Daily Archives: January 10, 2016

Infrastructure ‘open to facile misinterpretation’…. or local ignore

infrastructure-development [openspaceconsult.com] tweakedby whatifdunedin 1

Academic Paper/Article via Academia.edu
December 24, 2015

Paradoxical Infrastructures: Ruin, Retrofit and Risk
Cymene Howe – Rice University, Anthropology, Faculty Member
Corresponding Author

Co-Authors: Cymene Howe, Jessica Lockrem, Hannah Appel, Edward Hackett, Dominic Boyer, Randal Hall, Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, Albert Pope, Akhil Gupta, Elizabeth Rodwell, Andrea Ballestero, Trevor Durbin, Farès el-Dahdah, Elizabeth Long, and Cyrus Mody

ABSTRACT
In recent years, a dramatic increase in the study of infrastructure has occurred in the social sciences and humanities, following upon foundational work in the physical sciences, architecture, planning, information science, and engineering. This article, authored by a multidisciplinary group of scholars, probes the generative potential of infrastructure at this historical juncture. Accounting for the conceptual and material capacities of infrastructure, the article argues for the importance of paradox in understanding infrastructure. Thematically the article is organized around three key points that speak to the study of infrastructure: ruin, retrofit, and risk. The first paradox of infrastructure, ruin, suggests that even as infrastructure is generative, it degenerates. A second paradox is found in retrofit, an apparent ontological oxymoron that attempts to bridge temporality from the present to the future and yet ultimately reveals that infrastructural solidity, in material and symbolic terms, is more apparent than actual. Finally, a third paradox of infrastructure, risk, demonstrates that while a key purpose of infrastructure is to mitigate risk, it also involves new risks as it comes to fruition. The article concludes with a series of suggestions and provocations to view the study of infrastructure in more contingent and paradoxical forms.

Introduction
Breakdowns and blackouts, pipeline politics, and new demands upon energy and resources have surfaced infrastructure in surprising ways, igniting conversation about social and material arrangements that are often left submerged, invisible, and assumed. In recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the study of infrastructure in the social sciences and humanities, following upon foundational work in the physical sciences, architecture, planning, information science, and engineering. While the popular imagination might recognize infrastructure as the mundane mechanisms within, beneath, and supporting the maintenance of quotidian life, many scholars have foregrounded the agency, performativity, and dynamism of infrastructure.

Infrastructure is not inert but rather infused with social meanings and reflective of larger priorities and attentions. To further engage these novel lines of inquiry, a group of scholars gathered at Rice University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences for an extended roundtable discussion. We came from a variety of academic institutions and positions in the academy (ranging from senior scholars to PhD candidates), and our group reflected a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds (American studies, anthropology, architecture, history, science and technology studies, and sociology). Our objective was to break down some of the scaffolding that upholds disciplinary boundaries. To embrace a starkly infrastructural metaphor, we were interested in “bridgework”, not just to move from point A to point B, but to hold us in suspension for a time so that we might inspect the mechanisms that drive our intellectual work and scholarship.

Infrastructure, which epitomizes the conjunction of material forms, expertise, social priorities, cultural expectations, aesthetics, and economic investments, seemed to us to be the ideal rubric through which to enrich our thinking, as well as a social object that necessitates a multidisciplinary approach. A collaborative conversation would help us to disentangle theories, concepts, and methods from their usual paradigms, permitting them to “recombine” in novel ways (Hackett and Parker 2014, 12). Our conversation was animated, in part, by other “turns” in the humanities and social sciences, including new materialisms, posthumanisms, and ontological approaches. Walking through the dynamic scholarship on infrastructure that is being published in the human sciences, we were struck with the definitional capacity of the term itself. Infrastructure is material (roads, pipes, sewers, and grids); it is social (institutions, economic systems, and media forms); and it is philosophical (intellectual trajectories: dreamt up by human ingenuity and nailed down in concrete forms).

Infrastructure has a capaciousness and scope that makes it both an infinitely useful concept and a concept that is open to facile misinterpretation or to being encumbered by overuse.

Our purpose was not to produce yet another definition of infrastructure (although at the end of this essay we do offer a few potential classifications). Instead we gave our attention to questions such as “What is generative about thinking with and through infrastructures at this historical juncture?” And “How can the multiple and diverse understandings of infrastructure across the human sciences mutually inform and enhance one another?” Simply put, we wanted to unravel “why now?” and “where do we go from here?” Our hope was to work toward “explication” (Latour 1993; Sloterdijk 2009), knowing that infrastructure has moved from the background to the foreground, while remaining intent on questioning why that is so. This collective essay gathers the themes and insights that echoed throughour conversation. These issues were resonant points of return because they revealed the relational and ambiguous elements of infrastructure to produce contradictions and unevenly felt consequences in the lives and places they contact. We have codified these apparent paradoxes, broadly, into topical domains of ruins, retrofit, and risk.

To read this article and other academic papers subscribe to Academia.edu (Weekly Digest).

drawing [floodofideas.org.au][floodofideas.org.au]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image (top): openspaceconsult.com – infrastructure development [tweaked by whatifdunedin]

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Dezeen: W57 —West 57th Residential Building by BIG

Durst Fetner Residential commissioned Copenhagen based BIG in the spring of 2010 to introduce a new residential typology to Manhattan.

sltube7 Uploaded on Feb 10, 2011
Jacob Slevin Bjarke Ingels Is BIG in New York City with W57
(by Designer Pages)

GlessnerGroup Uploaded on Feb 15, 2011
W57 – West 57th Residential Building [no audio]
W57 is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise, West 57th has a unique shape which combines the advantages of both: the compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building providing density, a sense of intimacy and security, with the airiness and the expansive views of a skyscraper.
©Glessner Group, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Construction is due for completion in 2016.

█ Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group

### dezeen.com Tue, 8 Feb 2011 at 12:41 pm
West 57th by BIG
By Catherine Warmann
Durst Fetner Residential (DFR) today announced the design of West 57, a 600-unit 80/20 residential building on West 57th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. The building is designed by renowned Danish Architect firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and is their inaugural North American project. The building’s program consists of over 600 residential units of different scales situated on a podium with a cultural and commercial program. The building will strive for LEED Gold Certification.

“It’s extraordinarily exciting to build a building whose architecture will attract visitors from around the globe,” said Hal Fetner, CEO of Durst Fetner Residential. “BIG’s design is innovative, evocative and unique and the building’s beauty is matched only by its efficient and functional design that preserves existing view corridors while maximizing the new building’s access to natural light and views of the Hudson River. West 57th will establish a new standard for architectural excellence and its creative design, sustainable-construction and operations, breathtaking views and distinctive amenities will make it New York’s most sought after residential address.”

dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-22dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-23

“New York is rapidly becoming an increasingly green and livable city. The transformation of the Hudson River waterfront and the Highline into green parks, the ongoing effort to plant a million trees, the pedestrianisation of Broadway and the creation of more miles of bicycle lanes than the entire city of my native Copenhagen are all evidence of urban oases appearing all over the city. With West 57th we attempt to continue this transformation into the heart of the city fabric – into the centre of a city block,” Bjarke Ingels, Founder, BIG.

“The building is conceived as a cross breed between the Copenhagen courtyard and the New York skyscraper. The communal intimacy of the central urban oasis meets the efficiency, density and panoramic views of the tall tower in a new hybrid typology. The courtyard is to architecture what Central Park is to urbanism: a giant green garden surrounded by a dense wall of spaces for living.”
Read more + Images

[view full screen]

BIG from DRKHRSE (posted 4 months ago)
An aerial view of Bjarke Ingel’s newest building in NYC, at W57

█ Drone Photography: Darkhorse

### dezeen.com Wed, 16 Sept 2015 at 11:10 am
Drone video shows progress on New York “courtscraper” by BIG
By Jenna McKnight
Communications firm Darkhorse has used a camera mounted to a drone to capture footage of Via 57 West, the residential building by Bjarke Ingels Group that is now rising in New York. Construction is underway on the tetrahedron-shaped building, which is located on West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan. The design is pulled up at one corner, to create a 467-foot-tall (142-metre) structure. It topped out several months ago, with the addition of the final structural beam, and work is now continuing on the building’s facades. The unofficial movie by Darkhorse shows images of Via’s sloped exterior, which is punctuated with south-facing terraces that look toward the Hudson River.

dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-36BIG-West-57-project-New-York-City_dezeen_sq

Encompassing 861,00 square feet (80,000 square metres), the building will contain 709 residential units and a large central courtyard. The project also calls for retail space totalling 45,000 square feet (4,180 square metres).

“We call it a courtscraper,” Ingels told Dezeen in an interview last year. “It’s a combination of a skyscraper and a courtyard building. One side is the height of a handrail and the other side is the height of a high-rise.”

The project is being constructed in an area with a mix of building types. W57 is sandwiched between a power plant, a sanitation garage and a highway. The building’s amenities will include a pool, fitness centre, basketball court, golf simulator, library and screening room. Residents will also be able to reserve “living rooms” for entertaining that feature fireplaces, chef’s kitchens, dining rooms and large terraces.
Read more + Images

dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-401dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-38

█ Other residential projects now underway in New York include 152 Elizabeth Street by Tadao Ando in the Nolita neighbourhood, 520 West 28th Street by Zaha Hadid near the High Line, and a luxury condo building by Alvaro Siza that is slated to rise near BIG’s Via 57 West.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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