Thursday, September 8, 2011

Volume, a magazine that identifies itself as an "Independent quarterly for architecture to go beyond itself" recently published an issue devoted in the Internet of Things. They want to address the issue of how architecture acts in a world were everything is getting connected. Does this change architecture? Does this provide new opportunities to design and create? Does it effect the very materiaal architects work with? these are questions in mind.

the City is becoming, an article written by Ben Cerveny, James Burket and Juha van't Zelfde talks about their ideas and actions within the VURB organisation.

VURB, a European framework for policy and design research concerning urban computational systems, investigates how to use networked digital resources to change the way we understand, build and inhabit cities.
They believe that Digital culture can be a way of dealing with the forever changing city and the difficult issue that a cities characteristics and environments that creates its texture and unique life need to be preserved and at the same time the needs of citizens often evolve beyond the purpose and constraints for which the city was constructed.

One project they are currently dealing with is an investigation on the reuse potential of urban vacant space through tools like social media. At the latest Architecture Bienalle in Venice, the Dutch Pavilion already addressed this issue through their exhibition VavantNL, made by Rietveld Landscapes.

VacantNL, Rietveld Landscapes
VacantNL highlights the enormous potential that of empty office space and state-owned property for innovation within the creative knowledge economy. There already exist a tradition of old space that is being reused ( is mentioned in the article). 
VURB tries to "investigate how networked technologies working as a civic service may gather and make visible this unused space which can be used and increase the 'refresh rate' of cities."
The end goal is to build a prototype of a social software program listing the empty buildings in a city. . Citizens will then be able to join this network and express demand for reusing such spaces through voting, discussing, conversing and design tools.
At the VacantNL exhibition this was already beautifully showed by a physical "Placebook".

VacantNL, Placebook, Rietveld Landscape

Source; Cerveny B., Burket J., van t'Zelfde J., "the City is Becoming", "Volume", 2011, issue #2, p 61-65