Free Soil
Art + Activism
DIY / Homebrew
Film / Video
Open Source
Public Projects
Social Practice
Symposium / Conference
Virtual Soil




19 Aug 2010
US, New York
A research and interview article by Nicola Twilley whom with Sarah Rich co-founded the Foodprint Project as an exploration of the ways food and cities give shape to one another. Test cases are New York and Toronto.
An interesting read including topics such as Culinary Cartography & Edible Archaeology.

Architecture / Food / Sustainability
25 Jul 2010
July 27 & 28
Sydney, Australia
HotHouse brings together artists, designers, curators and creative thinkers in a quest to develop models for sustainable environmental change. This “collective experiment” calls upon art and design to offer practical means of transforming spaces, environments, and even cities in ways that are enduring and energising, and that, most importantly, engage all sectors of the community.

Architecture / Events / Sustainability / Symposium / Conference
30 Mar 2010
At various sites in Bjørvika, Oslo
The development of waterfronts is a current trend in post-industrial cities where industrial harbor areas are being transformed into new urban spaces that emphasize mercantile, residential and recreational requirements. Common Lands - Allmannaretten is a one-year ongoing investigation into the context of the waterfront development of Bjørvika, the former harbor area of Oslo.With projects by Bik Van der Pol, Dellbrügge & de Moll, Geir Tore Holm and Søssa Jørgensen

Architecture / Art + Activism / Urban/City
10 Feb 2010
ClubHouse at the Performance Space
Sydney, Australia
A series of informal roundtable discussions focusing on our shared natural and urban landscapes.

“DIY Urbanism” will focus on creative solutions for our cities by initiating collaborations between architects, designers, artists and thinkers. Feb 18th.

“Wildlife in the City” will examine the collision between humans and nature in the modern environment. March 4th.

The findings may be speculative or reactionary, based on scientific fact or part of the combined imagination.

Architecture / Events / Public Projects / Urban/City
01 Feb 2010
Airplot is the piece of land in the middle of the proposed third runway site at Heathrow airport, owned by Greenpeace, Emma Thompson, Alistair McGowan, Zac Goldsmith and tens of thousands of people from around the world. The Airplot is a fundamental part of the campaign by Greenpeace and other groups to block construction of a new runway. Greenpeace is now inviting professional designers and design teams to consider how to fortify and enhance the airplot so that if necessary, they can physically block construction of a third runway.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Public Projects
15 Sep 2009
MIT Visual Arts Program Lecture Series Fall 2009
Brings together speakers from art and (counter) culture, architecture, urbanism, and media technology to discuss such questions as: In what way is the city not a fixed entity, but a process? How do artists and cultural activists reclaim the street, activating the city as backdrop and insisting on public space? What makes a city a city? Who owns the city? How can media technology be designed to intervene in and navigate the city?

Architecture / Events / Social Practice / Urban/City
01 Sep 2009
A series of temporary urban art interventions taking place in the City of Sydney.
Sydney, Australia
While Melbourne may be more known for it’s laneways, the City of Sydney has undertaken to temporarily transform eight laneways in Sydney´s CBD. Eight proposals were selected by Curator and urban designer Dr Steffen Lehmann. The proposed Laneways By George! 2009 - Hidden Networks temporary artworks are intended to be installed for the City of Sydney's Art & About event in October.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Public Projects
24 Jul 2009
Architecture and Human Rights at the Border
US, New York
Thursday, July 30, 2009

Van Alen Institute, in collaboration with the Human Rights Project at Bard College, presents a discussion between Teddy Cruz and Thomas Keenan on architecture, human rights, and spatial conditions at the U.S. border.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Symposium / Conference
31 May 2009
The Gulf Region
The fabulous Volume/Archis have helped to develop this remarkable site that follows the development and urban planning initiatives happening in the Gulf regions, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi. and their global implications. The Almanakh 2 is soon to be published.

Architecture / Magazines / Sustainability
21 Apr 2009
Platform21 is a platform for people curious about the future. An old, round chapel in Amsterdam is their public design laboratory where they organize exhibitions, lectures and other events.

Architecture / Social Practice / Sustainability
19 Apr 2009
US, New York
The wonderful and active Christopher Kennedy just helped to launch: Artiscycle– a project of the Institute for Applied Aesthetics, exploring alternative models of art, design and education that help form authentic communities. The idea is to develop an appendix of best practices from collaborative artists and educators at the forefront of interdisciplinary practice and to incubate a re-imagined community learning space that will house the Institute.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Education
13 Apr 2009
The House re-Growth Pod is a permanent and cost effective housing unit which can assist in the rebuilding of the fire devastated town-ships of Victoria, Australia.A competition is also calling for designs.This competition is open to architects and designers not just in Victoria, Australia but to all those interested in the typology required for the re-building of houses whilst the site is occupied by the re-Growth Pod.
It is anticipated that this competition will generate new thinking for living in sites prone to bushfires as well as creating a dialogue within the design community.

Architecture / Calls / Public Projects
04 Apr 2009
Urban Prescriptions
A group of AAA's (artists, activists and architects) that look for loopholes in the bureaucratic system of city planning to reclaim parts of the city by those who it really belongs to. Their 'solutions' are mostly mobile and temporary, allowing for alterations in an ever changing environment.
Their website shows all their projects under 4 categories: Strategies for Subversive Urban Occupation, Housing, Collaborative Architecture and Flirting with Art.

Architecture / DIY / Homebrew / Organizations / Public Projects
02 Apr 2009
Alternative + Sustainable Cities of the Future
Cambridge, MA
April 3-5, 2009
Harvard University
The conference will bring together design practitioners and theorists, economists, engineers, environmental scientists, politicians and public health specialists, with the goal of reaching a more robust understanding of ecological urbanism and what it might be in the future.

Architecture / Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
31 Mar 2009
Dallas, Texas
Entry Deadline: May 8, 2009
Re:Vision is a revolutionary initiative to create the prototype for an innovative, sustainable urban community. At the heart of the process is a series of contests generating visionary ideas for what can and should be in the design about urban space.

Architecture / Calls
08 Mar 2009
JACKRABBIT HOMESTEAD is a forthcoming book and web-based multimedia presentation featuring a downloadable car audio tour exploring the cultural legacy of the Small Tract Act in Southern California's Morongo Basin region near Joshua Tree National Park. Stories from this underrepresented regional history are told through the voices of local residents, historians, and area artists—many of whom reside in reclaimed historic cabins and use the structures as inspiration for their creative work.

Architecture / Books / Virtual Soil
08 Oct 2008
MEGASTRUCTURE RELOADED continues the long-term research and exhibition project Utopia Revisited, which includes workshops, symposia, publications and exhibitions throughout Europe. As well as having new artists reinterpret Utopian structures, there are the original plans and drawings by Archigram, Archizoom and Superstudio. It's located in the old Berlin Mint.

Architecture / Exhibitions
29 Sep 2008
Brussels, Belgium
PARK 58 is an initiative that aims at a creative reinvention and participative re-appropriation of the city of Brussels, starting from the imaginary mental transformation of a very special place – relatively unknown – in the heart of the city: Parking 58.

This parking lot, built on the occasion of the World Exhibition in ’58, directly tells a lot about the history of Brussels, in its past and present realities. Its highest level offers a stunning and unmatched 360° panoramic view on the city. This specific building, which stands for 50 years of “Bruxellisation” and drastic changes to the cityscape and urban tissue, involving the spectacular rise of King Car, symbolizes many long-abandoned options in the development of urban structures and mobility. Designed for the use of the clients of the Carrefour supermarket at the floor level, its vast rooftop remains largely unoccupied.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
18 Sep 2008
Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen based pracitioners, Pulsk Ravn and Johan Carlsson
develop new ways of looking at design, architecture and art. They work across these disciplines both as a group and in collaboration with others; this is in order to be able to keep an open-minded professional and innovative standard.

RACA'S studio has created an atmosphere for the unfolding of ideas. The space is used as a live lab where prototypes and thoughts can be developed thereby giving us the possibility of trying out new ideas in direct relation to the user.

Architecture / Artists / Urban/City
16 Sep 2008
3 day conference; 18-20 September 2008
Copenhagen, Denmark
Politics of Designing broaches the issue of a possible political practice, and translates it into the field of design and architecture. Speakers and titles include: "Jakob Jakobsen: Gentrification & Revolt in Copenhagen", "Jens Haaning: Design and Fascism in Denmark today – from Bodum to Arne Jacobsen"
Speakers also include Pelin Tan, Lars Bang Larsen and others. Held at (but not organized by) Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture.

Architecture / Events / Urban/City
01 Sep 2008
And anyone wanting an update on the “dismantling” of Berlin’s Palast der Republik can still take a look at the live webcam before it's gone forever. While the Senate talks of the “urban gap” that the Palast created, I wonder what they would call it now? Check out the website… proving that demolition can be a spectator sport.

20 Aug 2008
An exhibition being held at the Arsenal architecture gallery in Paris. A good overview of the necessary (and exciting) sustainable building practices in a city that is experiencing redevelopment on a large scale.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Sustainability
26 May 2008
CABAN UNNOS: IT’S NOW-OR-NEVER invites artists and other participants to collaborate on building a one-night-house in Berlin during the NEW LIFE BERLIN Festival in June 2008.
The project is conceived and developed by the Sheffield-based art group No Fixed Abode.

Architecture / Art + Activism / DIY / Homebrew / Exhibitions
14 May 2008
re-use/office space
Belgium, Brussels
Rotor is a platform for the endorsement of industrial waste re-use. When waste is re-used it lives another life in a use that is identical or similar to the one for which the product or material was initially destinated. The processing requires only limited external energy supply.

Rotor built a new office space based on the principle of re-use.

For the construction they refer to the technique of an American organisation, The Reuse People , that salvages demolition yards and resells the released materials in second hand building materials shops.

Posted in conjunction with 'nowHere'.

Architecture / Sustainability / Urban/City
21 Apr 2008
Two days of demonstration, direct action, public information, street-party, squatting… in defence of free spaces and for an anti-capitalist popular culture. Through these two days, autonomous spaces and squats gained visibility as a european/global political movement.

Decentralized and autonomous actions of all kinds, depending on what people feel to be the most appropriate to their local context.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Events / Urban/City
17 Apr 2008
Unhoused is a public place for Ava Bromberg and Brett Bloom, to conduct research for a forthcoming publication they are calling "Unhoused". The book is a follow up to their double-book "Belltown Paradise / Making Their Own Plans" which is available for free through their site. This journal is a place where they post their research and information gathering, which they hope is interesting to others working on issues of global housing crisis and creative actions taken to counter them in very particular, localized ways.

Architecture / Art + Activism
24 Mar 2008
Creativity and Enclosure in the Cities
Two days of workshops, discussions, walks, presentations, installations and screenings that articulate approaches and experiences around the contentious nexus of culture and urban regeneration in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London, Glasgow and Barcelona.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Events
24 Feb 2008
The School of Panamerican Unrest is an artist-led, not-for -profit public art project that seeks to generate connections between the different regions of the Americas through discussions, performances, screenings, and short-term and long-term collaborations between organizations and individuals. Its main component will be a nomadic forum or think-tank that will cross the hemisphere by land, from Anchorage, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, in Tierra del Fuego. This hybrid project included a collapsible and movable architectural structure in the form of a schoolhouse, as well as a video collection component.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Education / Social Practice
12 Feb 2008
Portland, Oregon
Plotting the City is an architectural design studio at the Department of Architecture, Portland State University. From January 2008 a group of sixteen architecture students are investigating the myths of the city of Portland, Oregon, USA. The studio explores the city not as a single definition or absolute, but as a multitude of tales embedded in the topography, built entities and unfolding human drama of everyday life. As if the city were a complex, layered script awaiting interpretation, animation and projection through continued acts of involvement and concern, the students tread streets, read signals, and tell tales about the settings and human situations they encounter. Students are engaged in a story-telling enterprise, translating experience into plot, mythologizing the city inspired by the content and detail of landscapes encountered through successive acts of walking.

Architecture / Education / Urban/City
11 Feb 2008
Copenhagen, Denmark
How Much did you Pay for this Land? is an analysis of land value, political conditions, conflicts, social expectations and hope in Ramallah and East Jerusalem by Oliver Clemens and Sabine Horlitz of An Arkhitektur currently on view at YNKB, Copenhagen.

Architecture / Urban/City
20 Jan 2008
Online collaborative project
Following 2 months of transnational conversations, the TRANSIT LOUNGE began on the 16th Jan. 15 artists, scattered across 5 cities, have begun a furious exchange of ideas via email, skype and online forums. An ongoing residency and collaboration project between Australia and Berlin, which culminates at the Transmediale 2008. Initiated by Free Soil guest blogger Katie Hepworth (Sydney) and Miriam Mlecek(Berlin).

Architecture / Events / Public Projects
20 Jan 2008
architectural + urban + ecological design
US, New York
Archinode is Mitchell Joachim (who together with writer/architect Michael Sorkin also formed Terreform.)If only all their designs, such as the Fab Tree Hab, were actually built. A modern day Archigram.

Architecture / Urban/City
10 Dec 2007
I don't know why we have not pointed to Raketa until now, but they are a wonderful "institute" that runs interdisciplinary, collaborative projects and experiments within art, design, architecture and digital media.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Artists
14 Nov 2007
“How can China proceed with its ambitious project to improve living conditions for its population without exhausting the very resources needed to sustain a better life?”

This is the question that the Danish curator and architect Henrik Valeur asks with CO-EVOLUTION. The visionary exhibition shows how architects, in cooperation with researchers and planners, are helping to meet the global challenges following in the wake of China’s massive economic growth and the intended “welfare boost”. The exhibition is the result of a project involving some of the most talented young Danish architects and students and professors from four top universities in China.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Organizations / Urban/City
31 Oct 2007
Club of Pioneers
There is currently a special on sustainable architecture and green building on the Club of Pioneers website. The general focus is future mobility and sustainable lifestyle, but the discussion forums are a great way for urbanists and green thinkers to get their ideas out there and be challenged.

Architecture / Sustainability / Urban/City
16 Sep 2007
Habitat International Coalition (HIC) is an independent, international, non-profit alliance of some 400 organizations and individuals working in the area of human settlements. The strength of the Coalition is based on its worldwide membership that includes social movements, grassroot organizations, civil society organizations, NGOs, academia and research institutions, and like-minded individuals from 80 countries in both North and South. A shared set of objectives bind and shape HIC's commitment to communities working to secure housing and improve their habitat conditions.

Architecture / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City
18 Aug 2007
A new and innovative research centre brings together architects, urbanists, filmmakers, curators and other cultural practitioners from around the world to work on expanded notions of architecture that engage with questions of culture, politics, conflict and human rights.

Architecture / Education / Urban/City
18 Jul 2007
Until Sep 16
The exhibition traces the theories of the Situationist International in contemporary architecture and urbanism. INSTANT URBANISM creates a conceptual link with the historical show on the Situationist International at the Tinguely Museum in Basel, by drawing upon the radical propositions made by the Situationists with relation to transforming architecture and city spaces.
With a documentation of interventions and actions within urban and public spaces of the city, INSTANT URBANISM brings together the work of Lucy Orta (France), Santiago Cirugeda (Spain), EXYZT (France), Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss (Belgrade, Basel), NL architects (Netherlands) IAN+ (Italy), PPAG (Austria), amongst others.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Exhibitions / Social Practice
15 Jun 2007
"Filip Berte's project EUtopia? is both a research and creative project that wants to focus on the actual European context of living. It deals with stories, collected from all over Europe, and will materialize them in the construction of a house in the European District in Brussels. An old building-site-car functions as a mobile compartment of the house and will both serve as a Mobile Embassy and the EUtopia? archive.

It is the project’s aim to gather all the present and future EU-member states under one roof, shaping them in rooms, corridors, landscapes on scale, etc… This will be a work in progress (construction/deconstruction), that can be followed-up by the public at least for two years."

Architecture / Art + Activism / Artists
07 Jun 2007
Some stand out exhibitions

A Better World
Architecture Institute Rotterdam
While the Kunsthalle chose to focus on large scale urban projects for the exhibition "Power - Producing the Contemporary City", the Architecture Institute (new director Ole Bouman) presented the inspiring "A Better World - Another Power", focusing on subversive and bottom up approaches to buildings and the urban condition.
The 4 projects/groups were
Center for Urban Pedagogy (NY)
. (interview coming up)
Jeanne van Heeswijk and Dennis Kaspori (The Maze Corp)
Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory. FAST
Santiago Cirugeda
Ends October 21

Wimby - Welcome into my backyard!
Interesting Dutch regeneration project.
For 6 years Crimson Architectural Historians and Felix Rottenberg immersed themselves in the Hoogvliet suburb, the biggest demolition project in the Netherlands and tried to transform it into a vibrant urban area, socio culturally and ecologically. Projects include School Parasites (re designed temporary classes), new parks and plans to restore the ancient tidal stream that were filled in. Many events planned for 2007.

A competition to create spectacular follies for the Heijplaat port of Rotterdam harbour.
20 site-specific designs were chosen to be exhibited for the year of architecture. A folly is traditionally an architectural object built to purvey a concept rather than be functional.(like gardens of delight, fake ruins etc.).
They are wild - giant mushrooms, inflatable kissing clouds and portable hottubs!

Runs until September 9.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Public Projects
28 Apr 2007
Call for Participants
Bremen, Germany
An empty multistory building at the edge of Bremen, Germany. "We are looking for temporary inhabitants to explore individual living utopias. The ideas should preferably be in the field of self-sufficient, sustainable living."

Each participant will receive enough space to bring alive his/her idea. This can be anything from an architectural element to a design object from recycled material as well as a theater performance. Sproutbau is simply a place to experiment.

Since the building is going to be demolished there are very little limits for procjet ideas.

Architecture / Calls / Sustainability
21 Apr 2007
"Shrinking Cities, a three-year initiative project of Germany's Federal Cultural Foundation, seeks to expand Germany's city-planning debate - until now concentrated on questions of demolishing surplus apartments and improving residential quarters - to address new questions and perspectives.
The project also places developments in eastern Germany in an international context, involving various artistic, design, and research disciplines in the search for strategies for action."

Architecture / Artists / Exhibitions
13 Apr 2007
US, New York
Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, has developed the idea of “vertical farm” skyscrapers. In his theory he speculates about 30-story towers producing fruit, vegetables, and grains while also generating clean energy and purifying wastewater. Roughly 150 such buildings, Despommier estimates, could feed the entire city of New York for a year.

from New York Magazine

Architecture / Magazines / Sustainability / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
26 Mar 2007
Architecture + Landscape Research
US, Los Angeles
M&A is an outdoor exhibition space that is visible from the street 24 hours a day.
FREE ENTRY -- Donations are welcome!

M&A is a research center dedicated to pushing new and underused ideas for art, landscape and architecture into view.

Architecture / Organizations / Urban/City
21 Feb 2007
Somewhat a blunder that the magazine and effort; An Architektur hasn't been mentioned here before. Apart from making the mag they also organize Camp for Oppositional Architecture last time in Casco in Utrecht. The magazine was founded out of the architecture collective Freies Fach that dealt with urban politics in actions, performances and writing. See the history of Freies Fach here (in German but with images)

Architecture / Magazines / Urban/City
18 Feb 2007
A project at The interface of private and public urban space
Between April 15 and May 6, the project will present artworks in the Berlin districts of Mitte, Wedding and Gesundbrunnen.
It is both exhibition and an artistic/curatorial research project, with the blog making public many of the logistics of implimenting an exhibition of this kind.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Public Projects / Urban/City
14 Feb 2007
16 May – 15 July
11 artists including Mark Dion, Oliver Croy and Martin Kaltwasser/Folke Köbberling have been invited to reflect on the location of Berlin´s Hansaviertel from an archaeological view. The title refers to the 1957 exhibition, Die Stadt von Morgen, and will include a film programme, symposium and accompanying book.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Urban/City
14 Feb 2007
The Hansaviertel in Berlin is a primary example of post war, West Berlin architecture. 50 years after its conception, Stadtfinden Moderne offers one a virtual tour using GPS that includes video, audio and historical background on the the area, particularily the Interbau exhibition of 1957. It offers 80 points of interest, to be found at your leisure, and the PDAs are available until May 31.
More to come...

Architecture / Events / Urban/City
18 Jan 2007
The Living Art Park Cultural Association, co-ordinated by the artist Piero Gilardi, has been active since 2002. It brings together different professional experiences in a hybridisation of languages and scientific and technical know-how, directed at experimentation in the field of art and nature.

The Modern Art Gallery of Torino, Italy, will explore issues of Programming land and urbanism, Ecology and techno-art. The conference "From Land Art to Bioart" takes place on Saturday 20 January.

Architecture / Events / Public Projects
11 Jan 2007
US, Chicago
A chicago based group, Echo Studio, presented landscaping suitable for use in an urban environment at the Garden in a City exhibition.

I post this link as a reference to a possible educational format to present the various configurations of plantings that can happen in citites.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Sustainability / Urban/City
09 Jan 2007
The Dutch Architect Aldo van Eyck (1918-1999) built with a social purpose. His most famous building is maybe the Amsterdam Orphanage that influenced school building around the world with its integration of smaller pavilions to form a small town as a building. He had great attention to in-between spaces that could be occupied in endless ways by the kids.

One of his often overlooked achievements was building around 700 playgrounds on vacant lots in Amsterdam in the 40s and 50s. Up to 90 of them can still be seen today.

Architecture / Urban/City
05 Jan 2007
Anywhere is an internet-based system that applies the unique potential of web-based databases to cities. The platform is designed as infrastructure that can support and enable the temporary use of vacant space. A series of forums (Pools) allows all parties interested or involved in temporary use to share relevant information resources.

Architecture / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
31 Dec 2006
A plethora of places, spaces and oddities. "Border crossings" are especially interesting!

Architecture / Free / Urban/City
18 Dec 2006
Moore Tree Care presents Ultimate Tree Houses, an exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum featuring 13 "extreme" tree houses on display.

Architecture / Exhibitions
17 Dec 2006
U.S. Boston
The Center for Advanced Visual Studies is a community for contemporary art in the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is a fellowship program that commissions and produces new artworks and artistic research within the context of MIT. A laboratory for interdisciplinary art practice, the Center facilitates exchange between internationally known contemporary artists and MIT’s faculty, students, and staff through public programs, support for long-term art projects, and residencies for MIT students.

Architecture / Education
16 Dec 2006
London, UK
Jeremy Deller is working to make a habitat for bats in London to promote wildlife friendly building design and public engagement with ecological issues. You can take part in monthly design challenges and next spring there will be a national design competition for artists, designers, architechts and the like for the final design of the house. The website is just up with resources and more. Deller is probably best known for the re-enactment of a miners strike: "The Battle of Orgreave"

Architecture / Artists / Sustainability
12 Dec 2006
After the Archis Intervention
Beirut, Lebanon
After the RSVP public debat event in Beirut and expeditions to the south of Lebanon, Archis created this blog as a continuation for dialogue, sharing ideas for reviving the city and a land after (and often still in) conflict:

"After destruction through war or any other inhumane deployment of technology, capital and energy, we are left with sites, minds and societies unbuilt. Leveled to the ground. Making room for denial, doubt and a devided society. Understandable but unacceptable. This condition needs those who dare to envision perspectives beyond the ruins…"

Architecture / Blogs
28 Nov 2006
community architecture
US, Alabama
Rural studio is about architecture that seeks solutions from within communities, and tries to actualize them in collaboration with its residents. You have to dive into the project section of the site to find the rich number of projects done from often local and recycled materials at a low cost.

Architecture / Social Practice
16 Nov 2006
D.I.R.T says of their work- “‘Waste’ becomes the design fodder for the future. We feel obligated, and better yet, inspired to remake vast trashed sites into renewed landscapes of ecological and cultural production.”
Here’s an interview with Julie Bargmann from the Archinect site.

Architecture / Urban/City
28 Oct 2006
Atelier le Balto (Berlin/Paris) have done numerous projects with temporary gardens. The wonderful “Where Is The Garden” ran for one year in 2004. Recently they have participated in KAIAK – (Kunst + Architektur in Alt Köpenick), where they designed a series of three gardens – a plant collection , an exotic and a cocktail garden - all in the old Market. They have also designed the landscape architecture at the Kunstwerk Gallery. Website only in German!

Architecture / Public Projects
22 Oct 2006
Migrating architectures.
The project explores the local aspects of China's global significance and increasing influence. It seeks to forecast possibilities which are now detectable only in connection with retail, but which will, in all likelihood, determine the built environment, which transforms under the pressure of ever-cheaper products.

Architecture / Artists / Virtual Soil
17 Oct 2006
Underground Buildings
US, Cape Cod
Over 40 years, Malcom has been promoting sustainable living and can be considered the father of modern earth-sheltered architecture. He has writen several articles and books, published by himself, about underground structures, gentle building and passive solar energy.

Architecture / Articles / Books / Sustainability
01 Oct 2006
Austrian Photographer and video artist
Konrad's photographs examine urban border zones - the periphery, urban infrastructure, construction sites, and anonymous buildings - remote from the typical urban scenarios.
Her video work “Desert Cities” shows the haunting scenes outside of Cairo, miles of unfinished and empty buildings. What happens when urban communities try to live in a dry and unfriendly terrain.

Architecture / Artists / Urban/City
31 Aug 2006
From 1971 to 1991, the New Alchemy Institute conducted research and education on behalf of the planet :

"Among our major tasks is the creation of ecologically derived human support systems - renewable energy, agriculture aquaculture, housing and landscapes. The strategies we research emphasize a minimal reliance on fossil fuels and operate on a scale accessible to individuals, families and small groups. It is our belief that ecological and social transformations must take place at the lowest functional levels of society if humankind is to direct its course towards a greener, saner world."

Architecture / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
30 Jul 2006
A trans-disciplinary exhibition platform with 35 protagonists creating a collective dialogue on reconfiguring and reactivating the marginal, residual and public spaces of our contemporary cities.

Some favorites: Atelier Bow Wow +Rural Studio

Architecture / Urban/City
06 Jul 2006
Sustainable architecture
An Earthship is a house that can provide in all basic needs of life and has a minimal ecological impact. It's concept was developed by architect Michael Reynolds and is based on the ideas of using durable technology, the reusage of discarded materials and being autonomous. Meanwhile about a 1000 earthships have been build on several continents.
A few other links:

Architecture / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability

28 Jun 2006
In January 2006, UNESCO appointed Berlin as a “City of Design”, a title it now shares with Shanghai and Buenos Aries. Not by chance, “Designcity” was also the theme for the 2006 Designmai Festival. Only in its fourth year, this is Berlin’s largest and only international showcase for designers. And as it partly curated (by the organization Transform Berlin), it does not have the trade fair gloss that is common with purely commercial events. It presented not just the slick wireless communication strategies needed for “modern” life but the sometimes ugly side of the current urban condition - the problems and chaos created by the exploding global move away from rural areas.(More people live in cities now than did on the whole planet in 1960.)

The look of the show epitomized the theme, with the large interior of a formal postal train station being transformed into a “mini-city” of more than 100 projects - a higgeldy-piggeldy mix of architectonic structures, landscape gardening, vehicles, urban furniture and sound installations, with a raised Eternit designed terrace and bar, with a green belt and bookshop. There were also a number of satellite venues across town, bus tours to Berlin’s outskirts and the almost as large “Designmai Youngsters” - showcasing international up and coming newbies.

Under the title “Build or Die - Constructing Survival”, and curated by Oliver Vogt and Georg Christof Bertsch, a symposium was held addressing issues such as emergency shelter and low cost housing. A partner exhibition displayed designs sent in from university students in Mexico, Switzerland and Sweden. Resembling a DIY camping-site, the results included a hut made from beer coasters, many takes on tarpaulin and the 100 Euro house. The Ideas of homelessness was partnered with the more positive image of the Urban Nomad. The “Instant Housing” projects by Winfried Baumann could be wheeled, folded, inflated and hung, and included mod -cons such as an Airport receiver and bookshelf. The Evian bottle “Iglu” by Alexander Clos came with the coupon for the 100 bottles necessary for building it (and placing it back into the economic cycle), and A96 Architects showed off their “Folding Box House”. The “Nohotel” by Tobias Lehmannn and Floris Schiferli offered temporary accommodation by transforming vacant buildings into comfortable hotel rooms.
But as every design aficionado knows, what’s an Urban Nomad without a good set of wheels? New methods of transport included the “The Smartboard” by Airprop, a mix of scooter and skateboard, and Gewerk’s redesign for Berlin’s popular pedal-powered Velotaxis. Another bike accessory was the aptly named “Holland Relief” by Luftheke Ypenburg, a bike stand that is vandalism proof and comes with a built-in pump. Urban furniture included “The Berlinbank” designed by Thomas Schneider, which is a public bench made from skeletal wooden arms that can be moved around for new viewpoints and the Imbissbude - Berlin’s romatic take on the take-away trolley - presented by plattformnachwuchsarchitekten.

Tours included an excursion to the “Garden City Atlantis”, a modernist housing and cultural complex built in the Twenties in keeping with the ideas of Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities. Recently renovated by the Berlin architects BF-Studio (sadly without the former Grand Cinema and lighting), “Atlantis” is an ongoing attempt at reviving a whole area that has been neglected for decades.

The “Designmai Youngsters” took place on the other side of town in another large wharehouse on the river Spree. Many projects were tongue in cheek and showed obvious initiative by piggy-backing on the upcoming world cup. The quirky designs included a floormat shaped as an out field and a coat rack made from Table-Soccer pieces by UK designers Mixco. Another was the Nike “Play Award for Innovation in Football”, with the winner being Joerg Diessl and his “Ego Shooter”, a device that enables one to see the game from the perspective of the ball.

The amazing Ad!dictlab from Brussels are a growing collective of international designers, who create projects, workshops and magazines- their latest being based on Cultural Heritage. Their mini-exhibition entitled ‘Universal House’ showed ingenious domestic appliances such as the chopstick/fork combo and the chair–come-bag. Particularily local were the must-have accessories for Berlin’s favourite outdoor urban sport from the “World of Ping Pong Country”. Jumpers with round pockets for rackets and fold-up tables all created a unique combo for summer fun.
Berlin currently has over 1300 designers and growing, a Metropole chock full of what writer Richard Florida refers to as the “Creative Class”. An integral part of this year’s event was the setting up of infrastructures to keep the citie’s creative output at its peak, and for designers to be represented in a business to business capacity. New initiatives such as “Create Berlin” and the “Made in Berlin” label now aim to give the city and it’s designers a collective professional identity.
In his opening speech, Berlin’s Mayor Klaus Wowereit called the city a “hot international capital of style”. Lets hope this heat can be sustainable and sustained.

Photo: Instant Housing By Winfried Baumann

(Article commissined by Artichoke Magazine)

Architecture / Events / Exhibitions
22 Jun 2006
The Antarctic summer home to 20 people, including 12 to 16 scientists who will do research on climate change and Antarctica's key role as part of the global climate system. It will be powered by solar and wind energy alone and will recycle all its waste.

*Looks a bit like the front end of an old American car.
-I know there is a model that has a front end that looks more like the building. If you know it mail me.

Architecture / Sustainability
14 Jun 2006
Mexico City
Structures built to house and provide shelter for the security guards in the wealthy neighborhoods (Lomas de Chapultepec) of Mexico City.

The men (it is a gendered space) who work/live (they often work 24 hour shifts) in these casitas decorate them with photos of women (the virgin of Guadalupe and pinups) and fill them with amenities, such as radios, televisions, hot plates for cooking tortillas and, in some, even toilets. They are very personal spaces that are placed in a public setting .

Architecture / Urban/City
06 Jun 2006
For a “live” hour by hour account of the “dismantling” of Berlin’s Palast der Republik (and the changing weather conditions), hook into the Senate's website and click the image.

Ironically, the losers, The Volkspalast (the people’s palace, and the creative public), have just won the 4th European Prize for Urban Public Space.

Architecture / Public Projects / Urban/City
05 Jun 2006
A Planned City
In the 1950's Lucio Costa, a Brazilian architect, proposed a bird shaped (or airplane) garden city for Brazil's new capital city. The city was a collaboration between president Juscelino Kubitscheck, Costa and Oscar Niemeyer.

For more info:
Dreaming up Brasilica, The Economist

Architecture / Urban/City
25 May 2006
Mexico And Guatemala
Guatemex is an artificial island built upon the Suchiate river between Mexico and Guatemala. A beautiful structure floating on the border between two countries - a piece of no man's land - which hundreds of people cross every day.
In Guatemex these immigrants can access, via satellite internet, information that might prove useful for their journey. Documents with legal rights, routes, emergency numbers, health information, ..etc are displayed for them along with the possibility to chat with a guide located on another point of the border - in Frontera Corozal - also in Chiapas.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Public Projects
22 May 2006
Last weekend was the annual Designmai in Berlin. The topic “Build or Die” had some projects relating to urban nomads and low cost shelter.
Here are some links.

-using vacant buildings or construction sites as temporary hotels.

Link to a96 architects and the Folding Box house

Link to Instant Housing by Winfried Baumann

And on the topic of creatively activating the City-Soundbombs that can be left around the streets or in trees to leave secret messages, “non visual grafitti” by Felix Hardmood Beck

Architecture / Exhibitions
10 May 2006
Copenhagen, Denmark
A batch of wonderful pamphlets from the Artist Placement Group to Copenhagen Free University all avaliable in print and online.

Also check out Jackob Jakobsen's Info Center.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Artists / Public Projects / Urban/City
26 Apr 2006
Jane Jacobs was a writer, intellectual, analyst, ethicist and moral thinker, activist, self-made economist, and a fearless critic of inflexible authority.She wrote "The Death and Life of Great American Cities"

From Wikipedia
Jane Jacobs Interviewed by Jim Kunstler
From treehugger

(Correction; jane jacobs did not curate the show "culture in action" as was previously stated, this was Mary Jane Jacob who is very much alive! apologies)

Architecture / Urban/City
26 Apr 2006
The Netherlands
A site filled with fantastic transformative ideas for the Utrecht area.
The Municipality of Utrecht has developed a scenario in which the introduction of public art is linked to the urban development of Leidsche Rijn in cooperation with SKOR (Foundation for Art and Public Space). Includes N55 and Nomads In Residence.

Architecture / Public Projects / Urban/City
18 Apr 2006
US, Los Angeles
Edible Estates is an ongoing series of projects to replace the American front lawn with edible garden landscapes responsive to local culture, climate and inhabitants.

Click around for Edible Estates projects.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
09 Apr 2006
Manchester, UK
This artist-led project was initiated by UHC Collective in 2005 and is an attempt to provide shelter from the rain of narrow economic orthodoxy shaping Manchester. It is an attempt to bring together community activists, artists, voluntary sector workers and academics free from interference from corporate or party political interests.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Public Projects
27 Mar 2006
In 1984, I started to be interested by the conception of an imaginary city called Urville. The name came from "Dumont d'Urville", a scientific base, in a French territory of the Antarctic. Since then, I made many (200) drawings of Urville, and I wrote a historical, geographical, cultural and economic description. I also have a book project, called "Urville Sightseeing Tour" that I'd love to publish. My greatest pleasure is to be invited to give a lecture on Urville because I can make it exist!

21 Mar 2006
US, New York
Center for Urban Paedagogy (CUP) makes educational projects about places and how they change. They bring together artists, activists urban planners and more to make educational projects.

"CUP works with youth to create collaborative projects that explore the urban environment. Our educational projects build on the everyday experiences of young people in the city to ask questions about democracy, civic participation and social justice. We believe that civic engagement requires a new kind of civic education, one that explains how important decisions actually get made, what is at stake, and how residents can be involved. Our projects use art, design, and technology to draw the connections between everyday life and the decisions that give it form."

Architecture / Art + Activism / Education
26 Feb 2006
Architecture Conjecture :Urban Speculation : Landscape Futures
World Seed bank, Largest Diamond Mine, and a Temporary Park are only a few reasons why to visit this blog-- not to mention the beautiful Soil Maps on Feb. 3rd's entry. Go Now!

Architecture / Blogs / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
14 Feb 2006
The Future of Affordable Housing
US, Minneapolis
Since January 28 and untill April 30, 2006, the Frederick R. Weismann Art Museum is showing the results from a competition focussed on the design of affordable single-family homes and displays different models that involve some sort of sustainable technology.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Sustainability
29 Jan 2006
The Biocultural Geography of Abandonment, Deindustrialization & Transition
US, Various Cities
This project documents the disease of abandonment of the built environment revealing the odd interaction of social and ecological forces that lead people to build, abandon and reclaim buildings and structures.

Architecture / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
17 Jan 2006
A good round-up of the ecololgically friendly build environment.
Check out:
An urban ecology demonstration in Kolding Denmark where sewage is treated and recycled back as toilet flushing water. The glass pyramid is the final treatment step.

Architecture / Sustainability
07 Jan 2006
Combat Global Warming
US, Santa Fe
Architecture 2030 was established to conduct research, and provide information and innovative solutions in the fields of architecture and planning, in an effort to address global climate change.

Their new website is part of an ongoing effort, initiated by architect Edward Mazria, to provide information and innovative solutions in the fields of architecture and planning, in an effort to address and reverse the destructive trend toward global climate change.

Architecture / Organizations / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
15 Dec 2005
Most of Berlin’s apartment blocks are all 5 stories high and have flat inter-connected roofs.So far only the renovated and more expensive buildings have roof access, and are normarly only reserved for the penthouse residents.
The newly formed organisation Dachgärten für alle aims to work with locals and landlords to develop more green spaces above the city streets - for gardening, meeting-places and star watching. Join our petition and help reclaim our roof!
The site is in German but you get the point.

Architecture / Public Projects
06 Dec 2005
The initiative Spree 2011 aims to make Berlin’s main river - the Spree - swimmable within 6 years! The project involves designing catchment tanks for sewerage overspills during storms (the leading pollutant) and then feeding these back into the pipes once they are cleared. Not only will the river be clean in enough to cool down in during the hot summer months, the floating containers themselves can be utilised for a variety of uses to finance the project, such as floating cinemas, cafes and even camping sites!

Architecture / Public Projects
05 Dec 2005
The Brooklyn Bridge Park
US, New York
From December 16 through February 8, the Architectural League will present an exhibition featuring the current status of planning and design efforts for Brooklyn Bridge Park. In addition to transforming the formerly industrial Brooklyn waterfront into a major public park, the planning of Brooklyn Bridge Park involves a sincere effort to reestablish elements of shoreline habitats (for bird, fish, and other species) as well as seeking to make the construction, maintenance, and functioning of the park as environmentally and socially sustainable as possible.

Architecture / Exhibitions
15 Nov 2005
Visualizing a stratification of dirt and soil.
Lateral Architecture created for the Metis Garden Festival - in the spirit of their general modus operandi - an installation that focusses on the different layers underneath the surface of a garden, made perceivable by elevating the soil beds.

Architecture / Events

11 Nov 2005
-a video report
US, Chicago
On a plot of land close to the University of Chicago you find an area with lush community gardens tended by Chicagoans that care for growing their own food.‭ ‬On entering the gardens only the constant humming in the background from the steam power plant, one of the cities most beautiful industrial buildings, reminds you that you are still in the city.

Just behind the gardens allmost covered by vegetation lies an odd shaped building with construction going on. ‬This is the experimental station,‭ ‬a bike workshop,‭ ‬the Baffler magazine, a small business incubator ‬and the studio of Dan Peterman who is the primus motor of the station.‭ ‬The name is well picked,‭ as ‬it is a frame-work for projects starting from a grassroots level that develop over time into small businesses,‭ ‬nonprofit organizations and art projects.

The history of the building dates back to the late‭ ‬1960's when the station was started by Ken Dunn as the Resource Center - a project that is still ongoing.‭ ‬Dan Peterman acquired the station in‭ ‬1996, but in‭ ‬2001‭ ‬the place burned down and years of work was ruined.‭ ‬Now after years of rebuilding and legal battles the place is almost back on its feet and ready for a gradual start.

The experimental station is a unique project in community-‭ ‬based neighborhood change and shows a break with the all too familiar gentrification process.‭ ‬Creating a space for artists and less affluent groups to come together and produce with the assurance that they won't be evicted allows for a different kind of investment of time and energy into the place.‭

In many ways the place is a dream situation where an institution together with artists and producers form an ecology that opens possibilities and allows for the sharing of ressources and the development of independent projects and thinking.

The video shows the present progress of experimental station as of October‭ ‬2005‭ ‬as well as an interview with Dan Peterman.
Download it here ‭(‬20‭ ‬minutes, 21 MB)

if you have a Mac you can watch it with this viewer‭

Architecture / Organizations / Sustainability
28 Oct 2005
by Brett Bloom & Ava Bromberg
The product of 4 years of work from In The Field, an artists collective that explores the complex social constellations around urban land use issues. With introductions to City Repair, Resource Center, Park Fiction and more, this is one of the best accounts of imaginative urban planning and neighborhood interventions by people who care. A range of social, legal and ecological issues are explored and dealt with as should be when dealing with the places we live.

Architecture / Books / Sustainability
26 Oct 2005
Developments such as the new Warsaw highway and the removal of the tram system has meant that the lower town of Gdansk is now seperated from the city centre, and falling into cultural and social neglect.
This ongoing project initiated by the Laznia Centre of Contemporary Art aims to revitalise the lower town using competitions, workshops and exhibitions where architects, artists and politicians attempt to redevelop the area, especially utilising the old waterways.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Public Projects
18 Sep 2005
US, Chicago
Walking and urban research projects have a big place in my heart. Here is one from Chicago, with quite an extensive bibliography, and a range of events taking place between September 9 - October 22, 2005.
A lot of great people are participating but for the sake of walking I'll just mention:
- Go explore.

Architecture / Events / Public Projects
17 Sep 2005
US, Various Cities
By way of Ryan Griffis and Rhizome here is a short presentation of Architecture Urbanism Design Collaborative [AUDC].
It is a non-profit organization dedicated to using the tools of architecture to research the role of the individual and the community in the contemporary urban environment.

Architecture / Public Projects / Virtual Soil
30 Jul 2005
Camping Electronique by Code31
Europe, Various Cities
Code31 is an open studio and meeting place for electronic artists setting up their own workshops and collaborative art projects. Under normal conditions located in Brussels, from August 12 till 14 however, they will setup their tents in the parc next to Le Corbusier's "La maison radieuse" in Reze, France.

In case of a 'blackout', I highly recommend taking a look at Le Corbusier: Architect of Books by Catherine de Smet. A book that beautifully illustrates yet another activity of Monsieur Corbu.

Architecture / Books / Events / Organizations
22 Jul 2005
Saturday 30 July 2005, ICA Theatre, London
London, UK
One-day symposium hosted by the London Consortium

City Escape and Escapade brings together artists, curators, writers, theorists, extreme athletes and gamers who all make the city their playground.

Featuring: Robin Priestley (Space Hijackers), curatorial practice B+B, Stewart Home, Sebastien Foucan (Parkour), Iain Sinclair, theorist
Christine Atha, Matt Adams (Blast Theory), net artist Vuk Cosic, theorist Oliver Grau and Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainment)

Architecture / Events
21 Jul 2005
A project utilising ruins
Germany, And Other Central European Countries
In the tradition of art-squatting "prora.allinclusive" established a living and working platform for artists, designers and anarchitects that was temporarily installed in the vast debris of Prora in 2003.

Architecture / Public Projects
12 Jul 2005
Idea platform by Ole Bouman, Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley
A website extension of Archis dedicated to creating new forms of architectural discourse including articles, news and public forum. There is a high and low bandwidth version. Yay!
high bandwidth (flash)
low bandwidth (html)

Architecture / Articles / Virtual Soil
06 Jul 2005
A space for research, practice and conversation about the contemporary media and urban constellations, based in Delhi India. The research programme also publishes the Sarai Reader, as a book and online ressource.

Architecture / Books / Virtual Soil
01 Jun 2005
Stanford Torus
The Stanford Torus was the principal design considered by the 1975 NASA Summer Study, which was conducted in conjunction with Stanford University.It consists of a torus, one mile in diameter, rotates once per minute to provide Earth-normal gravity on the inside of the outer ring, and which can house 10,000 people.

Architecture / Sustainability
19 Apr 2005
US, New York
Containing eleven custom-built circuit boards, a twelve-story data network, a personal computer running Linux, a radio-frequency video game controller, and over 10,000 Christmas lights, La Bastille transformed the Brown's fourteen-story Sciences Library into a giant game of Tetris.

Architecture / Public Projects
05 Apr 2005
Tower of Winds
by Toyo Ito
Toyo Ito's 1986 Tower of Winds in Yokohama, Japan transforms due to environmental changes such as noises and the speed and direction of the wind.
Interview here:

Architecture / Public Projects
05 Apr 2005
In “Urban_diary”, Berlin, Germany, 2001-2002.
Cellphone users could send messages via SMS technology to an ‘urban-diary’ that was projected onto a pair of screens located above the tracks at the Alexanderplatz station in Berlin.

Architecture / Artists / Public Projects
04 Apr 2005
Chaos Computer Club
Germany, And Other Central European Countries
"Blinkenlights", Berlin, Germany, 2002.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Chaos Computer Club turned the famous "Haus des Lehrers" (house of the teacher) office building at Berlin Alexanderplatz into the world's biggest interactive computer display: Blinkenlights.

The upper eight floors of the building were transformed in to a huge display by arranging 144 lamps behind the building's front windows. A computer controlled each of the lamps independently to produce a monochrome matrix of 18 times 8 pixels.
During the night, a constantly growing number of animations could be seen. But there was an interactive component as well: you were able to play the old arcade classic Pong on the building using your mobile phone and you could place your own

More info at

Architecture / Public Projects
30 Mar 2005
Urban Catalyst
Strategies for temporary use
Europe, Various Cities
Heaps of research on temporary use of city spaces in Berlin, Amsterdam, Helsinki and more. EU funded project mainly by architechts
Strategies for temporary uses, this is the project frame

see some good examples here

Architecture / Sustainability
Previous / Next Top
See slide show:

Last week while I was in Barcleon...


The project intersects with recent public debate in Copenhagen about air pollution in the city. In collaboration with Senior Scientist Jørgen Brandt from The National Environmental Research Institute in Denmark a first prototype is developed for making an indicator that can be placed in the city and display local levels of pollution as well as pollution forecasts on individual streets. The project holds an open source script for displaying data from the Internet in a variety of forms.
Link of the Week:  
Interview with Fritz Haeg by Nato Thompson

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