We offer new insights on relevant and current themes in our Theory section of TPJ.
In the article “The Transparency Trilemma: Interrogating Transparency in Architectural Design,” the authors Matyas Gutai, Simon Richards and Aris Kafantaris look at the “emerging dialogues on the negative environmental impact of glass buildings that culminated in the glass building ban proposal in New York City” their research “reinterrogates the meaning and potentials of transparency in architecture.” In the article “Urban Autophagy. A New Imaginary for Twenty-First Century Urban Growth,” the author Hannibal Newsom looks at “the work of biologist Dr. Rhonda Patrick on autophagy, a mechanism through which mammalian bodies consume their own dead and dying cells to promote health and longevity, this essay explores the imaginary of Urban Autophagy as a mechanism through which the city can consume itself in order to grow.”
Finally, we share information regarding Critical Fabulations (2020).
In Matyas Gutai, Simon Richards and Aris Kafantaris’ article “The Transparency Trilemma: Interrogating Transparency in Architectural Design,” the authors write:
“By re-evaluating transparency from technical, spatial, and semantic viewpoints, this paper presents a comprehensive new Transparency Framework for the overall assessment of buildings on these grounds. The use of this framework can facilitate a more holistic evaluation of glass buildings across the full range of their potential meanings and applications, which would support better design and understanding of the role of transparency in contemporary architecture.”
National Library of France by Dominique Perrault – The four glass towers have moveable partitions that change opacity from clear to opaque depending on the climate, emphasizing the Technical aspect of Transparency. Photo of the building, highlighting the importance of shading in the project which alters the appearance of the project from transparent glass skin to opaque timber envelope. Wikimedia Commons (© Madeira78).
Gutai et al. conclude:
“It is not our intention to say that there is a right or a wrong way to design a transparent building, nor do we believe that a building with a greater range of transparencies is better than one with less. We hope merely to have exposed the limited and often partisan way in which transparency is judged in contemporary discourse, and to have offered a richer and more nuanced way not only of appraising but perhaps also of designing with transparency in mind.”
In Hannibal Newsom’s article “Urban Autophagy. A New Imaginary for Twenty-First Century Urban Growth,” Newsom writes:
“The formalization of illicit copper recovery into an Urban Autophagy could focus on the recovery and refurbishing of the one-third of copper, as well as other metals, that is in, or en route to, landfills, while vastly restricting the further extraction of raw ore from the ground.”
By cutting off raw material flows and redirecting waste-management flows, Urban Autophagy allows us to maintain and care for the environment while meeting the needs of twenty-first century urban growth. Diagram © by author, visualization by Ximeng Luo and Shihui Zhu, featuring work by Matthew Gilligan.
"…many of the practices that will make up a regime of Urban Autophagy are already present throughout different parts of the industry and the world. What we need is to bring them all together under one new imaginary of ‘Urban Autophagy."
The book Critical Fabulations (2020) written by Daniela K. Rosner is a must read to learn more about design thinking and design theory. Rosner “suggests critical fabulations as ways of telling stories that awaken alternative histories, and offers a set of techniques and orientations for fabulating its future.”
7 in. x 9 in.
37 b&w photos
To learn more, check out: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/critical-fabulations
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The Plan Journal is intended to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking, and relevant research, studies, and criticism related to architecture and urbanism. The journal grew out of an awareness that academia is all too often engaged in research that’s disconnected from the real-world challenges that face different professions, and that research is only possible for a small number of professional organizations, and, even then, with limited platforms for its dissemination. The overarching aim of TPJ is therefore to enrich the dialogue between researchers and professionals so as to foster both pertinent new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice.
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