The Petropolis of Tomorrow
Posted by Neeraj on January 17, 2013 | PERMALINK

The Petropolis of Tomorrow is a design and research project, which examines new Petropolises — cities formed from resource extraction — associated with offshore oil extraction in South America. To date, infrastructure tied to natural resource extraction has rarely been designed using long-term, holistic planning. Despite the growing logistical landscape dedicated to oil extraction, little design effort has been afforded to engaging and empowering the unique social, cultural, environmental, and economic challenges which that faces these new communities. The Petropolis of Tomorrow is a multidisciplinary project undertaken in collaboration with The South American Project (SAP), Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Cornell University, and Rice University’s School of Architecture. Its aim is to provide new templates for architecture, urbanism and infrastructural design tied to resource extraction that privileges a systemic symbiosis between economic, political, environmental and social systems.  


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Bracket 03: At Extremes
Posted by InfraNet Lab on August 23, 2011 | PERMALINK

Editors: Maya Przybylski & Lola Sheppard
Editorial Advisors: Keller Easterling, Michael Hensel, Alessandra Ponte, François Roche, Hashim Sarkis, Julien De Smedt, Mark Wigley

[at Extremes] will examine architecture, infrastructure and technology as they operate in conditions of imbalance, negotiate tipping points and test limit states. In such conditions, the status quo is no longer possible; systems must extend performance and accommodate unpredictability. As new protocols emerge, new opportunities present themselves. Bracket [at Extremes] seeks innovative contributions interrogating extreme processes (technologies, operations) and extreme contexts (cultural, climatic). What is the breaking point of architecture at extremes?

Unlocking America's Center
Posted by InfraNet Lab on April 23, 2011 | PERMALINK

The “white space” of America has been used as a blanket term that encapsulates 75 percent of America’s land area and 25 percent of the population that does not reside within one of the 11 megaregions. The term “white space” hints at the common attitude toward this vast region as lacking identity, deprived, and empty. Part of this attitude emerges from the fact that several counties in this “white space” are deemed as underperforming with declining populations, employment and wages. Yet simultaneously, this area is at the central core of the country and filled with rich and productive potential. While America has tended to grow from the coast towards the interior, these regions have never been adequately connected by infrastructure to allow for developed and transforming economies. This proposal promotes balanced economic development in America, which extends the high-speed rail (HSR) into the edges of this white space, and by doing so, reveals the richness and diversity of such areas. A series of new HSR terminals interface with existing infrastructures — highways, roads and airports to “unlock” the identities, productive surfaces and vast economic potential of these communities which are newly linked to various megaregions and their associated global markets. Further, as these communities develop their economies, they will also have a ripple effect and stimulate new forms of economic growth in surrounding areas — from new technologies and manufacturing processes to developing knowledge and skill resources — further eroding the “white space.” The terminus, which operates as an activator, formally indexes and provides legibility to the productive aspects of the land and creates a new identity for these communities. The constellation of these end points provides a territorial legibility and a sense of place that eradicates the notion of “white space.”



Summer 2011
Neeraj Bhatia
Maya Przybylski
Mason White
- - - - - - - - 
Ceara Allen
Project received an Honorable Mention at the Van Allen Institute's Life at the Speed of Rail Competiton
Bracket 02: Goes Soft
Posted by InfraNet Lab on December 23, 2010 | PERMALINK

Editors: Neeraj Bhatia & Lola Sheppard
Editorial Advistors: Benjamin Bratton, Julia Czerniak, Jeffrey Inaba, Geoff Manaugh, Philippe Rahm, Charles Renfro

Bracket [goes Soft] examines the use and implications of soft today – from the scale of material innovation to territorial networks. While the projects in Bracket 2 are diverse in deployment and issues they engage, they share several key characteristics — proposing systems, networks and technologies that are responsive, adaptable, scalable, non-linear, and multivalent. Certain projects reveal how soft systems rely on engagement with their larger environment, collecting and sensingenvironmental atmospheric information, and through feedback, adapting the system to augment performance. Other projects examine how soft systems can function as interfaces with the environment – whether mitigating or harnessing it – operating at the scale of a wall, a building, or a landscape.Moreover, a particular strand of projects presented in Bracket 2 are tactical and strategic in nature, enabling them to operate, often covertly, within existing organizational structures, subverting rules and limitations for opportunism, to support new ecologies – whether natural, economic or political. Intelligence in other work lies in the organizationandformat of the system, accommodating transformation by rejigging components of the system itself. Adapting to extrinsic as well as intrinsic factors, enabling them to anticipate, recover and transform in unexpected situations, renders other speculations resilient to disturbances. Instead of mitigation, contingency in these soft systems is typically opportunistic.Lastly, select projects expose how the networking of smaller units or interventions, diffused across a larger territory, can generate, collect, or respond at a vast scale. Agile, these tentacular networks can diffuse or retract as resources or needs change. 



Pamphlet Architecture No.30
Posted by InfraNet Lab on December 13, 2010 | PERMALINK



Authors: Neeraj Bhatia, Maya Przybylski, Lola Sheppard & Mason White (Authors)
Princeton Architectural Press, Paperback, 80 pages.


The 20th century was witness to both an infrastructure boom and bust. It is  the 21st century that will need to project not only how to address crumbling, insufficient, and ineffective infrastructure, but also how to position new infrastructures that confront urgent issues of climate change, sustenance inequality, and environment degradation. The globe’s networked ecologies of food, water, energy, and waste require new infrastructures and forms of urbanism. Coupling strategizes new formats for the physical infrastructure required in the wake of these shifting conditions.

Coupling argues, through a body of design/research proposals, that infrastructures are in fact ecologies, or natural systems artificially maintained and calibrated. The opportunity for projecting a future infrastructure lies in embracing this condition in a more inclusive manner by bundling multiple processes with spatial experiences. The intention is to declare infrastructures as soft systems, adaptive and responsive to environments and use. Rather than a New Deal approach of massive engineering or iconic infrastructure, Coupling employs adaptable, responsive, small-scale interventions that operate at a massive territorial scale. Easily replaced or upgraded, these infrastructures double as landscape life support, creating new sites for production and recreation. The ambition is to supplement ecologies at risk rather than overhaul them. The included projects meld existing landscapes with emergent systems to catalyze a network of ecologies and economies for a new public realm.






Bracket 01 : On Farming
Posted by InfraNet Lab on November 23, 2010 | PERMALINK

Editors: Maya Przybylski & Mason White
Editorial Advisors: Fritz Haeg, Heather Ring, Michael Speaks, Nathalie de Vries, Charles Waldheim

Once merely understood in terms of agriculture, today information,energy, labour, and landscape, among others, can be farmed. Farming harnesses the efficiency of collectivity and community. Whether cultivating land, harvesting resources, extracting energy or delegating labor, farming reveals the interdependencies of our globalized world. Simultaneously, farming represents the local gesture, the productive landscape, and the alternative economy. The processes of farming a remutable, parametric, and efficient. From terraforming to foodsheds to crowdsourcing, farming often involves the management of the natural mediated by the technologic. Farming, beyond its most common agricultural understanding is the modification of infrastructure,urbanisms, architectures, and landscapes toward a privileging of production.








Bracket Almanac
Posted by InfraNet Lab on September 4, 2010 | PERMALINK

Bracket is a book series structured around an open call for entries that highlights emerging critical issues at the juncture of architecture, environment, and digital culture. It is a collaboration between InfraNet Lab and Archinect. Conceived as an almanac, the series looks at emerging thematics in our global age that are shaping the built environment in radically significant, yet often unexpected ways. "On Farming" looks at the capacity for architecture to address ideas and issues of productive landscapes and urbanisms. Once merely understood in terms of agriculture, today information, energy, labour, and landscape, among others, can be farmed. Farming harnesses the efficiency of collectivity and community and represents the local gesture, the productive landscape, and the alternative economy. The processes of farming are mutable, parametric, and efficient. Farming is the modification of infrastructure, urbanisms, architectures, and landscapes toward a privileging of production.

For complete information on the Bracket Series, including upcoming issues and calls for submissions please visit the Bracket's website.

Bracket Issues:

Issue No.1
On Farming
Editors: Mason White & Maya Przybylski
Fall 2010

Issue No.2
Goes Soft
Editors: Neeraj Bhatia & Lola Sheppard
Forthcoming 2012

Issue No.3
At Extremes
Editors: Maya Przybylski & Lola Sheppard
Forthcoming 2013

Next North
Posted by InfraNet Lab on July 1, 2010 | PERMALINK


The myth of Canada is often preceded by the unique geography of the Canadian North—a vast, sparsely populated, fragile, and sublime territory. Yet with one of the most dramatically changing climates on Earth and an estimated quarter of 
the planet’s undiscovered energy resources, this Arctic region has emerged as a site of significant economic and developmental speculation. It is a frontier again. The balance in which ecologies and people coexist in this region, and the complexity of the interaction between national politics and local cultures, cannot be overstated. The region’s unique combination of climate, culture, and geography produces complicated infrastructures, settlements, and sociopolitical negotiations. The melting of polar ice has given rise to territorial land claims, threatened ecosystems, uncovered new resources, and an intensified interest in the northern frontier.

Nations with territorial adjacencies to the Arctic Ocean are rushing to lay claim to its resource- rich waters and to define their sovereign rights. Northern Canadian settlements have traditionally expanded under the pressure of previous diamond and gold rushes, and along with the emerging oil and gas rushes, the federal government anticipates the creation of deep-sea ports and military bases. However, with this urgency to expand, there is little vision of development beyond economic expediency and efficiency.

Throughout the twentieth century, the Canadian North had a sordid and unfortunate history 
of colonial enterprises, political maneuverings 
and non-integrated development proposals that perpetuated sovereign control and economic development. Northern developments are intimately tied to the construction of infrastructure, though these projects are rarely conceived with a long-term, holistic vision. How might future infrastructures participate in cultivating 
and perpetuating ecosystems and local cultures, rather than threatening them? How might Arctic settlements respond more directly to the exigencies of this transforming climate and geography, and its ever-increasing pressures from the South? What is next for the North?

As the effects of global warming take their full impact, polar regions could see the greatest change in human migration patterns. In Canada, more than 100,000 people are living north of 60° latitude
 for the first time in history, and more than 18,500 people are living above the Arctic Circle in 24 settlements. Furthermore, populations in the North are remarkably young. For example, in the town of Iqaluit, Nunavut, 60 percent of the population 
is under twenty-five years old, ensuring rapid population growth for the next several decades.

While territorial claims of this “New Cold War” are being negotiated, they offer a unique chance to question how development should occur. Infrastructure in the Canadian North has often been based on systems used in the south of the country, which are permanent and independent structures that are difficult to upgrade or alter.

A wider understanding of an environment that unpredictably oscillates between freeze and thaw, dark and light, accessible and inaccessible, tradition and technology would allow for infrastructural opportunities that maintain soft, multivalent, and malleable characteristics. A characteristic of ecosystems—as complex systems that are able
to negotiate hierarchies and scales—provides a dynamic precedent for infrastructure in the Arctic. How might infrastructure be adaptable, responsive, and temporal? Soft infrastructure offers the possibility of fusing existing systems with emergent ones to catalyze a network of ecologies and economies for a new public realm in the Arctic.

Recognizing that the challenges for Arctic inhabitation extend beyond merely designing better homes or new technologies, Next North looks at the roles and challenges of the public realm, civic space, landscape, and infrastructure. While infrastructure in the Canadian North has often consisted of single-use, large-scale regional networks or small-scale products, the following projects remain more interested in geographic scalability, environmental adaptability, and multiuse programmability. Next North charts this 3.5-million-square-kilometer context through six themes: transport, ecologies, settlements, research, culture, and resources. Potential crossovers are sought to leverage and test dormant or overlooked opportunities. The three representative projects selected here address issues of transportation, ecologies, and education, and utilize soft systems that respond to climatic variation, programmatic needs, and cultural diversity.