Written by Darrel Ronald

Final Presentations at the Berlage Institute – Watch Live

Final Presentations at the Berlage Institute – Watch by Darrel Ronald


Exhibition of the Berlage Institute at the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale; FlickR photo: Darrel Ronald

The final presentations of the 1st and 2nd year Berlage Institute students are scheduled at the school this coming week and next. All of the presentations are open to the public, and are without entry cost. On the 24th June, the 1st year students will present two studios, Rethinking the All-Inclusive, and the Saemanquem Project; while on the 1st July two other studios, Associative Design: Urban Ecologies, and Capital Cities, The limits of the City: A Strategic Project for Seoul will be presented.

You may also watch the Livestream Broadcasts online.

2007–2008 Second-year final presentations

Associative Design Research Program
Urban Ecologies

There is an ecology of bad ideas, just as there is an ecology of weeds.
——Felix Guattari

In the Three Ecologies the French psychologist Felix Guattari states that now, more then ever, nature cannot be separated from culture. He argues for a politics of “ecosphy”—or the interrelationship of social, mental and environmental ecologies. Based on this thesis, this research studio has hypothesized the forms of urbanization that can be actualized within the various environmental ecologies of Phoenix, Arizona.

The studio has been studying the region’s specific social, economic, political, climatic and material environments with the aim of presenting serious alternatives to the contemporary housing production surrounding Phoenix. Located in a wide valley that has allowed for low-density urbanization with few limitations, the region has maintained rapid and sustained growth since the end of World War II. Pro-growth civic policies have helped fuel an economy that, along with the region’s natural amenities, has attracted many new residents. This growth has resulted in the need for more water, much of it now coming from the Colorado River. This has also created regional and sectorial conflicts between Arizona and its neighboring states as well as between agricultural and urban land uses. Demand for electricity, especially for air conditioning, continues to escalate. An abundance of motor vehicles, but lack of highway infrastructure, has led to increased air pollution and traffic congestion. These specific site circumstances, and limited natural resources, have made Phoenix an environmental ecology between growth and supply.

In opposition to the conventions of typical American subdivision development, the studio is presenting neighborhood models that generate an urban environment. Instead of establishing a predetermined master plan, these growth models follow potential decision-making processes in order to react to various changes within the economic market and the development of complimentary programs according to of inhabitation or demand. They also are actualized in relation to the ecological constraints set by Phoenix desert.

Five projects will be presented that argue that new forms of housing neighborhoods must learn from site-specific circumstances. Each project is structured in four phases, taking a quarter mile section of the Phoenix desert as a case study. From the local vegetation ecology and radiation production to the effects of flooding in relation to the economic value of the raw desert, these projects unfold specific and intensive characteristics of the desert. Additionally, two projects will demonstrate the desert’s potential as an urban growth model of one possible decisionmaking process.

This studio is part of the Associative Design Research Program, headed by Peter Trummer, which investigates the potential and design of new site-specific housing environments by applying associative techniques to all scales of a design process to increase its relevance to the architectural discipline.

Tutor: Peter Trummer
Participants: Tsung-Jen Chang, Botsung Chiu, Daewon Kwak, Tzu-En Hsu, Kyo Suk Lee, Chia-Ying Lin, Fairuz Razali, and Mika Watanabe.
Guest Critics: Lawrence Barth, Christophe Cornubert, Aris Georges, Christopher Lee, Lars Lerup, and Matthew Moore.


Capital Cities Research Program
The Limits of the City: A Strategic Project for Seoul

We have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their abundance.
——Hannah Arendt

The studio focuses on the relationship between forms of metropolitan labor and the possibility of political life. As one of the most physically dense, socially complex, and technologically advanced cities in Asia, Seoul is the ideal site to test how economy affects a city’s political life.

It is generally assumed that our contemporary civilization is a post-industrial one, shaped by the emergence and the hegemony of immaterial labor over the production of goods. The studio argues that the place of this process of production is the metropolis.

The metropolis brings these processes outside of their canonical space —the factory— and disseminates them through all aspects of urban life. If we assume that industrialism is not simply the process of production of goods, but a way to make anything economically productive —from the human body to the human mind— then we can presume that we are still part of the industrial civilization where urbanity itself is the ultimate factory. Confronting this scenario, the critical issue this studio explored is what kind of cityness can be imagined in the contemporary metropolis, where production seems to be sustained by economics.

The site of research and design is the conceptual border between the city as a locus of production and the city as locus of political life. The studio attempted to answer how an architectural intervention can consciously frame prototypical forms of density, shared facilities, and living and workspaces. An overall urban strategy for Seoul, consisting of 11 punctual and prototypical urban design interventions, will be presented. In their exemplarity, these interventions are capable of transforming the geography of the entire region. They are mainly concerned with the proposal of living typologies of space that can limit the expansion of the built environment, the proliferation of scattered settlements, and that can foster the creation of places of encounter and sharing that are different from the living and working patterns imposed by economic exploitation.

This studio is part of the Capital Cities Research Program, headed by Pier Vittorio Aureli, which aims to redefine the idea of the city as a political institution by focusing on the relations between architectural form, political theory and urban history by means of large-scale critical urban projects.

Tutors: Pier Vittorio Aureli, Martino Tattara, and Elia Zenghelis.
Participants: Julica Grzybowski, Seung Jeong Hong, Eun Kyung Lee, Alejandro Martinez, German Ramirez, and Tsai-Ching Tsai.
Guest Critics: Christopher Lee, Lars Lerup, Gabriele Mastrigli, and Andreas Ruby.

Program Tuesday, 1 July 2008

10:30am Welcome by Rob Docter, General Director
Introduction by Vedran Mimica, Director
10:45am Final presentations of the Associative Design Research Program
studio entitled “Urban Ecologies”
12:00pm Comments by guest critics and faculty
12:30pm Round-table discussion with guest critics
Moderated by Peter Trummer, Head of the Associative Design Research Program
1:30pm Complimentary lunch
2:30pm Final presentations of the Capital Cities Research Program
studio entitled “The Limits of the City: A Strategic Project for Seoul”
4:00pm Comments by guest critics and faculty
4:30pm Round-table discussion with guest critics
Moderated by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Head of the Capital Cities Research Program
6:00pm End-of-year exhibition opening and reception
7:00pm Graduation ceremony

Graduating participants:

Tsung-Jen Chang, Taiwan
Botsung Chiu, Taiwan
Julica Grzybowski, Germany
Seung Jeong Hong, Korea
Tzu-en Hsu, Taiwan
Dae-Won Kwak, Korea
Eun Kyung Lee, Korea
Kyo Suk Lee, Korea
Chia-Ying Lin, Taiwan
Alejandro Martinez, Dominican Republic
German Ramirez, Colombia
Fairuz Reza Razali, Malaysia
Tsai-Ching Tsai, Taiwan
Mika Watanabe, Japan

Guest critics:

Lawrence Barth, Senior Lecturer in Urbanism, Architectural Association, London
Christophe Cornubert, Architect, Los Angeles
Aris Georges, Dean, Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Christopher Lee, Principal, Serie Architects, London
Lars Lerup, Dean and the William Ward Watkin Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, Rice University, Houston
Gabriele Mastrigli, Architectural Historian, Rome
Matthew Moore, Visual Artist, Phoenix
Andreas Ruby, Architecture Critic and Theorist, Berlin

Institute faculty:

Vedran Mimica, Director
Pier Vittorio Aureli, Head of the Capital Cities Research Program
Joachim Declerck, Centre for Architectural Research and Development
Salomon Frausto, Head of Architectural Broadcasting
Roemer van Toorn, Head of the Projective Theory Program
Peter Trummer, Head of the Associative Design Research Program

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