Expanded Territories

Posted by InfraNet Lab on July 7, 2010 | PERMALINK

 

[99th Annual Conference, ACSA. Montreal, March 3-6, 2011.]

We are hosting a topic session at the 99th ACSA Annual Conference next March in Montreal. Our topic is titled Architecture’s Expanded Territories. If you are interested to submit a paper for the session (or any of the other great topics) read below for more. Here is how to submit. (Submissions are dueSeptember 15, 2010.)

Architecture’s Expanded Territories
Topic chairs: Lola Sheppard, University of Waterloo / Mason White, University of Toronto

In Rosalind Krauss’s 1979 essay “Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” (PDF) Krauss observed that the practice of sculpture had been obscured and could only qualify itself in opposition to architecture and landscape. Krauss identifies three additional practices of sculpture that sculpture had previously been burdened with and names them “site-construction,” marked sites,” and “axiomatic structures.” Taking up a similar cause in 2004, Anthony Vidler offered emergent practices for “Architectures Expanded Field,” (DOC) by arguing that “underlying the new architectural experimentation is a serious attempt to reconstrue the foundations of the discipline, not so much in singular terms, but in broader concepts that acknowledge an expanded field, while seeking to overcome the problematic dualisms that have plagued architecture for over a century: form and function, historicism and abstraction, utopia and reality, structure and enclosure.”

Vidler’s potent proclamation and offer to architecture to evolve with its time has incubated for more than 6 years. Where are we now in this (still) expanding field? This session will table the messy and contentious territory between architecture, landscape, ecology, and urban design. A territory whose foundation was cultivated by Benton MacKaye, planned by Constantinos Doxiadis, designed by Cedric Price, with recent developments chronicled by Keller Easterling, among others. In short, the session will look at where the XXL and the S meet, or a new architecture within our expanding territories.

It could be argued that the potential of an expanded territory is increasingly being hijacked by an agenda of “good practice,” in the name of sustainability, often reducing architecture to the operational concerns of construction efficiency and building performance on a particular site. This session asks what form, format, and programs might exist in the new territory afforded by a deeper understanding of site? Or, what is sustainable design without the burden of sustainability?

What defines these expanding territories? Architecture’s recent privileging of operational costs over capital costs is a paradigm shift in scale, program, and function. No longer relegated to façade design only, we are seeing ever-expanding ambiguities of architecture’s envelope. This session seeks to find these large territorial lines, interrogate them, design them, and expose them. What potential lies in the tools encouraging a widening envelope of design influence – environmental data, maps, politics, economies – upon a give site? Sometimes it might not even look like architecture.

The session calls for speculative design research proposals or critical papers to think big.How does design operate at the scale of the region or the globe? Forgoing utopian ambitions to design the region or the globe, how can design participate in the temporal space of emerging natural and artificial systems – energies, ecologies, mobilities, and, possibly most importantly, economies? What is the role and operation of the big project in our age of urgent environmental issues and crippled economy? Where do you stand in the expanding territory?