbanism translates the topic literally and all illustrations are hand drawn sketches and symbols. Urban Constellations makes extensive use of photographs documenting places mainly views onto or into suburbs. It however a rather weak part of the book, the illustrations do not live up to the surprises the essays manage to challenge the readers with.

book coverImage taken from the Perfact / Handmade Urbanism book cover.

Keil, R. ed., 2013. Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century., Berlin: Jovis Verlag.
Rosa, M.L. & Weiland, U.E. eds., 2013. Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town, Berlin: Jovis Verlag.

Continue reading »

Book – Urban Fabrics Inside Out

Two new publications set out to investigate the urban structure from a different angle than the ever same physical structure perspective. Whilst it might not as such mark a general shift in the way cities or urban areas are investigated these two publication both take a very strong position stressing the social aspects, the experiential and the lived city. It is about people, individuals as much as society and culture.

Both books are part of much larger ongoing research project supported by large national bodies, but operating internationally.

The first of the two books is Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century. edited by Roger Keil published by Jovis. It is in fact some kind of half time summary of the ongoing project (2010-2017) Global Suburbanisms: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century. Here the group not only reports on findings, but it is also a tool to define the status quo and look ahead at what is to be achieved further down the line. The project is mainly supported by Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada but investigates case studies from around the world. One of the very striking themes in this project is to bring case studies of all those areas of urban sprawl from around the globe together and compare/contrast them.

The second book is Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town edited by Marco L. Rosa and Ute E and published by Jovis. Weiland and is a publication that draws on the Urban Age project at home at LSE and famously sponsored by Deutsche Bank. Here the Project is already into its sixth year and a number of books where published in its context. Most prominently the Endless City (2008) and Living in the Endless City (2011) both by Burdett and Sudjic. This new publication specifically focuses on the Urban Age Award which is organised by the Alfred Herrhausen Society as part of the Urban Age Conferences. With a focus on what is happening on the ground it is based on interviews with different stakeholders in each of the projects world cities. Those five cities are Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Cape Town. The editor of this new publication Ute Weiland has for the past five years coordinated said awards and worked closely with the local contributors in all five cities.

What is special on those two publications is the angel they portrait the urban world and the focus they chose for the respective research projects. The main topic is the rapid urbanisation, the fact that 80% of the world’s population will be living in urbanised areas by 2050 that urban means collective and that cities are in constant flux.

The publisher house Jovis has already a bit of a history with similar publications. There is for example Matthew Gandy’s Urban Constellations (2011) as one of the recent publications in this area. In fact Keil does specifically refer to Gandy in his introduction and the two books even share partly the same title.

Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century. being a work in progress brings together a body of writings much more experimental and investigative in comparison. Whilst this might be interpreted as a lack of focus or clear scope at times, it does surprise the reader with raw concepts and very direct lines thought making for a joyful read. Further more it does not require to be read from cover to cover, rather it can be picket up to read just one of the essays and read others maybe later.

It is structured along four topics: Foundations, Themes, Essay and Images and Regions. The first topic presents some ‘foundational thinking on suburbanisation’. The second topic ‘elaborated on those themes with emphasis on redevelopment, risk, boundaries, water, sewage, and transportation. These topics intertwined with the research project’s main points of Land, Governance and Infrastructure. Whilst this organisational structure whilst they might make sense from a project point of view it not as easily accessible for the generally interested reader.

book coverImage taken from the bad-news-beat.org / The waste lands of Fort Mcmurray AB.

The are pieces like “Forth McMurray, the Suburb sat the End of the Highway” by Clair Major describing the context of one of Canada’s two purely business driven settlements just north of Edmonton fuelled by the large oil sands. Or on the other hand an Essay by Alan Mabin “Suburbanisms in Africa” where he discusses not just the suburbs as places but mainly suburban as a term and its meaning in a culturally very different context. He for example points out how difficult it is to translate the term suburb or indeed suburbanises to other languages. For example in places such the urbanised areas of South Africa where beside the local/traditional languages plus English, French and Portuguese all compete for the meaning full expression such terminologies become very fluid in deed creating a complex concept of their own undermining all efforts to frame the topics with key terms.

The project plans a very comprehensive dissemination strategy including conferences and article, but also summer schools. So there will be much more to come from this project and research collective. Preview PDF for this publication is available HERE.

book spreadImage taken from the perfact.org / Book spread Handmade Urbanism showing sketch illustrations.

Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town has its focus on what is happening on the ground in each of the five metropolis regions and is being supported by the worldwide operating initiative Urban Age Award sponsored by Deutsche Bank.

The premise of the initiative is that empowering the local population and supporting them to organise their own projects will lead to more sustainable and lasting projects and increases the communities resilience. These aspects are investigated through the interviews and discussions each locations is portrayed by. This is frased by Wolfgang Nowak, the initiator of the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award in his interview as: “I am not one of these people, like a Florence Nightingale, who stands and gives out soup to the poor (she has in fact done a whole lot more, for people and science). What we want is to enable the poor no longer to accept soup queues and produce their own soup.” (annotation added)

The book structure is organised along the cities. This main body is introduced by a series of essays creating a context for the project. These are by Wolfgang Nowak, Ute E. Wieland and Richard Sennett. These essays are not extensive in length, but try to be very concise.

The main part of the book presents a range of information about each location. There are basic statistics and data key figures information, and a short introduction to each of the three shortlisted projects. This is then followed by a series of interviews with local stakeholders. Experts from the jury, the local government as well as the project initiators.

The book also comes with a cd so you can in addition watch the documentary about the award and hear a bit more about community-driven initiatives. Runtime only 5:30. Also the publisher offers a online preview in PDF for this publication, available HERE.

Both books provide a good overview and outline of these kind of projects. Both projects have a large scope but the struggle between global level of organisation and local level of operation is very apparent. It leaves the reader wondering what exactly do we take from all this? Urban Constellations is the one that makes for a good read with experimental thoughts and Handmade Urbanism is the more descriptive discussion type of publication.

Graphically the two books have very different approaches. Handmade Urbanism translates the topic literally and all illustrations are hand drawn sketches and symbols. Urban Constellations makes extensive use of photographs documenting places mainly views onto or into suburbs. It however a rather weak part of the book, the illustrations do not live up to the surprises the essays manage to challenge the readers with.

book coverImage taken from the Perfact / Handmade Urbanism book cover.

Keil, R. ed., 2013. Suburban Constellations. Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century., Berlin: Jovis Verlag.
Rosa, M.L. & Weiland, U.E. eds., 2013. Handmade urbanism: from community initiatives to participatory models : Mumbai, São Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cape Town, Berlin: Jovis Verlag.

Continue reading »

Review: Designing for the situated and public visualisation of urban data

Journal of Urban Technology, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2012
Designing for the situated and public visualisation of urban data
by Andrew Vande Moere & Dan Hill

THE authors point out recent urban data visualisation still remains on the stage of simply providing statistical data, and it is ineffective to make better understanding about the interaction of the massive and complex urban data. They argue public policy should be changed to open more public data, which are including local characteristics, to raise public awareness and encourage actionable public participation.

Through five main parts; theoretical part (data and public visualisation) – Recent projects – Student projects – characteristics of urban visualisation – conclusion, this article draws the question and tries to answer against how we can visualise the complex and continuously changing condition of cities, where have different problems by particular factors in different parts within a city, and how we can expect the unpredictable condition in the information age.

The authors premise that the character of place has been formulated by economic and cultural patterns based on the rock of physical and geographical aspects, and these patterns adversely facilitate the physical change.  In the past, the production of the place represented the specific character of the place, and it had coupled with the regional change. However, since cities have transformed their industry from material based to knowledge based, they have been showing the movement of hominization. This paper argues that the character of the city in this era can be revealed by the data, which are endlessly producing in the city, and we can find the difference between cities by the analysis of the data.  Therefore, the urban data is not an indicator of urban activities but also the driving force leading qualitative changing of the urban environment.

Particularly, previous data unilaterally delivered statistical data of urban areas, but recent the urban data stimulate active participation of citizen by well-developed mobile devices and illustrate what feedbacks are creating by the citizen. And the authors emphasize the following elements are essential to visualise the urban data.  
1) Situated : contextual, local, social
2) Informative: feedback, insightful, consistent
3) Functional: medium, participate, opportunistic, aesthetic, trustworthy, persuasive

Despite a lot of attractive contents, the most impressive point in the article is the well-organised logical flow of what they use; Neo-industrial city (production of data) – open data (role of public data) – social visualisation (impact of data) – urban computing (technological integration) – urban scene (combination of data & urban environment), to explain the meaning of data in this period, its social role and the combination with the physical environment. When we consider the vague use and weak logical connection of the concepts surrounding the data and urban areas, it is a profound approach. This article reminds us to make a coherent structure and clear correlation is an critical issue to set up the base of opinion and to insist it by writing.

To cite this article: Andrew Vande Moere & Dan Hill (2012) Designing for the Situated and Public Visualization of Urban Data, Journal of Urban Technology, 19:2, 25-46
 
 
Continue reading »

Review: Designing for the situated and public visualisation of urban data

Journal of Urban Technology, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2012
Designing for the situated and public visualisation of urban data
by Andrew Vande Moere & Dan Hill

THE authors point out recent urban data visualisation still remains on the stage of simply providing statistical data, and it is ineffective to make better understanding about the interaction of the massive and complex urban data. They argue public policy should be changed to open more public data, which are including local characteristics, to raise public awareness and encourage actionable public participation.

Through five main parts; theoretical part (data and public visualisation) – Recent projects – Student projects – characteristics of urban visualisation – conclusion, this article draws the question and tries to answer against how we can visualise the complex and continuously changing condition of cities, where have different problems by particular factors in different parts within a city, and how we can expect the unpredictable condition in the information age.

The authors premise that the character of place has been formulated by economic and cultural patterns based on the rock of physical and geographical aspects, and these patterns adversely facilitate the physical change.  In the past, the production of the place represented the specific character of the place, and it had coupled with the regional change. However, since cities have transformed their industry from material based to knowledge based, they have been showing the movement of hominization. This paper argues that the character of the city in this era can be revealed by the data, which are endlessly producing in the city, and we can find the difference between cities by the analysis of the data.  Therefore, the urban data is not an indicator of urban activities but also the driving force leading qualitative changing of the urban environment.

Particularly, previous data unilaterally delivered statistical data of urban areas, but recent the urban data stimulate active participation of citizen by well-developed mobile devices and illustrate what feedbacks are creating by the citizen. And the authors emphasize the following elements are essential to visualise the urban data.  
1) Situated : contextual, local, social
2) Informative: feedback, insightful, consistent
3) Functional: medium, participate, opportunistic, aesthetic, trustworthy, persuasive

Despite a lot of attractive contents, the most impressive point in the article is the well-organised logical flow of what they use; Neo-industrial city (production of data) – open data (role of public data) – social visualisation (impact of data) – urban computing (technological integration) – urban scene (combination of data & urban environment), to explain the meaning of data in this period, its social role and the combination with the physical environment. When we consider the vague use and weak logical connection of the concepts surrounding the data and urban areas, it is a profound approach. This article reminds us to make a coherent structure and clear correlation is an critical issue to set up the base of opinion and to insist it by writing.

To cite this article: Andrew Vande Moere & Dan Hill (2012) Designing for the Situated and Public Visualization of Urban Data, Journal of Urban Technology, 19:2, 25-46
 
 
Continue reading »

Review: City Sense – Shaping our environment with real-time data

 

Image1. The cover image of ‘City Sense – Shaping our environment with real-time data’

Since 2005, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona, which is a provocative architectural school and research institution, has opened architectural competition once in every two years. This competition seeks new types of architectural experiments in the fast changing urban environment and is gaining an international reputation over the world. The most recent competition was held in 2011, and 275 groups participated in from 98 countries. The themes of the competition have expected ideal projections in the future rather than current urban situations; therefore, it is a bit harder to articulate architectural ideas of the themes than other competitions.
 
The book “City Sense – Shaping our environment with real-time data”, which was published by ACTAR, is the outcome of the competition in 2011 and the title of the book is the same as it of the competition. 
 
High speed information and communication technologies have created more possibilities of diversity, mobility and change in the city that comparatively the speed of change is lower than the speed of the technologies by its physical nature. Therefore, urban design and urban planning in the future would claim not traditional approaches for physical urban structure but more and more concerns of immaterial and invisible urban factors based on the development of the technology. In the preface of City Sense, Manuel Gausa, Dean of IAAC, argues that new urban dynamics will emerge from interactive, synchronous and integrated information in multi-level of urban areas, not physical characteristics any more. He explains the purpose of this competition was to find innovative ways of urban design for increasing civic participation, interactive response with the urban environment and real-time information. 
 

Image 2. page 76-77. Honourable Mention- THE DATA-CITIZEN DRIVEN CITY

Image 3. Second prize winner- THE CYBORG LANDSCAPE

 

Image 4. Third prize winner- RCNHA 2030+
 


Image 5. Honourable Mention- 0kWhcity


 The publisher divided competition entry works into six categories: Sensors & Data, Adaptive & Reactive, Behavioural systems, Parametric technology, Social & Collaborative and Theories & Strategies. There are many fresh and fascinating ideas to show various approaches to architectural and urban design. For example, enhancing digital networks in urban areas by social media and applying to urban management, reducing the rate of risky incidences of Chicago through making 1/25 scale testing model of Chicago, creating on-offline network for exchanging second-hand goods and suggestion for architectural system to checking environmental pollution in the site of landfill.

Among lots of entertaining works, Francisco’s work, which is the first prize winner, is outstanding. Francisco Castillo Navarro is an architect and interactive designer. After he graduated from ETSAS and UPF, he set up his own research group: Responsive Environments and has been doing several research projects focus on the urban environment changes.
 



Image 6. pp.82-83. First prize winner– CITY DATA SENSING

 

Image 7. Panel image of CITY DATA SENSING

 
His idea is to collect invisible but influential data for urban life such as the flows of energy, transportation and economic, and to provide these data with citizen based on real-time. It leads the change of citizen activities and then new information are generated by these changes, as the result, the citizen and the information in urban endlessly foster the interaction between them.
The most participants are bound in physical architectural suggestions as the outcome of the competition; however, Francisco illustrates that integrated system for real-time information, which would stimulate sustainable interactive actions of citizen, could become an aggressive outcome of urban design in the digital era. Unlike other entry works which started from architectural ideas, his approach began from the other fields such as collecting real-time data, visualisation of big data and urban modelling. His final images for the competition could be understood as pretending to describe multiple urban data; however, his actual final work is a movie file to display collecting urban information on tidal system and visualising it.  As the result, other participants demonstrate images and systems at the moment; however, Francisco’s work suggests that the tidal changes of urban information and the visualising structure of real operating situation. Please check his movie image here.  On his blog pages, there are nice information of 3d printing and robotic fabrication as well as his works. Blog1 and Blog2. 
 
The new book of ACTAR is too full of suggestions to regard just the outcome of idea competition. Above all, this book clearly points out that new urban environment based on the rapid developing technologies pushes architects need to collaborate with other fields more than before. It reminds us to consider how the urban environment will be changed by integrated set of information from individuals and institutions, and how new technologies impact on architecture.
Secondly, all winning projects of the competition propose specific own urban system connecting with all urban area not separate buildings. Traditional design approach, which means the sequence of analysing site, finding similar cases, making concept idea, developing mass and building up 3d model, cannot be available anymore for new urban design that needs to understand and develop urban networks and its system.
 
Of course, there are some disappointing parts.
All participants submitted three panel images through the internet, but it is doubtful whether traditional panel images would be applicable to explain invisible flow of data in urban areas or not. As we regard that the real outcome of the first prize winner is a movie image, IAAC needs to revise the format of the submission. On the one hand, there are many fresh ideas and well finished projects. On the other hand, I think the most projects are not far away from pre-existing design methods and are rooted in technical optimism that the city could be effectively controlled by one system. Also, the size of the book is relatively small. It is convenient to carry, but uncomfortable to look at images.
 
But it is obvious to allow this book as a good reference to designate the influence of the technologies on the city and alternative ways of urban design in digital era.
 
The detailed contents and the entry works of last competitions are well arranged on the homepage of IAAC. Please visit there.  
1st competition- Self-Sufficient Housing, 2005http://bit.ly/YMF79q
2nd competition- Self-Sufficient Housing, THE SELF-FAB HOUSE, 2007http://bit.ly/WphN53
3rd competition- THE SELF-SUFFICIENT CITY: Envisioning the habitat of the future, 2009http://bit.ly/13zxrgk
4th competition- THE SELF-SUFFICIENT CITY: Envisioning the habitat of the future, 2011http://bit.ly/Crab7

 

Basic outcome is below.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: ACTAR / Institut d’Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya (IAAC)
                 (2 Jan 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415391293
ISBN-13: 978-8415391296
Product Dimensions: 16 x 12.2 x 2.3

Continue reading »

Review: City Sense – Shaping our environment with real-time data

 

Image1. The cover image of ‘City Sense – Shaping our environment with real-time data’

Since 2005, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona, which is a provocative architectural school and research institution, has opened architectural competition once in every two years. This competition seeks new types of architectural experiments in the fast changing urban environment and is gaining an international reputation over the world. The most recent competition was held in 2011, and 275 groups participated in from 98 countries. The themes of the competition have expected ideal projections in the future rather than current urban situations; therefore, it is a bit harder to articulate architectural ideas of the themes than other competitions.
 
The book “City Sense – Shaping our environment with real-time data”, which was published by ACTAR, is the outcome of the competition in 2011 and the title of the book is the same as it of the competition. 
 
High speed information and communication technologies have created more possibilities of diversity, mobility and change in the city that comparatively the speed of change is lower than the speed of the technologies by its physical nature. Therefore, urban design and urban planning in the future would claim not traditional approaches for physical urban structure but more and more concerns of immaterial and invisible urban factors based on the development of the technology. In the preface of City Sense, Manuel Gausa, Dean of IAAC, argues that new urban dynamics will emerge from interactive, synchronous and integrated information in multi-level of urban areas, not physical characteristics any more. He explains the purpose of this competition was to find innovative ways of urban design for increasing civic participation, interactive response with the urban environment and real-time information. 
 

Image 2. page 76-77. Honourable Mention- THE DATA-CITIZEN DRIVEN CITY

Image 3. Second prize winner- THE CYBORG LANDSCAPE

 

Image 4. Third prize winner- RCNHA 2030+
 


Image 5. Honourable Mention- 0kWhcity


 The publisher divided competition entry works into six categories: Sensors & Data, Adaptive & Reactive, Behavioural systems, Parametric technology, Social & Collaborative and Theories & Strategies. There are many fresh and fascinating ideas to show various approaches to architectural and urban design. For example, enhancing digital networks in urban areas by social media and applying to urban management, reducing the rate of risky incidences of Chicago through making 1/25 scale testing model of Chicago, creating on-offline network for exchanging second-hand goods and suggestion for architectural system to checking environmental pollution in the site of landfill.

Among lots of entertaining works, Francisco’s work, which is the first prize winner, is outstanding. Francisco Castillo Navarro is an architect and interactive designer. After he graduated from ETSAS and UPF, he set up his own research group: Responsive Environments and has been doing several research projects focus on the urban environment changes.
 



Image 6. pp.82-83. First prize winner– CITY DATA SENSING

 

Image 7. Panel image of CITY DATA SENSING

 
His idea is to collect invisible but influential data for urban life such as the flows of energy, transportation and economic, and to provide these data with citizen based on real-time. It leads the change of citizen activities and then new information are generated by these changes, as the result, the citizen and the information in urban endlessly foster the interaction between them.
The most participants are bound in physical architectural suggestions as the outcome of the competition; however, Francisco illustrates that integrated system for real-time information, which would stimulate sustainable interactive actions of citizen, could become an aggressive outcome of urban design in the digital era. Unlike other entry works which started from architectural ideas, his approach began from the other fields such as collecting real-time data, visualisation of big data and urban modelling. His final images for the competition could be understood as pretending to describe multiple urban data; however, his actual final work is a movie file to display collecting urban information on tidal system and visualising it.  As the result, other participants demonstrate images and systems at the moment; however, Francisco’s work suggests that the tidal changes of urban information and the visualising structure of real operating situation. Please check his movie image here.  On his blog pages, there are nice information of 3d printing and robotic fabrication as well as his works. Blog1 and Blog2. 
 
The new book of ACTAR is too full of suggestions to regard just the outcome of idea competition. Above all, this book clearly points out that new urban environment based on the rapid developing technologies pushes architects need to collaborate with other fields more than before. It reminds us to consider how the urban environment will be changed by integrated set of information from individuals and institutions, and how new technologies impact on architecture.
Secondly, all winning projects of the competition propose specific own urban system connecting with all urban area not separate buildings. Traditional design approach, which means the sequence of analysing site, finding similar cases, making concept idea, developing mass and building up 3d model, cannot be available anymore for new urban design that needs to understand and develop urban networks and its system.
 
Of course, there are some disappointing parts.
All participants submitted three panel images through the internet, but it is doubtful whether traditional panel images would be applicable to explain invisible flow of data in urban areas or not. As we regard that the real outcome of the first prize winner is a movie image, IAAC needs to revise the format of the submission. On the one hand, there are many fresh ideas and well finished projects. On the other hand, I think the most projects are not far away from pre-existing design methods and are rooted in technical optimism that the city could be effectively controlled by one system. Also, the size of the book is relatively small. It is convenient to carry, but uncomfortable to look at images.
 
But it is obvious to allow this book as a good reference to designate the influence of the technologies on the city and alternative ways of urban design in digital era.
 
The detailed contents and the entry works of last competitions are well arranged on the homepage of IAAC. Please visit there.  
1st competition- Self-Sufficient Housing, 2005http://bit.ly/YMF79q
2nd competition- Self-Sufficient Housing, THE SELF-FAB HOUSE, 2007http://bit.ly/WphN53
3rd competition- THE SELF-SUFFICIENT CITY: Envisioning the habitat of the future, 2009http://bit.ly/13zxrgk
4th competition- THE SELF-SUFFICIENT CITY: Envisioning the habitat of the future, 2011http://bit.ly/Crab7

 

Basic outcome is below.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: ACTAR / Institut d’Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya (IAAC)
                 (2 Jan 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415391293
ISBN-13: 978-8415391296
Product Dimensions: 16 x 12.2 x 2.3

Continue reading »

Review: Basics Landscape Architecture 01: Urban Design

Cover page of Basics Landscape Architecture 01: Urban Design
When I was an architectural student for my bachelor, nobody told me and taught me about urban theory and urban design. And it became the main reason why I started to learn urban studies in London after some years. 
When I attended the first design class for designing house and small building in the school, professors pushed us to consider the meanings of architecture and home, the difference between public space and private space, the characteristics of users, design methods and so on. Several good references were introduced as well.
However, the next semester after the house design, still I had not enough to finalize one mass or one building, I was thrown into ‘urban’ and had to design the building in the context of urban and urban itself.   
In the beginning, it was very exciting to make something new in large and complex area by myself. But, in an instant, I realized it is really difficult to distinguish what I have to consider, how I analyze urban aspects, how the aspects could be led to design materials and what urban really is. Nobody told me and it was hard to find something what exactly explains the way of urban design. Furthermore, the embarrassment by jumping into large scale from small level was tantamount to facing a great wall.
At that time, I was thinking that ‘Is there any readable book to show the guideline of urban design?’. I believe other people who studied or have been studying urban design at the department of architecture might suffer similar experience with me.

 

Basics Landscape Architecture 01: Urban Design from AVA Publishing should be a good reference for people who have the same problem what I had before. This book is composed of six chapters: What is Urban Design?, Context, Measure, Movement, Community and Culture, Projects and Processes. Each chapter provides the meaning of the title, summarizes main issues and spreads out relevant examples.
Like other basic series of AVA Publishing, it provides general knowledge of urban design with core issues, key individuals and good design examples for beginner, rather than deep-abundant thought for broader discussion. 
In fact, many elements of the contents are complicated and vague to define each meaning and suggest compatible cases; therefore, the frantic effort of the authors which translates to comfortable language would be respectable.

 

Page 20-21: Evolution of urban form
 



For example, this book sums up urban growth as a chain of events : clusters of dwellings – City walls – Sprawl – massive growth in the industrial age – new urban forms (even it would be too simplified), and the authors argue that recent urban growth should be focused on not physical land expansion but social facts such as international migration. 
 
The best point of this book is to excite curiosity of readers and stimulate finding key issues, individuals and cities. In my case, I took an interest again in grid system which is the oldest method of urban design. Grid system has been developed since Ancient Greece and was intensely used by Roman Empire. It was not just a tool for construction of new city but a symbol of their domination over nature as well as imperial power. Personally, I have been interested in the grid structure of cities such as Barcelona, New york and some Korean modern cities. After reading the part of the grid, ‘The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History’ was borrowed from library and unfolded additional texts.    

 

Page 143: Structure-Barcelona Grid

 

 

Also, the book mentions how urban elements can be developed as the main design concept and how it leads the project. The last chapter of the book, Projects and Processes, introduces five basic elements of urban design: Structure, Line, Point, Beyond and Green, and briefly provides some examples. In the case of Line, the authors insist that lines in urban projects occasionally represent the movements in urban areas. Complex urban scenarios and expanding urban movements in cities can be organized by infusing conscious lines into the projects such as the cases of Barcelona, New York and Hong Kong.




Page 148-149: Case Study-High Line

 

Page 150-151: Case Study-Euralille

 

Total 170 pages with many images is not a big burden as the first step of urban design, so the book is recommendable for students who just started studying urban design such as 3rd year or intermediate course students.  
Basics Landscape Architecture 01: Urban Design

Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Ava Publishing (Oct 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 2940411123
ISBN-13: 978-2940411122
Product Dimensions: 16 x 1.7 x 23 cm

 

Continue reading »

Review: Basics Landscape Architecture 01: Urban Design

Cover page of Basics Landscape Architecture 01: Urban Design
When I was an architectural student for my bachelor, nobody told me and taught me about urban theory and urban design. And it became the main reason why I started to learn urban studies in London after some years. 
When I attended the first design class for designing house and small building in the school, professors pushed us to consider the meanings of architecture and home, the difference between public space and private space, the characteristics of users, design methods and so on. Several good references were introduced as well.
However, the next semester after the house design, still I had not enough to finalize one mass or one building, I was thrown into ‘urban’ and had to design the building in the context of urban and urban itself.   
In the beginning, it was very exciting to make something new in large and complex area by myself. But, in an instant, I realized it is really difficult to distinguish what I have to consider, how I analyze urban aspects, how the aspects could be led to design materials and what urban really is. Nobody told me and it was hard to find something what exactly explains the way of urban design. Furthermore, the embarrassment by jumping into large scale from small level was tantamount to facing a great wall.
At that time, I was thinking that ‘Is there any readable book to show the guideline of urban design?’. I believe other people who studied or have been studying urban design at the department of architecture might suffer similar experience with me.

 

Basics Landscape Architecture 01: Urban Design from AVA Publishing should be a good reference for people who have the same problem what I had before. This book is composed of six chapters: What is Urban Design?, Context, Measure, Movement, Community and Culture, Projects and Processes. Each chapter provides the meaning of the title, summarizes main issues and spreads out relevant examples.
Like other basic series of AVA Publishing, it provides general knowledge of urban design with core issues, key individuals and good design examples for beginner, rather than deep-abundant thought for broader discussion. 
In fact, many elements of the contents are complicated and vague to define each meaning and suggest compatible cases; therefore, the frantic effort of the authors which translates to comfortable language would be respectable.

 

Page 20-21: Evolution of urban form
 



For example, this book sums up urban growth as a chain of events : clusters of dwellings – City walls – Sprawl – massive growth in the industrial age – new urban forms (even it would be too simplified), and the authors argue that recent urban growth should be focused on not physical land expansion but social facts such as international migration. 
 
The best point of this book is to excite curiosity of readers and stimulate finding key issues, individuals and cities. In my case, I took an interest again in grid system which is the oldest method of urban design. Grid system has been developed since Ancient Greece and was intensely used by Roman Empire. It was not just a tool for construction of new city but a symbol of their domination over nature as well as imperial power. Personally, I have been interested in the grid structure of cities such as Barcelona, New york and some Korean modern cities. After reading the part of the grid, ‘The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History’ was borrowed from library and unfolded additional texts.    

 

Page 143: Structure-Barcelona Grid

 

 

Also, the book mentions how urban elements can be developed as the main design concept and how it leads the project. The last chapter of the book, Projects and Processes, introduces five basic elements of urban design: Structure, Line, Point, Beyond and Green, and briefly provides some examples. In the case of Line, the authors insist that lines in urban projects occasionally represent the movements in urban areas. Complex urban scenarios and expanding urban movements in cities can be organized by infusing conscious lines into the projects such as the cases of Barcelona, New York and Hong Kong.




Page 148-149: Case Study-High Line

 

Page 150-151: Case Study-Euralille

 

Total 170 pages with many images is not a big burden as the first step of urban design, so the book is recommendable for students who just started studying urban design such as 3rd year or intermediate course students.  
Basics Landscape Architecture 01: Urban Design

Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Ava Publishing (Oct 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 2940411123
ISBN-13: 978-2940411122
Product Dimensions: 16 x 1.7 x 23 cm

 

Continue reading »

Book – Informotion

Infographics are everywhere and a lot of development both in therms of technology and style has gone into the representation of information in the last few years. It is however an old topic and through out the past century aspects of graphics, design and technology in regards to the presentation of data and information were developed.

The Gestalt Theory (Detailed article in the German Wikipedia) was developed in the early 20s of the last century or Tufte (earlier on urbanTick) wrote his much influential books in the 80s and 90s to name two.

Image taken from the189.com / Informotion project by Bryan Ku docuemnting the final game in the 122nd edition of the Wimbeldon Championship Men’s Final between tennis giants Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. See the animated version HERE.

The reason for some more recent development in information design and especially and especially handling is connected to technological and practical changes, but also the increased availability of raw data and details to be turned into information graphics.

Often however the subject to the data is temporal or process based with need for background or lead in, change of place or frequent change of perspective. For these cases animated inforgraphics can be a great way to communicate knowledge. Besides who doesn’t like to look at motion pictures? It really fits in with the whole TV consuming sort of urban lifestyle.

Its pretty save to say, that for the first time the book Informotion: Animated Infographics by Gestalten bring together a selection of the best motion picture graphics communicating knowledge. All of the examples are very recent projects and most can be found on either vimeo or youtube of course. However the interesting bit on the book is the context the examples are being put in. The editors Tim Finke and Sebastian Manger put great emphasis on contextual details in a wider sense. Where publications like the recent Taschen Infographics are a mere selection of great examples the Informotion book includes the theoretical and practical aspects too.

This of course makes the book heavier to read, it’s also but not only to look at, but you get a lot more out of it for your practice. Besides inspiration the book provides a refresh and update on the graphic, visual and design theories as well as the technical details of animation production such as software, storyboards or size, resolution or format.

Image taken from binalogue.com / Images showing the page spread design. The example shown here is an animated infographic by binalogue showing the CANAL Isabel II water cycle. See video below for the original animation.

There is also one of the aNCL (animated New City Landscape) informmotion graphics included as anexample in the book (p.188-189). It is the animation produced in collaboration between urbanTick and Anders Johansson on the Twitter landscape in the area arond the city of Zuerich in Switzerland. The original post on the animation can be found here, the animation is below.

Of course there is something awkward about a printed book about animated examples. However the content lives up to the expectations and whilst the animations can not be shown in the book the story can still be told. Even more so that the examples are discussed in detail and help to illustrate the theoretical elements of the book. In this sense there is literally more to the book than just the pictures and lines of text there is actual information in there plus Gestalten have a website where readers can get additional info and links to the animations. The list of examples can be found HERE.

Image taken from Gestalten / Book cover.

Finke, T. & Manger, S. eds., 2012. Informotion: Animated Infographics, Berlin: Gestalten.

Continue reading »

Book – Informotion

Infographics are everywhere and a lot of development both in therms of technology and style has gone into the representation of information in the last few years. It is however an old topic and through out the past century aspects of graphics, design and technology in regards to the presentation of data and information were developed.

The Gestalt Theory (Detailed article in the German Wikipedia) was developed in the early 20s of the last century or Tufte (earlier on urbanTick) wrote his much influential books in the 80s and 90s to name two.

Image taken from the189.com / Informotion project by Bryan Ku docuemnting the final game in the 122nd edition of the Wimbeldon Championship Men’s Final between tennis giants Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. See the animated version HERE.

The reason for some more recent development in information design and especially and especially handling is connected to technological and practical changes, but also the increased availability of raw data and details to be turned into information graphics.

Often however the subject to the data is temporal or process based with need for background or lead in, change of place or frequent change of perspective. For these cases animated inforgraphics can be a great way to communicate knowledge. Besides who doesn’t like to look at motion pictures? It really fits in with the whole TV consuming sort of urban lifestyle.

Its pretty save to say, that for the first time the book Informotion: Animated Infographics by Gestalten bring together a selection of the best motion picture graphics communicating knowledge. All of the examples are very recent projects and most can be found on either vimeo or youtube of course. However the interesting bit on the book is the context the examples are being put in. The editors Tim Finke and Sebastian Manger put great emphasis on contextual details in a wider sense. Where publications like the recent Taschen Infographics are a mere selection of great examples the Informotion book includes the theoretical and practical aspects too.

This of course makes the book heavier to read, it’s also but not only to look at, but you get a lot more out of it for your practice. Besides inspiration the book provides a refresh and update on the graphic, visual and design theories as well as the technical details of animation production such as software, storyboards or size, resolution or format.

Image taken from binalogue.com / Images showing the page spread design. The example shown here is an animated infographic by binalogue showing the CANAL Isabel II water cycle. See video below for the original animation.

There is also one of the aNCL (animated New City Landscape) informmotion graphics included as anexample in the book (p.188-189). It is the animation produced in collaboration between urbanTick and Anders Johansson on the Twitter landscape in the area arond the city of Zuerich in Switzerland. The original post on the animation can be found here, the animation is below.

Of course there is something awkward about a printed book about animated examples. However the content lives up to the expectations and whilst the animations can not be shown in the book the story can still be told. Even more so that the examples are discussed in detail and help to illustrate the theoretical elements of the book. In this sense there is literally more to the book than just the pictures and lines of text there is actual information in there plus Gestalten have a website where readers can get additional info and links to the animations. The list of examples can be found HERE.

Image taken from Gestalten / Book cover.

Finke, T. & Manger, S. eds., 2012. Informotion: Animated Infographics, Berlin: Gestalten.

Continue reading »

Book – Information Graphics

Information graphics are the subject to a brand new Taschen publication Information Graphics that is bringing complicated data made understandable through brilliant designs to a strong coffee table near you. The book is colourful with strong visual guidance, large, very large and heavy, some 480 pages heavy. As this outline shows, its a bold publication that doesn’t hide behind all the various examples of graphic design, but provides a tasteful framework to showcase the many awesome examples of data narratives.

Cover Information Graphics
Image taken from aestheticsofjoy by Stephanie Posavec / Writing without words exploring possibilities to visually represent text.

Of course info graphics are currently trending and one of the most talked and specially passed around topic, not only online but more recently also in the media. All the large media houses have a special information design group and the publication showcases a number of these examples. In this context the book is not the first such collection of good designed information, but certainly one of the boldest in a positive sense.
The publication is edited by Julius Wiedemann und features contributions by Sandra Rendgen, Richard Saul Wurman, Simon Rogers from the Guardian Data Blog and Paolo Ciuccarelli. This is a very interesting team Taschen has put together for this publication with, whilst still being information specialists, covering a broad spectrum of perspectives and expertise.

NYT Historic Shift NYT Historic Shift
Image taken from dynamicdiagrams by NYT / Interactive visualisation showing the changes in election results over the period 2006-2010. Find the interactive version at NYT

Where other publications, for examples Data Flow by Gestalten, Otto Neurat by NAi or indeed Edward Tufte focus on the context of the graphics, the theoretical background of narrating information as well as the actual teaching of how to present information the Taschen publication is a showcase. It is foremost about showing great examples from a variety of sources on how to visualise data sets graphically in mainly 2D. There are a few web based, animated or interactive examples too though. This takes into account that complexity showing in these graphics is continually rising.

Husevaag Escape Routes Husevaag Escape Routes
Image by Torgeir Husevaag / Escape Routes, 2010-2011. A series of drawing studying possibilities of spatial movement under given time constraints. On the left the map and on the right a detail of some of the blue shaded location sixth path details

Showcasing such a large collection of examples is tricky in that the ordering system as to how the examples are organised becomes very prominent and therefore important. Here the editor has decided to go with a very low number of groups to arrange the info graphics. Where other publications make an exercise out of inventing a whole new system to clarify and characterise the examples this one takes the simple approach. This both refreshingly straight forward and annoyingly rough. What do the chosen terms Location, Time, Category and Hierarchy actually describe, or more importantly how are they distinguished?
The questions remain unanswered however, this does not stand in the way to enjoy the great quality and variety this collection shows. Its a book to brows, jump and flip, a publication you will keep in reach for a long time and always go back to to enjoy or indeed recharge your design batteries.

Cover Information Graphics
Image by Taschen / Book cover Information Graphics.

Rendgen, S., 2012. Information Graphics J. Wiedemann, ed., Köln: Taschen GmbH.

Continue reading »

Book – Information Graphics

Information graphics are the subject to a brand new Taschen publication Information Graphics that is bringing complicated data made understandable through brilliant designs to a strong coffee table near you. The book is colourful with strong visual guidance, large, very large and heavy, some 480 pages heavy. As this outline shows, its a bold publication that doesn’t hide behind all the various examples of graphic design, but provides a tasteful framework to showcase the many awesome examples of data narratives.

Cover Information Graphics
Image taken from aestheticsofjoy by Stephanie Posavec / Writing without words exploring possibilities to visually represent text.

Of course info graphics are currently trending and one of the most talked and specially passed around topic, not only online but more recently also in the media. All the large media houses have a special information design group and the publication showcases a number of these examples. In this context the book is not the first such collection of good designed information, but certainly one of the boldest in a positive sense.
The publication is edited by Julius Wiedemann und features contributions by Sandra Rendgen, Richard Saul Wurman, Simon Rogers from the Guardian Data Blog and Paolo Ciuccarelli. This is a very interesting team Taschen has put together for this publication with, whilst still being information specialists, covering a broad spectrum of perspectives and expertise.

NYT Historic Shift NYT Historic Shift
Image taken from dynamicdiagrams by NYT / Interactive visualisation showing the changes in election results over the period 2006-2010. Find the interactive version at NYT

Where other publications, for examples Data Flow by Gestalten, Otto Neurat by NAi or indeed Edward Tufte focus on the context of the graphics, the theoretical background of narrating information as well as the actual teaching of how to present information the Taschen publication is a showcase. It is foremost about showing great examples from a variety of sources on how to visualise data sets graphically in mainly 2D. There are a few web based, animated or interactive examples too though. This takes into account that complexity showing in these graphics is continually rising.

Husevaag Escape Routes Husevaag Escape Routes
Image by Torgeir Husevaag / Escape Routes, 2010-2011. A series of drawing studying possibilities of spatial movement under given time constraints. On the left the map and on the right a detail of some of the blue shaded location sixth path details

Showcasing such a large collection of examples is tricky in that the ordering system as to how the examples are organised becomes very prominent and therefore important. Here the editor has decided to go with a very low number of groups to arrange the info graphics. Where other publications make an exercise out of inventing a whole new system to clarify and characterise the examples this one takes the simple approach. This both refreshingly straight forward and annoyingly rough. What do the chosen terms Location, Time, Category and Hierarchy actually describe, or more importantly how are they distinguished?
The questions remain unanswered however, this does not stand in the way to enjoy the great quality and variety this collection shows. Its a book to brows, jump and flip, a publication you will keep in reach for a long time and always go back to to enjoy or indeed recharge your design batteries.

Cover Information Graphics
Image by Taschen / Book cover Information Graphics.

Rendgen, S., 2012. Information Graphics J. Wiedemann, ed., Köln: Taschen GmbH.

Continue reading »

Book – Infrastructure as Architecture

Infrastructure projects have grown into an important role in the public realm taking more and more responsibility in a social context. Over the past arguably hundred years more and more emphasis has be put in to infrastructure, being it transport services and facilities.

As a modernists take on the city technology was to be placed as the driving force behind planning and this of course shall also include infrastructural project. In fact especially here technology could be implemented with the help of additional arguments. Today, infrastructure is running as flag ship projects in many cases being put forward as statements both public and design wise.

Infrastructure as architecture
Image taken from dpr-barcelona / Hans Hollein Aircraft carrier city in landscape, project. Aerial perspective.

The Jovis publication Infrastructure as Architecture: Designing Composite Networks, edited by Katrina Stoll and Scott Lloyd takes a detailed look at this position infrastructure has grown into and how architecture relates to it, thus implying that design has to learn from both in order to support a new take on projects.

The publication discusses the matter in essays organised in five topics. These are: Infrastructure Economy, Infrastructure Ecology, Infrastructure Culture, Infrastructure Politics and Infrastructure Space/Networks. Contributors include for example Dana Cuff from UCLA, LateralOffice, UrbanLAB, Alexander D’Hooghe and MVRDV.

The essays cover a range of topics and reach from the presentation of practical projects, built and planned to theoretical essays of the discussion. Thus there is a wealth of different views that are, as the editors argue: ‘providing a framework for understanding the union of infrastructure and architecture’.

Of course it is on one hand a secret claim to but architects in the position to take on and reclaim design agency over infrastructure projects, but more importantly to discuss the dualities of presence and identity of building projects regardless of their function.

It is superbly interesting how this publication argues for a new take on infrastructure and how the argumentation might actually be point out what practice has already incorporated. Whilst the discussions around the relationships infrastructure is bedded into in the urban system is not new, there is a new approach being argued for. Modernists have taken it on at the beginning of the last century and in the 60s the Smithsons and Team X proposed a new take. More and more it grew into a systemic approach and whilst before it was always one or the other it is now being argued for as both, one and the other.

Appleyard and Lynch in A view from the Road already note that the road is producing scenery for the driver and the passengers it is at the same time dominating the landscape as a static bulky object. Alexander D’Hoogh is especially arguing for this in his essay contribution o the publication: The Objectification of Infrastructure: The cultural project of suburban infrastructure design.
This dualism of producing and being is the new aspect in this publication, but probably could in fact reach beyond. Testing this against current trends might revel a deeper interest of our times in this dualism and the fact that problems could have more than one state.

Infrastructure as architecture
Image taken from jonathandsolomon.com / Book cover. A preview of the publication is available from Jovis HERE. The Essay by Jonathan Solomon is available HERE.

Stoll, K. & Lloyd, S., 2010. Infrastructure as Architecture: Designing Composite Networks, Berlin: Jovis Verlag.

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Book – Infrastructure as Architecture

Infrastructure projects have grown into an important role in the public realm taking more and more responsibility in a social context. Over the past arguably hundred years more and more emphasis has be put in to infrastructure, being it transport services and facilities.

As a modernists take on the city technology was to be placed as the driving force behind planning and this of course shall also include infrastructural project. In fact especially here technology could be implemented with the help of additional arguments. Today, infrastructure is running as flag ship projects in many cases being put forward as statements both public and design wise.

Infrastructure as architecture
Image taken from dpr-barcelona / Hans Hollein Aircraft carrier city in landscape, project. Aerial perspective.

The Jovis publication Infrastructure as Architecture: Designing Composite Networks, edited by Katrina Stoll and Scott Lloyd takes a detailed look at this position infrastructure has grown into and how architecture relates to it, thus implying that design has to learn from both in order to support a new take on projects.

The publication discusses the matter in essays organised in five topics. These are: Infrastructure Economy, Infrastructure Ecology, Infrastructure Culture, Infrastructure Politics and Infrastructure Space/Networks. Contributors include for example Dana Cuff from UCLA, LateralOffice, UrbanLAB, Alexander D’Hooghe and MVRDV.

The essays cover a range of topics and reach from the presentation of practical projects, built and planned to theoretical essays of the discussion. Thus there is a wealth of different views that are, as the editors argue: ‘providing a framework for understanding the union of infrastructure and architecture’.

Of course it is on one hand a secret claim to but architects in the position to take on and reclaim design agency over infrastructure projects, but more importantly to discuss the dualities of presence and identity of building projects regardless of their function.

It is superbly interesting how this publication argues for a new take on infrastructure and how the argumentation might actually be point out what practice has already incorporated. Whilst the discussions around the relationships infrastructure is bedded into in the urban system is not new, there is a new approach being argued for. Modernists have taken it on at the beginning of the last century and in the 60s the Smithsons and Team X proposed a new take. More and more it grew into a systemic approach and whilst before it was always one or the other it is now being argued for as both, one and the other.

Appleyard and Lynch in A view from the Road already note that the road is producing scenery for the driver and the passengers it is at the same time dominating the landscape as a static bulky object. Alexander D’Hoogh is especially arguing for this in his essay contribution o the publication: The Objectification of Infrastructure: The cultural project of suburban infrastructure design.
This dualism of producing and being is the new aspect in this publication, but probably could in fact reach beyond. Testing this against current trends might revel a deeper interest of our times in this dualism and the fact that problems could have more than one state.

Infrastructure as architecture
Image taken from jonathandsolomon.com / Book cover. A preview of the publication is available from Jovis HERE. The Essay by Jonathan Solomon is available HERE.

Stoll, K. & Lloyd, S., 2010. Infrastructure as Architecture: Designing Composite Networks, Berlin: Jovis Verlag.

Continue reading »
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