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Cities: 10 Lines; Approaches to City and Open Territory Design


August 19, 2005
by Canadian Architect

The exhibition Cities: 10 Lines; Approaches to City and Open Territory Design takes place at Gund Hall at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design from December 1st to January 16th.

Curated by Joan Busquets and Felipe Correa, the exhibition is the outcome of extensive research on lines of work in the contemporary city, carried out over two years in the form of faculty research seminars. The seminars focused on the development of a pedagogic taxonomy that would allow better understanding of the methods and tools with which designers currently shape cities and open territories.

In the last three decades, we have witnessed a significant shift in the way in which designers are projecting the city. These new ways of working in the built environment are being deployed in multiple settings and encountering a wide array of cultures, scales and intensities. Furthermore, the notion that urban grounds can be successfully refurbished is expanding rapidly, and the innovative nature of these interventions is creating spaces of an unprecedented urban quality.

The scope broadly focuses on: new ways to organize infrastructure and programs; the role of the designer as an agent within the broader public/private field; new technological changes fuelled by a post-industrial context; and new understandings of operative contextualism. More specifically, the show will focus on an in-depth portrayal of the most relevant lines of work currently being deployed in the built environment. The initial taxonomy that will serve as a framework for the exhibition is as follows:

*Synthetic Gestures, key buildings with urban synergies
*Multiplied Grounds, the large urban artifact as a driver
*Tactical Maneuvers, minimum critical mass as a driver
*Reconfigured Surfaces; the restructuring of fine-grain open space
*Piecemeal Aggregations, the urban fragment at the intermediate scale
*Traditional Views
*Recycling Territories, large landscapes and decentralization
*Core Retrofitting, the updating of historic cores
*Analog Compositions, rethinking the Master Plan and its Scales
*Speculative Procedures, experimental investigations in urbanism

This particular research will endow the viewer with a framework about the role of the designer in the built environment as well as possible strategies and/or actions that can be taken upon encountering different projects and contexts. Furthermore, this investigation is one more initiative to develop a stronger urban culture that is more attuned to a post industrial condition, and acknowledges its inherent potential for unprecedented forms of urbanity. The exhibition will document the most significant, worldwide case studies of each approach and work its way back to their precedents and referents, establishing a theoretical framework and critical assessment of each line of work.

The exhibition will open in Cambridge, and then travel to locations throughout the Americas and Europe. It will be free and open to the public. Furthermore, a more extensive catalog that documents a larger number of case studies and precedents is scheduled for Spring 2006. For additional information, please contact Felipe Correa at [email protected]



Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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