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The announcement of Rio de Janeiro as the 2016 Olympic host city has placed Latin America
on the worlds stage. Now, for the rst time since the mid-20th century when Modernist urban
design was undertaken on an epic scale, Latin America is the centre of international attention
and architectural pilgrimage. Though mass migrations from the countryside and the erection of
informal settlements in the late 20th century left cities socially and spatially divided, Latin America
is now once again set to go through major change. Since the millennium, resourceful governments
and practices have developed innovative approaches to urban design and development less to do
with utopian and totalitarian schemes and more to do with urban acupuncture, working within,
rather than opposing, informality to stitch together disparate parts of the city. Once a blind spot
in cities representation, informality is now considered an asset to be understood and incorporated.
With more than 50 per cent of the worlds population living in cities for the rst time in human
history, and an increasing amount in slums, Latin Americas solutions to urban problems represent
the vanguard in mitigating strong social and spatial divisions in cities across the globe.
Contributors include: Saskia Sassen, Hernando de Soto, Ricky Burdett and the former mayor of
Bogot, Enrique Pealosa.
Featured architects: Teddy Cruz, Caracas Think-Tank, Jorge Jauregui, Alejandro Echeverri,
MMBB and Alejandro Aravena.
Covers large-scale urban case studies, such as the revitalisation of Bogot and Medellin.
Volume . No
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Throughout the ages, architects have attempted to capture the essence of living systems as design
inspiration. However, practitioners of the built environment have had to deal with a fundamental
split between the articial urban landscape and nature owing to a technological gap that means
architects have been unable to make effective use of biological systems in urban environments.
This issue of 2 shows for the rst time that contemporary architects can create and construct
architectures that are bottom-up, synthetically biological, green and have no recourse to shallow
biomimickry. Synthetic biology will have as much impact on architecture as cyberspace has had
and probably more. Key to these amazing architectural innovations is the protocell.
Contributors include: Martin Hanczyc, Lee Cronin and Mark Morris.
Architects include: Nic Clear, I wamotoScott, Paul Preissner, Omar Khan, Dan Slavinsky,
Philip Beesley and Neri Oxman.
Topics include: new smart biological materials, surrealism, ruins, alchemy, emergence, carbon
capture, urbanism and sustainability, architectural ecologies, ethics and politics.
Over the last 15 years, contemporary architecture has been profoundly altered by the advent
of computation and information technology. The ubiquitous dissemination of design software
and numerical fabrication machinery have re-actualised the traditional role of geometry in
architecture and opened it up to the wondrous possibilities afforded by topology, non-Euclidean
geometry, parametric surface design and other areas of mathematics. From the technical aspects
of scripting code to the biomorphic paradigms of form and its associations with genetics, the
impact of computation on the discipline has been widely documented. What is less clear, and has
largely escaped scrutiny so far, is the role mathematics itself has played in this revolution. Hence
the time has come for designers, computational designers and engineers to tease the mathematics
out of their respective works, not to merely show how it is done a hard and futile challenge
for the audience but to reect on the roots of the process and the way it shapes practices and
intellectual agendas, while helping dene new directions. This issue of 2 asks: Where do we
stand today?What is up with mathematics in design? Who is doing the most interesting work?
The impact of mathematics on contemporary creativity is effectively explored on its own terms.
Contributors include: Mark Burry, Bernard Cache, Philippe Morel, Antoine Picon, Dennis
Shelden, Fabien Scheurer and Michael Weinstock.
Volume . No
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VOL 81, NO 1
ISSN 0003-8504
ISBN 978-0470-747209
Helen Castle
Christopher CM Lee
and SamJacoby
Visual highlights of the issue
Typological Urbanism and
the I dea of the City
Christopher CM Lee
and SamJacoby
a| The City as a Project:
Types, Typical Objects
and Typologies
Marina Lathouri
A persistent architectural
category, typeistraced back by
Lathouri to the18th century.
Will Alsop
Denise Bratton
Paul Brislin
Mark Burry
Andr Chaszar
Nigel Coates
Peter Cook
Teddy Cruz
Max Fordham
Massimiliano Fuksas
Edwin Heathcote
Michael Hensel
Anthony Hunt
Charles Jencks
Bob Maxwell
Jayne Merkel
Peter Murray
Mark Robbins
Deborah Saunt
Leon van Schaik
Patrik Schumacher
Neil Spiller
Michael Weinstock
Ken Yeang
Alejandro Zaera-Polo
6 Type?What Type?Further Reections
on the Extended Threshold
Michael Hensel
66 Typological I nstruments: Connecting
Architecture and Urbanism
CarolineBos& Ben van Berkel/
a City as Political Form: Four
Archetypes of Urban Transformation
Pier Vittorio Aureli
8 Type, Field, Culture, Praxis
Peter Carl
|6 Brasilias Superquadra: Prototypical
Design and the Project of the City
Martino Tattara
o Singapore Buona Vista Masterplan
Competition, Singapore
Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
| 21st Century Museum of
Contemporary Art, Kanazawa,
I shikawa Prefecture, Japan
Kazuyo Sejima +Ryue
roa The Metropolis as I ntegral Substance
lAUC Architectsand Urbanists
(FranoisDecoster, CarolinePoulin,
Djamel Klouche)
rro A Simple Heart: Architecture on
the Ruins of the Post-Fordist City
DOGMA (Pier Vittorio Aureli and
Martino Tattara)
rao Xian Horticultural
Masterplan, Xian, China
Transcending Type: Designing
for Urban Complexity
David GrahameShane
y8 Penang Tropical City,
Penang, Malaysia
Joo Bravo da Costa
Asepitomised by OMAsproject for
Penang, themagnitudeof urbanisation
in East Asia requiresan innovative
approach totype.
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Art Direction and Design
CHK Design:
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Hannah Dumphy
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Front cover: Udayan Mazumdar, Ground Zero,
Mumbai, India, Diploma Unit 6 (tutors: Sam
Jacoby and Christopher CM Lee), Architectural
Association, London, 2008. Diploma Unit
6, AA School and Udayan Mazumdar
Inside front cover: Concept CHK Design
Helen Castle
Just as grammar in recent years has been revived in the classroom, the
resurgence of type in architecture indicates a desire for syntax or underlying
order. Type provides what Caroline Bos and Ben van Berkel refer to as a legacy
of rationality. I t has the potential to endow architecture with coherency, logic
and structure. I n a city context, moreover, it bestows the possibility of order to
often complex and unstructured urban situations. For guest-editors Christopher
CM Lee and Sam Jacoby, it is reason, but with a denite objective.
This issue of 2 comes out of a desire on the guest-editors part to promote
architects ability to assert themselves in the city and an understanding that if
architects in the future are going to be anything more than dressers of buildings,
responsible for exterior whooshes and folds, then they need to approach their
subject with the required disciplinary knowledge. Chris Lees and Sam Jacobys
preoccupation with type comes out of extensive research, teaching and practice.
Both are unit masters at the Architectural Association in London and Sam
Jacoby is currently completing a doctorate on the subject; Chris Lee is also co-
director, with Kapil Gupta, of award-winning ofce Serie Architects, a relatively
small but incredibly agile and inuential practice that has gained international
renown for its projects spread across Xian, Hangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu,
London, Bratislava and Mumbai. For Serie Architects, the notion of type as
operative theory is generic enough to overcome differences and specic enough
to engage and index the cultural, social and political nuances of its host .
I t has
the potential to anchor international practice in a way that is both universal and
local, providing architectural solutions to urban problems.
The desire for underlying order and reason for anchorage certainly bets
the times in which architects are as much at sea in the economic downturn in
the West as the tantalisingly large-scale architectural opportunities that Asia
and the Middle East have to offer. As the guest-editors state at the end of
their introduction, type is as much about why do as how to. Type requires
architects to look beneath the surface to nd the commonalities and similarities
between built form the essence of buildings if you like. Metaphysical in
scope, it presses on architecture far-reaching but necessary questions, such as
What is architecture? I f, as Michael Hensel suggests in his article, it could be
a preoccupation that is triggered by the current more serious turn of mind, as it
was in the recession of the early 1990s, it is also one that we should not let slip
through our ngers before it has gained the full attention it deserves. Type, as
Lee and Jacoby demonstrate in this issue, lends order but in setting parameters
also provides the essential catalyst for innovative design thinking at the city scale. 1
1. Christopher CM Lee, Working in Series: Christopher CM Lee and Kapil Gupta/Serie Architects,
Architectural Association (London), 2010, p 5.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Image Steve Gorton
Serie Architects, Xin Tian Di Factory H,
Hangzhou, China, 2010
top left: For the project to create an urban
core for a larger masterplan of Xin Tian Di,
Serie was tasked with the conservation
of a large disused factory and proposed
rethinking the idea of the mat building
as a plinth. Here the plinth serves to
punctuate the factory as the anchor for the
masterplan, with surrounding buildings
many times its density. This alternative
strategy of rethinking what constitutes
an urban core eschews the reliance on
hyperdense buildings that accumulates
pedestrian ows. Instead, it presents the
reclaimed void as a new urban core.
Serie Architects, Bohcky Residential
Masterplan, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2009
top right: Series principal concern in
designing the masterplan for a residential
development comprising 120 single-
family dwellings designed by Serie as well
as six other architects is to institute an
overall coherence that does not impinge
on the heterogeneity of the villas. To
do this, Serie utilised an undulating
giant hedge that delineates autonomous
plots for the various villas. An evolved
courtyard type, where rooms are spun off
a circular courtyard in different numbers,
is used as a typological grammar for the
design of the villas.
SamJacoby with Type 0 (Maxvon Werz,
Marco Sanchez Castro and Charles
Peronnin), Beserlpark, Vienna, 2009
above: In this masterplan, the suburban
ideal of living in the park is confronted
with the metropolitan typology of the
inverted urban courtyard block, resulting
in negotiated private and semiprivate
spaces within a network of public
courtyards/parks and functions.
Christopher CM Lee and Sam Jacoby are the co-directors of the new postgraduate
Projective Cities Programme at the Architectural Association (AA) School of
Architecture in London (, which is dedicated to a
research- and design-based analysis of the emergent and contemporary city. They
have taught together at the AA since and their investigation of the city,
undertaken in Diploma Unit from to , has been published in Typological
Formations: RenewableBuildingTypesand theCity(AA Publications, ). The
work has also been widely exhibited, including at the th Architecture Biennale in
Venice () and as a solo exhibition at the UTS Gallery in Sydney ().
Christopher CM Lee is the co-founder and principal of Serie Architects.
He graduated with an AA Diploma (Hons), has previously taught Histories
and Theories Studies at the AA () and was Unit Master of
Intermediate Unit from to and Diploma Unit 6 from to .
He is pursuing his doctoral research at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam on
the topic of the dominant type and the city.
The relationship between architecture and the city is a problem that has
informed Sam Jacobys teaching in collaboration with Christopher Lee and his
professional work. Jacoby is also the co-director of the Spring Semester Programme
at the AA where he also previously taught History and Theories Studies. He was
also a studio leader in the BArch programme at the University of Nottingham. He
is currently completing a doctoral degree at the Technical University of Berlin on
the topic of Type and the Syntax of the City.
In this issue of 2 on Typological Urbanism, Lee and Jacoby recognise the city
as a contemporary eld, an area of study, and a design and research agenda, bringing
together the work and research of contemporary professionals and academics that
speculates on the potential of architectural experimentation and the meaningful
production of new ideas for the city. 1
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: pp 6(t), 7(t) Serie Architects; pp 6(b), 7(b) Sam Jacoby
top: Christopher CM Lee
above: Sam Jacoby
Brasilia, Brazil, 195760
The superquadra housing blocks, designed
by Lucio Costa, are the basic unit of the
urban realm in Brasilia. Their elevations,
foregrounded by trees, are the backdrop
to the city.
Superquadra 308S
Type has a strong Modernist pedigree as exemplied by Lucio Costas
elevations for the superquadra at Brasilia, executed in the 1950s, and
Toyo Itos much more recent Singapore Buona Vista Masterplan, which
is informed in its approach by the 1960s Metabolists. Though type often
requires a level of order or systematisation, it does not prevent it from being
playful, as demonstrated by SANAAs museum for Kanazawa where the
private and public spaces are entwined in a single building.
Singapore Buona Vista Masterplan
Competition, Singapore, 200001
For this ITresearch city, Ito envisioned a
horizontal urban infrastructure connected by
high-speed pedestrian walkways.
Toyo Ito & Associat es,
Architects and RSP Architects
Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd
ArnhemCentral, The Netherlands, due
for completion 2013
In UNStudios work, the centralising void
space becomes an adaptable type for spatial
organisation, as demonstrated by this public
transportation centre and the Rafes City
project on pp 747.
D UNStudio
21st Century Museumof Contemporary Art,
Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, 2004
This interior space of the art museum
epitomises gallery whiteness while other
translucent areas embrace the city and, by
extension, the public, with their transparency.
Interiority and exteriority and different types are
effectively entwined.
Kazuyo Sejima +
Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA
A Simple Heart: Architecture on the Ruins
of the Post-Fordist City, European North
Western Metropolitan Area, 200209
In this project for an archetype for the
modern city, DOGMA espouses a repeatable
architectural form that enables the city to
be based on architecture alone rather than a
combination of urban elements.
DOGMA (Pier Vittorio Aureli
and Martino Tattara with
Alice Bulla)
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Images: pp 8-9 Adolfo Despradel/
photograph by Adolfo Despradel; p 10
Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects;
p 11 Christian Richters; p 12
Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/
SANAA; p 13 FRAC Centre
Collection, Orlans, France
14 14
By Christopher CM Leeand SamJacoby
15 15
Yifan Liu, The Great Flight Forward,
Chengdu, China, Diploma Unit 6 (tutors:
Christopher Lee and SamJacoby),
Architectural Association, London, 2008
Urban plan of airport. What denes
Chinas public image of monumentality and
iconicity? The project subverts the idea of
the Peoples Square and turns its heroic
gure into an airport.
BolamLee, MultiplexCity, Seoul, South
Korea, Diploma Unit 6 (tutors: Christopher
Lee and SamJacoby), Architectural
Association, London, 2007
above: Model. The recongured high-rise
is spliced with vertical public spaces and
functions as an urban punctuator.
opposite: Urban plan of Multiplex City. The
project aims to exploit the defunct middle
oors of multiplexes (multifunctional,
hyperdense high-rises) in Seoul and
converts them into vertical public spaces.
A warehouse can be turned into
apartments, and a Georgian terrace into a
school. What this means is that a functional
reduction prevents other knowledge that
can be obtained from type by considering it
as belonging to a group of formal, historical
and sociocultural aspects.
At the heart of this title of 2 is an attempt to outline a
possible position and approach that enables the conjectural
impulses of architectural production to recover its relevance
to the city. Implicit to this is that the relationship between
architecture and the city is reciprocal and that the city is the
overt site for architectural knowledge par excellence.
This proposition to re-empower the architect in the
context of urban architectural production is founded on the
realisation of three essential predicaments that need to be
addressed by both the profession and academia. Firstly,
the relentless speed and colossal scale of urbanisation,
with the current level of around 50 per cent increasing
to approximately 69 per cent by 2050, has resulted in
the profession merely responding to these rapid changes
and challenges in retrospect. Secondly, the form of
urbanisation in emerging cities in the developing countries,
and in particular in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the
Caribbean, has departed from the Western models of
centralised organisation and planning.
The separation of
architecture and urban planning into segregated domains
for efciency and speed has left each discipline impotent
to deal with the ruptured, decentralised and fast-changing
context, whether in Macau, Dubai or Shanghai. Finally, the
architecture of this new urbanisation, fuelled by the market
economy, is predominantly driven by the regime of difference
in search of novelty. Macau built the worlds biggest casino
and Dubai the tallest skyscraper, with its Burj Khalifa beating
the recently completed Shanghai World Finance Center of
2008 to this superlative. With this increasing stultication,
the disciplines inability to condently and comprehensively
describe, conceptualise, theorise and ultimately project any
new ideas of architecture in relationship to the city must be
confronted and rethought.
To achieve the stated meta-critical aim, this issue tries to
dispel the common misunderstanding of the notion of type
(and typology) and its common misuse as the straw man
in architectural experimentation and propositions. It outlines
the terms on which the discussion of type and typology can
unfold today in a more precise and considered manner. It
re-argues for the instrumentality of type and typology in the
eld of urbanism and the city, and features four projects that
are conventionally not seen as tting within the framework
of typology, proposing that the reconsideration of these
projects renews and enriches the understanding of working
typologically. Similarly, recent projects by young practices
further illustrate the possibility of utilising the notion of type in
informing the idea of the city.
Type and Typology
In common usage the words type and typology have
become interchangeable and understood as buildings
grouped by their use: schools, hospitals, prisons, and so on.

Type, however, should not be confused with typology. The
sufx -ology comes from the Greek logia, which means a
discourse, treatise, theory or science. Thus typology is the
discourse, theory, treatise (method) or science of type. Its
reduction to categories of use is limiting, as buildings are
independent from their function and evolve over time, as
Aldo Rossi and Neo-Rationalism have already argued.
warehouse can be turned into apartments, and a Georgian
terrace into a school. What this means is that a functional
reduction prevents other knowledge that can be obtained
from type by considering it as belonging to a group of formal,
historical and sociocultural aspects. The essential quality of
change and transformation rather than its strict classication
or obedience to historical continuity endows type with the
possibility to transgress its functional and formal limitations.
For the denition of the word type in architectural
theory we can turn to Antoine-Chrysostome Quatremre
de Quincys masterful explanation in the Dictionnaire
darchitecture (1825) that formally introduced the notion
into the architectural discourse. For Quatremre: The word
type presents less the image of a thing to copy or imitate
completely than the idea of an element which ought itself
to serve as a rule for the model.
Type consequently is an
element, an object, a thing that embodies the idea. Type
Deena Fakhro, The Holy City and its
Discontent, Makkah, Saudi Arabia,
Diploma Unit 6 (tutors: Christopher CM
Lee and SamJacoby), Architectural
Association, London, 2008
above and centre: Typical plans, sections
and views of airport. Once a year, every
year, the Holy City of Makkah is ooded by
a surge of three million pilgrims, demanding
unparalleled infrastructural miracles.
To counter the nancial burden of the
redundant hajj infrastructure, the gateway
airports are opportunistically combined with
mosque-based Islamic universities: airport-
mosques, switching between pilgrim surges
and student populations.
top and opposite: An airport, a mosque:
a city gateway. In response to the pilgrim
surge in Makkah, the project strategically
proposes polynodal gateway airports that
disperse congestion multidirectionally
within Makkahs valleys.
is abstract and conceptual rather than concrete and literal.
Its idea guides or governs over the rules of the model. This
idea, following a Neoplatonic and metaphysical tradition,
is by Quatremre understood as the ideal that an architect
should strive for but which never fully materialises in the
process of creative production. The idea of the model, on
the other hand, is developed by Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand
in his typological design method of the Prcis des leons
darchitecture donnes lcole royale polytechnique
(180205). In the Prcis, developed almost at the same time
as Quatremres typological theory at the turn of the 19th
century, Durand attempts to establish a systematic method
of classifying buildings according to genres and abstracts
them into diagrams.
He proposes that new types emerge
in response to the requirements of a changing society and
urban conditions, whereby the typological diagrams are
adapted to the constraints of specic sites. This notion of
type as model, graphically reducible to diagrams, introduced
precepts that are fundamental to working typologically:
precedents, classication, taxonomy, repetition, differentiation
and reinvention. Thus Durands Prcis outlines an important
element of the didactic theory of type and constitutes what
we understand by typology.
The misunderstanding of type and typology, attacked
by many for its perceived restrictions, has resulted in the
deliberate rejection of typological knowledge. This is evident
in the exotic formal experiments of the past 15 years: every
fold, every twist and bend, every swoosh and whoosh is
justied as being superior to the types it displaces. However,
it remains unclear what these ill properties or characteristics
of type are that the novel forms want to replace and to what
ends. These architectural experiments have no relevance
beyond the formal and cannot be considered an invention, for
invention, as Quatremre stated, does not exist outside rules;
for there would be no way to judge invention.

In Type? What Type? (pages 5665), Michael Hensel
recounts his personal experiences in the early 1990s at
the Architectural Association (AA) in London according to
him an important juncture for the theory and experiments
of architecture in urbanism which he argues failed
to recognise the need for a wider contextualisation of
experimentation, due to the casual if not naive treatment of
the type. Marina Lathouri in The City as a Project: Types,
Typical Objects and Typologies (pages 2431) provides
a critical and historiographical discussion of types role in
dening the architectural object and its relationship to the
city. This thematic engagement is complemented by the
projects of UNStudio in Typological Instruments: Connecting
Architecture and Urbanism by Ben van Berkel and Caroline
Bos (pages 6677). These projects clarify the utilisation of
design models to synthesise types with the complexities of
practice and reality through the instrumentality of typological
and serial models of organisation. The specic responses
demonstrate that typological design models are capable of,
and require, their transformation and hybridisation in order
to full the ambitions and requirements of an architectural
project in an urban context.
Typology and the Urban Plan
The coupling of the concept of type as idea and model
allows us to discuss its instrumentality in the urban context.
The word urbanism means of, living or situated in, a city
or town, but it was Ildefons Cerd a Catalan engineer
and the urban planner of the Barcelona Eixample who
rst invented the words urbanism and urbanisation in his
Theory of Urbanization (1867). For Cerd, urbanism was the
science that manages and regulates the growth of the city
through housing and economic activities. He understood the
word urbs at the root of urbanisation and, in opposition
to the notion of the city, proposed that its focus was not
the (historical and symbolic) city centre but the suburbs.

Thus the process of urbanisation inevitably involves multiple
stakeholders, a diversity of inhabitants, and a scale beyond
that of a single building incorporated in an urban plan.
This inclusive urban plan has to be differentiated from the
masterplan predicated on singular authority and control.
The instrumentality of type in the process of envisioning,
regulating and administering the urban plan lies in its
ability to act as a pliable diagram, indexing the irreducible
typal imprints that serve as the elemental parts to the
The diagrams of type, however, are not mere graphic
representations of the urban plan, but embody the basic
organisational performance, history and meaning of precedent
types that are then developed into new design solutions.
The function of the diagram hereby is both diagnostic and
projective, and at the same time refers to the irreducible
structure of the types in question.

In Type, Field, Culture, Praxis (pages 3845) Peter
Carl claries that types are isolated fragments of a deeper
and richer structure of typicalities, attempting to relate the
architectural object to human situations. Typicalities, says
Carl, are those aspects common to all, exerting a claim on
freedom, while this freedom depends in turn on that which is
common to all for its meaning.
A number of further projects by OMA, Toyo Ito, SANAA
and lAUC provide a second reading of how a recourse to
typology is necessary when dealing with the urban context.
In the Penang Tropical City (2004) by OMA (pages 7889),
distinct building types are grouped together to form islands of
exacerbated difference as yet another enactment of Koolhaas
idea of the Cities within the City developed with OM Ungers
in 1977.
Toyo Itos project for the Singapore Buona Vista
Masterplan (2001 see pages 903) develops the use of
prototypical elements albeit in a more uid manner that
bears traces to his preoccupations with the problems of
collective form that typied the Metabolist movement of the
1960s in Japan. In Itos proposal, the city is envisioned as
aggregating into a continuous whole, fusing infrastructure,
building, open spaces and services into an integrated piece
of architecture. lAUC pursues a re-representation and
projection of the metropolitan conditions through typological
intensications of a super-metropolitan matrix in the Grand
Paris Stimul (200809 pages 1089), which attempts a
different approach to city-making. Perhaps the most unusual
inclusion is the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
(2004) in Kanazawa, Japan, by SANAA (pages 94101).
This project should be understood in relation to other
projects such as the Moriyama House in Tokyo (2005) and
the recently completed Rolex Learning Centre in Lausanne
(2010), which rethink the building as a piece of city fabric
through the mat-building typology.
Type and the City
If urbanisation is concerned with the expansion of human
settlement driven primarily by economics, the city on the
other hand is the consolidated, concentrated settlement
that precedes the urb. It is usually demarcated by a
city wall and a point of concentration for people and
activities, resulting in a stratied society that is functionally
differentiated and politically divided.
This city is a historical
product and centred on the civic and symbolic functions
of human settlement and coexistence. As cities owe their
main characteristic to geographical and topographical
conditions, and are always linked to other cities by trade
and resources, they tend to specialise and form a distinct
It is this distinct character coupled with the need
to accommodate differences that gives rise to the possibility
of a collective meaning for the city. This meaning changes
over time in response to its evolving inhabitants and external
circumstances, but its history is often formalised in the
construction of civic buildings and landmarks that express
a common identity. These elements of permanence in
the city are exemplied by town halls, libraries, museums
and archives. It is through this understanding that we are
proposing that the idea of the city can be embodied in
these dominant types, communicating the idea of the city in
response to specic historical and sociocultural conditions.
From Barcelona with its Cerd housing blocks, London with
its Victorian and Georgian terraces and New York with its
Manhattan skyscrapers, cities can be understood, described,
conceptualised and theorised through their own particular
dominant types. Through Rossi, we learn that a building as
Maxvon Werz, Open Source Fabric,
Zorrozaurre, Bilbao, Spain, Diploma
Unit 6 (tutors: Christopher CM Lee and
SamJacoby), Architectural Association,
London, 2007
opposite left: Urban plan. The differentiation
of urban blocks and their collective voids is
utilised to absorb the shifts in the knowledge
industry that is to occupy the peninsula of
Zorrozaurre. The stringing together of the
exterior void offers the possibility of
coexistence between the models of
knowledge environments: the suburban-like
technopark and the city-like technopole.
opposite right: Urban plan fragment.
Resisting the tendency for singular types,
the project introduces the heterogeneity of
diverse type-specic environments capable
of consolidating leisure networks to attract
a lived-in population within the peninsula.
Martin Jameson, Project Runway, Thames
Estuary, UK, Diploma Unit 6 (tutors:
Christopher CM Lee and SamJacoby),
Architectural Association, London, 2008
top: Airport visualisation. Heathrow Airport
is top of the long list of Londons planning
disasters. The solution: a 12-kilometre
(7.5-mile) inhabited bridge across the
mouth of the Thames Estuary.
above: Fragment model of airport.
Incorporating high-speed rail and topped
with three runways, this new urban
condition manifests a compressed and
highly varied programme tightly contained
within a strict envelope. The impact:
regeneration without sprawl, infrastructure
without damage to civic life.
Yi ChengPan, Resistingthe Generic Empire, Singapore,
Diploma Unit 6 (tutors: Christopher CM Lee and Sam
Jacoby), Architectural Association, London, 2006
top: Masterplan model. To wrest control of the ground plane
from the proliferating skyscrapers, the project inverts its
massing through the cultivation of multiple urban plans
within the skyscraper type. This strategy releases the
ground plane for immediate activation by smaller building
types (and stakeholders) and creates multiple clustered
volumes for increased public and private partnerships.
above: Urban plan. The project explores the issues
of control and difference, and challenges Singapores
addiction to the ubiquitous high-rise type. It resists the
formation of the state-engineered Generic Empire a city
entirely subjugated to the whims of large corporations
by providing a typological framework that cultivates
difference through the coexistence of multiple types.
Yifan Liu, The Great Flight Forward, Chengdu, China,
Diploma Unit 6 (tutors: Christopher Lee and Sam
Jacoby), Architectural Association, London, 2008
opposite: Masterplan model of airport. The Peoples
Square has become the airport. Its void becomes the
runway, its edge the terminals and aerotropolis. By
enforcing the edge and limiting its growth, new intimate
scales of public spaces derived from the traditional
Chinese courtyard-house typology are released and
become prominent.
Typological Urbanism, in
conclusion, brings together
arguments and projects that
demonstrate a commitment to
the empowerment of the architect
to once again utilise his or her
disciplinary knowledge.
an element of permanence is able to act as the typological
repository of a citys history, construction and form. For
Rossi, type is independent of function and therefore pliable.
To understand these types is to understand the city itself.
Pier Vittorio Aureli in City as Political Form: Four
Archetypes of Urban Transformation (pages 327) discusses
the instrumentality of paradigmatic architectural archetype
as an extensive governance apparatus and proposes that
while the evolution of the city can be thought of as the
evolution of urban types, its realisation can only happen
within a political state of exception. Similarly, Martino
Tattara in Brasilias Superquadra: Prototypical Design and
the Project of the City (pages 4655) proposes that the
prototype is the exemplar that does not reproduce itself
through a set of norms, prescriptions or rules, but through
the authoritativeness of the prototype itself. This ultimately
constitutes a new disciplinary operativity by considering the
prototype as a seed for the idea of the city.
Two projects by DOGMA and Serie offer a possible
demonstration of the manifestation of the idea of the city as
an architectural project. DOGMA, in their A Simple Heart:
Architecture on the Ruins of a Post-Fordist City (pages
11019) investigate the possibility by focusing on the
relationship between architectural form, large-scale design
and political economy. This is rendered less as a working
proposition and more as an idea of the city brought to its
(extreme) logical conclusions. In the Xian Horticultural
Masterplan project by Serie Architects (pages 1207), the
transformation of an artefact of the city is used to confront
the problem of centrality and the possible recuperation of
the tradition of city-making in Xian, China. The city wall as
a dominant type is utilised as the deep structure that sets
out a typological grammar for the city.
Typological Urbanism, in conclusion, brings together
arguments and projects that demonstrate a commitment to
the empowerment of the architect to once again utilise his
or her disciplinary knowledge. It is a re-engagement with
architectures exteriority and architectural experimentation
governed by reason and (re)inventions underpinned by
typological reasoning. It is an insistence on architecture that
not only answers the didactic question of how to? but also
the meta-critical question of why do?. 1
1. The United Nations expects that the population increase of 2.3 billion
by 2050 will result in the growth of urbanisation levels in more developed
regions from currently 75 per cent to 86 per cent, and from 45 per cent to
66 per cent in less developed regions, achieving an average of 69 per cent.
Most of the population growth will take place in urban areas in Asia, Africa,
and Latin America and the Caribbean. See United Nations, Department
of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World Urbanization
Prospects: The 2009 Revision, New York, 2010.
2. In part, this tendency to classify group buildings according to use can
be attributed to Nikolaus Pevsners Buildings of England (195175). The
original series by Pevsner, for Penguin, has been expanded and is now
published by Yale University Press as Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings
of England,Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
3. Compare with Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City, trans Diane
Ghirardo and Joan Ockman, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1982.
4. Quatremre de Quincy, Type, in Encyclopdie Mthodique, Vol 3,
1825, trans Samir Youns, Quatremere De Quincys Historical Dictionary
of Architecture: The True, the Fictive and the Real, Papadakis Publisher
(London), 2000.
5. Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand, Prcis of the Lectures on Architecture, trans
David Britt, Getty Trust Publications (Los Angeles), 2000. Durands diagrams
primarily capture the structural elements of various building types, comprising
a layer of grids that denote both structure and geometric composition.
6. Quatremre de Quincy, Rule, in Encyclopdie Mthodique, Vol 3, op cit.
7. The difference between urb and city and its implication are developed by
Pier Vittorio Aureli in Toward the Archipelago, in Log 11, 2008.
8. For a more detailed account, see Christopher Lee and Sam Jacoby
(eds), Typological Formations: Renewable Building Types and the City, AA
Publications (London), 2007.
9. This understanding of the diagram is fundamentally different from
interpreting diagrams of ows and pseudoscientic indexes as novel tectonics.
10. Oswald Matthias Ungers, Rem Koolhaas, Peter Riemann, Hans Kollhoff
and Peter Ovaska, Cities Within the City: Proposal by the Sommerakademie
Berlin, in Lotus International 19, 1977.
11. For a more elaborate description of the evolution of cities and its
denition, see Spiro Kostof, City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings
Through History, Thames & Hudson (London), 1999.
12. Traditional cities are dened by their relationships to river banks, sea
ports, railways, highlands (hill towns) and so on. Today we see cities that
position themselves as knowledge cities, nancial cities, medical cities, sport
cities and so on.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images Diploma Unit 6, Architectural Association
School of Architecture, London
24 2224
Marina Lathouri provides a critical overview of the
historiography of typology, tracing the word type back to
its 18th-century origins and through to its re-emergence as
a standardised objet-typein the Modernist era. She closes by
questioning the pertinence of type and typology today.
Marina Lathouri
Toraisethequestion of typology in architectureis
toraisea question of thearchitectural work itself.
Rafael Moneo, On Typology, 1978
The concept of type in architecture has a function inherently
related to the one of language wherein type enables a manner
in which to name and describe the artefact, primarily as part of
a group of objects. Therefore, as Moneo succinctly points out,
the question of typology typology being a discourse (logos)
on type becomes a question on the architectural work itself ,
a question of what kind of object is a work of architecture.
This article will begin by pointing to two characteristics of the
question that could help to explain the specic functions of
the concept of type in architecture. The rst is that accounts of
type are informed by the different ways of seeing, thinking and
producing the work of architecture. The second characteristic,
following on from the rst, is that the notion of type, in its
various meanings, has played an effective critical role in the
confrontations between architecture and the city. Typological
debates seek to delineate the ways in which the architectural
work, by virtue of its specic conditions of production, engages
with its broader milieu material, urban, civil, political. I t is
in the basis of these arguments that it seems still possible and
relevant to raise the question.
When it rst appears in architecture during the 18th
century, the word type, coming from the Greek typosmeaning
model, matrix, the imprint or a gure in relief, carries a sense
of origin closely joined to a universal law or natural principle.
The notion of type, as the law or principle that might explain
how forms are generated thus endowing every element with
symbolic signicance, gained considerable presence among the
Enlightenment architectural theorists. I n the article Type,
which Quatremre de Quincy wrote for the third volume
of his Encyclopdie, published in 1825, type further implied
the characteristic form or particular physiognomy that
enables a building to be read as to its fundamental purpose.

Transferring ideas developed in the natural sciences and studies
of language into the theory of architecture, the word type was
employed in De Quincys text not only to indicate the search
for origins but to organise all the different kinds of production
which belong to architecture by expressing at once general
characteristics and their particular physiognomy. The link
between form and purpose, general principles and the imprint
of the particular intention of each building, as JF Blondel
would describe the physiognomy or character of the singular
artefact in 1749, turned type from its overtly symbolic function
to a more signifying one.
The meaning was to be derived from
the formal and functional context of the work itself, a set of
pre-existent or xed referents in outside reality and a system
inherent in architecture.
Nonetheless, this amalgam of type as origin, natural
principle, symbolic mark and legible form of a purpose, would
be xed in the practice of the academic architect in the rst
quarter of the 19th century. The establishment of architecture as
a distinct discipline and profession, however, took place largely
in the context of a view of its practice as socially embedded.
25 25
This introduced a historicity into architecture that also
recongured the notion of type. Conated with the idea of an
artice socially determined, that is, an outcome of changing
social customs and needs rather than of divine or natural
origin, type began to designate the process of the formation
of a particular building.
Signifying a process as much as an object, type claimed a
functional justication as well as an active role in the process
of design. I t was in these terms that it became extraordinarily
evocative in late 19th and early 20th century. Not a xed ideal
to imitate or aspire to, but instead a historically contingent
idea, subjected to functional and programmatic changes and
eventually, as we shall see, to the overriding law of economy.
Having established a fundamental connection between
architecture and society within an abstract and exible view
of history made the notion of type more instrumental to a
comprehension of a kind of evolution in architecture and,
ultimately, to a cultural genealogy of society.
between an evolving architectural specicity and a general
schema, the notion of type brought together the appeal to
specicity, the myth of cultural (and ultimately national)
integrity and historical dimension. At this point, the
question of type and typology became a logical extension
of the ideology that extended architectures boundaries far
beyond the limits customarily ascribed to it either as an art
or as a prosaic utility, transforming the gure of the architect
into a social redeemer.
Objet-Type and Standard Product: The New City
I n these terms, the Modernist categories of the typical
object and the standard product are symptomatic of
the new understanding of the role of architecture in the
articulation and expression of external change or internal
demands spatial, material, economic, social. I n fact, external
changes and needs were internalised and as Manfredo Tafuri
and Francesco Dal Co put it, the notion of typical, now
identied with the standard, succeeded in expressing the
presuppositions for the construction of the New City.

Walter Gropius rhetoric in TheNew Architectureand
theBauhaus, published in 1937, is telling: the reiteration
of typical (ie typied) buildings while increasingly
approximating to the successive stages of a manufacturing
process, notably enhances civic dignity and coherence.

Here the typical building, identical with the typied object,
became, primarily through industrial manufacturing, a
fusion of the best of its anterior forms a fusion preceded
by the elimination of the personal content of their designers
and all otherwise ungeneric or non-essential features.
I t
was precisely this particular mode of production that, while
addressing the needs of the urban industrial population,
entailed the principles for the emergence of a new harmonious
social order.
Such an impersonal standard, which was also
described by Gropius as a norm, a word derived from the
carpenters square, functioned as an ideal to educate and nurture
the inhabitants of the new city, as citizens of a democracy linked
in an intrinsically spatial eld.
The connection between industrial production and a
normative framework for the growing urban population had
already been established in the early days of Modernism:
Typisierungand the objet-typeare but examples of it. What was
different now was that the concepts of the typical and standard,
incorporated into a set of new economies material, technical,
spatial, visual and graphic became the physical prerequisite
for producing the social eld. I n fact, they provided, through
the very features of their design, a diagrammatic manifestation
of this eld. Their graphic formulations exemplied a form of
production of the urban environment, considered as the logical
precondition of moral regeneration and civic happiness.
The typical did not provide just a model for the
production of the singular artefact be it a built component,
a piece of furniture, a dwelling unit or the urban block. I t
provided a framework for conceptualising architecture as part
of a social and ideological agenda. I t had a strong bearing
on architectural arguments that sought to formalise the
connection between the singular and processes of production
of the collective. I t was precisely this articulation of the
individual and the collective that insinuated type in the social
and political aspirations of Modernism.
JNL Durand, Faade Combinations, 1809
The combination or disposition (the
French term disposer means to arrange,
to put things in a certain order) of
typied elements gives prominence to a
method of work that would become part
of a radical redenition of the ambitions
of the discipline.
26 2
I n these terms, the ethical value of the Modernist type
consisted in the combination of the ideal of architectural
perfection with the laws of economy and the reality of mass
production. This sense of architectural perfection was succinctly
expressed in Karel Teiges words, written in 1932, as any ideal
proposal that would be technically and economically capable
of realisation.
Thus, the ideal proposal, a strictly standardised
element , was an analytical scheme in which programmatic
functions and architectural elements on the one hand, and
economic and technical variants on the other, could be unied
around an idea of dwelling in the modern city.
Furthermore, this idea of dwelling was not so much
concerned with the domestic in terms of spatial scale, but incited
a programmatic and ideological link between the reality of mass
production, a culture of dwelling and the ideals of the future
the ideals of the new relationship between the individual, the
social and the city. This is reected in the plans of individual
dwelling units which were specic enough yet strategically
general, on the one hand, to represent a fragment of inhabitable
terrain that could be mapped and regulated, and on the other, to
effectively project a schema of life across the entire social body.
To recapitulate, at the heart of the programme of the objet-
typeis a procedure by which a series of distinct but repetitive
functions or activities are imposed on the individual. By
incorporating the individual, thus controlled, within a system,
the growth of that system is both ensured (by multiplication of
the typied elements) and regulated (by repetition of established
functions). Put succinctly, the individual is rendered typical, in
order to contribute to the generative and regulative operations
of the city, that is, a typeof development.
Urban Typologies: The City as History
The conceptual and visual engagement of the different scales in
the above account of the typical and type paradoxically exposes
a desire for ultimate synthesis and visual coherence to be
achieved in the New City. The question raised in the rethinking
of the modern city in the 1950s and 1960s is what happens
to the immediate conformity between the sequence of unitary
elements and the synthetic instant, when we confront the
complex and rather ambiguous gure of the existing city.
But to dene the existing city, how its identity is to be
understood and engaged with, proved a rather complex task.
Nothing illustrates more clearly this difculty than the historic
research done in I taly by Saverio Muratori and Ernesto Rogers
in the 1950s, and later, Aldo Rossi and Giulio Carlo Argan.
Despite the often conicting attitudes involved in these
explorations, the aim was to stress by means of a typological
permanence the cultural continuity of what Rogers would
describe as the pre-existing conditions (preesistenzeambientali).
I n these studies, undoubtedly displaying aspects of the
A work of art,
according to Focillon,
was an attempt to
express something
that is unique, but
it was likewise an
integral part of a
system of highly
complex relationships.
27 2
contemporaneous critique of the Functionalist city, any
construction was thought as a completed cultural history.
architectural work was analysed and conceived as a singular
entity (not a unitary element), and at the same time an expression
of the development of the urban aggregate within a given place,
which was the region, and within a precise historical space, the city.
On the one hand, the city was read as a structure that
constantly evolves and changes, yet certain features were
constant in time, and therefore typical; that is, constituent
factors of that structure. On the other, this was an attempt to
develop a working method; a method which invoked history in
a series of transformations rather than a sequential unfolding
of time. This method brought together ideas on history and
principles of morphology already formulated in the 1930s by
thinkers such as Henri Focillon. I n particular, Focillons idea of
art as a system in perpetual development of coherent forms

and of history as a superimposition of geological strata that
permits us to read each fraction of time as if it was at once past,
present and future is interestingly relevant.

A work of art, according to Focillon, was an attempt to
express something that is unique, but it was likewise an integral
part of a system of highly complex relationships.
Forms thus
acquire in their stratied evolution a life that follows its own
trajectory and can be generalised only on the level of method. I t
was in very similar terms that Ernesto Rogers, editor of
Casabella Continuit during the 1950s, understood the
architectural work and project. For Rogers, the individual artefact
was a sensible form, a singular and specic outcome, here and
now, but also part of a broader structure, and as such a process in
search of laws by means of which this structure might receive a
greater degree of clarity. Thus the architectural project consisted
primarily in a methodological process (processometodologico)
seeking to identify the most salient qualities (emergenza pi
saliente) of the existing structure (material, urban, civil, cultural)
and capture its specic essence (essenza specica).
Moreover, if the ideal of an individual architecture was an
element distinct in the time and space of experience, it was only
the successive experiences of these distinct moments in the life
of the individual artefact that ultimately achieve a synthesis.

History here shifts into the realm of memory, and the singular
form was not only to signify its own distinct individuality; it
became a sign of forms and events that were part of a collective
that is, urban memory. I n these terms, any architectural
form, existing or new, was the expression of its particular
character at a specic time and place, but also embodied the
memory of previous forms and functions.
I f the work was to be read, by means of associations,
within the construct of this collective memory, type was the
apparatus (using Aldo Rossis term) which, fusing history and
memory, could produce a dialectics between the individual
object and the collective subject, between the idea of the object
and the memory of its multiple actualities. I t is precisely this
dialectics which, for Rossi, was to ultimately constitute the
structure of the city, a collective possession that , in its turn,
must be presupposed before any signicance can be attributed
to the individual work.
Walter Gropius, Copper-PlateHouses, 1932
opposite: Gropius Copper-Plate Houses
for mass-production: a kit of standardised
elements programmatic, architectural,
technical enabling the investigation
of systems of inhabitation held to arise
within, and produce, urban space. From
Walter Gropius, The NewArchitecture and
the Bauhaus published in 1937.
The Evolution of the Ideal Type from
Paestumto the Parthenon, fromthe
Humber to the Delage
below: A basic notion of progress is
here linked with the ideal of perfection
in architecture, with the idea of it as
an autonomous technical product.
From Le Corbusier, Towards a New
Architecture, 1923.
As he wrote in the early 1960s, the city is in itself a
repository of history.
This could be understood from two
different points of view. I n the rst, the city is above all a
material artefact, a man-made object built over time and
retaining the traces of time, even if in a discontinuous way.
Studied from this point of view, cities become historical texts
and type is but an instrument of analysis, to enter into and
decipher this text, a function similar to the archaeological
section. The second point of view acknowledges history as the
awareness of the historical process, the collective imagination.
This leads to one of Rossis prominent ideas that the city is the
locusof the relationship of the collective to its place.
And it
is type, this time as an element of design, which enables the
formal articulations of this relationship.
I n this notion of type, we see an attempt to reinvest the
work of architecture with a dimension of meaning, something
that is not dissimilar to de Quincys understanding of type
within a system analogous to language. Only, in this case, the
meaning depends on a kind of collective memory. Nonetheless,
the suggestion of type as a formal register of the collective but
also an instrument of analysis as well as an element of design that
can transform theoretical speculations into operative means for
making architecture in the present was mostly evident in these
studies, yet always recurrent in the critical discourse of architecture.
Politics of Type: The Contemporary City
One could now attempt to reinstate this suggestion in
contemporary terms. Prior to that, however, the question
ought to be posed as to whether the question of type and
typology is still pertinent. I f it is concerned with a question
of the architectural work itself , there are certain criteria that
provide an overall different framework for thinking about the
architectural work and its engagement with the city.
The rst of these criteria is, broadly speaking, historical.
Every time brings specic conditions to the manner in which
the claims on architecture and the city are made. So, the very
meaning of type, architectural work and city cannot be separated
from the historical situations within which it functions. I t is
worth noting at this point that in the ideas discussed here,
type as model and natural principle, legible form of a purpose,
a diagram of the new and the locus of collective memory, the
relation to language has always been implicit, and indeed,
operative. As Moneo writes, even the very act of naming the
architectural object is a process that from the nature of language,
is forced to typify.
Yet this can only operate within a general
logic of signication that confers meaning on the object by
situating it in a relational structure or network.
This brings us to the second criterion, which is social. I n
order for an artefact to be recognised as such, it has to abide
by the broad parameters operative in a particular community.
For Rossi, the relationship between
locus and citizenry is to inform the
citys predominant image. M any
of the emerging forms of urbanity,
however, are partially or completely
novel systems of relations and,
often, novel institutional orders. New
processes of economic and cultural
activity problematise the traditional
bond between territory and people,
and citizenship is often constituted
in a radically different way.
This is, for instance, what the categories of the typical object
and the standard product attempted to entirely recongure.
They were part of a rhetoric whose aim was to produce a new
and distinctive way of talking about architecture by turning
particulars into abstract generalities such as the individual,
the dwelling unit , the collective and so on.
I n new urban
formations, however, or existing cities which are inscribed with
a multiplicity of economies and identities ethnical, racial,
cultural and religious representations of a globality which have
not been recognised as such or are contested representations,
a single model or method cannot be imposed. The material
(and immaterial) forces that mould these communities are
diverse and produce a distinctive inter-urban and intra-urban
geography. Each of these communities establishes a logic of
signication that presupposes a specic understanding of what
meaning is, how it operates, the normative principles it should
abide by, its social function and so on.
For Rossi, the relationship between locus and citizenry is
to inform the citys predominant image. Many of the emerging
forms of urbanity, however, are partially or completely novel
systems of relations and, often, novel institutional orders. New
processes of economic and cultural activity problematise the
traditional bond between territory and people, and citizenship is
often constituted in a radically different way.
I n this context, how can the work of architecture engage
with the city in terms of its structuring?How can the multiple
regimes of the architectural project address the new modes
of production of the urban environment and a very different
account of the political role of architecture in this environment?
I s it possible that the architectural project still engages
conceptions of space, norms of use and modes of appropriation
that are not simply forms of mediation between polarities such
as individual/collective, architectural/urban, past/present, new/
existing but become effective in a more relational conguration?
I t seems to me that the question of type and typology
could become extremely effective if the architectural project
is rethought in terms of a method that may dene the general
coordinates within which architectural works and urban
strategies can be distinguished, yet their delimitations are
precisely negotiated. Moreover, the question cannot be framed
simply in relation to formal or methodological issues, but
within a scheme that redenes the aesthetic coordinates of the
community through implementing the connections between
spatial and formal practices, forms of life, conceptions of
thought and gures of the community. At the very end, it is an
architectural question which implements the presupposition
of politics, if politics revolves around what is seen and what
can be said about it, around who has the ability to see and
the talent to speak, around the properties of spaces and the
possibilities of time.
Hannes Meyer, Co-op Vitrine with Co-op
Standard Products, Basel, 1925
opposite: The exhibition piece consisted
of arrays of 36 mass-produced items from
cooperative factories. It is through the
repeatability of the serial product that an
effect of the collective is to be created.
E May and E Kaufmann, Furnishings of
Small Apartments with FoldingBeds,
Frankfurt, 1929
below: The virtues of economy in the
production of forms of living considered
typical of the modern age.
1. Rafael Moneo, On Typology, in Oppositions 13,
1978, p 23.
2. Quatremre de Quincy, Encyclopdie Mthodique,
Architecture, Vol 3, Paris, 1825.
3. JacquesFranois Blondel, Cours darchitecture, Vol
2, Paris, 17711777, p 229.
4. While a simple notion of type of progress might
aspire to the perfectibility of each type, only an
internal understanding of the constructive laws of
types, and the dynamic transformations of these
laws under the threat of external change or internal
demands, could open the way to a comprehension
of a kind of evolution in architecture. Anthony
Vidler, The Idea of Type: The Transformation of the
Academic Ideal, 17501830, in Oppositions, 8,
1977, p.108.
5. Manfredo Tafuri and Francesco Dal Co, Modern
Architecture, Abrams (New York), 1986, p 326.
6. Walter Gropius, The New Architecture and the
Bauhaus, Faber and Faber (London), 1937, p 27.
7. A standard may be dened as that simplied
practical exemplar of anything in general use which
embodies a fusion of the best of its anterior forms a
fusion preceded by the elimination of the personal
content of their designers and all otherwise ungeneric
or non-essential features. Such an impersonal standard
is called a norm , a word derived from a carpenters
square. Walter Gropius, ibid. p 26.
8. Walter Gropius, Die Soziologischen Grundlagen
der Minimalwohnung, in CIAM, Die Wohnung
fr das Existenzminimum, Englert und Schlosser
(Frankfurt), 1930, pp 1323. The same text is in
English in Walter Gropius, The Sociological Premises
for the Minimum Dwelling of Urban Industrial
Populations, in The Scope of Total Architecture,
Harper (New York), 1955, pp 104118.
Aldo Rossi, Composition with Modena
Cemetery, 1979
opposite bottom: The art of codication
and disposition of residual typological
meanings suggests the work of architecture
primarily as a register and instrument of
collective memory, and the city as the
context within which this memory can
become active.
LudwigHilberseimer, Vorschlagzur
Citybebauung, 1930
opposite top: From the serial product
to the typied structural element to the
mass-produced living unit to the plan,
identiable architectural strategies
formalise procedures and a general system
that, while disposing the individual within
an ever-growing multitude, produces new
gures of the community.
BBPR Architects, Velasca Tower,
Milan, 1954
below: Through the use of specic formal
elements, the building, also presented by
Ernesto Rogers at the last CIAM meeting
in the Netherlands village of Otterlo
(1959) where it caused erce arguments,
becomes a historically constituted signier
establishing a discourse on the city.
9. Karel Teige, The Minimum Dwelling, trans Eric
Dluhosch, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA and London),
2002 [Nejmens byt, Vclav Petr (Prague), 1932],
p 12.
10. Ibid, p 252.
11. Saverio Muratori, Studi per unoperante storia
urbana di Venezia, Pligraco dello Stato (Rome),
1960, p 2. An earlier version appears in Palladio
12 (1959), pp 97106. Saverio Muratori (1910
73) had come from Rome where he was associated
with the Gruppo degli Urbanisti Romani (GUR) and
began his research on the city of Venice when he
was asked to teach at the Instituto Universitario di
Architettura in 1950.
12. Henri Focillon, La Vie des Formes, Ernst
Leroux (Paris), 1934. The rst translation into
English was by Charles Beecher Hogan and George
Kubler, The Life of Forms in Art, Yale University
Press (New Haven, CT), 1942.
13. Henri Focillon, LAn Mil, Armand Colin (Paris),
14. The Life of Forms in Art, op cit, p 6. In fact,
in Lavenir de lesthtique, published in 1929,
Etienne Souriau is the rst one to dene aesthetics
in terms of a science of forms (science des
formes): a science that studies forms in their own
structuring. Opposing the tendency of the time to
reside on the psychological analysis of the pleasure
of the artist and the viewer, Souriau and Focillon
considered the artwork as if it was bearer of an
autonomous sense.
15. Ernesto Rogers, The Image: The Architects
Inalienable Vision, in Gyorgy Kepes (ed), Sign,
Image and Symbol, Studio Vista (London), 1966,
p 242.
16. Alan Colquhoun, Modernity and the Classical
Tradition: Architectural Essays 19801987, MIT
Press (Cambridge, MA), 1989, p 249.
17. Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City,
The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies
(New York) and MIT Press (Cambridge, MA),
1982, p 127. The rst edition of this book,
taken from Rossis lectures, appeared in 1966.
18. Ibid, p 128.
19. Rafael Moneo, On Typology, in Oppositions
13, 1978, p 23.
20. Adrian Forty discusses these categories (the
individual, the human) in relation to the rhetoric
of modernism. He notes: a marked tendency
to turn particulars into abstract generalities, for
example, walls become the wall, streets the
street, a path becomes the route, a house the
dwelling, and so on. Adrian Forty, Words and
Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture,
Thames & Hudson (London), 2000.
21. Jacques Rancire, The Politics of Aesthetics:
The Distribution of the Sensible, trans Gabriel
Rockhill, Continuum (New York), 2004 [rst
published in France under the title Le Partage du
Sensible: Esthtique et Politique, La Fabrique-
Editions (Paris), 2000, p 13.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: p 26
Illustration from Walter Gropius, The New Architecture
and the Bauhaus, Faber and Faber (London), 1937; p
27 FLC/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2010; p 28
gta Archives/ETH Zurich; p 29 MITPress 2002.
Reprinted courtesy of the MITPress from Karel Teige,
The Minimum Dwelling, trans. Eric Dluhosch, 2002;
p 30(t) published in Entfaltung Einer Planungsidee
(Berlin: Ullstein: 1963, pp 18-19, ill 7). Ludwig Karl
Hilberseimer. Ludwig Karl Hilberseimer Papers, Ryerson
and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.
Digital File 070383.100914-01 The Art Institute of
Chicago; p 30(b) Eredi Aldo Rossi; p 31 Enzo &
Paolo Ragazzini/CORBIS
Pier Vittorio Aureli focuses on the category of archetype as an
alternative to the idea of type. Four examples the axial streets
of Renaissance Rome, the 17th-century Parisian place, the 19th-
century independent block in Berlin and the 20th-century
Viennese superblock are explored here to describe the emergence
of modern urban forms that explicitly embody power relations.
Pier VittorioAureli
The city is the most explicit index of power relationships.
Walls, squares and streets are not only meant to support
the functioning of the city, but they also form an extensive
governmental apparatus. Without proposing a cause-and-effect
relationship between form and politics, the intention here is to
trace the political origin of quintessential city projects within
the history of the modern city. The aim is to test the political
instrumentality of architectural form. For this reason, instead of
focusing on the city at large, the focus will be on paradigmatic
architectural archetypes. The category of archetype that will be
advocated here will not be the way Carl G Jung dened it, as a
universal contentless form, nor as innate pattern of behaviour.

I nstead, following Giorgio Agamben, the idea of archetype as
example will be proposed: neither a specic nor a general form,
but a singular formal event that serves to dene the possibility
of a milieu of forms.
Following such denition an archetype
could be Jeremy Benthams Panopticon (1785) whose form
was interpreted by Michel Foucault not only as the model for
that type of surveillance, but as an example through which it is
possible to dene a particular paradigm of spatial governance.

The category of archetype is advanced here as an alternative
to the idea of type. I f type traditionally indicates the idea that
regulates the development of a group of forms (and for this
reason is irreducible to any particular form), archetype offers the
possibility of addressing a found singular form as a denition for
a possible group of forms. I n architecture, an archetype is thus
a paradigmatic form through which it is possible to illuminate a
particular critical passage in the development of the city.
I n the following notes, the political form of the modern
city will be dened by addressing four archetypes: the papal
axial streets of 16th-century Rome, the Parisian plceof the
17th century, the independent building block in 19th-century
Berlin and the 20th-century Viennese superblock. The sequence
of these four archetypes attempts to synthetically describe the
emergence of modern urban forms that embodied specic power
relationships within the city, especially those related to the
rise of economic accumulation and management as a response
to particular conicts in the city. The aim of this essay is to
attempt a short and concise outline of a political history of the
modern city, and the way its ethos, made of urban management
on the one hand and conict on the other, was embodied and
represented by the use of certain architectural forms. The
argument is that while the changes of the city can be thought of
as the evolution of urban types, its realisation can only happen
within a political state of exceptions, in which the exemplarity
of specic and singular forms plays a leading role in resetting
the urban condition. The essay counters the current mainstream
of evolutionary and empirical research on the city that portrays
urban space as an evolutionary and self-organising organism.
Against this idea, the city emerges as a locus of a permanent
political conict of which architectural form is one of the most
extreme and radical manifestations.
33 333
Axial Rule in Renaissance Rome
The reinvention of Rome as the capital of Christianity between
the 14th and 16th centuries can be considered as one of the
most antagonistic processes of urban transformation in the
Western world. This was mainly due to two specic conditions
of the city: its complex topography and geography, and its
idiosyncratic political regime. Unlike any other major medieval
city in Europe, the major symbolic and power centres in Rome
the Capitol, the Cathedral of St John and the Vatican were
not located in the city centre, but at the city margins.
geography contributed to make the city centre an unresolved
multipolar eld of forces contested by the different powers
represented by these centres. The political regime consisted of a
non-dynastic monarchy where each pope was elected at a very
old age in order to prevent too long a span of his reign, meaning
he had only a very short time in which to implement reforms
and to leave his legacy on the city form. The extreme political
discontinuity between successive papacies meant popes efforts
most often did not follow on from one another, and at best had
contrasting aims. These extreme conditions resonated within a
chaotic urban form made of an archipelago of clusters, each of
them dominated by competing clans or dynasties.
On top of everything, the conict between secular and
religious power represented within the city by the polar
contraposition between the Campidoglio and the Vatican gave
to the different forms of conict an acute political dimension
that triggered the church to engage in the management of
the city. I t is for this reason that, parallel with the building of
new monuments and the restoration of ancient ones, those
popes who wanted to leave their mark on the citys urban form
engaged with the design of new city streets. This took the
form not only of the opening of new or the completion of old
streets, but also in a diffuse management of urban space. Facing
a situation of extreme backwardness and political uncertainty
due the consequences of the Great Western Schism, and the
exile of popes in Avignon (13781417), Pope Martino V (pope
from 1417 to 1431) instituted the Magistri Viarium, public
administrators who were responsible for the management of
the streets.
Their task was not only the physical maintenance
of space in terms of circulation and hygiene, but also to reclaim
political control of this space from the opposing clans that
contended it. I t must be considered that in Rome at the time
there were no proper streets and public space was more the
interstice between the different clusters of buildings. I nstituting
the Magistri Viarium created the possibility of an organic
totalising space of control that would surpass the local scale of
the building. What is interesting here is that this was organised
not in terms of military control, but through the institution of
a civic body whose power was administrative and managerial
rather than coercive, and thus more adaptable to being diffused
within rather than simply imposed on the city.
The opening and management of new streets was also
directed towards the possibility of making the city a Biblia
Pauperum, an urban text whose message could be accessible to
the pilgrims coming to the Eternal City. Yet the central issue of
the street project was that, like in ancient Rome, representation
and urban management were fused in the same architectural
artefact. I n Rome urban circulation acquired this ambivalent
meaning of both ceremonial display and urban control.
The awareness of circulation as a means of power soon
resulted in a precise and archetypical form: the axial street, of
which Donato Bramantes design for Via Giulia (1508) can be
considered the most radical example.
The almost 1,000-metre
(3,280-foot) long street that cut through the city fabric running
parallel to the river Tiber (and to Via della Lungara, its twin
street on the other suburban side of the river), was, above all, a
strategic link connecting two important elements of medieval
Rome: the 15th-century Ponte Sisto, the only bridge built after
the fall of the Roman Empire, and the commercial core of the
city inhabited by the emerging class of bankers. The spatiality of
Via Giulia is the direct product of the culture of perspective and
its application in the representation of reality. The evolution of
the science of perspective during the 15th century needs to be
understood not only as a means to represent in a mathematically
correct way the depth of space, but also because its mathematical
implications were a framework within which to reimagine the
reform of urban space according to the universal and abstract
principles of spatial organisation. The unprecedented axial form
of Via Giulia represents the concrete application of this culture to
the real body of the city. The perfect linear geometry of the street
was intended to organise in one spatial gesture not only a proper
circulation space but also a strongly dened interdependence
between public and private space, by making the public space
the perfectly shaped void of the via recta both the access to and
control of the private properties along the street.
Via Giulia, Rome, 1508
The geometrical regularity of the street
offers the possibility of controlling private
property by means of public space. Public
space appears as regular, universal,
efcient and magnicent, and in this way
conceals its vested (and partial) interests.
Economic Empowerment in the Place Royale, Paris
A similar concern informs the design of another fundamental
archetype of modern city spatiality: the Place Royale (1605,
later known as Place des Vosges) in Paris. I f Via Giulia was
meant to be the urban pendant of a gigantic monumental
form the Palazzo dei Tribunali where Pope Julius I I
intended to concentrate all the juridical and administrative
functions of the city the Place Royale was conceived as
a monumental space enclosed by a cohesive and quasi-
anonymous residential architecture. This architecture
consisted of a row of apartments with a portico on the
ground oor. The portico was the circulation space for the
silk workshop that, according to the original project for the
square, was to be located on the ground oor.
The square
itself is thus an empty space carved within the fabric of the
city. I ts extreme regularity, its lack of outstanding monumental
features, the sense of calm evoked by the endless fenestrations
and the repetition of a few decorative elements, realised the
political desire to overcome any specic symbolic identity.
This desire for a generic architecture can be linked to
Henri I Vs impetus to overcome the extreme religious conicts
that were characteristic of France towards the end of the
16th century. The formal genericness, the emphasis on space
over the monumentality of architecture, can be seen as an
anticipation of the biopolitical techniques of urban management
implied in the theories of the raison dtat in which power is
no longer identied in the symbolic and plastic gure of the
sovereign, but is distributed throughout the whole social body of
the city. I n this respect it is interesting to note that although the
square was intended for royal gatherings and representations, its
planning was guided by the requirement to gain income from
the rental of apartments on the upper oors and the commercial
activities in the workshops on the ground oor. I nstead of a
monumental architecture, the pragmatic monarchy of Henry I V
assumed the economic management of the city in the form of
production workshops and houses for rent. The economic raison
dtreof the city thus becomes the very source of the squares
architectural grammar.
As in the case of Via Giulia, it is evident how the evolution
of an urban type depends not only on use, but also on the
political instrumentality of the most immanent conditions of
the city, such as circulation, the relationship between public and
private space, economic regime, and organisation of production.
For this reason the neat form of the Place Royale can be seen
as the urban space that inaugurated an architecture of the city
made of distances, voids and repetitions of the same architectural
elements, and thus able to be the exible framework for the
citys development and its consequent (often unpredictable)
economic transformations. While the architecture of Via Giulia
resulted in the contrast between the overall layout of the street
and the individuality of the buildings along it, in the Place
Royale the individuality of the architecture is totally absorbed
in the uniformity of the space. I n this sense, the empty space
of the Place Royale, its uniformity, its regularity, represents
precisely the ubiquity and the innity of the space, and not
only the image but also the substance of power within the city.
Space is here a framed void: the mere potentiality of social and
economic relationships, the possibility of circulation, and thus of
empowering the state per via economica.
The Place Royale, Paris, 160512
Engraving after Claude Chastillon, 1677.
The Place Royale was built by Henry IV
starting in 1605 and was completed in
1612. According to the original project,
the ground oor of the buildings around
the square was intended to host a silk
workshop. The square fused economic
necessity and ceremonial representation
within one simple space.
The formal genericness,
the emphasis on space
over the monumentality of
architecture, can be seen
as an anticipation of the
biopolitical techniques of
urban management implied
in the theories of the raison
dtat in which power is
no longer identied in the
symbolic and plastic gure
of the sovereign, but is
distributed throughout the
whole social body of the city.
Bourgeois Berlin and the Independent Building Block
An alternative to this type of urban form that characterised
the development of the European city between the 17th
and 18th centuries is Karl Friedrich Schinkels incremental
masterplanning of Berlin between the 1820s and 1841. I f
16th-century Rome and 17th-century Paris were developed
through the opening of regular spaces within the medieval
fabric of the city, Schinkel returns to the archetype of the
isolated building block as the primary element of the city.
Examples of this are his most important buildings in Berlin,
such as the Neue Wache (New Guard House, 1816), the Altes
Museum (182330) and the Bauakademie (18326). All were
intended by the Prussian architect not only as objects per
se, but also as strategic stepping stones for a punctual urban
reform of the city. I ndeed, the pavilion-like appearance of
these buildings implies a space characterised no longer by the
cohesive spatiality of the Baroque city where all the buildings
are rigidly aligned along the streets and squares, but by the free
and unpredictable association of the buildings themselves.
Historians such as Fritz Neumeyer have interpreted such
urban forms as implied in Schinkels pavillionairearchitecture
as the spatial rendering of the emerging bourgeois ethos of
19th-century Berlin.
According to Neumeyer, Schinkels
archetype of the building-as-individual can be understood as
the architectural analogue of the free bourgeoisie initiative
no longer constrained by the social and political rigidity of
Baroque absolutism. I n this sense it is important to consider
that Berlins urban form was strongly dened by the application
of the Polizeiwissenschaft, the apparatus of political and
social control developed through a sophisticated regime of
urban policing.
The tenets of such a regime consisted in
the ubiquitous internal control of the city through pervasive
economic and social legislation in which power was completely
identied in the principle of economic and social utility.
Within such a liberal framework where control is exercised by
the production of situated freedoms rather than by imposition
of a strict social order, the city is no longer a rigid setting for
the representation of power, but a exible and incremental
accumulation of always changing urban situations. The
multiplicity of urban space that forms between Schinkels
isolated blocks can thus be interpreted not only as the analogue
of the bourgeois liberal initiative, but also as the topographical
product of the regime that governed such an initiative. The
urban incrementalism implied in Schinkels archetype of
the isolated block can be interpreted as the product of an
urban ethos in which the growth of the city requires a certain
openness of the city space. For this reason the spatial openness
that has always been emphasised in Schinkels approach to
the city can be seen as the ultimate liberal tactic in which
topographic exibility and dissolution of rigid masterplanning
becomes the ultimate form of urban governance.
Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Bauakademie,
Berlin, 18326
Photograph from Schinkels Sammlung
Architektonischer Entwrfe of 1837.
The urban incrementalism implied in Schinkels archetype of the isolated
block can be interpreted as the product of an urban ethos in which the
growth of the city requires a certain openness of the city space.
36 366 33666666
Closure and Obstruction: The Viennese Superblock
The tradition of urban form illustrated so far can be summarised
as the progressive prevalence of space over form. The archetypes
that we have seen share the common denominator of being the
result of politics via urban management rather than of explicit
political representation. As we have seen, the emphasis on urban
management nds its spatial analogue in a city where exibility
and openness towards urban development is the raison dtreof
the city archetypes. I t is not by chance that the legacy of such
a tradition will nd its logical conclusion in the emergence of
social housing for the workers.
As is well known, the discipline of urbanism emerged from
the crisis brought about by industrial development, but the
heart of such a crisis is precisely capitalisms attempt to tame
and control the labour force needed for its own development.
Such control consisted of the evolution of rational criteria
for city planning where rationality is the reduction of urban
form to the principles of utility and social control. A decisive
counterarchetype to this tradition (and in this discourse to the
tradition of urban form illustrated so far) is the development of
the Gemeindebauten in Vienna, the social housing superblocks
built by the Social Democratic Party between 1923 and 1934.
The fundamental archetype of such development is the rather
introverted urban form of the Hof: the monumental courtyard
of the historic city. Rather than the rational forms of the
Siedlungen (prewar housing estates) in Berlin, or the tradition
of the Garden City, the Viennese municipality revisited the
monumentality of the Hof in order to counter the principle of
utility and control implied in the typologies of mass dwelling.
Moreover, they decided to locate the superblocks within the
historic city in close proximity to its strategic points, such as the
metro stations, bridges and important trafc routes, rather than
to expand the periphery. Within this framework, the closed
forms of the superblocks countered the managerial workings of
the city by opposing its ows and networks with the obstructive
closure of its introverted space.
Karl Ehn, Karl-Marx-Hof, Vienna,
View of the courtyard showing the
communal services such as the
kindergarten and gardens. Closure and self-
sufciency are monumentalised against the
openness and innity of the bourgeois city.
The archetype of the closed
monumental courtyard clearly separated
from the city but fully accessible by the
community of workers that inhabited
each superblock introduced a type of
space that is neither public nor private.
37 377777 337777
1. See Carl Gustav Jung, The Archetypes and Collective
Unconscious, trans Gerhard Adler and RFC Full, Princeton
University Press (New York), 2nd edn, 1981.
2. This denition is an attempt to adapt Giorgio
Agambens discussion of the idea of example as a method
of research. See Giorgio Agamben, The Signature of all
Things, trans Luca di Santo and Kevin Atell, Zone Books
(New York), 2009.
3. See Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of
the Prison, trans Alan Sheridan, Penguin Books (London),
1977, pp 195228.
4. See Christoph Luitpold Frommel, Architettura alla corte
papale del Rinascimento, Electa (Milan), 2003.
5. Enrico del Re, I Maestri di Strada, in Archivio della
Regia Societa Romana di Storia Patria, XLII, 1920, p 101.
6. On the project and development of Via Giulia, see Luigi
Salerno, Luigi Spezzaferro and Manfredo Tafuri, Via Giulia,
un utopia urbana del Cinquencento, Staderini (Rome),
1972. See also Arnaldo Bruschi, Bramante, Thames &
Hudson (London), 1977.
7. See Hilary Ballon, The Paris of Henry IV:
Architecture and Urbanism, MIT Press (Cambridge,
MA), 1991, pp 57113.
8. Fritz Neumeyer, Space for Reection: Block versus
Pavilion, in Franz Schulze (ed), Mies van der Rohe: Critical
Essays, Museum of Modern Art (New York), 1989, p 196.
9. See Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population,
Palgrave Macmillan (London), 2007.
10. For a comprehensive overview of Red Vienna, see Eve
Balu, The Architecture of the Red Vienna 19191934, MIT
Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999. See also Manfredo Tafuri,
Vienna Rossa, Electa (Milan), 1980.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images Courtesy of the author
Friedrich Gilly, Perspectival Study with
Landscape, c 1800
This famous drawing anticipates the theme
of the city as made by architectural blocks
freely composed within space. However
it will be precisely such autonomy of
architectural form from the geometric
constraints of the traditional topography
of the city that will allow a more exible,
and thus more efcient, management of
urban space.
As we have seen, the category of public space has developed
as a means to dene, frame and control the access to and the
maintenance of private property and its urban dimension:
landownership. The dened geometry of Via Giulia or the
Place Royale was intended, above all, as the instrumentalisation
of private property for the sake of urban development. I n this
case, public space is the binding force, the common interest
that forms and denes the development of private space. I t is
for this reason that public space has to remain open, neutral
and universal. The archetype of the closed monumental
courtyard clearly separated from the city but fully accessible
by the community of workers that inhabited each superblock
introduced a type of space that is neither public nor private.
Such space is common and shared by those who live around it.
The proximity of the Hof reects the necessity for the limits
that each community requires in order to manifest itself.
However, the limits of such community are not economic, but
political, motivated by the desire for political emancipation
(and separation) rather than just (economic) upgrading of the
urban condition in the name of social utility.
I f the urban openness and rationality implied in
archetypes such as Via Giulia, the Place Royale and Schinkels
self-standing building blocks were intended as a way to
accommodate the economic and administrative conditions of
the city, in the Viennese Gemeindebauten the same conditions
in the form of social housing were turned into an archipelago
of nite monumental forms against, yet within, the very
body of the existing managerial city. I n the urban gesture of
the Hof, the city is no longer conceived as an innite space
for development, but as a dialectical arena of conicting
parts (the Hof as the architecture of the proletariat versus the
apartment blocks of the bourgeoisie). Yet this conict is not
left before or beyond the project. I n the Gemeindebauten it is
instrumentalised as its very core.
The sense of closeness implicit in the archetype of the Hof
resonates the working classs partiality against the bourgeoisies
general interest. Unlike many archetypes of the modern city,
the Hof was assumed not as a managerial apparatus, but as a
critical challenge to the ubiquity of urban space, and thus as a
political caesura within the innite and totalising apparatus that
is the modern city. 1
38 38 3388
Here, Peter Carl substitutes the term
type for the typical, and typology for
typicality. In so doing he frees up the
notion of type for contemporary design,
liberating it from the strictures of its
performance history and precedents that
have often veered towards standardisation.
Peter Carl
The word typical applies to phenomena ranging from the least
to the most important. To describe something as typical can
mean that it is boringly repetitive, or that it is characteristic,
or that it is ultimately typical (either general, like a law of
physics, or universal, like an ethical principle or a divinity). The
word acknowledges that different things may have common
elements, aspects, properties, behaviours, meanings, and so on;
and it therefore invokes the similitudes that range from logical
identity to set theory to varieties of analogy to metaphor to
concept and symbol. I n this rich and vast thematic eld, lying
between ambiguity and continuity in difference, the varieties of
typicality related to architecture have attracted novelists, artists,
lm-makers, designers and thinkers. Within architecture since
the Enlightenment, however, the somewhat narrower concept
of typology has dominated, perhaps because of the importance
of theory in this period.
I n ancient Near Eastern texts, the frequency with which
the prex bit- (house) applies to houses, palaces, temples
and such settings as the New Years festival house (bit-akitu)
suggests the importance of dwelling as a metaphor of
ordering. Alexandria seems to have discovered the procedure
of composing with symbolic types (domes, arches, colonnades,
halls, exedrae) that permeated Roman imperial architecture
and passed thence to Byzantine, Umayyad and Romanesque
architecture, and was recovered again in the I talian
39 39
Alexandria also seems to have been the source
for a theoretical attitude (for example, euhemerism, mechanics)
and its attendant perspectivism, therefore the background to
Vitruvius, where one nds the designation genera (for example,
for his types of houses, VI .I I I .1). Alberti treats architecture as
a theme among many others pertaining to his culture; but with
Serlio, writing about architecture becomes properly theoretical,
striving to be as clear a demonstration as the Euclidean
assumptions with which he begins.
Contemporary theory on typology in architecture seems
to recognise four historical phases: 1) the 18th century,
culminating in Quatremre de Quincys tent, cave and hut,

bearing hallmarks of species identication in zoology (for
example, his contemporary Cuvier) and codied in the
design-procedures of JNL Durand;
2) early Modernist
Functionalism, particularly with regard to housing, ranging
from efciency (ergonomics/Taylorism, industrial production)
to poetics (Le Corbusier);
3) the 1960s and 1970s reaction
to this inheritance, largely oriented about Aldo Rossi, but
bearing hallmarks of the classications of Durand; 4) the recent
present, with the advent of digital design techniques, notably
parametric control of formal types.
I n all of these, the main topic of interest has been the
type and its variation. This coincides historically with the
development of the human subject or agent in economic,
psychological or social theory. Although all four historical
phases of typology accompanied theories of the city, the nature
of the relationship between types and their aggregation never
attracted the interest that did typological variation.
too, corresponds to the difculty the economic, psychological
and social sciences have had in thematising the context(s) in
which individual agents or subjects play out their lives. I f the
term culture only became current with the Enlightenment
(making a concept out of what arguably was being lost), the
emphasis upon individual rights, politically, and upon the
agent or subject, in all other elds, left the identity of context
to a range of concepts such as family, neighbourhood, class,
socioeconomic category or sheer statistical description of trends
and tendencies. Accordingly, as the architectural type prevails
against the white of the theoretical page or against a grid like
that of Durand (both versions of space), the subject or agent
prevails against an equally at, abstract background.
With the
recent attunement to information as the basis of continuity,
it seems that type has been inscribed in the effort to bring
reality to a single horizon of representation, in which, ideally,
all relations are explicit, even calculable (as in, for example, a
parametric eld).
That is, space as a eld has given way to
a type of eld comprising entities that obey mathematical
or logical (algorithmic) operations.

Type Versus Typicality
Typology is the very embodiment of conceptual thinking:
it isolates similarities (categories) from the ux of reality in
order to make puried clusters of these similarities suitable
for manipulation (insertion back into reality). The natural
home of a type is the taxonomy. Accordingly, there arises
a tension between the conceptual eld for types and the
concrete topographies which we inhabit a tension which
is customarily seen to be resolved through variation of the
types. From a descriptive point of view, the most important
aspect of architectural types is their heuristic value; they
embody considerable experience or knowledge regarding
sizes, construction, use-patterns, and so on. However,
design too often reies this knowledge, closing off the true
depth of typicality. For example, the type bedroom tends
to solicit a medium-sized room with a bed, side table,
window, closet, and access to a WC; whereas the typical
situations of sleep, dreams, sex, illness, death, open much
more profound and rich possibilities of interpretation
(evident, for example, in the sleeping terrace beneath the
canopy of Le Corbusiers Villa Shodhan, 1951).
Type, Stereotype and the Market the
BedroomPlanner fromIKEA
below: Ikea products and, in the
corner, Bob from David Lynchs
Twin Peaks, a series which arranged
people, things, settings, lifestyles in a
semiotic system according to market
categories, for broadcast as a soap
opera for prime-time television.
Outdoor Bed in the Roofscape of Le
Corbusiers Villa Shodhan (1951)
opposite: While acknowledging the
custom of outdoor sleeping, the bed
also draws on several themes in Le
Corbusiers iconography: the horizon and
the archipelago, the universe of our eyes
(Iconostase A3), and the alchemical bed
(Iconostase D3), and is part of a vertical
sequence in which water is related to oculi.
The more primordial aspects of a situation are more stable
than the choice of words (a dining-table discussion can veer
from affection to anger to silence to plate-throwing). I n other
words, if we are to transcend the sort of context in which types
are simply reied units/data which can be packed/arranged/
disposed according to formal (explicit) criteria, we are obliged to
acknowledge that any proper understanding of context exhibits
the depth-structure of typicalities. I t is precisely this depth-
structure that is attened to a single horizon of representation
when architecture is reduced to form and space and then
even further to information. I t is now dogma within the AI
community that there is no way that algorithmic code can create
a dialogue from its own resources (that is, not prescripted);

and of course dialogue is the heart of anything called social
or political (public). This is a more technical (and negative)
description of what Heidegger framed as language is the
house of Being a formulation intended to grasp the orienting
(ontologically) requirement of dwelling.
Representations of
cities by architects, planners or theorists rarely grasp typicality
in these terms. The standard of what is possible remains the
Dublin of Joyces Ulysses(in particular, the necessity of crime,
disease, ignorance or partial understanding, wit, conict and so
on, to the constant renewal in history of a civic ethos).
Complexity Versus Richness
The progressive conversion of architecture to form/space
to information, in which the concept of type has played a
signicant role,
may be seen as an effort to convert richness
(the depth-structure) into complexity (formal manipulation of
The rst operates implicitly, like metaphor, whereas
the second operates explicitly like code or axiomatic geometry
or logic. Acknowledging the history of abortive efforts since
More fundamentally, it is not obvious how to establish
the criteria with regard to a type for dwelling according to
individual ergonomics, to bed and table, to the middle-class
apartment or house, to functions or decorum, to the market,
to a building or urban block or city or region, to the primordial
conditions of nature, to culture. Dwelling, properly understood,
is more profound than the efcient or attractive accommodation
of a lifestyle it comprises orientation in reality.
Once the question is put this way, it is immediately
obvious that types are isolated fragments of a deeper and richer
structure of typicalities.
The principal difference between
typology and typicality is that the former concentrates upon
[architectural] objects, the latter upon human situations.
We may be instructed here by the manner in which
typicalities operate in language. By language is not meant
the structuralism of French linguistics an effort to translate
all of language into a grammar of messages (or code) but
rather language as a framework for understanding (both each
other and, collectively, our possibilities in the world).
understanding depends upon the element of recognition
without which we would be compelled to invent language
from scratch at each meeting. The element of recognition is
carried by the typicalities, dened as those aspects common-
to-all. What is common-to-all exerts a claim upon freedom;
freedom depends upon what is common-to-all for its meaning
(freedom would otherwise be alienation). Language does not
occur by itself or in a void, but is the most important means
by which human freedom is embedded in a deep structure
of claims or dependencies (typicalities). As a framework for
understanding, language disposes these typicalities in strata.
Most immediate (and ephemeral) are common meanings
(employing words, phrases, idioms, sequences of exchange,
as in bartering or arguing a case in law), accents of sounds, as
well as the specically grammatical aspects of verbs, subjects,
modiers. Even this is only the referential surface of the much
deeper structure of dependencies.
Beneath this lie the gestures
which customarily or habitually accompany linguistic exchange
(bodily orientation; for example, dialogue is customarily face-
to-face). Beneath that lie the situations in which certain kinds
of discourse typically happen; for example, across the dining-
room table/across the boardroom table (often stereotyped in
literature, lm or theatre). These situations are the receptacles
of referential structures (claims) both synchronic and
diachronic. All of this is susceptible to poetic transformation
(creativity) within thelimitsof recognition.
Against the run of
philosophy (and by denition, theory) since the Enlightenment,
recognition implies the universality of the one world of which
we are all part, the ultimate dimension of typicality.
I f context indeed operates like language, the stratication
of typicalities invokes a communication up and down the strata.
without a concrete
language, there is no formal
language no logic, no
mathematics, no geometry,
no form, and certainly
no capacity to use these
analogically ( for example,
to convert any of it into
architecture) .
Leibniz to translate human language into formal language,
and therefore the lack of need to worry about this problem at
a primary level, we may ask about the nature of the dialogue
between concrete richness and formal complexity (that is,
between a designer or user and form or code), which is the most
common manifestation.
The rst and most fundamental aspect of this reciprocity
is that it never happens the other way around; without a
concrete language, there is no formal language no logic,
no mathematics, no geometry, no form, and certainly no
capacity to use these analogically (for example, to convert any
of it into architecture).
Again, a concrete language is not
intrinsic to speakers or writers; language as a framework for
understanding needs the whole cultural ecology (and its history)
in which humans dwell, from nature to cities (the conditions
for freedom). Secondly, not only does concrete language enable
analogical treatment of formal languages, formal languages
positively requireanalogical conversion/translation in order to
qualify as architecture. Everything needed for this purpose must
be added to form materials (and their properties), use, scale,
location before meaning can be broached. Similarly, the chief
virtue of an architectural type its encapsulation of experience
needs to be carried in the head while manipulating the type.

Finally, the phenomenon referred to above as attening arises
from any attempt to translate the concrete order into a formal
order that is, to convert the depth of rich intensity into
the atness of formal extensity.
The promise of simulation
(end-to-end control, analysis) is defeated by the practicalities
of extensity. Russell Smiths users guide to his Open [Source]
Dynamic Engine (from 2001) allows one to appreciate the
complexity of code required to establish a digital simulation
of so-called physics; that is, a digital context in which gravity
appears to affect objects, such as a bouncing ball.
This context
is essentially a Galilean/Newtonian laboratory, a conceptual
space wholly devoted to the physical phenomena of interest
(ballistics, collision-detection, destruction). All other relations
to reality are contingent (one is free to endow a shape with
the ballistic and collision properties of a golf ball, but, when
imported into a game or animation, to render the shape as a
bear, adding at every collision a sound clip of a wasp bouncing
off a window). The example can be generalised: in such a
regime, all shapes have the status of type; the type is embedded
in a system; the capacity for any sort of system of this kind
(layered, stochastic) to accommodate the full depth of reality
(or dwelling) invokes such vast code as to defeat reasonable
analysis or even computation. Perhaps possible in principle, it is
the complexity which inhibits deploying a parametric layering
exhaustive enough to generate a relatively straightforward
topography such as that of the insulaeat Pompeii (whose main
constituent is the type or genera of the Roman house).
The last century of housing characteristically a patterned
distribution of units/types with access would seem to indicate
that the converse is also the case; that type invokes system. Such
topographies are a species of simulation, a regime dominated by
transparency of connectivity and control, normally carried by
the ordering type of the geometric system (also the underlying
continuity of network), in which (formal) variation of type is
the principal vehicle of meaning. Neither dwelling nor cities are
systems, or systems of systems (acknowledging the importance
of those aspects which work best as systems plumbing,
energy distribution, trafc).
The more the context for type is
a system, the less possible is dwelling. The worry is that this
motive has come to dominate architectural design and the
making of urban contexts.
The structure of typicality at the scale
of a room: Reconstruction of a Shrine
fromLevel VI of Catal Hoyuk, Turkey,
c 6th MillenniumBC
Nature is most typical, most common to
all, and archaic cultures characteristically
interpret the exchange with human culture
in terms of dwelling (house/temple), as
here. The shrines are distinguishable from
the dwellings only by the presence of the
horned stanchions, buchrania, etc, which
develop carefully placed and oriented
settings within that of the dwelling.
42 444
Type Versus History
The afliation of type with concept has allowed it to ourish
as part of grander type-like concepts such as epochs, historical
periods, styles and Zeitgeist. Here, in the impossibility of
making history an object of science (hoping to replace symbolic
interpretation with immanent demonstration) or of planning,
we discern the highest aspiration and dilemma of typological
Whether striving to recover the civic qualities
of medieval European towns or to invent new topographies
capable of resisting the sheer accumulation characteristic of
the giant cities of global capitalism, typology would seek to
recover the meaning of civic life through the formal variation
of types.
Attempting to derive a context from types inevitably
nds itself in the stark schematism of Ledouxs utopia of Chaux.
His programme of salvation is characteristic of the genre
of arranging people in space so that the spatial order might
magically stand for, or even promote, civic or ontological order
(the so-called I deal City, dating from Vitruvius: city reduced
to perfected type). Exemplifying the correlation of type/eld
with subject/space, Chaux proposes a reciprocity between the
neo-Masonic theatre-factory of the central circle and types of
people (woodcutter, river manager and so on) embodied in the
houses which populate the surrounding English Garden or,
more accurately, which populate Ledouxs didactic text as a
relentless taxonomy of plans, sections, elevations, perspectives.

Obeying Ledouxs quixotic effort to reconcile caractrewith
formal variation (architectureparlante), these houses are little
monuments. This attachment to the monument shows the
tendency for types to adhere to the conceptual clarity necessary
for the gnostic-utopian purpose of trying to control history, of
trying to make a project of meaning or culture.
The motif of the little monument was central to Rossis
early architecture, thereby making it difcult to reconcile with
the segments of his Architettura della citt
which argued for
urban continuity. The use of dramatic shadows in Rossis
drawings was not for the purpose of articulating proles, but
rather to juxtapose the explicitly abstract/atemporal types with a
sign for temporality/history. He created images composed
entirely of haunted monuments/concepts (la citt analoga),
equally at home in architectural treatises from Scamozzi to
Durand as well as in the mimetic art of painting. That is, he
superimposed the conceptual eld of types upon the pictorial
eld inherited from late Romantic perspectivism. His drawings
and sketches took advantage of the enigma of familiarity central
to pittura metasica (notably de Chirico and Morandi).
Chirico had inverted the pompous self-assurance of n desicle
European cities
rstly through simply repeating the technique
by which these comprehensive programmes of didactic goodness
were produced a eld of moral types obeying the laws of
perspective (culture as picture). Secondly, however, he distressed
the perspective towards an indeterminate projective space, altered
the customary relations of scale, emphasised the emptiness
between framing elements and (limp) monuments, and made
gural the shadows created by the low, transitional light (of
history). By means such as these, and with Nietzsche in his ear,
de Chirico exposed the motives behind the stultifying project of
earnest goodness as the response to anxiety, nervous wit or
melancholia. Rossi embraced both the procedure and its negation
(perhaps inspired by Adornos negative dialectic), and thereby
exposed the ghost in the prevailing machinery of goodness
through drawings and buildings whose austerity ironically
passed for modesty of intentions and recovery of meaning.
I n other words, there is a fundamental similarity between
the conceptual eld and the perspectival disposition of didactic
and a fundamental discontinuity between both
and the concrete, situational topography of actual cities. I t
was in perspective representation that we discovered things as
such, whereby all phenomena became things, types, concepts,
The structure of typicality at the scale of a
town: Fondamenta Bonini, Venice
Although progressively becoming a
nostalgic museum-city, Venice is among
the examples of a topography developed
according to sequences of interiors marked
by public involvement. Everything including
the Church of the Gesuati, the buildings,
rooms, doors, windows, the paving and
edging of the Fondamenta and the mooring
poles make up a hierarchical medley of
typical situations (all, as it were, islands
in the sea). It remains to be demonstrated
how such a hierarchical topography of
interiors can be developed vertically.
credible only when placed within a milieu with the consistency
of geometry, but whose own status as a fragile hypothesis could
be saved by a frame. On this basis, a type is far less determined
by any intrinsic properties than by the mode of isolation that
is the context for its use (a background for the shading which
makes things real). Architectural design has too often become
the securing and constant reafrmation of this eld, assigning
it to concrete settings in actual cities (to such an extent that
a properly situational topography is now mostly restricted
to the historical cores of vast urban regions). Throughout
the Enlightenment, from the encyclopaedia and museum to
fragment/eld to the grey of the CAD screen, this background
prior to any concept has retained its essential characteristic
as the theatre-laboratory for design, for analysis, for making
a project of meaning (references, beauty, health, efciency,
monetary value). The apparatus of codes and techniques in
which types such as high-rise ofces or housing are embalmed
further inhibits a more nuanced, more creative interpretation
responding to the depth-structure of typicalities.
Seeking to full the happy ending always promised by
theory, the heuristic value of types succumbs to their use as
instruments of salvation (from everything which does not
participate in the perfection of the concept, or of form).
Typology is a leading concept within an architectural procedure
comprising the orchestration of concepts, striving to conate
formal coherence and moral perfection.
The procedure
inevitably supports the impression that history is not the basis
for continuity (therefore ethics), but rather for the familiar
choice between death/decay and revolution/newness.
Topography of Praxis
The alternative to a eld of types (or agents/subjects) is the
structure of involvements with people and things that comprises
urban praxis (situations). Out of urban praxis actions and
reections grows everything that constitutes culture or
city, and certainly anything related to ethics or morals
(neither of which, along with politics, can be inscribed in
a system). Accordingly we may be more critical regarding
the standard generalisations of city form/morphology,
space, zones, abstract machine, network; and we may speak
of the city as a topography of praxis. I n this we follow
Alva No in acknowledging that consciousness is far less
a property of brain, or mind (of agents/subjects), than it is
of the urban praxis/culture in which we are always already
Typicalities are never abstract forms, processes or
relationships, but are rather embedded within constituencies
even the isosceles triangle has a specic history, people
and culture attached to it.
So much more is the case with
habits, customs, language and so on. We have seen that such
structures are deeply resistant to modelling or simulation
it is even doubtful that one could properly model the
processes and situations involving only food.
I t is a mark of human nitude that we have only
representation to mediate between historical situations
and universal conditions. I f a city is our most concrete
receptacle of these universal conditions, and if we are not
to nd ourselves in the conict between conceptual elds
and the urban topography of praxis, it would seem best to
treat the knowledge or experience embodied in a well-
formulated type somewhat like the Rhetorical topos a
commonplace that operates like a question, soliciting debate
and commitment to a theme or topic.
I n this manner, the
type remains open to the deep context on which it depends
for meaning (that is, it migrates towards the structure of
typicalities), and therefore resists incorporation in a system.
The centre of gravity of what is typical is praxis, the depth
of whose contexts manifest themselves as architectural and
topographic horizons. 1
Typicalities are never abstract
forms, processes or relationships,
but are rather embedded within
constituencies even the isosceles
triangle has a speci c history,
people and culture attached to it.
44 44 44 44
1. According to J McKenzie, The Art and Architecture of
Alexandria and Egypt 300 BC AD 700, Yale University
Press (New Haven, CT), 2007, chapters 9, 1214.
2. Quatremre de Quincy, De larchitecture gyptienne:
considre dans son origine, ses principes et son got,
et compare sous les mmes rapports larchitecture
grecque, Paris, 1803, p 239.
3. JNL Durand, Prcis des leons darchitecture
donnes lcole polytechnique, Paris, 18025.
4. Le Corbusier embodied both approaches. On
Taylorism, see M McLeod, Architecture or Revolution ,
Taylorism, Technocracy, and Social Change, Art J ournal,
Summer 1983, pp 13246. On the poetics of his
apartment, see P Carl, The Godless Temple Organon
of the Innite, J ournal of Architecture, Vol 10, 2005,
pp 228.
5. Anthony Vidlers brief introduction to Oppositions 6
(1976), The Third Typology was more suggestive of the
possibilities than were the actual design proposals of the
period. If the aggregation of apartment types in the Unite
dHabitation allowed speculations on a vertical city that
was in fact a building, the urban blocks as worked out
for the Internationales Bau Ausstellung (IBA) proposals
in Berlin were little more than horizontal buildings of this
kind, with hollow centres.
6. Exemplary in this respect is P Bourdieus diagram
of the social positions of Paris of the 1970s (Pierre
Bourdieu, La Distinction. Critique sociale de jugement,
Paris, 1979, g 5). It comprises a Cartesian plot with
the ratio of cultural and economic capital on the x-axis,
capital volume on the y-axis, and types of Parisians
distributed across the resulting eld (space).
7. In physics, the shift from treating matter and energy
to information and energy (Wheelers it from bit)
was prompted by Claude Shannons famous paper A
Mathematical Theory of Communication, 1948, which,
though in no way necessary for [his] present theory
(p 11), showed that information exhibited entropy,
according to a formula like that of Boltzmann.
8. S Kwinters article of 1986 anticipated the
introduction into architecture of this form of eld
calculable, rather than spatial (La Citt Nuova:
Modernity and Continuity, ZONE 1/2: The Contemporary
City, Zone Books (New York), 1986).
9. This distinction was rst drawn by D Vesley 30 years
ago. See now his Architecture in the Age of Divided
Representation: The Question of Creativity in the
Shadow of Production, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA),
2004, chapters 2 and 8, and particularly the role of what
he terms paradigmatic situation.
10. Nor, therefore, is meant the language of architecture
as any sort of formal system. S Lavin argues that
the 18th-century reformulation of hieroglyphs is the
principal vehicle by which Quatremre registers type
as a constituent of his concept of architecture as a
Typology as System: Kowloon, HongKong
The lower level of buildings, in the region
of 10 to 12 storeys, was the average
building height in Kowloon prior to the
explosion in the housing market. No
amount of formal variation could save the
subsequent industrial multiplication of
apartment types into towers often only one
apartment deep.
[social] language: Type and its meaning were impressed
on the book of architecture in a language of form and
line . See S Lavin, Quatremre de Quincy and the
Invention of a Modern Language of Architecture, MIT
Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992, p 95. The third phase
of architectural typology was strongly inuenced by the
debates surrounding structuralism and linguistics at the
time, one often heard of a grammar of types.
11. This structure, the moments of commonality-
within-difference (continuity), gives rise to geometry
in its PlatonicPythagorean form, whose connection
with logos has been obscured since Descartes
mathematisation of geometry. The arythmos of the
logos is treated by H-G Gadamer in Dialogue and
Dialectic: Eight Hermeneutical Studies on Plato, Yale
University Press (New Haven, CT), 1980. Still the best
account of the structure of embodiment is that of M
Merleau-Ponty, La Phenomenologie de la perception,
Gallimard (Paris), 1949.
12. With respect to what is said below, the difculty/
reward of understanding Joyces Finnegans Wake (1939)
differs from that of understanding highly technical
language as richness differs from complexity; the highly
referential language of the former contrasts with the
highly specic terminology and formulations of the latter.
13. It is important to distinguish universality from
generality. This ambiguity dates from Aristotles double
use of katholou in the Metaphysics (where it refers to
While losing the subtle differentiation
of activities as seen at mid-century, the
urban topography of Kowloon seems
robust enough to absorb the new densities.
However, this sort of topography did
not guide the expansion of Hong Kong,
which favoured the usual parameters
for systematic distribution in space of
40-storey walls of apartment types.
the ultimate conditions of Being, universal) and in the
Organon (where it refers, for example, to all triangles,
the general).
14. Issues ignored here include what might be the
identity of entities discoursing in these terms, what
they might discuss. The Turing Test, by placing the
whole burden upon the human half (basically, by
reducing the human to a Cartesian sceptic), obscures
the depth of reality needed for anything like language
as used by humans (and, I would suggest, by animals;
is there explicit or implicit continuity between
language and an ecology understood genetically?).
What has happened in practice is more likely to be the
case the adaptability on the part of humans to the
binary milieu of computing as it is currently congured
(nothing in between it works/it doesnt) is eased/
blurred by the referential/analogical richness of what is
displayed on screens.
15. M Heidegger, Building, Dwelling, Thinking, in A
Hofstadter, trans, Poetry, Language, Thought, Harper &
Row (New York), 1971.
16. For example, the primitives that come with every
CAD package are types of this kind, as are the routines/
algorithms by which they are made to interact (for
example, Booleans, sweeps).
17.According to the neurophysiologist Colin Blakemore
(interview on Radio 4, 1992): Complexity is like the
molecular structure of the Himalayas, richness is like the
human brain or language.
18. See E Husserl, The Origins of Geometry,
Appendix VI of The Crisis of European Sciences
and Transcendental Phenomenology, Northwestern
University Press (Evanston, IL), 1970, pp 35378. The
contrary is claimed by the theory of emergence, which,
however, seems to be more interested in the systematic
mathematics which lead to emergence than with the
quite different properties of what has emerged (when one
arrives at the level of ant colonies, for example).
19. The leading examples often used to justify a
typological approach, medieval Italian towns were not
the product of theory; rather theory seeks to account for
what is apparently natural, spontaneous, organic.
The experience which types carry, the basis of their
heuristic value, is transmitted differently under such
conditions. They are not forms set within knowledge
as such, but are part of a more elaborate civic praxis
involving guilds and their social, political and symbolic
cycles, how the modes of fabrication and decorum
promote certain sizes, materials, iconography, how all
of this reconciles civic conict with the Christian year,
the cycles of season, the possibilities of salvation at
the end of time, and so forth. This civic praxis is one
version of interpretation according to the depth-structure
of typicalities, which is later attened to the theoretical
concept of type.
20. To its adherents, of course, this is a positive
desideratum. See, for example, GL Legendres paean to
surface as against depth in the opening remarks of
his ijp: the book of surfaces, Architectural Association
Publications (London), 2003. Manuel De Landas
advocacy of reality as a version of Foucaults abstract
machine (A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History, Zone
Books (New York), 1997) follows M Castells network
society (M Castells, The Rise of the Network Society,
Wiley/Blackwell (Oxford), 1996), though note the useful
correctives to digital transcendence at the beginning
of S Graham, Strategies for Networked Cities, in L
Albrechts and S Mandelbaum, The Network Society: A
New Context for Planning?, Routledge (Oxford), 2005,
pp 95 ff.
22. Still harbouring the early Modernist aspiration to
be the means of empowerment of the people, housing
has never escaped its preoccupation with provision
for great numbers a phenomenon of mass culture.
However, if wealth enables emancipation from the
regime of housing, it is curious that the results are
usually restricted to variations of the type of middle-class
dwelling (more space, more rooms, better materials,
unusual forms).
23. This has its origins in the Romantic struggle with
the notion of the philosophical system, in which the
supposed counterform of nature and the arts poesie
was swiftly absorbed into the conceptual framework
of aesthetics and the ne arts: see, for example, FWJ
Schelling, The Philosophy of Art, trans DW Stott,
University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1989.
24. The preoccupation with type has never successfully
been able to redeem its formalism through the occasional
appeal to biblical hermeneutics, to the Platonic idea, to
the Idealist idea, to Jungian archetypes. Anthony Vidlers
The Idea of Type: The Transformation of the Academic
Ideal, 17501830, for example, distinguishes the
instrumental hut of Laugier from the symbolic Temple of
Solomon (see Oppositions 8, 1977, pp 95115).
25. Of course, the English Garden may also be read as
a didactic text of this kind. CN Ledoux, LArchitecture
considre sous le rapport de lart, des moeurs et de la
lgislation, Paris, 1804.
26. On this, see E Voegelin, Science, Politics and
Gnosticism, Chicago University Press (Chicago, IL), 1968.
27. A Rossi, Architettura della citt, Marsilio
(Padua), 1966.
28. The obviously silly mumblings about fascism
with respect to Rossis projects were interesting only
for having this element of familiarity in common. With
respect to commemorative monuments and familiarity,
see DL Sherman, The Construction of Memory in
Interwar France, Chicago University Press (Chicago, IL),
1999. This is a sensitive point, since it touches on the
moment when recognition in language or understanding
is balanced between creative interpretation and the
movement from persuasion to propaganda to coercion.
29. Wonderfully characterised in his Hebdomeros, Peter
Owen Ltd (New York), 1992.
30. D Leatherbarrow, drawing on Rossis Scientic
Autobiography (1981), argues for the role of memory in
Rossis concept of type. I am grateful to him for a copy
of his unpublished chapter, Buildings Remember, in
Building Time, forthcoming.
31. Even if the imagery and motives seem to lie at
opposite sides of the architectural debate of the period,
Rossis typological thought is not intrinsically different
from the intentionally empty formal variation of types
in Tschumis Park de la Villette (1987) scheme. Rossi
emphasised the pictorial eld, Tschumi emphasised the
conceptual eld. Both only acknowledged what is already
present in Durand.
32. Le Corbusier never gave up trying to reconcile
morality, proportions and standardised manufacturing,
from his early treatment of the standard to the pun on
droiture (rectitude, combining the right angle with legal
rights), towards the end of his career.
33. A No, Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not
Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of
Consciousness, Hill & Wang (New York), 2009, a
work which augments with the latest research the
more philosophically profound M Merleau-Ponty, La
phenomenologie de la perception, op cit.
34. For which reason, I usually refer to the order of
typicalities as institutional order. There are at least three
levels of institution in this sense: the formal institution
(for example, parliaments, post ofces), the informal
institution (modes of association in pubs, factories), and
the most fundamental stratum of language (customs and
so on).
35. See C Steel, Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our
Lives, Chatto & Windus (London), 2008, and LR Kass,
The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Human
Nature, Chicago University Press (Chicago, IL), 1999.
36. Le Corbusiers Objets raction potique are
examples of this form of interpretation.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: pp 38, 41-4
courtesy of Peter Carl; p 39 Used with the permission of Inter
IKEA Systems BV
The prototype for Brasilia was captured by Lucio Costas 1957
competition entry that constituted no more than a written description,
a few sketches and a drawing of the superquadra. Martino Tattara
describes Costas vision for the citys residential blocks that so
effectively dened the urban realm of Brazils new capital.
Proliferation of the Superquadra Prototype
After the construction of the rst
superquadra, the original model was used
by many architects for the construction of
more than 100 quadras along both the
northern and southern residential axes
of the city.
One of the most compelling aspects of the
pilot plan for Brasilia, the capital of Brazil,
inaugurated 50 years ago after three years
of hasty construction, is the single unied
manner in which it tackled both architecture
and the city. In his proposal for the Plano
piloto (pilot plan), Lucio Costa (190298)
the winning architect of the 1957 national
competition to design the new capital
for Brazil quite consciously deployed
architecture and urbanism in order to dene
a specic idea of the urban realm. Through a
text (the competition report), a few sketches,
and a drawing of the plan of the city, the
architect was able to clearly describe at once
all that was necessary to initiate and control
the development of a city that a few years
later would become the administrative and
symbolic capital of the country and today its
sixth largest metropolitan region.
To understand this unique approach
to the project of the city, it is necessary to
examine one part of the citys pilot plan: the
project for the superquadra, the solution
advanced by Costa to tackle the problem of
housing and what he would call the citys
residential scale,
and which, as revealed
by the architect in an interview, represents
the most positive outcome of the whole
despite the city still today being
commonly identied with the buildings
masterly designed by Oscar Niemeyer along
its monumental axis.
Costas competition report, the
Memria descritiva do Plano piloto, was,
not mistakenly, immediately recognised
by the competitions jury as the most
extraordinary part of his submission. In the
text, his single solution to the residential
problem calls for a continuous sequence
of large blocks set in double or single
lines along both sides of the residential
highway axis, each surrounded by bands
of greenery planted with trees.
The citys
residential system would not be formed by
the linear disposition of urban blocks, but
rather by a superquadra a large-scale
300 x 300 metre (984 x 984 foot) urban
block. What is striking here is how the
description of the superquadra begins by
tackling those aspects that would normally
be considered, in relation to the residential
problem, as secondary. Costa denes the
superquadra thus:
[In every block ] where one
particular type of tree would
predominate, the ground would
be carpeted with grass and shrubs
and foliage will screen the internal
grouping of the superblock from the
spectator: who will get a view of the
layout through a haze of greenery.
This will have the two-fold advantage
of guaranteeing orderly planning, even
when the density, category, pattern
or architectural standard of individual
buildings are of a different quality;
and, at the same time, it will provide
the inhabitants with shady avenues
down which to stroll at leisure, in
addition to the open spaces planned
for their use in the internal pattern of
the superblock.
The strategic relevance of the landscape
in Costas proposal was conrmed a few
years later, in 1958, in a debate published
in 1 ,
in which Costa afrmed that each
block must be surrounded by trees, as
the overall objective of the project was to
see the minimum of houses because: We
must be prepared to have buildings that
have no signicance.

The principles at the origin of the
superquadra are not the typological denition
of the residential units nor the architectural
Plan for a Residential Superquadra
opposite: Although never fully realised,
each quadra was originally intended to
be surrounded by a 20 metre (65.6 foot)
wide green belt planted with a single
species of tree, thus differentiating each
quadra from the others.
Lucio Costa, Sketch of the
neighbourhood unit, 1950s
below: The green belt around each
quadra was meant to generate a sense
of belonging among residents without
engendering a closed urban entity.
Through a text (the competition
report), a few sketches, and a
drawing of the plan of the city,
the architect was able to clearly
describe at once all that was
necessary to initiate and control
the development of a city that a
few years later would become the
administrative and symbolic capital
of the country and today its sixth
largest metropolitan region.
Classic Neighbourhood Unit
Aerial view of the classic neighbourhood
unit (Superquadras 108S, 308S, 107S
and 307S), considered as the one that
best represents Costas original conception.
The only two rules
determined by the
architect are very
different to those norms
traditionally contained in
urban building codes, as
in this case they dictate
the relational aspects
between the buildings and
the open space around
them. The height of the
buildings, over six oors,
led to the denition of
the scale of each block,
controlling both the
quality of the open space
and the variation of the
number of inhabitants.
The only two rules determined by the
architect are very different to those norms
traditionally contained in urban building
codes, as in this case they dictate the
relational aspects between the buildings
and the open space around them. The
height of the buildings, over six oors, led
to the denition of the scale of each block,
controlling both the quality of the open
space and the variation of the number of
inhabitants. Each building was to be placed
on top of pillars because, as explained in
the report, the horizontal surface belongs to
the collectivity and it must be possible to go
from one edge of the city to the other in a
comfortable and safe manner. The role of the
pillars is to mediate between the buildings
and the horizontal datum, to dene the
ground condition of every unit; their presence
grants the right to free movement, provides
uninterrupted views and offers a shadowed
and protected space from the frequent rains.
The land on top of which every building is
constructed is dened by the architect as a
projection: private ownership here does not
concern the property of the land whose
nature remains public but its projection, the
potential to build on top of a certain portion
of land whose nature remains untouchable.
In order to guarantee spatial continuity,
the ground oor of each building is the
object of a careful landscape design aimed
at coordinating the multiple-height levels of
the horizontal surfaces: that of the ground,
sloping down eastwards, and the ground
oor of each residential building. The
coordination between these two surfaces
prevents uncontrolled differences between
the natural surface of the block and the
articial surface of the pillars, thus avoiding
the generation of residual spaces and
barriers that would diminish the possibility
of views and pedestrian access.
After tackling other complementary
aspects (among them, the position of the
public facilities, the social structure of
each block, the problem of land property
in relation to public access and the process
of construction), Costa conrms that
if the impossibility of a certain level of
quality of the architectural object is to be
accepted, the coherence of the ensemble is
achieved thanks to the careful composition
of those aspects traditionally considered
complementary. The green belt along the
perimeter of every block, the relationship
between the landscape and the isolated
building, the overall scale of the urban
composition, the right to mobility, the
simple rule dictating the necessity for every
residential building of land on the ground
by means of pillars, and the collective
dimension of the horizontal plane; these
were not only rules for the architects who
would build all of the remaining quadras
along the citys residential axis, but
architectural devices that dene what can be
identied as an urban typology.
layout of the buildings (which, within the
entire set of materials of the competition
submission, are generically indicated as
slabs while their planimetric distribution
is simply suggested by one sketch), but
the system of trees and the composition
of the horizontal surface. Plants, trees
and landscape acquire a primary role in
opposition to what is traditionally intended
as the object of architectural design. In
this rst denition of the superquadra,
it is surprising to recall hints of a
phenomenological nature, here used to
evoke the quality of the spatial experience
that can be favoured by the precise
articulation and distribution of trees and of
the lawns between buildings. Trees placed
along the perimeter not only contribute to
dening the spatial identity of each block
but consequently through the use of
different arboreal species used to create
diversity among the multiplicity of the
blocks also set the physical and social
dimension of every neighbourhood unit by
creating an edge which is both permeable
and crossable.
In each block, the residential buildings
are arranged in numerous and varying
ways, thus achieving ample variations of
the value of density, always provided that
two general principles are observed: uniform
height regulations, possibly six storeys raised
on pillars, and separation of motor and
pedestrian trafc.
Plants, trees and landscape acquire a primary role in
opposition to what is traditionally intended as the
object of architectural design. In this rst denition
of the superquadra, it is surprising to recall hints of
a phenomenological nature, here used to evoke the
quality of the spatial experience that can be favoured
by the precise articulation and distribution of trees
and of the lawns between buildings.
Superquadra 308S, Brasilia,
Brazil, 195760
Through a very simple abstract elevation
of the residential slabs in the superquadra
they become a generic background with
nature at the forefront.
opposite: The trees of the green belt and
the pilotis under each residential slab
dene a continuous public canopy freely
used by both residents and visitors.
below: The superquadra 308 was meant
to be the prototype for the construction
of the other quadras along the citys
residential axis.
The superquadra is not a part of the city whose
meaning can be reduced to the relationship it
establishes with other urban elements, but a
microcity where the rapport between interior and
exterior is dissolved in a miniaturised representation
of the urban complexity.
Different from the traditional urban
block, which is part of the urban tissue, or
in other words an ensemble of buildings
organised through a precise logic, according
to which to every space is associated a
special character,
the principles described
by Costa in his competition report dene a
new urban entity able to foster new ways of
living. The superquadra is not a part of the
city whose meaning can be reduced to the
relationship it establishes with other urban
elements, but a microcity where the rapport
between interior and exterior is dissolved in
a miniaturised representation of the urban
Thanks to its exemplary nature,
the superquadra could be dened as a
prototype. The example is not the empirical
application of a universal concept, but the
singularity and the qualitative completeness
that, when speaking of the life of the
mind, we attribute to the idea.
can be dened as exemplary does not
reproduce itself through the normativeness
of command or the prescription of norm,
but through the authoritativeness of the
prototype itself, which is a species made of
a single individual.
Translating this denition to the
domains of architecture and urbanism, the
superquadra, and also in general terms the
pilot plan for Brasilia, offer the constructors
of the new capital the authoritativeness
of the prototype, whose strength does
not lie in the prescriptive character of
its rules, but in the exemplary way the
model has been consciously composed.
The superquadra prototype is not only
exemplary of a residential system, but is
also the seed of an idea of the city as it
offers itself as an example.
This fundamental characteristic of
Costas approach to planning pervades the
entire text of the competition report to form
the idea of the new capital a city that is
at the same time the rule and model for its
future development within the territory of
the Brazilian federal district. 1
1. A few years after its inauguration, the city was described
by Lucio Costa as the interaction of four different scales: the
monumental scale, the residential scale, the gregarious
scale and the bucolic scale. See Lucio Costa, Sbre a
construo de Braslia, in Alberto Xavier (ed), Lucio Costa:
sbre arquitetura, UFRGS (Porto Alegre), 1962, pp 3427.
2. Fars el-Dahdah, Introduction: The Superquadra and
the Importance of Leisure, in Fars el-Dahdah (ed),
Lucio Costa: Braslias Superquadra, Prestel (Munich/
New York), 2005, p 11.
3. Lucio Costa, Memria descritiva do Plano piloto, 1957,
point 16 (the text of the competition report is available in
English at
4. Ibid.
5. Lucio Costa, Arthur Korn, Denys Lasdun and Peter
Smithson, Capital Cities, in 1 11, November 1958, pp
6. Ibid.
7. Lucio Costa, Memria descritiva do Plano piloto, op
cit, point 16.
8. See Philippe Panerai, Jean Castex and Jean-Charles
Depaule, Isolato urbano e citt contemporanea,
CittStudi (Milan), 1991, pp 1223.
9. Paolo Virno, Mondanit. Lidea di mondo tra
esperienza sensibile e sfera pubblica, Manifestolibri
(Rome), 1994, pp 1057.
10. Ibid.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: pp 46-7 Martino
Tattara, diagram by Martino Tattara; p 49 Casa de Lucio Costa;
p 50 Martino Tattara; pp 53-5 Adolfo Despradel/photographs
by Adolfo Despradel
Michael Hensel
Michael Hensel draws a parallel between the present and a
moment in the early 1990s when typology seemed poised to
come to the fore. He highlights how despite a promising start
this interest slipped away and was supplanted by an obsession
with topography and highly complex surfaces, leading to a
primacy of the individual built form over the urban.
This issue of 2 offers an opportunity to revisit a critical yet
overlooked juncture in the early 1990s, a time of economic
downturn during which swift and signicant changes in
architectural theory and experimentation occurred. The
consequences of these changes continue to greatly affect
practice and the built environment today and relate to questions
of discrete form and typology in architecture. The aim of
this article is to re-examine this juncture and its ongoing
repercussions, as well as bringing to attention an immense, yet
missed, opportunity for a fundamental revision of the product of
architectural and urban design practice.
The account brings together a more general discussion as
well as personal experiences and realisations over two decades.
I t commences with the decision in 1992 to join the then newly
established graduate design programme at the Architectural
Association (AA) in London directed by Jeffrey Kipnis and
Don Bates. The programme introduced a series of radical
ideas and design experiments, the theoretical basis of which is
rooted in Kipnis seminal article Towards a New Architecture
published in 1 Folding in Architecturein 1993.
Here, Kipnis
launched a fundamental critique of Postmodern practice, which
contained an elaboration of ve points or principles aimed at
overcoming collage as the then prevailing mode of design (in
direct response to an analogous attempt by Roberto Mangabeira
Unger during the ANYONE conference in 1990).
this was his discussion of two differing modes of actualising the
principles: DeFormation, with an emphasis on the articulation
of monolithic built form, and I nFormation, with an emphasis
on questions of programme while de-emphasising form. I n
rejecting Postmodern collage, Kipnis offered a detailed account
of proposed design concepts and methods that would result
in designs with entirely new characteristics or, to use his own
expression, new architectural effects.
As graduate students we were as astounded as we were
intrigued by the raw potential of this discourse. Naturally we
wished to examine the projects cited in Kipnis article. While
it was clear that the DeFormationist schemes were poised
entirely outside of the canon of established architectural
typologies, they were as unbuilt as they were underpublished,
and their material articulation, the relation of the built volume
to the ground and the context were difcult to grasp. I n the
context of the new graduate design programme we aimed to
tackle this problem, yet with the added aim of the eventual
ultimate dissolution of built form into a tectonic landscape
that would no longer be based on a traditional process of
subdividing the site, allocating plots and oor-area ratios in
order then to allocate typologies and extrude discrete volumes.
A technique termed grafting
was used to concurrently derive
multiple organisational layers for an urban and architectural
design from a heterogeneous graphic space.
The underlying interest derived from Kipnis fascination
with the American artist Jasper Johns crosshatch paintings
that deed any attempt at traditional decomposition into
fore-, middle- and background. I nstead the paintings
constituted, in Kipnis view, the elaboration of a new and deep
middle-ground. I f an analogous architecture were possible,
this would entail that built form no longer be extruded into a
gure-ground relation but, instead, built mass and landscape
surface would engage in the formation of a heterogeneous and
Johan Bettum, Michael Hensel, Chul Kongand Nopadol
Limwatankul, A Thousand Grounds: Tectonic Landscape
Spreebogen, A New Governmental Centre for Berlin Urban Design
Study, Graduate Design Programme (tutors: Jeffrey Kipnis and
Don Bates), Architectural Association, London, 19923
opposite: Conceptual model indicating the folding of landscape
and built mass into one another. below: Programme and event map
showing all systems that organise the site and its potential for use
over time. below: Axonometric indicating spatial transitions and
degrees of interiority in conjunction with landscape surfaces and
other spatial elements such as plantation elds and densities.
coherent amalgam that would no longer be decomposable.
Although it was clear that developing an architectural
analogue to Johns new middle-ground was not possible
in a singular project, let alone a graduate design thesis,
my colleagues Johan Bettum, Chul Kong and Nopadol
Limwatankul and I nevertheless embarked on this attempt
under the keen supervision of Kipnis and Bates.
The international Spreebogen competition for a new
governmental centre in Berlin was chosen as the context for
the project as it offered the opportunity to concurrently pursue
an urban, landscape and architectural design project. Based
on a graft developed by our colleague Amna Emir and the
design approach elaborated by Kipnis, several key items were
produced to describe the project intentions: 1) a programme
and event map that contained information about (planned
and unplanned) activities, circulation, landscape items and
surfaces for programme and public appropriation, assembly
elds, time-specic plantation schemes and lighting systems,
river regulation and ooding areas in short all systems that
organise the site and its potential for use over time;
2) an
axonometric that elaborated spatial transitions and degrees of
interiority in conjunction with landscape surfaces that make
up the tectonic landscape together with other spatial elements
such as plantation elds and densities; and 3) a conceptual
model that indicated the folding of landscape and built mass
into one another, using colour-coding for the various surface
systems that make up the tectonic landscape. Eventually,
however, we did not succeed in dening the actual tectonic of
the intended tectonic landscape, though the foundation for a
new series of experimentations towards this aim had been laid.
The signicance of the experiment is not in its apparent
proximity to what has come to be termed landscape
urbanism, but instead in its organisation of the various items
and systems that would eventually culminate in an urban
and architectural project that redenes a heterogeneous
spatial scheme based on extended spatial transitions and
the ultimate extension and ne dissolution of the material
threshold which had previously resulted in the dichotomous
division of the gure from the ground and the inside from
the outside in short the ushering in of the end of type. I n
this might lie perhaps one of the greatest potentials with
regard to Kipnis heralded emergence of new institutional
form and social formations. I t only dawned on us much
more recently that there would have been some rather
interesting precursors to this to be found throughout
architectural history, which might have served to inform an
initial approach towards articulating a material resolution for
If an analogous architecture were
possible, this would entail that built
form no longer be extruded into a gure-
ground relation but, instead, built mass
and landscape surface would engage in
the formation of a heterogeneous and
coherent amalgam that would no longer
be decomposable.
AA Graduate Design Group, Changliu GrouingArea Masterplan,
Haikou, Hanian Island, China, Graduate Design Programme
(tutors: Jeffrey Kipnis, BahramShirdel and Michael Hensel),
Architectural Association, London, 19934
opposite top: 1/5,000 model of the masterplan for a new city
for 600,000 inhabitants at 70 per cent of the nal density.
The model indicates building volumes and densities, road and
harbour infrastructure, green and reserved areas, and in the
centre (in blue) the Central Business District.
opposite bottom: 1/20,000 masterplan showing single-,
mixed-, multiple- and differential-use areas, road, rail and
harbour infrastructure, parks and landscape elements, 40
integrated farmers and shermens villages, and reserved
land for future development.
belowleft: Various plan diagrams elaborating different
combinations of buildings and hard and soft landscape. The
diagrams indicate potentials for folding buildings and landscape
into one another. The left and right perimeters are characterised
by standard piloti buildings raised from the ground, while the
landscaped area along the central axis shows an increasing degree
of a more complex relationship between landscape and buildings.
belowright: Sectional sequence elaborating the transition from the
standard piloti building typology to the areas where buildings and
landscape fold into one another.
60 60 660 6
Chris Lee, Gallery Project for Spitalelds Market, London, AA
Diploma Unit 4 (tutors: Ben van Berkel and Michael Hensel),
Architectural Association, London, 19956
below Left: 1/100 model showing the partly burrowed spatial
organisation of the gallery scheme inspired by Greg Lynns
theoretical elaborations on differential gravities. The spatial scheme
is based on relinquishing the dichotomous division between gure
and ground, which become indivisible and non-decomposable.
Right: Plan organisation of the gallery project showing the various
inclined circulation surfaces inspired by Paul Virilios and Claude
Parents notion of oblique space.
61 1 61 1 61 1
the scheme.
With this project the best we could achieve
was to help make more specic the questions regarding the
articulation of a tectonic landscape. What was to follow,
however, was the swift and ultimate shift away from what
had just come into our grasp.
Numerous inuences and developments concurred in
time with our efforts described above. Various publications,
symposia, teaching programmes and projects of this and
the directly following period attest to a shift in interest
away from typology towards both topography and topology.
While the former might suggest a relationship to the above,
the latter swiftly shifted back towards the articulation of
exotic yet discrete built form. I n the wake of this shift, in
the following years AAs graduate design programme, then
co-directed by Kipnis and Bahram Shirdel, the emphasis
also shifted. The possibility of working on a life project of
a masterplan for a new city in China enforced a faster pace
of experimentation and production. I n tandem with this
development, Kipnis and Shirdel developed a new interest
in the group form or eld condition of ocks and swarms, in
particular schools of sh.
While this constitutes a weak form with smooth edges,
the gure nevertheless consists of discrete elements that are
all similar yet individual; in other words coherent yet varied.

The masterplan for the new city in China that was developed
by the AAs graduate design group in 19934 shows then
a clear return to buildings as gures set rmly against the
ground. Again the scheme was developed from a grafted
graphic space, yet, while the heterogeneous articulation
and use of the datum prevails, the landscaped surface and
the built volumes are in general clearly separated. While
some surfaces were designed to be continuous from exterior
to interior or from envelope to landscape, these occasions
remained largely gestural and the discreteness of the volumes
was left intact. This characteristic can also be identied in
some of the key projects of the time, for instance FOAs
Yokohama Ferry Terminal (1994), which constitutes a
variation of Le Corbusiers Villa Savoye diagram (19289)
with a more articulated roof garden surface that continues as
a circulation surface and connects to the ground of the city,
though, alas, the terminal constitutes a discrete form.
On a larger scale it is interesting to observe that the
swarm or school of sh actually prevailed in the form of
current discourses of so-called parametric urbanism. I f
one examines, for instance, Zaha Hadids prize-winning
masterplan for Kartal in I stanbul (2006) it is clear that a
specic block typology was computationally (parametrically)
Nasrin Kalbasi and Dimitrios Tsigos, Copenhagen
Playhouse Competition, Copenhagen, Denmark, AA
Diploma Unit 4 (tutors: Michael Hensel and Ludo
Grooteman), Architectural Association, London, 200102
below: Two views of the digital model showing the transitions from
closed surfaces to the striated organisation of the envelope and
the semi-burrowed multiple ground conguration engendered by
the continuous surface. opposite, bottom left: Geometric study
of striation density, orientation and curvature and the resultant
viewpoint-dependent visual transparency of the envelope. opposite,
bottom right: Study of gradual size transitions of the striated
envelope and its smooth transformation into furniture-scale and
ergonomics-related requirements. In this scheme the rotation of the
elements along their longitudinal axis occurs in the areas of size
transitions to accommodate the furnishing of space on a human
scale. In doing so the design diverges from the striation projects of
Bahram Shirdel and the sculptural works of Raimo Utriainen which
are characterised by parallel and straight elements.
varied so as to constitute a group of discrete buildings that
are similar yet individually different. Such projects invariably
follow a traditional process of urban planning: a (deformed)
grid serves to dene roads and plots, the oor-area ratio and
required oor areas are established together with the building
typology (for example, the courtyard block), and the building
forms are dened through some computational manipulation.
However, one signicant difference emerges: since the interior
organisation needs to full developer expectations, the
architectural project becomes one of a total exterior necessarily
articulated by one practice in order to maintain a coherent
appearance to full the criteria of similarity and variation.
I n order to elaborate the latter it is necessary to trace back
to a second important shift in interest. This is best exemplied
through another key moment in Kipnis seminal writings,
which focuses on the works of Herzog & de Meuron.
Kipnis revised his former position vis--vis Herzog & de
Meurons work on the example of their Signal Box (Basel,
1995) project, highlighting the effects emanating from the
copper-strip skin laid over the actual climate envelope of
the building. Kipnis then distinguished ornamentation from
cosmetics, characterising the former as discrete aesthetic
entities and the latter as elds and as atmospheric. His praise
was nothing short of a striking foresight of what was to follow:
the parametrically varied pattern that today characterises the
parametric buildings of parametric urbanism, schools of sh
with similar yet varied scales that populate similar yet varied
bodies, the ultimate exercise in superciality that claims the
thinness of the exterior skin as the sole architectural project.
Meanwhile, those of us who were puzzled enough to
stay behind the fast pace of fashion and try to tackle the
questions that had arisen from the thoughts and experiments
of the early 1990s also got sidetracked. I n attempting to
address the question of the extended and dissolved material
threshold of the tectonic landscape, attention was drawn to
material organisations on increasingly smaller scales, leading
eventually to the detailed elaboration of material systems and
their interaction with the environment.
I n this context the
question of spatial transitions and extended threshold shifted
from material to environmental or energetic gradients. For
example, a strong interest in Shirdels concept of striation,

a monolithic form articulated as sets of parallel bars, led to
a series of student projects that examined the possibility of
articulating the built volume, the adjacent landscape surfaces
and the furnishing of the public spaces from the same, yet
scaled, set of parallel bars to projects that eventually deployed
strips of material in a much more articulated manner to dene
spaces and microclimatic conditions.
Having arrived here it is very interesting indeed to
reconnect the project of the extended environmental threshold
with the project of the tectonic landscape. Both offer a
heterogeneous space based on gradient conditions over a
variety of scales. The tectonic landscape enables a versatile
distribution of all elements and systems that are different in
Dimitrios Tsigos and Hani Fallaha, Temporal HousingStudy, The
Netherlands, AA Diploma Unit 4 (tutors: Michael Hensel and
Ludo Grooteman), London, Architectural Association, 200203
belowleft: Four samples of an extensive catalogue of geometric
manipulations of the material strips and the resulting arrays based
on preceding material experiments.
below right: Longitudinal section and two planar sections
displaying the striated tectonic scheme of the project. Due to
the small scale of the housing unit, the material strips that make
up the surface always relate to the scale of the human body.
Rotation of the strips along their longitudinal axis therefore occurs
throughout the scheme.
Daniel Coll i Capdevila, Strip-Morphologies, AA Diploma
Unit 4 (tutors: Michael Hensel and AchimMenges),
Architectural Association, London, 200405
opposite top: The controlled deformation of strips made from
different materials delivers the limits to the manipulation of an
associative model. The top row shows a component made from
three strips and their relationship to an environmental input; that
is, light or sound. The middle row shows the same for a larger
arrangement of strips. The bottom row shows the subdivision
of the large arrangement into smaller areas that can each be
articulated in a coherent and interrelated manner in response
to a variety of environmental stimuli. In this way the material
threshold can become extensive rather then remaining a hard
division between inside and outside. opposite bottom: This sample
assembly with synclastic and anticlastic surface curvature shows a
complex arrangement of bent and twisted strips.
Defne Sunguroglu Hensel with yvind Andreassen and Emma
MM Wingstedt, Extended Theshold Research, Oslo School of
Architecture and Design (AHO) and the Norwegian Defence
Research Establishment (FFI), Kjeller, Norway, 2010
Threshold articulation and environmental performance analysis
of the Baghdad kiosk (Bagdad Ks k) (163839) at the Forth
Courtyard (Sofa-I Hmyn: The Imperial Sofa) of Topkap
Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. Left: Vertical and horizontal sectional
sequences indicating the intricate articulation and variation of the
combined spatial and material deep threshold of the kiosk. Right:
Computational uid dynamics (CFD) analysis of airow velocities,
pressure zones and turbulent kinetic energy indicating the
environmental effects and interaction of the kiosk. This approach
extends the question of the spatial and material organisation of the
building threshold to its exchange with the local environment.
kind into a coherent organisation, freed from the dictate of
strict conformity and phasing based on extrinsic organisational
devices such as the grid. I n doing so it ultimately differs from
parametric urbanism, which is characterised solely by variation
and differences in degree. The microclimatic differentiation
of the extended environmental threshold enables greater
heterogeneity in the choice of conditions for activities of a
lesser a-priori programmed scheme. All this does not deny
the production of new effects, but instead strives for it, for
the sake of the possibility of an architecture that engenders
new social formations and a space that is equally articulated
by both tectonics and environment. This might then result in
an architecture that would either leave the current notion of
type behind or forge an entirely different one, perhaps one of
different types of extended spatial and environmental threshold
conditions as discussed above.
To not miss this opportunity
requires the stamina to abide by the strenuously slow pace
of dedicated research, the will to look both backwards and
forwards to construct a rich discourse, to resist the empty lure of
current trends and, in so doing, to extend potentials and missed
opportunities of the distant and recent past with the complex
design problems of today and tomorrow.
Cases of missed opportunities exist in part due to the retreat
of leading history and theory programmes around the world
into self-imposed solipsism. Moreover, the heydays of the early
2000s turbo-capitalism saw the self-declared avant-garde follow
suit and drop valid discourse in favour of cooking up funny-
shaped buildings in Dubai, China or wherever else everything
goes. Together these developments have led to fragmentary
pseudo-discourses and the marginalisation of architectural
debate and practice. However, given that the beginning of the
approaches and agendas described here was located at a time of
strong economic downturn, it may seem that we are just now in
the middle of another opportunity. Will we miss it again?1
1. J Kipnis, Towards a New Architecture, 1 Folding in Architecture, April
2003, pp 409.
2. RM Unger, The Better Futures of Architecture, Anyone, Rizzoli (New York),
1991, pp 306.
3. To elaborate all these interesting aspects in detail is not possible in
the context of this short article. The interested reader may refer to the
quoted literature.
4. Owing to Jeffrey Kipnis, Peter Eisenman and Bahram Shirdel.
5. Owing to Bernard Tschumi, Rem Koolhaas and inuential aspects of French
landscape design of the early 1990s.
6. M Hensel and D Sunguroglu Hensel, The Extended Threshold I:
Nomadism, Settlements and the Deance of Figure-Ground, 1 Turkey: At the
Threshold, Jan/Feb 2010, pp 1419.
7. For a succinct theoretical elaboration see S Allen, From Object to Field:
Field Conditions in Architecture and Urbanism, 1 Architecture after
Geometry, 1997, pp 2431.
8. J Kipnis, The Cunning of Cosmetics: A Personal Reection on the
Architecture of Herzog and de Meuron, El Croquis, Vol 84, 1997.
9. See, for instance: M Hensel and A Menges, The Heterogeneous Space of
Morpho-Ecologies. Space Reader: Heterogeneous Space in Architecture,
John Wiley & Sons (London), 2009, pp 195215.
10. Shirdels interest originated from the detailed study of the artworks and
installations of the Finnish sculptor Raimo Utriainen.
11. For a detailed discussion see, for instance: M Hensel and D Sunguroglu
Hensel, The Extended Threshold I, op cit; The Extended Threshold II: The
Articulated Threshold, 1 Turkey: At the Threshold, Jan/Feb 2010, pp
205; The Extended Threshold III: Auxiliary Architectures, 1 Turkey: At the
Threshold, Jan/Feb 2010, pp 7683.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: pp 56-59 Michael Hensel, AAGDG; p
60(t) Christopher CM Lee; pp 60(b), 61 Dimitri Tsigos and Nasrin Kalbasi; p 62
Daniel Coll I Capdevila; p 63 Dmitri Tsigos and Hani Fallaha; p 64 Defne Sunguroglu
Hensel and Michael Hensel
The microclimatic
differentiation of the extended
environmental threshold
enables greater heterogeneity
in the choice of conditions for
activities of a lesser a-priori
programmed scheme.
CarolineBos& Ben van Berkel
For Caroline Bos and Ben van Berkel of UNStudio a ,
type in architecture exists to direct, to connect or d
to be instrumental rather than to prescribe. They a
describe how in their projects for Arnhem Central in s
the Netherlands and the Rafes City development
in Hangzhou, China, they have deftly developed a
and applied typologies in order to gain control of the d
design process in complex urban contexts. b
Rafes City, Hangzhou, China,
due for completion 2012
A system of voids incorporating dynamic
shapes and sizes denes the orientation
and spatial qualities of the retail podium.
The projects here explore the instrumental potential of typology in
architecture and urbanism, and in particular the area where the two
disciplines intersect and merge. Whether described as classication,
indexing, categorisation or taxonomy, the typological effort essentially
constitutes grouping similar things together in a way that is meant to
be helpful. The helpfulness of types can be expressed in different ways
by different architects. A prized benet is the legacy of rationality. The
systemic reasoning behind the emergence of a type replicates a scientic
approach; it conveys that an underlying strict logic is controlling a
discipline that might at times appear incoherent and out of control. Types
are for this reason also eminently communicable.
But the values of scientic rationale and transmittability, while not
eschewed by UNStudio, are not the ones being sought to be highlighted
here. The focus is instead on how types are developed out of a symbiotic
relationship between professional observation and invention on the one
hand, and externally oriented instrumentality on the other. Still central to
this is the aforementioned helpfulness or utility; as every librarian knows,
types, categories, catalogues, assemblages and so on are not made for their
own sake, but to direct people. Similarly, in architecture a type exists to
direct, to connect or to be instrumental in other ways.
The projects explore how typology may be helpful in designing
architecture in dense, complex, mixed-use urban contexts. To see
typological thinking as appropriate in a complex condition seems
counterintuitive. Complexity entails acknowledging that countless,
intricately interwoven parameters are at work, that no situation is
exactly like another, and that there is no one correct solution. Putting
things in categories, on the other hand, means simplifying, framing and
interpreting, usually boldly, sometimes normatively. How can these two
tendencies be reconciled? I n the Arnhem Central transport node in the
Netherlands, and the Rafes City development in Hangzhou, China,
UNStudio has developed and applied certain typologies in two different,
large-scale urban projects with the intention of regaining a specic
architectural and urban control in complex, hard-to-control contexts,
using a number of different models or types. While both of the projects
differ substantially in nature, some of the same typologies were applied in
their design in order to process, guide and edit the design process.
The systemic reasoning behind the emergence of a
type replicates a scientic approach; it conveys that
an underlying strict logic is controlling a discipline that
might at times appear incoherent and out of control.
UNStudio, Design Models, 2005
centre: The design model is a
prototypical tool for design and can
evolve and be implemented in various
situations, scales and projects.
opposite: Blob-to-box model.
top left: Deep planning principle.
top right: Mathematical model.
bottom left: Inclusive principle.
bottom right: V-model.
UNStudio, ArnhemCentral, The
Netherlands, due for completion 2013
top: This integrated public transportation
area has a roofed-over, climate-controlled
plaza which interconnects and provides
access to trains, taxis, buses, bicycles,
parking, ofce spaces and the town centre.
Conceptual tools employed in the design
for the Arnhem Central project. The
V-model (above left), along with further
conceptual tools such as cuts (centre),
the attened Klein bottle (above) and the
twist (above right), are materialised as
structural elements in various parts of
the mixed-use project.
Arnhem Central, with a total surface of almost 100,000 square
metres (1,076,426 square feet) consists of a transfer hall with
underground parking, a bus terminal and ofce towers situated
on a plot of 40,000 square metres (430,570 square feet). As
these gures indicate, the project is fundamentally an urban
densication exercise. The infrastructural knot, planned as a
stop on the (as yet unrealised) extension of the high-speed rail
route to Germany, is understood as an opportunity to connect
the town to a larger, transnational network and simultaneously
generate new ofce spaces, shops, housing units and ancillary
functions. The enormous diversity in scales and user functions
requires a methodological approach that can accommodate
the hybrid nature of the development and fully realise the
connective aspirations as well as create a contemporary urban
milieu on the site. While in other times urban growth schemes
were largely ground-bound or sky-bound, relying on simple
models of horizontal or vertical expansion, for Arnhem Central
new, more topologically inclined models were developed that
privilege connective and transitional qualities rather than
oppositional ones.
There are not many ready-made typologies available for
this. The closest reference model is Grand Central Terminal in
New York, with its multilevel public concourse and multilevel
infrastructural connections surrounded by dense mixed-use
architecture. I n Arnhem, to achieve a uent and coherent
terminal landscape with minimal obstruction to passenger
ow, several models were used, two of which will be elaborated
on here. The two models, or types, were introduced gradually
as the project developed over various phases. Both emerged
from the combination of time, movement, space and structure.
Time-based studies at the beginning of the project delivered
images of parts of the location as transformative models that
address relationships vital to developmental potential, such
as programme and distance, public access and attraction.
Movement studies showed up sequences of exchange and
interaction, revealing the relations between duration and
territorial usage.
The typology that encapsulates and advances the technical/
spatial organisation is a centralising void space inspired by the
Klein bottle. This vortex-like centre connects the different
levels of the station area in a hermetic way. The Klein bottle
stays continuous throughout the spatial transformation that
it undergoes from a surface to opening and back again. As
the ultimate outcome of shared, motion-based relations, the
Klein bottle-inspired space is an infrastructural element both
pragmatically and diagrammatically. The void space at the
centre of the site is the terminal; an amply lit and spacious
gradient landscape that accompanies and directs the 60,000
people moving over the location daily. The gradient solution
accommodates expansive visual overviews as well as physical
ow through ramps and sloping surfaces. As the last element
of the project to remain incomplete this new type of terminal,
based on the abstract model of the Klein bottle, which is
seamlessly continuous from outside to inside and vice versa, is as
yet untried and untested.
While in other times urban growth
schemes were largely ground-bound or
sky-bound, relying on simple models
of horizontal or vertical expansion, for
Arnhem Central new, more topologically
inclined models were developed that
privilege connective and transitional
qualities rather than oppositional ones.
above left: Connections. The deep
planning method was employed to develop
a coherent set of site- and programme-
specic organisational principles. A view
of the contemporary city as a material
organisation of time-sharing social
practices, working through ows, lies at
the basis of deep planning.
above right: The ow of the physical
movement of people and goods at Arnhem
Central reveals the relationship between
duration and territorial use.
72 72 772 7
The V-construction at the bus deck
level, above the underground car park at
Arnhem Central. The vertical slant of the V
addresses the issue of stacking a series of
different programmes, each with its own
grid. The materialisation of the V-model is
a structural element combining a car park,
public space and ofces.
As a type the V can be characterised as a
morphing technique to fuse together the user
typologies of parking, ofces and public space,
while still providing simultaneously constructive
and usable space, in this case forming the daylit
pedestrian access to the parking garage.
73 3 73 3 73 3
However, the second type has been in operation for a
number of years. I t consists of deep and long shafts that connect
the underground layers of the parking garage to the terminal
and to the high-rise ofce towers. These shafts are V-shaped in
order to form the structural backbone of various programmes
with their different restrictions. I n the parking garage the Vs
are materialised as a concrete structure of high corridors with
slanting walls, resulting in an oblique, permeable space which
lets in daylight and is lled with programme and circulation.
The vertical slants of the V address the issue of stacking a series
of different programmes, each with their own grid. As a type
the V can be characterised as a morphing technique to fuse
together the user typologies of parking, ofces and public space,
while still providing simultaneously constructive and usable
space, in this case forming the daylit pedestrian access to the
parking garage.
As these two examples indicate, the models UNStudio
invents, adapts or constructs full pragmatic purposes in a
relational manner; they are always connective and several needs
are addressed at once, without prioritising one over another.
Underlying all of this is a harder to dene or rationalise design
philosophy and urban ideal. Both models allow for column-free
spaces; indeed it could be argued that they were introduced
precisely to make columnlessness possible, bringing new
qualities to the forgotten territory of transitory spaces in which
a large part of contemporary life takes place. I n large-scale,
dense, mixed-use urban projects, non-specic public circulation
space is an important and integral part of the total package. I t
can no longer be seen as strictly utilitarian, needing minimal
attention, but on the contrary it is those types of space that we
need to invest with new urban experiences. To us, the city of the
future is manifested in those in-between use-related typologies,
such as the vertical circulation, corridors and car parks that
hold together urban mixed-use constellations. New models and
typologies, such as the ones presented here, are necessary to
exercise a form of control over those spaces.
Both the V and the Klein bottle models can be seen as types
rather than as one-offs, as in different forms and constellations
both have been applied in various urban and architectural
projects over time. But as types they are visceral; there are no
xed functions ascribed to them, nor scales or dimensions,
unlike typologies that are based on uncomplicated categories
such as museums, churches, tall buildings, long buildings
and so on. Therefore they also withstand the transition between
scales; the distinction between the urban and the architectural
scale is irrelevant to our reading of type. The types proposed still
need to acquire site-specic, user-specic and structure-specic
meanings along the way. This happens not just over the course
of an individual project, but by reusing and redening the type
over time in different projects. I n this way, the architectural
practice gains control over its own work, by working in series,
not as an aesthetic choice, but as a way to acquire knowledge.
And in that way, now that the age of the icon may come to
an end, control exercised in a thoughtful, knowledge-building
manner replaces style.
Tracing UNStudios serial typology buildings shows how the
Klein bottle, for instance, is a continuation of the Mbius strip.
The theme of a surface/volume being able to take up circulation,
construction and programme in one coherent gesture has been
explored in a series of architectural projects. The Vs also have
a history of their own; their highly particular transformative,
multidirectional way of uniting various horizontal and
vertical layers can be adapted to t different dimensions and
compositions. The third model presented in this article, that
of the turning plan, likewise has been utilised in UNStudios
previous work in many different guises and varieties. I n a
very simple way it can rst be seen in the Karbouw project
in Amersfoort, the Netherlands (1992), where the rst oor
turns away from the ground oor. I n the unbuilt competition
entry for the European Central Bank in Frankfurt (2003), this
principle has been carried out in a more extreme form: within
a sphere, the ofce spaces are hewn out as spirals of turning
oor plans. I n the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart (2006)
we also see oor plates evolving around a central void space.
This requires them to be vertically secured to each other with a
hyperparabolic twist. The same principle was adapted for use in
the VilLA NM (2007) project in upstate New York.
Prototype of the combined three design
models for Arnhem Central: V-model,
blob-to-box and mathematical model.
Ground-level infrastructure and upper-level
ofce programmes are interlinked by a
raised topological mezzanine.
74 74
I n one of UNStudios current projects the turning plan has
been put into effect on an unparalleled scale. Progressing at
innitely greater speed than Arnhem Central is the Rafes City
project in Hangzhou. The mixed-use project contains a total of
almost 400,000 square metres (4,305,705 square feet) of ofce,
hotel, residential and leisure space with underground parking. I t is
situated in the centre of the Qianjiang New Town area, adjacent
to the new cultural district and the nearby Qian Tang River. The
huge lake which gives Hangzhou its character as a tourist city can
be seen from the higher levels of the project. The total height of
the double-towered scheme is 250 metres (820.2 feet).
The project, like many current developments in rapidly
urbanising societies, contains urban dimensions and aspects
in such a compact constellation that the project could be read
as a well-visited and architecturally relatively unchallenging
typology, that of the high-rise. But with approximately 30,000
people living and visiting the site daily, it can also be thought
of as a neighbourhood, or a metropolitan district. I t can have
the diversity, the balance of short-stay and longer-stay places,
comfort-giving zones and more resistant areas, familiarity and
anonymity, the orientation and way-nding capacities that will
allow its users to experience it as a city within a city rather than
as a non-specic mega-block. A type is therefore necessary that
helps to articulate and to proliferate urban qualities. Such ideas
were tried by architects in the 1960s, often unsuccessfully. But at
that time the knowledge-processing and visualising techniques
we have available today were not in existence. User-related
information was speculative and ideologically driven, rather
than exact. The mixed-use typology had not been developed to
the extent it currently has, so that programme packages were
more monofunctional, resulting in insufciently activated areas.
Ensuring an active environment, with lively and well-
distributed people movement with multiple access and
destination options is a prime goal of the contemporary urban
mixed-use project. The city within the city has different rhythms
and forms of enclosure; its system encompasses variation and
differentiation. I t is also open towards the city beyond and in
constant rapport with the wider urban environment. Logistically
relating the architecture to the city by making literal connections
to the complex infrastructure in and underneath the site is an
important rst step. Ensuring accessibility by various means of
transport in a layered condition is a complex puzzle. Again, as
in Arnhem Central, this issue is closely related to the quality
of the access spaces. I n todays compact, mixed-use complexes,
transitory spaces should be of equal quality to spaces dedicated
to longer-stay programmes. I n the Rafes City project three
large void spaces are incorporated in the plinth that stretches
between the two diagonally opposed towers attached to it.
These voids, like the Arnhem Central terminal, are envisaged as
cogent, yet galvanising, public spaces. The diagonal positioning
of the entire scheme results in a dynamic alignment that is
extruded upwards and in the round, thus forming intricate,
three-dimensional plans emerging from a comparatively
straightforward origin. Since both Arnhem Central and Rafes
City are still under construction, we would like to refer to
previous projects to describe the projected spatial effects of these
voids. Specically, the void space of Star Place shopping plaza in
Kaohsiung, Taiwan, derives its spatial character from a variation
of the turning plan. Here, the oor plate remains in place, but
the escalators are positioned in a rotational order around the
void, giving the deceptive visual impression of exaggerated
depth, mobility and asymmetry, making the circulation space the
focal point and centre of the building.
Rafes City, Hangzhou, China,
due for completion 2012
The Rafes City project incorporates
housing, retail, ofces and hotel facilities
housed in two diagonally opposed towers
connected by a plinth.
The diagonal positioning of the entire
scheme results in a dynamic alignment
that is extruded upwards and in the round,
thus forming intricate, three-dimensional
plans emerging from a comparatively
straightforward origin.
above: The interconnected void spaces
enable extensive retail outlet visibility
and improved way-nding. The interior
circulation spaces are connected to
exterior courtyards.
top: The street-level presence of the towers
and view towards the river create an
organisational and formal structure which
twists, creating an urban contrapposto.
Unlike a tower with a twist that is located
somewhere along its length, there is a
gradual transformation of the entire volume.
Like a body in contrapposto, the tall
building with a turning plan appears to sway
in a lissom manner, seemingly frozen while
engaging in a forceful dynamic.
I n the upper levels of the Rafes City project, the turning
plan type is applied in a real way. The two towers thus display a
slow-moving, elongated twist running over the entire elevation.
From the point of view of the city, this gives the towers an ever-
altering appearance. Unlike a tower with a twist that is located
somewhere along its length, there is a gradual transformation
of the entire volume. Like a body in contrapposto, the tall
building with a turning plan appears to sway in a lissom manner,
seemingly frozen while engaging in a forceful dynamic.
On the inside, the turning plan offers great variety;
practically each oor plate is different. I n the Rafes City
constellation this benets both the relationship between the
two towers and that of the project as a whole with the city. By
turning away from each other the two towers offer residents and
other users of their facilities more privacy than if they had been
facing each other directly and immutably. The towers also take
in the various aspects of the city, giving alternate views to its
best features: the park, the river and the lake.
I n this way, the turning plan, like the other models
elaborated on here, is a complex instrument rather than a
reductive type. I t enables architectural gestures that cohesively
envelop a wide and differentiated range of issues and ambitions.
For that reason these instrumental types form the best way we
know to connect the urban with the architectural. 1
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: pp 66-71, 73-7 UNStudio; p 72
Christian Richters
top: The void spaces in the plinth allow for
natural ventilation and smoke extraction
throughout the podium.
above: The semi-enclosed courtyards
serve as green gateways to the podium,
while the positioning of the two towers
perpendicular to the main podium axis
creates an arrangement with maximum
integration of programmatic elements.
JooBravoda Costa
OMA, PenangTropical City, Penang,
Malaysia, 2004
Penang Tropical City is a combination of
Southeast Asian identity and aspiration.
A mixed-use programme for Penang in Malaysia
with the potential to accommodate a resident
population of 27,000 required OMA to operate
at a planning level, while providing architectural
denition. Joo Bravo da Costadescribes how
this led to a strategy that focused on types
rather than objects, and specically a typological
distribution of programme across the site.
The contrasts between hills and sea,
countryside and city, offer a powerful
backdrop to the rich mixture of contrasting
avours, aromas, languages and habits that
make up Penangite society and culture.
Given the privileged location, the site is a
choice plot of land with the potential to
become a residential, business and leisure
hub within a regional corridor primed to
generate strong economic activity.
Recent large-scale urban development in
East Asia has brought about unprecedented
transformations to vast expanses of territory
and multitudes of people. Yet the problem of
large-scale urban development in the region
has so far resulted in a less than ambitious
debate on strategies, options and priorities.
Given the growth of urban populations and
the accelerating transformation of their
habits, the problem is often approached as a
technical one: a challenge to be addressed by
the optimisation of processes, infrastructure
and devices. Considering, on the other hand,
the increasing opportunities to use recent
technology as a means of generating built
forms with high visual impact and novelty
value, large-scale urban development has
recently been interpreted by some as a formal
problem: promoting a new repertoire of forms
and the processes to generate them. Both
approaches are limited in scope. Whereas the
technical approach often aims for imprecise
targets of environmental sustainability (with
only one parameter energy consumption
against which to measure its success),
the formal approach is usually reduced
to one conceptual and abstract process
that emphasises form while neglecting
programmatic and typological content.
How to design a new city in East Asia?
How to work with the East Asian scale and
speed of urban transformation, towards
strategies that positively respond to the
ambitions and needs of contemporary
Asian cities and regions? New urban
development in East Asia is often intended
to be a bold implantation of modernity that
quickly replaces small-scale, informal urban
settlements. Just as often, the modern
East Asian city is destined to take over vast
expanses of non-urban open territory. These
operations are almost always ambitious
in size and means and are often meant
to transform the images of countries, the
economies of regions, and the livelihoods
of millions of people. Such initiatives
exceed by many orders of magnitude the
kind of project with which most Western
architects are comfortable. Consequently,
Western architects almost invariably balk
at the scale and speed of East Asian urban
transformation. Several traumas, anxieties
and controversies regarding the modern
and Modernism its adulterations, excesses
and failures run deep and wide in Western
minds, and often inhibit the willingness to
understand why the modern city is desirable
in Asia, and how to contribute positively to
the most signicant architectural and urban
transformations of this age.
OMAs Penang Tropical City is a proposal
for a large-scale urban development in West
Malaysia. A mixed-use programme totalling
1.67 million square metres (17.97 million
square feet) of gross oor area will replace
the Penang Turf Club a horseracing track
and related social facilities from British
colonial times. The site extends over 104
hectares (257 acres) at the foot of thickly
wooded hillsides, a short distance from the
centre of Penang state capital Georgetown,
and 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from the Penang
Strait shoreline. The contrasts between
hills and sea, countryside and city, offer a
powerful backdrop to the rich mixture of
contrasting avours, aromas, languages and
habits that make up Penangite society and
culture. Given the privileged location, the site
is a choice plot of land with the potential to
become a residential, business and leisure
hub within a regional corridor primed to
generate strong economic activity. The new
city is intended to become an emblem of
Malaysian development and ambition.
The vision at the origin of this initiative
is too ambitious to be formulated as a
planning proposal. To begin with, the brief
Regulated building heights and densities
in zones of precisely allocated architectural
types; each island is recognisable though
not ostensibly designed.
The proposal responds to these
aspirations by encapsulating local
character in a sweeping onrush of
newness. It is a suggestion of how a
modern Southeast Asian city can be
imbued with deep-rooted features of
the inherited Southeast Asian city its
contrasts and its stir of improvisation.
opposite: A spatial interpretation of type
and programme: the brief is divided into
soft and hard programme, then sorted by
architectural types and distributed into a
diagram of proximities and dependencies.
below: Penang Tropical City at a
scale between planning strategy and
architectural denition, with an emphasis
on contrasts and transitions between
different urban environments.
reects a regional purpose concentrated on
economic development and prestige: the new
city will be a highlight within the Northern
Corridor Economic Region, where industrial
entrepreneurship in advanced technology
will receive special incentives. Penang
Tropical City will therefore have an important
regional role. Along with that prospective
role comes a desire for a unique image. The
proposal responds to these aspirations by
encapsulating local character in a sweeping
onrush of newness. It is a suggestion of how
a modern Southeast Asian city can be imbued
with deep-rooted features of the inherited
Southeast Asian city its contrasts and its
stir of improvisation. This demands more
than planning infrastructure and devising
general strategies for building development.
The brief, on the other hand, is too
extensive and too complex to be formulated
as an architectural project. With a mixed-use
programme large enough to accommodate a
resident population of at least 27,000 (with
employment opportunities as well as leisure
and civic facilities for many others), Penang
Tropical City is a large-scale development to
be conducted in phases over several years.
This proposal provides typological outlines to
be developed further in later stages. Different
architects would design the several clusters
of the city, following the given parameters of
building height and position, number of units,
and type of clustering.
The method is, then, to achieve an
effective planning strategy as well as a
suggestive architectural denition, with a
concept that is open enough to multiple
design contributions and to fertilisation
by local culture. At a strategic level,
government, developer and local inhabitants
want a change to modernity. Newness
notwithstanding, the vitality and spontaneity
of local urban life as it exists now will be a
vital ingredient of a stirring and characteristic
new city. At the level of design, the proposal
is dened mainly at a scale between urban
planning and architectural design. Various
urban environments are characterised by
typological combinations (not individual
buildings). This is a method focused on
types rather than on objects a kind of
typological thinking concentrated on an
intermediary scale of operation, reaching
into infrastructural generality as well as
architectural specicity.
Penang Tropical City originates from a
typological distribution of programme a
method of giving shape to differentiated
urban environments by precisely allocating
architectural and urban types. Architectural
types (hotels, apartment towers, parking
structures and so on) are concentrated in
clusters that depend on their proximity to
other clusters (housing to ofces, hotel to
convention centre), and all are connected
by a fabric of public facilities, thoroughfares
and roads. Urban types (a tower plaza, an
elevated podium, a pedestrian street) are
interwoven with this system of proximities
and dependencies. The proposal is a web
of relations (contrasts and transitions), the
result of a spatial interpretation of type and
First, a distinction is made between soft
and hard programme. Soft programme
(schools, a concert hall, medical centre,
library, museums, a convention centre and
mosque) is institutional and necessitates
public investment. Hard programme
(housing, hotels, ofces and retail) is private
and attractive for prot. Soft is kept to a
modest (necessary?) amount of facilities,
while hard takes up more than 90 per cent
of the total volume to be built. Soft comes in
small amounts of large, individual, distributed
units (for example, a school for each
neighbourhood, one mosque for the whole
below: The identity and aspirations of
the Southeast Asian city as a formula of
contrasts; the stir of improvisation and the
precepts of regulated development.
opposite: Soft programme forms a
soup, the infrastructural substrate for
typological islands of hard programme.
Soup and islands are contrasting urban
territories that complete each other in
function and use.
bottom and overleaf: Hard programme
is sorted by architectural type and
distributed into circumscribed clusters.
Starting from a simple set of typological
rules, each cluster can be further
developed by a different architect.
below: A colonial-era turf club outside
Georgetown will be replaced by a new
urban hub. Mountains and sea will
surround the new tropical city.
Soft and hard programme are then identied with two
contrasting types of urban environment. Soft is the
connective tissue, a fabric formed by the infrastructure
and amenities that support and energise the city. It is
a minimally regulated territory where the spontaneity
of Malaysian outdoor life ourishes in full force. It is
a uid zone an urban soup. Hard programme, on
the other hand, is sorted by architectural types into
clusters, inside regulated zones.
As a result of typological distribution, soup and
islands embody contrasting urban territories that
complete each other in function and use. The soup
is the zone of movement, interaction and outdoor
life. Stalls and open-door shops surround public
buildings and line the streets, lling them with the
strong smells, the hot avours, and the multilingual
sounds of Malaysian life.
area), whereas hard comes in large amounts
of small, aggregated units (apartments,
shops, hotel rooms and ofce oors). Soft
is contingent on institutional initiative and
is manifested in singular facilities that
serve large areas of hard programme. Hard
depends on a different logic repetition and
agglomeration according to type (apartment
blocks, ofce slabs, shopping strips).
Soft and hard programme are then
identied with two contrasting types of
urban environment. Soft is the connective
tissue, a fabric formed by the infrastructure
and amenities that support and energise
the city. It is a minimally regulated territory
where the spontaneity of Malaysian outdoor
life ourishes in full force. It is a uid zone
an urban soup. Hard programme, on
the other hand, is sorted by architectural
types into clusters, inside regulated zones.
Building height, volume and density
are specied in order to create clearly
identiable agglomerations, each of which is
circumscribed and forms a unique silhouette
in Penang Tropical Citys horizon, one in an
archipelago of urban islands.
As a result of typological distribution,
soup and islands embody contrasting urban
territories that complete each other in
function and use. The soup is the zone
of movement, interaction and outdoor
life. Stalls and open-door shops surround
public buildings and line the streets,
lling them with the strong smells, the
hot avours, and the multilingual sounds
of Malaysian life. Positioned within the
soup, the islands are the realm of indoor
activity and contained public space, the
regulated environments of the modern
Asian city. The ingredients of the tropical
city come together in a play of contrasts
that expresses and amplies the contact
between old and new habits, identity
and aspiration.
Large-scale urban development in
East Asia or the rise of the modern
Asian city, echoed in other locations
where scale and speed combine to bring
about radical urban change remains
an urgent subject for contemporary
architectural enquiry and discourse.
The subject/problem is evidently not
new. Yet despite the unprecedented
transformative effect on an enormous
portion of the world, three decades of
staggering urban growth and change
in East Asia have so far inspired no
such discursive efforts or generational
phenomena as the advent of Modernism
in the early 20th century, or the Radical
event a half-century later. Whether
regarded with awe or disdain, whether
greeted by silence or uproar, the
modern Asian city simply advances,
inexorably and condently. In its many
peculiar incarnations it continues to
present singular challenges, and to offer
opportunities for far-reaching strategies,
beyond stolid functionality, beyond
self-absorbed formalism. Scale and
ambition, along with climate and culture,
motivated the concept of typological
distribution at the origin of the Penang
Tropical City project. The thinking behind
that concept is tied neither to strategic
expedients nor to design intricacies. It
is a logic of relations. Penang Tropical
City is an expression of the contrasts,
transitions and similarities latent in a
mixed programme of architectural types
and urban environments the authentic
ingredients of the new tropical city. 1
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images OMA
below: In a Penangite street, the
spontaneous and permanently stirring
mixture of the images, avours, scents and
languages that make up Malaysian culture.
A plan for an I T-based research city
in Singapore provided Toyo Ito &
Associates with the unique opportunity
to rethink urban typology. In a project
that revives some of the ideas of 1960s
metabolism, Ito recasts architecture
and infrastructure in a unied structure
that envisions the city environment as a
neuron-like network of sequences.
Toyo Ito &Associat es, Architects and RSP
Architects Planners &Engineers (Pte)
Ltd, Singapore Buona Vista Masterplan
Competition, Singapore, 200001
opposite: Masterplan.
bottom: Elements of the masterplan: hnc,
HNC towers and open spaces.
below: The hierarchy of the masterplans
elements also reects the sequence of
growth and phasing from HNC (large
module) to hnc (small module) to towers.
belowleft: The masterplan is articulated
by modules made up of HNC, hnc
and tower. The modules are set up as
a typological grammar rather than as
repetitive construction modules.
belowright: Concept sketch.
bottom left: Plan of HNC and hnc: rst-,
second-, third-, fourth- and fth-storey
plan and roof plan.
bottom right: Masterplan model.
The information technology revolution in
Singapore has led directly to rapid urban
development. The way in which skyscrapers
bristle up among tropical jungle makes it appear
as if the citys ascendancy is immediately fuelled
by the uid energy of the city.
site dotted with former military barracks,
facilities and colonial bungalows. The
intention of the proposal was to unify the
infrastructure of a city through architecture,
creating a network spreading in a rhizome-
like manner rather than in a typically linear
fashion. The buildings here are not layered
perpendicularly, but integrated into a hyper
neuron continuum (HNC) as a horizontal
skyscraper. This is based on a new concept
of an urban architecture where roads,
infrastructure and a few hundred buildings
are unied as one, and all the uid elements
of a city, such as its people, information
and energy circulation are intermingled
and coexisting. The urban infrastructure is
spread in horizontal directions with high-
speed pedestrian walkways, and the internal
territory enclosed by the HNC; this houses
the networked architecture containing a
small-scale infrastructure of capillary vessels
that keeps growing in fractal patterns.
The urban model of the 20th century
aimed at the clarication of the city
through a hierarchy that classied the
infrastructure of each element, and
was executed through zoning and the
segmenting of building volumes. In
this proposal, a city environment is not
dissected and isolated, but developed as
a neuron-like network of sequences by
unifying the ow of energy carried by a
city through its architecture. This leads to
a proposition for a 21st-century Asian city
with urban spaces that ow dynamically
through its system, growing up in the
manner of trees and plants. 1
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images Toyo Ito &
Associates, Architects
The information technology revolution in
Singapore has led directly to rapid urban
development. The way in which skyscrapers
bristle up among tropical jungle makes
it appear as if the citys ascendancy is
immediately fuelled by the uid energy of
the city. When a design competition was
held between 2000 and 2001 to develop
a plan for a research city oriented towards
information technology and the life sciences,
Toyo Ito & Associates proposed a potential
new city model based on a study of the
relationship between our physical senses,
as impacted by the new information-
technology-led changes to our lifestyle, and
the urban environment.
Buona Vista district is in an exposed
area in 180 hectares (444.7 acres) located
a few kilometres away from the centre of
Singapore. It is a predominantly greeneld
belowleft: Detail of sectioned model of
HNC showing the integration between
infrastructure and nature.
belowright: Typical sections of HNC/hnc
showing integration between infrastructure,
nature and architecture.
Tactical translucency is a distinct characteristic
of the work of SANAAs Kazuyo Sejima +Ryue
Nishizawa. In the 21st Century Museum of
Contemporary Art, it was applied as a strategy in
which to blur the boundaries between the city and
the interior space of the art museum, creating a type
that fuses areas for public activities and the more
contemplative gallery spaces.
Kazuyo Sejima +
Ryue Nishizawa/
SANAA, 21st
Century Museumof
Contemporary Art,
Kanazawa, Ishikawa
Prefecture, Japan,
Ground-oor plan.
The intertwined public and museum
zones are designed to provoke
interaction between potential user
groups, with the public spaces
encircling the museum.
Birds-eye view of
the museum.
The scattered bulk of the
galleries also creates transparency
and a feeling of openness marked
by long vistas through the entire
depth of the building.
opposite: Interior
view of the gallery.
belowleft: View
from the foyer to
the courtyard.
belowright: View
from the circulation
space to the outer
belowleft: Site
location plan.
belowright: View
from the foyer to
the city.
opposite: External
view of the foyer
and gallery.
Despite its size, the building feels bright, open
and free. This is consistent with SANAAs
typological intent to open the museum
(architecture) up to its surroundings, to the city,
its activities and people.
SANAAs work is characterised by a
persistent preoccupation with the rethinking
of boundaries, their removal, blurring,
and clarication. Their concern with
transparency has created both a subtle
phenomenal translucency and a highly
effective process of diagrammatic reduction.

As a result of the optical and programmatic
translucency anticipated in a project such
as the rms Moriyama House (2005),
the museum in Kanazawa succeeds in
radically rethinking the relationship between
interior and exterior volumes and spaces,
between the room, the building and the
city. The subsequent typological challenge
of the museum, the transformation of the
traditionally highly representative physical
nature and programmatic interiority into
an extended yet delicate fragment of the
city, the dematerialisation of the museum
itself, can be understood as conditioned by
tactical translucency and motivated by the
convergence of opposites such as inside and
outside, private and public, individual and
collective, or programmatic and formal.
The 21st Century Museum of
Contemporary Art sits in the city centre and,
in addition to museum spaces, includes
community gathering spaces such as a
library, lecture hall and childrens workshop.
The intertwined public and museum zones
are designed to provoke interaction between
potential user groups, with the public spaces
encircling the museum.
The site links together the diverse but
equally important municipal functions
surrounding it. Circular in form, the building
has no front or back, allowing exploration
from all sides. The exhibition area is
fragmented into numerous galleries, all of
internal courtyards, each unique in character,
provide ample daylight at the centre of the
building and a uent border between the
public zone and the museum zone. Despite
its size, the building feels bright, open
and free. This is consistent with SANAAs
typological intent to open the museum
(architecture) up to its surroundings, to the
city, its activities and people. Typological
consistency, however, is reinstated if
displaced by considering the project not as
a building, but as a piece of simulated and
extended fabric of the city: a translucent and
edgeless mat-building typology. 1
1. Toyo Ito coined the term diagram architecture for
Sejimas work in Diagram Architecture, El Croquis,
77.1, 1996, pp 1824.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images Kazuyo Sejima +
Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA
which are embedded in a eld of circulation
space. This approach provides individual
gallery spaces with different characteristics
while creating exible museum circulation
that allows for a variety of expanded or
contracted areas. The scattered bulk of the
galleries also creates transparency and a
feeling of openness marked by long vistas
through the entire depth of the building.
A walk just inside the curved glass of
the exterior facade smoothly unfolds a
360-degree panorama of the site.
Gallery spaces have various proportions
and provide diverse lighting options; from
bright daylight through glass ceilings to
spaces lacking any natural light. The heights
range from 4 to 12 metres (13.1 to 39.4
feet). The materiality and sequence of the
circulation space is geared towards use as
additional exhibition areas. Four fully glazed
lAUC Architects and Urbanists (Franois Decoster, Caroline Poulin and
Djamel Klouche) advocate an approach to typological urbanism that they
refer to as urbanism of substance. Here they describe three projects for Paris
in which they have developed this strategy for maximising the intensity
between local, metropolitan and global conditions.
Djamel Klouche
102 102 102 102 1002
103 33333333 00000000 10 10 10 10 111110033
The word substance denotes what is
permanent in changing things.
Neither generic nor specic, the next
metropolis is a total substance. Everything
is in everything. Nothing relates to anything.
It is a historical chance for urbanism and
architecture to forge a new alliance and build
the metropolitan conditions of tomorrow. The
goal is not to assign an ostentatious mix or
diversity (to the metropolis), but to increase
exchange (between the near and the near,
and the not so near and the far) inside the
micro-scale itself: the scale of the spatial-
metropolitan situation. This is the scale at
which a non-nostalgic reading of the city
and of the metropolis as substance could be
rebuilt, but not as a system.
Three projects, still maturing, attempt
to illustrate this approach to typological
urbanism as urbanism of substance and the
condition for city- or metropolis-making.
Grand Paris Stimul, Paris, 200809
R&D consultation on the post-
Kyoto metropolis and the future of
metropolitan Paris
lAUC was selected as one of 10 teams for
the international research and development
consultation on the post-Kyoto metropolis
and the future of metropolitan Paris,
launched by the French government in 2008.
The consultation was an unprecedented
opportunity to approach the issues of the
contemporary metropolis with a new eye
and to open new directions in the system
of its representations and projection: a new
perspective on what the contemporary
metropolis is its reality and what it can be
its potentiality. The notion of metropolitan
climates gradually emerged from the work,
a notion able to grasp the continuum of
the metropolis, its commonness, while at
the same time revealing the multitude of
its microclimates, its situations and the
everyday metropolitan being.
Matrix for a Polyphonic and Polymorphous
The Metropolis ceases to be a place (that
can be drawn, designed, masterplanned) to
become a condition (that can be observed
and described).
Because the contemporary
metropolis is a globalised fact, we must
enlarge our vision; open our eyes and minds
to other places and situations. We must
abandon a purely Eurocentric representation
of the city. There is no unique response to
post-Kyoto issues. The 21st-century post-
Kyoto metropolis must be an open and
collective construction; otherwise it will not
differ from the pre-Kyoto metropolis.
In the same way, the Parisian metropolis
must free itself from premetropolitan
representations that keep opposing centre
lAUC Architects andUrbanists, GrandParis Stimul, Paris, 200809
opposite and below: Matrix for a polyphonic and polymorphous
metropolis. A selection of 19 cities throughout the world draws a
multi-identity blueprint of the contemporaneous metropolis. There is
no unique solution, no universal recipe for the post-Kyoto metropolis.
Each city has its own ways to deal with the issues of its own
metropolisation, and all cities assembled on the matrix form an open
reading of what the globalised metropolitan condition is about.
lAUC Architects and Urbanists, Trs
Trs Grand Louvre, Grand Paris Stimul,
Paris, 200809
top: The Louvre was once a palace,
then it was abandoned, then it became
a famous museum. Later, with IM Peis
pyramid, it also became an underground
shopping centre showcasing luxury French
brands and was directly connected to the
metro station that bears its name.
opposite: Axonometric of the Louvre as
a prototype for the metropolitan meta-
collector in Greater Paris.
bottom: The connection between
the underground world of busy mass
transportation networks and the serene
atmosphere of art collections, auditoriums,
library oors.
Next step? To turn this Parisian landmark
par excellence into a metropolitan
meta-collector, a transparent space right
at the centre of the Parisian metropolis
transportation networks, a gathering
space to see and be seen in at the scale
of metropolitan Paris population.
and suburbs. This opposition is particularly
acute in Paris where the priphrique
ring road denes an inside (Paris) and an
outside (the suburbs) that is completely
outdated by the realities of our territory
and by the practices of its population and
users. For instance, most transportation
infrastructure is organised from the centre to
the peripheries as a legacy of Paris highly
centralised territorial organisation whereas
an increasing (if not dominant) percentage of
the greater Paris population lives, works and
moves within the peripheries themselves.
The matrix allows us to bypass the
inability of the plan to fully grasp the
contemporary metropolitan facts. It draws
a multi-identity blueprint of the metropolis
by assembling all sorts of materials,
statistics, social data, cultural productions
and narratives, drawn from a series of 19
cities, from which emerge the new themes,
concepts and categories of an actualised
metropolitan thinking and making:
Singapore and the perpetual adjustment of
its plan, Tokyo and its principle of hybridity,
London and its suburban polycentricity,
Toronto and its transcultural condition, and
Lagos and its extremely rapid population
growth without any plan.
From Plans to Situations
No model, plan or image of an ideal post-
Kyoto metropolis or of a Greater Paris of the
future is proposed. Instead it is acknowledged
that tomorrows metropolis is already with
us, that the metropolitan fact is rst of all
a globalised cultural issue and that it will
need to rely on the afrmation of its multiple
character. The recent history of large cities
and metropolises in Europe and throughout
the world has demonstrated the limits of
planning. The plan has become incapable
of dealing with more and more intricate
and complex realities. Planning remains
relevant only if we stop considering it as an
answer to all questions, and if it is applied
discontinuously to spaces and activities, as
discrete planning.
The Inherited Metropolis
The 21st century post-Kyoto metropolis
is already here. We are no longer in an
urbanism of extension, but in an urbanism
of recycling. We must therefore adapt our
methods. We must stop seeing things from
the plans point of view. We must stop
imposing the plan upon territories. We must
start from the real and drive it towards the
possible. We must reorientate our action
from planning towards stimulation of
metropolitan territories.
Situations of Greater Paris
In order to make Greater Paris a
contemporary metropolis instead of a
plan, lAUCs Grand Paris Stimul project
proposes the intensication of metropolitan
situations that stimulate the possibilities
of what is already there. These situations
are not localised projects. They are ctional
spaces, able to grasp in a same object the
micro-scale and detail of everyday situations
as well as a strategic territorial scale of the
metropolis as a whole.
One such situation, Trs Trs Grand
Louvre, envisions a renewed perception of
urban and architectural heritage by
considering the capacity of large historical
and emblematic buildings or structures to
become containers of a condensed
metropolitan life. It is a prototype for a
lAUCs Grand Paris Stimul
project proposes the intensication
of metropolitan situations that
stimulate the possibilities of what is
already there. These situations are
not localised projects.
metropolitan meta-collector as well as the
demonstration of its possible existence within
the Parisian substance. It knows how to
combine the invisible metropolis subterranean
worlds of networks, mass transportation and
shopping malls with the serenity of its public
spaces, architectures and art collections. It
installs a de-dramatised relationship with the
notion of architectural heritage: its
reappropriation as a container of events
rather than ideologies indenitely spins out its
raison dtre and at the same time makes the
metropolis visible and perpetually actual.
Another example of the ctional spaces
lAUC imagines, TerritoryObjectDensity
reveals how the crucial issue of housing
production in large quantities could be
resolved by developing those places
around Paris that have until now only been
considered as utilitarian territories, such as
railway yards, leftover spaces or buffer zones
along heavy infrastructures, postindustrial
wastelands and so on. Such spaces are
usually very well connected to metropolitan
networks but, paradoxically, their accessibility
is very poor. lAUC proposes the Metropolitan
Collector, a large connecting object, as
a means to enable and stimulate dense
development on these complex territories, by
making them accessible and giving them a
positive identity and publicness.
42 Chapelle International, Paris, 2010
Mixed-use development, Paris: 600 housing
units, 40,000 m
ofce space, shops and
public facilities.
Chapelle International is a metropolitan site
in Greater Paris, located at the Porte de la
Chapelle in the north (18th arrondissement).
The site is currently used as a railway yard for
logistics purposes. Its proprietor, the Socit
Nationale des Espaces Ferroviaires (SNEF),
plans to reorganise these technical functions
within a compact warehouse in order to free
space for the development of a new mixed-
use neighbourhood combining 600 housing
units, 40,000 square metres (430,556
square feet) of ofce space, commerce and
public amenities.
Chapelle International is also a gateway
into Paris, a site within the agglomerations
entry sequence, which has a particular
position in the metropolitan landscape: the
site converses with strong elements of the
geography of northern Paris, anchoring the
project within the metropolitan scale that
is characterised by a 42 orientation. It is
a piece of this infrastructural landscape.
It is not the city that embeds Chapelle
International; it is the rail.
The reorganisation of the logistics
functions on the site requires the construction
of a very powerful technical object: a
380-metre (1,247-foot) long and 7-metre
(23-foot) high logistics hall backing on to
the railway tracks. The building of a 7-metre
horizon allows the spatial inclusion of this
hall within the project and not outside its
boundaries; it becomes an object among
others even if its size marks it out. The
horizon allows the installation of the housing
programmes within a 7- to 50-metre (23- to
164-foot) range that maximises the potential
of the visual openness towards the south
and the west (Montmartre). The halls roof
becomes a vast public space opening out
to the rail landscape and the vast Parisian
geography. The base dened between ground
level and the 7-metre horizon is occupied by
active functions that equip the urban level,
such as ground-oor ofce space, shops,
lAUC Architects and Urbanists, Territory
ObjectDensity, Grand Paris Stimul,
Paris, 200809
opposite top: Greater Paris desperately
needs housing. Is its territory full? No.
There is space, lots of space, but despite
its connections to metropolitan networks
(railway yards, leftover and buffer spaces
along heavy infrastructures) this space is
not yet accessible, not yet public.
below: Detail of the metropolitan
opposite bottom: The metropolitan
collector as a condition for high-density
habitability on available leftover spaces
within Greater Paris.
Density alone is not the solution. It rst
has to be made possible by something:
a structure, a giant object that will make
this space accessible, public, identied,
liveable. High density will then become
possible, desirable, a solution.
lAUC Architects and Urbanists, 42
Chapelle International Masterplan,
Paris, 2010
below: In this new metropolitan
neighbourhood on a former logistics site,
repetitive blocks are placed at a 42 angle
to form an upper world with views over
Montmartre, the Sacr Cur and the citys
infrastructural landscape, while the ground
world develops a 7-metre (23-foot) base
housing active urban functions at city level.
lAUC Architects and Urbanists, Urban
Boa, MacDonald Student Residence,
Paris, 2010
opposite: The constraints of a narrow and
long plot on top of the MacDonald
Warehouse, currently undergoing
redevelopment, and the compression of the
programme between the back of an ofce
block and close-by adjacent facades
deforms and diversies the repetitiveness
of the student housing units in order to
capture the light and afford diagonal views
out from the rooms.
nurseries and small ofce/home ofce
programmes (SoHos) with various typologies.
The city level thus becomes an urban and
architectural condition for mixed practice in
which a wide variety of uses and programmes
is developed from a repetitive architecture.
MacDonald Student Residence, Paris, 2010
150 student residences, part of the
MacDonald warehouse redevelopment
in Paris.
The student residence is part of the
redevelopment of the MacDonald Warehouse,
a 600-metre (1,968-foot) long and 80-metre
(262-foot) wide structure, which is being
undertaken by developer ICADE on behalf of
the City of Paris and the Paris Nord Est urban
redevelopment project. The masterplan by
OMA (Rem Koolhaas and Floris Alkemade)
with FAA+XDGA (Floris Alkemade/Xaveer de
Geyter) denes a narrow 8.6-metre (28.2-
foot) wide and 82-metre (269-foot) long
plot for a student housing programme on
top of the roof of the warehouse, backing on
to an ofce programme on its east side and
compressed by other residential programmes
on the west. Such constraints required
the adoption of a preconceived spatial
organisation for the student accommodation:
6.5 x 2.9-metre (21.3 x 9.5-foot) rooms
facing west and a 70 x 1.25-metre (229.6 x
4.1-foot) corridor.
The project absorbs all the internal and
external parameters within a simple form:
an urbanistic boa constrictor, the whole
length of which is deformed to maximise
the number of rooms fronting the facade.
The form generates a wide variety of spatial
congurations and a long, winding and
bright internal corridor. In order to escape the
proximity of the building on the south side, a
jigsaw facade opens long diagonal views from
the interiors of the rooms. The cantilevered
head provides a vast collective space, a
panorama of Greater Paris.
The harmonious spatiality of each student
unit is achieved by splitting each space in
two, with an open space at the facade and
a blue space deeper into the building. The
open space is bright and light and free of
all constraints. The blue space is technical,
functional and hygienic, and houses the
bathroom, kitchen and dressing room. A
double door system allows separation of, or
opening up, the open space on to the blue
space, making the bathroom, kitchen and
dressing room part of the social space of the
unit, a space where one can spend time.
An Urbanism of Substance
The task of designing the next metropolis
and its architectures cannot be reduced to
that of setting big plans. It is not about an
endless repetition of the same structural
Nor is it about faking the blend
of localised contexts diversity by means of
twisted and compromised urban rules and
design guidelines. Within the contemporary
metropolis each situation is unique, yet
non-specic, because it always arises from
the integrality of the metropolitan substance
as much as from hyperlocal conditions. It
is charged with a potential that can only
reveal and realise itself through architectures
that simultaneously address the whole and
the parts, the network and the detail, the
extended continuum and the spot. 1
1. Andrea Branzi, No Stop City, Residential Parkings,
Climatic Universal System, in Domus 496, March 1971,
pp 4854.
2. Rem Koolhaas, The Generic City, SMLXL, 010
Publishers (Rotterdam), 1995, p 1,251.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: pp 102-07 lAUC
2009; pp 108-09 lAUC 2010
Within the contemporary
metropolis each situation is unique,
yet non-specic, because it always
arises from the integrality of the
metropolitan substance as much as
from hyperlocal conditions.
Pier Vittorio Aureli
Martino Tattara
DOGMA (Pier Vittorio Aureli and
Martino Tattara with Alice Bulla), A
Simple Heart: Architecture on Ruins of
the Post-Fordist City, European North
Western Metropolitan Area, 200209
above: The North-Western Metropolitan
Area as one city. Each unit acts as a
learning centre in proximity with the most
important cities of the area. The project
proposes a sequence of new artefacts that
enclose existing areas of the city.
opposite: She arose at daybreak, in order
to attend mass, and she worked without
interruption until night; then, when dinner
was over, the dishes cleared away and the
door securely locked, she would bury the
log under the ashes and fall asleep in front
of the hearth with a rosary in her hand.
In A Simple Heart, DOGMA (Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattara)
develops an archetype for the contemporary European city. An Edufactory
of 22 residential units, it has its direct antecedent in Cedric Prices Potteries
Thinkbelt (19646) project that proposed transforming a redundant railway
network in North Staffordshire into a university campus.
below: She was most economical, and
when she ate she would gather up crumbs
with the tip of her nger, so that nothing
should be wasted of the loaf of bread
weighing twelve pounds which was baked
especially for her and lasted three weeks.
opposite: Her face was thin and her voice
shrill. When she was twenty-ve, she
looked forty. After she had passed fty,
nobody could tell her age; erect and silent
always, she resembled a wooden gure
working automatically.
evolution, the project of an example is always
based on the idea of decision. The exemplary
form has the authoritativeness of a decided
form, yet it is not based upon the normative
character typical of planning.
Whether it is a question of the distribution
of different typologies, of different heights of
the buildings, of the design of the green areas
or of the circulation, the exemplary form
elaborates archetypical actions. These actions
are capable of blossoming into new
combinations of the articial and the natural,
the technical and the formal, the structural
and the accidental. It is, in short, a form that
consists of one sole individual: the exemplary
unit. For this reason, the example may be
reproduced, but never proliferated into an
omnivorous general planning for the entire city.
A Simple Heart is a project for the
European city. It consists of 22 inhabitable
units, each located close to the railway
network that serves the European North
Western Metropolitan Area (NWMA). Each
unit is established by enclosing an area of
800 x 800 metres (2,624 x 2,624 feet)
of an existing tertiary district by means
of an inhabitable wall. The section of the
enclosing wall is 25 metres (82 feet) thick
and 20 storeys high and contains 860
hotel rooms, each measuring 19.20 x 2.60
metres (62.9 x 8.5 feet) to accommodate
one or two people each.
Once the enclosure of an area is
completed, a transparent roof supported
by a 10 x 10-metre (32.8 x 32.8-foot)
grid of columns 10 metres high is built in
order to cover the space in between the
buildings within the enclosure. In this way
the entire enclosed area is transformed into a
continuous interior made of multiple spaces
such as streets, squares, doorways, galleries,
corridors and rooms. Inside the new structure
these spaces are relics and as such they will
be used, transformed, reused and, eventually,
destroyed by their inhabitants.
The interior space is intended as a
vast open living room, a contemporary
production space where living, social
exchange and work take place within the
same space. The rooms located in the
walls are intended as a space of rest,
solitude and seclusion.
The 22 units are placed in proximity
to the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague,
Delft, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Lige,
Cologne, Dusseldorf, Aachen and Utrecht.
The units are conceived as learning centres
located along the railway circuit that links
The following proposes an idea of the city
based on architecture. It is a well-known
fact that, unlike the ancient city that was
primarily made with architecture, the
modern city is characterised by a great
divergence between the scale of architectural
form and the urban dimension. While the
modern city is made of urbanisation, the
extensive apparatus of governance and
inhabitation, architectural form always
addresses the possibility of a singular and
nite form within the space of urbanisation.
In order to make the city, architecture
must be conceived as an example that is a
form potentially repeatable without presuming
that these repetitions are exactly the same.
The example functions as an archetype: a
singular form that due to the clear exhibition
of its generative principle is able to dene
a milieu of possible forms. While a type is
never reducible to a singular form and it
can only emerge from a variety of forms,
the archetype is always put forward by the
individualisation of a precise and recognisable
form. For this reason, while the type indicates
a model of design based on the concept of
below: When the heat was too oppressive,
they remained in their rooms. The dazzling
sunlight cast bars of light between the
shutters. Not a sound in the village,
not a soul on the sidewalk. This silence
intensied the tranquillity of everything. In
the distance, the hammers of some calkers
pounded the hull of a ship, and the sultry
breeze brought them an odour of tar.
opposite: As for the dogma, she could not
understand it and did not even try. The
priest discoursed, the children recited, and
she went to sleep, only to awaken with a
start when they were leaving the church
and their wooden shoes clattered on the
stone pavement.
these cities. They are the places where the
productive side of knowledge and social
exchange becomes explicit. As such, the
entire system is conceived as an Edufactory,
a new contemporary production plant in
which the Fordist machines are replaced
by what constitutes the core of production
today: immaterial work and its manifestation
as the possibility of encounter and exchange.
Mobility within this system is increased by
the units proximity to the railway network.
The system is a university campus whose
form is enlarged to the scale of an urban
region such as that of the European North
Western Metropolitan Area.
Named after Gustave Flauberts short
novel Un coeur simple (1877), in which the
French writer celebrated the ardent integrity
and naivety of a humble servant against
self-referential sophistications of bourgeois
mentality, the project ultimately celebrates
the power of form in framing and dening the
space of existence against the fragmentation
perpetrated by contemporary urbanisation.
In the 1960s, Cedric Price proposed
converting the rusting railway network
that served the industrial area of north
Staffordshire in the UK into an educational
campus. Price proposed the educational
learning apparatus as mobile, exible and
constantly subjected to being adapted to
the demands of technological development
with its offspring of labour skills. Ironically,
within the post-Fordist scenario of todays
capitalism, Prices vision for the Potteries
Thinkbelt (19646) is no longer a visionary
project for the future but a description of
the reality of today. Price attempted to
counter the decline of an industrial site by
transforming it into an educational campus;
in so doing he (unconsciously) anticipated the
passage from a Fordist mode of production
to a post-Fordist one. If Fordism was based
on the manufacturing of material goods,
post-Fordism is based on the productive
performance of language and communication.
In post-Fordism, production of material
goods remains in general a salient part of
production, but immaterial production
(ideas, images, affects, social exchange) is
decisive in leading the trends of production.
Within the political economy of post-Fordism,
the production of knowledge is far more
important than its (eventual) application to
the production of material goods.
For this reason, within post-Fordism, the
institution of the university has become a
fundamental productive unit. If once the ivory
tower of knowledge was completely separated
from the city, and especially from the citys
centres of production such as the factory,
today the complex social and physical fabric
of the university often coincides with the one
of the city, to the point that the city itself has
become a vast campus.
Prices proposal for the Potteries
Thinkbelt can be understood as the map
of this transformation. By relying on the
existing rail network, he proposed to go
beyond the traditional campus typology,
by assuming the territory and its transport
connections as the new scale of the learning
process. Moreover, his proposal questioned
the strict separation of disciplines, and
proposed instead the development of
interchangeable units that would allow the
learning process to be constantly re-formable
according to the demands posed by the
current economic developments. With the
Potteries Thinkbelt project, Price proposed
articulating knowledge, exibility and territory
into one system, not as a new typology for
learning, but as a new urban model, as an
archetype for the city. Yet readings of his
opposite: People thought that she was
younger, because her hair, which she wore
in bands framing her pale face, was brown.
Few friends regretted her loss, for her
manner was so haughty that she did not
attract them. Flicit mourned for her as
servants seldom mourn for their masters.
below: The narrow circle of her ideas grew
more restricted than it already was; the
bellowing of the oxen, the chime of the
bells no longer reached her intelligence. All
things moved silently, like ghosts.
Potteries Thinkbelt project have focused on
the utopian side of his progressive plea for
exibility, multidisciplinary and dispersion of
knowledge into the networked territory, and
have overlooked how this has anticipated the
way post-Fordist capitalism has completely
subsumed the university (and the city itself)
within its diffuse mode of production.
If Price proposed converting an
industrial site into a postindustrial space for
learning, DOGMAs A Simple Heart assumes
the postindustrial city is a potential space
for the contemporary expanded university by
making explicit the city as a social factory.
As Price proposed the groundwork for the
post-Fordist city on the ruins of the Fordist
one, A Simple Heart proposes building the
new city on the ruins of the post-Fordist city.
These ruins are the stations, metro lines,
chain shops, ofce blocks and meeting
places that form the background to our
productive lives in the city.
Instead of undoing Prices proposal,
A Simple Heart aims at revealing its
fundamental political potential by radicalising
it. This consists in increasing the openness
and exibility of the spaces of learning in
order to reveal the common and generic
attributes of knowledge.
In the Fordist city the machines
were the assembly line, the processes of
assembling material goods. In that factory,
most of the workers were supposed to be
silent controllers of the assembly line. In
the post-Fordist factory, where productive
labour invests all aspects of human
relationships and takes the form of language
and communication, machines are replaced
by living labour the workers themselves
and their possible cooperation. Within this
condition, architecture is completely liberated
from any functionalist or programmatic duty,
and it serves production only by means
of being there as a framework, as place.
However, we do not need to understand this
liberation of architecture from programme
as a plea for a generic free space. The
liberation of architecture from a programmatic
denition signals the opposite: that space has
been completely subsumed by production.
For this reason the traditional partitions of the
city such as those between public and private
space, or those between different activities
such as work and living, culture and market
are no longer relevant. If these partitions
still exist, they simply act as ideological
projection, as a mask that covers the generic
eld that supports the reproduction of
In the post-Fordist factory, where productive
labour invests all aspects of human
relationships and takes the form of language
and communication, machines are replaced by
living labour the workers themselves and their
possible cooperation. Within this condition,
architecture is completely liberated from any
functionalist or programmatic duty, and it serves
production only by means of being there as a
framework, as place.
below: The singers, the canopy-bearers
and the children lined up against the sides
of the yard. Slowly the priest ascended
the steps and placed his shining sun on
the lace cloth. Everybody knelt. There was
deep silence; and the censers slipping on
their chains were swung high in the air.
opposite: Her lips smiled. The beats of her
heart grew fainter and fainter, and vaguer,
like a fountain giving out, like an echo
dying away; and when she exhaled her last
breath, she thought she saw in the half-
opened heavens a gigantic parrot hovering
above her head.
productive labour. This generic eld is the
life of the social factory made by continuous
mobility, and thus uprootedness, poverty
of specialised instincts, common places,
precariousness of life. A Simple Heart is the
utmost embodiment of this condition, and at
the same time the frame holding it.
The aim of the project is not to eliminate
the ethos of the social factory, but to make
it explicit. In political terms this is a realist
strategy: institutions have to maintain the
forces against them and not eliminate them in
order to keep their political validity.
A building is thus the best analogy in
order to understand the biblical concept of
the Katechon; like in the Katechon, a building
has to hold the forces that might want to
transgress its order and should accommodate
them through the management of the spaces
so that at the same time, the same forces
are restrained. The concept of the Katechon
does not imply the negation of the forces
of mobility, genericity and precariousness;
it implies a form that resists these forces
by adhering to them, just as the concave
adheres (and thus denes) the convex. As a
consequence, architectural form is reduced to
its essential nature in order to stage and make
visible not itself, but the life that happens
within its limits. 1
1. These notes are a re-elaboration and adaptation of
Paolo Virnos text Virtuosity and Revolution: The Political
Theory of Exodus, in Michael Hardt and Paolo Virno
(eds), Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics,
University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1996,
pp 189212. The discussion on example and archetype
is a re-elaboration of the theories of Paolo Virno and
Giorgio Agamben on the essence of political action. The
discussion on example, and exemplarity as the core
of political action, emerged in the early 1990s in the
political journal Luogo Comune: see Luogo Comune, No
1, November 1990. See also: Paolo Virno, Mondanit,
Lidea di mondo tra esperienza sensibile e sfera
pubblica, Manifestolibri (Rome), 1994, p 106; Giorgio
Agamben, The Signature of all Things: On Method, trans
Luca di Santo, Zone Books (Cambridge, MA), 2009.
2. Flaubert presents the main character of A Simple
Heart as an archetype. Instead of criticising society by
means of a sociological critique, he chose the archetype
of the most simple, humble form of life to reveal per via
negativa the limits of rational thinking that characterised
the self-assurance of the bourgeoisie. The short novel
is thus a sequence of simple forms, archetypes that
by means of their monumental epiphany and stubborn
simplicity reveal the social and cultural impasse of the
writers social class. Yet the archetype of Felicit, the
main character of the novel, is not presented by Flaubert
as satirical commentary, as a parody, but as a celebration
of a radical different conception of life. See Gustave
Flaubert, A Simple Heart in Three Tales, trans Robert
Baldick, Penguin Books (London), 1961.
3. All extracts in the captions here are taken from
Flauberts A Simple Heart.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images FRAC Centre
Collection, Orlans, France
The aim of the project is not to
eliminate the ethos of the social
factory, but to make it explicit.
In political terms this is a realist
strategy: institutions have to
maintain the forces against them
and not eliminate them in order to
keep their political validity.
In this masterplan for a horticultural expo, a single
architectural structure was used by Serie Architectsto address
the issue of centrality on a site at the citys edge. The city wall
is revived as a typological device to both mark the centre of
the park and connect it the main entrance of the park.
Seri e Architects,
Xian Horticultural
Masterplan, Xian,
China, 2009
The idea of the city
wall recuperated
to dene and
delineate the
horticultural park.
Despite the Serie Architects design teams
strong desire to win this competition for
masterplanning an ecological district in Xian
in central China, the opportunities that the
site presented led to an entire rethink of the
treatment of the historic centre of the city.
This required a reconsideration of the total
design brief an intellectual adventure, but
also a substantial commercial gamble.
The proposal addresses two questions
that face the expansion of the historic city
of Xian: how does the city expand beyond
its historic centre without totally dislocating
itself into a peripheral condition, and how can
the historic elements of the city be relevant
in regulating this expansion? The project
rethinks the horticultural masterplan, not as
a landscape design or architecture that looks
like landscape, but as a large architectural
artefact, continuing the tradition of city-
making in Xian.
Although the competition brief called for
the design of a greenhouse and associated
facilities, Series proposal reimagines the role
that a horticultural expo can play in seeding
and regulating the growth of the city. The
main concept behind the design lies in the
possibility of using a single architectural
artefact to create a new centrality on the
periphery of the city, reconsolidating its
peripheral splinters and bridging the existing
city and its future growth.
Learning from Xian
It is often assumed that the idea of the city
is contradictory to the idea of landscape
and nature. Thus more often than not, for
landscape architecture projects worldwide
today, we witness the endless proliferation of
architecture that literally looks like landscape.
This proposal challenges these two tendencies.
The history of the city of Xian, in particular its
city walls, is the starting point for the project.
Through this, three strategic ideas are derived
as principles that govern the masterplan.
The rst advocates the revalidation of the
tradition of city-making in Xian, to show that
elements of the historic city can be relevant
and compatible with a horticultural expo park.
belowleft: The
city wall as ve
episodes of climate
zones experienced
in sequence.
belowright: An
idea of centrality
for the periphery of
the city.
bottom: Five
Climates Crossing.
A strong, simple and clear
architectural artefact is the
main organising element for the
masterplan. The starting point
for this is the ubiquitous closed
city wall that is reconceived as
an unfolded wall, turning into a
linear structure that delineates
the centre of the site.
The second principle rests on the insistence
on clarity, where a simple, clear and legible
architectural structure can act as a powerful
organisational element for an expanded
territory many times its scale. The third is
contrast, where architectures pure form and
geometry are utilised to stand in contrast to
landscape and nature. Without altering the
latter, the contrasting beauty between the two
is mutually reinforced.
Five Climates Crossing
A strong, simple and clear architectural
artefact is the main organising element for
the masterplan. The starting point for this
is the ubiquitous closed city wall that is
reconceived as an unfolded wall, turning into
a linear structure that delineates the centre
of the site. This 1-kilometre (0.6-mile) linear
structure is made up of ve greenhouses,
each housing the different climate zones.
Like the Xian city wall, this new structure,
the Five Climates Crossing, will mark the
centre of the park and simultaneously act as
a connector, linking the entrance square on
the north, Changan Park in the middle and
the viewing tower on the south. Within the
crossing, the greenhouse is arranged linearly
as ve different episodes of climate zones,
allowing visitors to move sequentially from
one greenhouse to another while maintaining
visual connection to the outside.
Entrance Square
The northern tip of the Five Climates Crossing
marks the centre of the entrance square:
measuring 210 x 210 metres (689 x 689
feet). The square is planned to be a exible
open space for both horticultural exhibitions
and opening ceremonies. Its centre is marked
by a ight of steps leading up to the Five
Climates Crossing and is the lowest point in
the square, creating a gentle amphitheatre
conguration. Radiating pavement lines focus
the circulation and attention to the entrance
steps and centre of the square. At the same
time, these radiating lines slice up the square
into pie-chart-like horticultural plots, creating
a fan-like conguration for exhibitions.
below: Plan and
section of the
as sequentially
arranged climate
bottom: A tropical
forest as a climatic
episode captured
in the city wall.
opposite: Deep
structure: vaults
as programmatic
bottom: The city
wall as a crossing.
belowright: Xians
wall, measuring
25.7 kilometres
(15.9 miles),
encircles the
historic city.
belowcentre: Type
change: from a city
wall that excludes
to a wall that
belowleft: Type
change: from a
closed city wall to
an open wall.
Changan Park
Changan Park is conceived as a square
that frames three small peaks and
part of the lake at its centre. The three
green peaks framed by the perimeter
block house the Changan Concert Hall
and two large exhibition halls. VIP
lounges, restaurants, shops, ticketing
and reception foyers are housed along
the perimeter block. The foyer and
concert hall face the lake and become an
important principal facade for lake views
from the southeast.
Idea and Model
The typological transformation of the
dominant type of the city wall into a linear
greenhouse and bridge is governed by both an
idea and a model. The idea here can be seen
as the strategic reasoning for recentring the
site within the context of the city as outlined
above. The model, however, points to a set of
structural and formal principles that gives rise
to a specic organisation. Parabolic vaults are
used here to create a differentiated structure
that captures varying and rhythmic volumetric
conditions and sizes, thus allowing the
sequential programming of the structure.
The synthesis of idea and model as the
overarching notion of thinking typologically
dates back to Quatremre de Quincy and
JNL Durand in the late 18th and early 19th
centuries. This synthesis could also be seen as
the utilisation of a disciplinary knowledge (a
knowledge of the intrinsic structural, geometric
form of the model) to pursue and enact the
larger strategic role that architecture can play
in the making of the city. 1
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images Serie Architects
David Grahame Shane, the author of a major new
study Urban Design Since1945: A Global Perspective,
looks at type with the benet of historical hindsight.
Warning against its potential inexibility and its
use over the centuries as a reductive instrument in
city creation, he is insistent that type should only
be applied if deformed to respond to the informal
patchwork of hybrid urban conditions.
David GrahameShane
The city has always posed a problem for
architects because of its multiple actors,
scales and complexity. Typology offers
designers the advantage of a speedy
response and a standardised product, but
its disadvantages are its inexibility, lack
of control by the user, the elimination of
variety and choice. Authoritarian regimes
or other governments threatened by sudden
change have often used the typological
approach as a reductive instrument to try
to quickly create cities. The Venezuelan
typologies in the face of the increasingly
rapid urbanisation that is taking place in
non-industrialised, poor and middle-income
countries around the world. They need to
invent new, more exible, hybrid, urban
morphologies to deal with slow, potentially
enormous climate changes, massive
population migrations, and the depletion of
modern energy resources like oil.
Evolving City Types: Beyond the
Agricultural and the Industrial Revolutions
Many authors have described the typological
shift from the primarily agricultural city
anchored to the land and climate in a
specic place to the more abstract and
extended industrial city. Both involved
a specic set of architectural and urban
elements. Kevin Lynch, in Good City
Form (1981), for instance, described the
shift from the City of Faith to the City
In ancient Egypt (c 3000332
BC), the Nile Valley offered a variety of
agrarian city types tied to the ood plain of
the river, extending from the temple cities of
the dead pharaohs in the north to the port
city of Alexandria in the delta to the south.
This same combination temples, agrarian
cities and port city can be found in the
roughly contemporary city-state empires
of the Euphrates and Tigris river valleys in
the Middle East (c 32001600 BC), along
the Indus and Ganges (c 30001500 BC)
rivers of the Indian subcontinent, in the
Yangtze and Yellow river valleys in China
(c 2200 256 BC). Within mountain-top to
river-valley cultures, urban actors developed
differentiated functions housed in different
building types that evolved over time within
vernacular architectures based on local
resources and climate, as Patrick Geddes
pointed out in his Valley Section diagram in
Cities In Evolution (1915).
These feudal urban typologies were
incredibly successful and stable. Beijing,
with a population of two million, was the
largest city in the world for many centuries.
The result was that by 1953 it ruled a
population of 580 million people, with 480
Modernist architect Carlos Villaneuva, for
instance, designed massive housing blocks
at the 29 Enero Estate in Caracas in the
1950s to house new rural immigrants, only
to have the intended parks between the
blocks invaded by later squatters who built
themselves a series of impromptu urban
villages up the vacant hillside.

Now designers need to work out
how to use open systems and generative
1/ 20
11 11111
million agricultural serfs, many living in abject
poverty cultivating the river valleys.
In some
designers nostalgic typological scenarios,
urbanism becomes a simple formula involving
a static social hierarchy of building typologies:
the priests temple, the warlords fort, the
merchants market with a supposedly simple
communal life in a public square, as ex-serf
families sought to develop merchants shop
houses and residential courtyard typologies
within protective city walls.
The disappearance of city walls in the
19th-century European industrial revolution
spelt the end of the closed, agricultural world
of urban types and opened opportunities
for new global imperial systems. New
urban actors such as industrialists, railway
companies, shipping merchants, mining
companies, commodity traders, insurance
brokers and bankers, not to mention
new administrative clerks and immigrant
workers, brought new instruments of
modernity associated with capitalism, trade
and ow. At rst these new typologies
involved improving public hygiene, bath
houses, pump houses, treatment plants and
interceptor sewers, followed by hospitals,
clinics and asylums to improve public
health. Next came public education facilities,
schools, polytechnics, universities and
libraries, and then courthouses and prisons,
then cultural facilities for the emerging
bourgeoisie: museums, art galleries, theatres
and casinos. City walls were replaced by
ring roads with railway stations leading
out to new suburbs. Specialised ofce
blocks contained state and commercial
administrators. Docks connected to global
empires made accessible by coal-red
steamships based on heavy industry, steel
works, coal mines and factories. New
department stores, shopping arcades
and world fairs displayed the goods for
new consumers, while printing presses
in newspaper buildings supported the
advertising of the latest fashions.
Architects dreamt of rationalising
these new industrial developments into an
efcient system of standardised typological
components, like workers housing and
factories, linked by new ow systems, like
railways, making the city into a machine that
was innitely extendible, as in Le Corbusiers
Ville Radieuse of 1932.
After the Second World War a weakened
Europe was trapped between the emerging
superpowers of the Soviet Union and the US
who introduced new dispersed morphologies
extending new urban typologies across vast
territories. In the Soviet system, this involved
planned microdistricts (of 10 to 60 hectares/
25 to 148 acres) attached to factories for work
brigades, the provision of housing, schooling,
hospitals, libraries, parks in superblocks in
new towns, and neighbourhood districts with
industrialised, panel-built housing, served by
public transport, water supplies, waste-
disposal systems and electricity.
American megalopolis system involved
subsidies to private builders through loans to
build single-family housing units on vast
estates like Levittown, New York (1,700
hectares/4,200 acres) laid out according to
typological codes established in the 1930s,
accessible by automobile. Separate shopping
malls, educational campuses, industrial
parks, ofce parks and cultural facilities,
including theme parks and Las Vegas, were
located in specialised typologies elsewhere in
the extended city.
New Megacity Typologies: Learning from
Latin America and Shenzhen
In retrospect it is easy to see that the modern
system of industrial types enriched Europe,
America and Japan, but impoverished the
earlier imperial systems that became colonial
possessions for the extraction of raw materials
and wealth. As the European empires fade,
many ex-colonial cities, like Mumbai, feature
as the UNs megacities of 20 million that will
house 8 per cent of the global urban
population. These megacities are poorer than
Megalopolis and Suburban
House and Equipment, c 1947
below: Potential homebuyers admire the winners of a free
television in a showhouse oor layout that demonstrates
all the electrical home appliances of the new suburban
living experience, with the necessary automobiles parked
on the unbuilt street in the background.
Nowa Huta New Town, Poland, 1956
bottom: The Polish Communist Party built the Nowa
Huta steel mill, which became the largest in Europe
(now owned by an Indian conglomerate), to rapidly
transform agricultural peasants into modern industrial
workers housed along Stalinist boulevards and in
housing superblocks, later arranged as prefabricated
slab blocks at a right angle to the street.
their European predecessors, three times
their size and often have no industrialised
housing base. The other 92 per cent of the
global urban population predicted for 2020
will be housed in smaller cities of one to two
million, with many building their own
housing, as in the favelas of Rio, where the
term megacity originated in the 1970s.
In Latin America, urban village
typologies grew to enormous size covering
the countryside, hillside and swamps
around older colonial cities. Planners
turned a blind eye to these illegal, urban
slum extensions until the UN Habitat I
in Vancouver in 1976. There, the British
architect John F Turner, author of Housing
by the People (1976), argued that the
self-built, bottom-up morphology of the
Latin American favelas with their small-
scale exibility offered a better solution in
the long run for poor countries. Turners
teacher at the Architectural Association (AA)
in London, Otto Koenigsburger, had earlier
convinced Indias Prime Minister Nehru in
1949 to accept the self-built shanties of
the seven million refugees made homeless
as a result of the British partition of India.
villages, never expecting them to become
desirable historic relics with a large Web
presence and popular pubs.
The same British planners in conjunction
with the Shenzhen Institute of Urban Design
and Research consulted on the creation of
the rst Chinese Special Economic Zone
(SEZ) near Hong Kong in 1980. They
never foresaw the emergence of the urban
village there as a high-rise, miniskyscraper
phenomenon. By the early 2000s these
villages housed 60 per cent of the oating,
illegal workers attracted to the factories.
The Shenzhen City authorities have
documented over 200 of these villages and
are developing a variety of case-by-case
strategies from demolition to upgrading.
The Shenzhen-based Urbanus architectural
group has proposed an innovative top-down
approach of public facilities, including
schools, bath houses and gardens,
stretching over the roof tops of the hyper-
dense urban villages. Urbanus proposes
that the villages would not then need to be
demolished, a scheme reminiscent of El
Lissitzskys Skyhooks workers clubs project
for Moscow in the 1920s.

Turner went on to build on his early work
in the barriadas of Lima, Peru, during the
late 1960s, organising an international
competition for slum upgrading with
solutions offered by such architects as Jim
Stirling and Christopher Alexander, part of
which was built as the citys Previ district,
mixing housing types from various schemes
(published by Monica Pidgeon in 2 in
1970 with a follow-up article in 1974).
Urban villages had formed a blind spot
in the typological thinking of Modernist
architects. In the early 1950s, Le Corbusier
did not draw the existing urban villages
in his plan of Chandigarh, leaving it to
his successor architects to create special
diamonds around their perimeter. Lucio
de Costas plan for Brasilia (1957) did
not foresee the survival of the shanty
towns of the construction workers as lively
alternatives to his modern superquadras,
his superblock residential neighbourhoods
that rivalled the Soviet typologies. Inside
Milton Keynes New Town in the UK
(planned 196771), Richard Llewellyn-
Davies and Weeks and Partners placed
historic preservation orders on the existing
Urbanus, Village Research Programme for Gangxia
Urban Village, Shenzhen, China, 2005
below: Gangxia village, located right beside the newly
constructed civic centre at the heart of Shenzhen, is
scheduled for demolition. The model of a new urban
typology involves the insertion of roof-top public space
and amenities with the minimal disruption of the existing
urban village below.
Le Corbusier, Masterplan for
Chandigarh, Punjab, India, 1950s
bottom: The masterplan, redrawn by the author in
2010 to show the pre-existing villages lodged inside the
superblock neighbourhood units, each block contains
social facilities such as schools, shops, parks and clinics.
Reiser + Umemoto, Business Bay
Three project, Dubai, 2007
below: Developing the Foshan Sansui section, the
undulating roof park conceals large car parks serving the
housing and ofce slabs above. At the waters edge, the
three-dimensional spatial matrix opens up to form small
coves, with shops, ofces and apartments above.
Teddy Cruz, Regional Border Drawing,
USMexico border, 2008
opposite: The drawing contrasts urban settlement
patterns north and south of the USMexico
border checkpoint and suggests the possibility of
hybridisation between the American suburban and
Mexican self-built urban patterns.
Pioneering Pragmatism: Urban Futures and
Generative Urban Typologies
Such pragmatic and engaged
experimentation is a long way from
much European research that addresses
the theoretical instability of the type, as
the linear dynamic of industrialisation
breaks down and a chaotic disequilibrium
invades urban morphologies. Here there
is a clear theoretical understanding that
types emerge from a ow of energy and
pressure, engineered by particular urban
actors at specic times to deal with
particular situations. Types lie inside a
population (of actors, buildings, ows
and programmes) that can be scanned
for patterns and identied in families,
allowing for hydridisation and selection by
urban designers. Foreign Ofce Architects
(FOA) demonstrated this approach in
their Phylogenesis: FOAs Ark (2003)
with its fold-out classications of building
morphologies and scripts, giving each
buildings DNA and code. Designers like
Reiser + Umemoto showed how these
emergent systems could be captured to
generate creative new sections in the city,
some standardised parts from American
suburbia to advantage.
A further complication is that much
of this self-built urban growth will be in
valley systems and river deltas that will
be adversely affected by climate change,
either through ooding and sea-level rise,
or through temperature rise, desertication
and loss of drinking water. Shrinking cities
and urban migration will be one result:
maps showing the impact of a 3-metre
(9.8-foot) water rise on the coastal plain
of China involve hundreds of millions of
people. Vietnam and the Mekong delta are
especially vulnerable, and designers are
planning for new, raised, urban islands and
new urban archipelagos around Cantho
where people can move to safety. The same
UN-ASRO Group from Leuven also prepared
earlier plans for Vinh, respecting the Asian
tradition of the desa-kota (village-city),
where agriculture and irrigation systems are
integrated into the city. In this case the ASRO
and Hanoi University team invented a new
typology of rivers edge, where ood water
could penetrate but housing blocks stood
safely above the predicted water-level rise.
using undulating ground planes and sloping
parks to give more choice to individuals in
how they wove together and combined their
activities in the city (mixing traditional souk
with big-box retail in a section that included
a park on the roof, with ofce towers and
residential slabs perched above light wells
penetrating the podium base).
The problem is how to link these
sophisticated, exible and emergent design
systems to the urban village systems and
massive shanty town extensions that are
built by inhabitants using scraps and
improved over time. Latin American favela
builders might well start out with temporary
material for their shacks, but often engage
in a long process of upgrading, sometimes
incorporating building parts from industrial
buildings being demolished elsewhere in
the city, sometimes new building parts that
fell off trucks on the way to the building
site. The work of Teddy Cruz in Tijuana has
played on this hybridity of type without
industry, suggesting that American single-
family suburban housing types might
benet from Mexican favela improvisation,
and that improvised shelters could use
Here there is a clear theoretical
understanding that types emerge
from a ow of energy and pressure,
engineered by particular urban
actors at specic times to deal with
particular situations.
Designing for Hybridity
The theoretical and computational
innovations allowing the type to become
a dynamic set of relationships that can
vary with pressure, situation, actor and
time has rarely connected with the
reality of the self-built favela urbanism
that will house about a billion people
by 2020. Designers should apply their
sophisticated analytical frameworks
to type and city assembly, recognising
the power of the individual builders
to create a vast collective form. The
individual and group differentiation
within this collective form is essential
to the citys dynamic. Designers need
to recognise the patchwork nature
of the city, its hybridity and diversity,
deforming types to meet new situations
when required. With new computer-
aided scripts and complex programming
there is a potential to include chaotic
variables and value complex urban
ecologies, to work in diverse, unstable
situations and respond in indirect and
non-linear ways to urban problems.
The key to this new opportunity is that
the type is unstable, mutating and
changing. It is precisely this instability
that makes morphogenesis and
hybridised typologies so valuable in the
current age of massive urbanisation on
an unprecedented global scale. 1
Urban Design Since 1945: A Global Perspective
(2010) and Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual
Modelling in Architecture, Urban Design and City
Theory (2005) by Grahame Shane are published
by John Wiley & Sons. They are available from
Amazon and other good architectural bookshops.
UN-HABITAT, Hanoi University and ASRO team
(University of Leuven, Belgium), Proposal for Vinh-Lam
Waterfront Project, Vietnam, 2000
The terraced waterfront development proposed allows
for monsoon ooding, while still accommodating market
and riverboat transfers. The raising of the new waterfront
development on pilotis protects from ooding while
creating a three-dimensional urban space.
Planning of Villages-in-the-City in Shenzhen, China:
the Signicance of the New State-Led Approach,
International Planning Studies, Vol 14, Issue 3, August
2009, pp 25373. For Urbanus see Urbanus Selected
Projects 19992007, China Architecture and Building
Press (Shenzhen), 2007, pp 21221. For mapping
see Zhengdong Huang, Mapping of Urban Villages in
China, Centre for International Earth Science Information
Networks (CIESIN),
accessed 17 March 2010.
12. FOA: Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi,
Phylogenesis; FOAs Ark, Actar (Barcelona), 2003, and
for Reiser + Umemoto see http://www.reiser-umemoto.
com/, accessed 16 September 2010.
13. See Estudio Teddy Cruz website: http://estudioteddycruz.
com/, and Nicolai Ouroussoff, Border-Town Muse: An
Architect Finds a Model in Tijuana, NewYork Times,
12 March 2006,
travel/12ihtshanty.html, both accessed 24 March 2010.
14. Gordon McGranahan, Deborah Balk and Bridget
Anderson, The Rising Tide: Assessing the Risks of
Climate Change and Human Settlements in Low Elevation
Coastal Zones, Environment & Urbanization, Vol 19 (1),
2007, pp 1737. For the China coast see: http://www.,
accessed 15 July 2010, and see also Philipp Oswalt and
Tim Reiniets, The Atlas of Shrinking Cities, Hatje Cantz
(Ostldern), 2006. For Cantho see Kelly Shannon and
Bruno de Meulder, Landscape Urbanism Cantho, OSA/
WIT/Latitude Design Research, KULeuven (Belgium),
200910, pp 613. For Vinh see Kelly Shannon and
Andr Loeckx, Vinh Rising from the Ashes, Urban
Trialogues: Visions, Projects, Co-Productions, UN-
HABITAT (Nairobi), 2004, pp 12351, http://ww2.
asp, accessed 22 March 2010. For the desa-kota
hypothesis see Terry G McGee, The Urbanization Process
in the Third World: Explorations in Search of a Theory,
Bell (London), 1971; also Terry McGee, The Emergence
of Desakota Regions in Asia: expanding a hypothesis,
in Norton Ginsburg, Bruce Koppel and TG McGee (eds),
The Extended Metropolis: Settlement Transition in Asia,
University of Hawaii Press (Honolulu), 1991, pp 326.
Text 2011 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: p 128 David
Grahame Shane; p 129(t) Thomas D McAvoy/Time & Life
Pictures/Getty; p 129(b) Adam Golec/Agencja Gazeta; pp 130,
131t) Urbanus; p 131(b) David Grahame Shane and Uri
Wegman; p 132 Reiser + Umemoto, RUR Architecture, PC;
p 133 Estudio Teddy Cruz; p 134 KU Leuven, Dept ASRO
1. Rosario Giusti de Prez and Ramn A Prez, Analyzing
Urban Poverty: GIS for the Developing World, ESRI Press
(New York), 2008, pp 4-20.
2. Kevin Lynch, Good City Form, MIT Press (Cambridge,
MA and London), 1981, p 73.
3. Patrick Geddes, Cities in Evolution: An Introduction to
the Town Planning Movement and to the Study of Cities,
Williams & Norgate (London), 1915. For the Valley
Section diagram see Volker M Welter, Biopolis: Patrick
Geddes and the City of Life, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA),
2002, pp 606.
4. Ping Chia Kuo, China NewAge and NewOutlook,
Harmondsworth (Middlesex), 1960, pp 203, and Leo A
Orleans, The 1953 Chinese Census in Perspective, J ournal
of Asian Studies , Vol 16, No 4, August 1957, pp 56573.
5. Guido Zucconi, La Citta dellOttocento, Editori Laterza
(Roma-Bari), 2001.
6. Marco de Michelis, Ville Functionelle, Ville
Sovietique: Une impossible rencontre, in JL Cohen, M.
de Michelis and M Tafuri, URSS 19171978: La Ville,
LArchitecture, Ofcina Editizioni (Rome), 1979, pp
93139. See also MHH van Dijk, Planning and politics,
39th IsoCaRP Congress 2003, at
7. Jean Gottmann, Megalopolis: The Urbanized
Northeastern Seaboard of the United States, MIT Press
(Cambridge, MA), 1961.
8. Megacities Institute:
default.asp, accessed 12 March 2010. See also David
Satterthwaite, The Transition to a Predominantly Urban
World and its Underpinnings, International Institute
for Environment and Development (IIED) (London),
2007, and Outside the Large Cities: The Demographic
Importance of Small Urban Centres and Large Villages in
Africa, Asia and Latin America,
pdfs/10537IIED.pdf, accessed 18 September 2010.
9. John F Turner, Housing by the People: Towards
Autonomy in Building Environments, Marion Boyars
(London), 1976. For PREVI see 2 , No 4, Vol 40, April
1963, pp 187205, and follow-up 2 , No 1, Vol 44,
January 1974, p 534.
10. For Chandigarh see Vikramaditya Prakash,
Chandigarhs Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity
in Postcolonial India, University of Washington Press
(Seattle, WA and London), 2002, pp 935 and 1525.
For Milton Keynes see
index.html, accessed 16 September 2010.
11. Charlie QL Xue, Building a Revolution: Chinese
Architecture Since 1980, Hong Kong University Press
(Hong Kong), 2005, pp 756, and Him Chung, The
lAUC is a Paris-based architecture and urbanism
practice led since its creation in 1996 by its three
founding partners: Franois Decoster, Djamel
Klouche and Caroline Poulin. The rm develops
multidisciplinary/multiscale projects and research
related to the metropolis, urban territories, public
space and architecture. In 2008 it was selected among
the 10 international teams to enter the Greater Paris
international R&D consultation launched by the
French government on the post-Kyoto metropolis and
on the future of metropolitan Paris. lAUC is currently
involved in various prospective and operational
projects including: Atelier International du Grand
Paris ongoing research and development workshop
and the Paris La Dfense strategy for an integrated
dynamic and intensication of the northern part of
the existing CBD.
Pier Vittorio Aureli is an architect and educator.
Together with Martino Tattara he is the co-founder
of DOGMA. He teaches at the Berlage Institute
in Rotterdam, and at the Architectural Association
in London. He is the author of TheProject of
Autonomy: Politicsand ArchitectureWithin and
Against Architecture(Princeton Architectural Press,
2008) and ThePossibility of an AbsoluteArchitecture
(forthcoming 2011).
Ben van Berkel and CarolineBosfounded
UNStudio in 1998. Previous to this, in 1988, they
set up the Van Berkel & Bos Architectuurbureau
in Amsterdam. UNStudio presents itself as a
network of specialists in architecture, urban
development and infrastructure. Van Berkel and
Bos have lectured and taught at many architectural
schools around the world. Central to their teaching
is the inclusive approach of architectural works
integrating virtual and material organisation and
engineering constructions.
Peter Carl trained at Princeton, followed by Prix de
Rome, and taught at the University of Kentucky for
two years. He then taught design and the graduate
programme in the History and Philosophy of
Architecture at the University of Cambridge. Since
2009 he has been running the PhD programme at
London Metropolitan University Faculty of
Architecture and Spatial Design. His research interests
gravitate around the manner in which architecture
and urban topography embody cultural possibilities.
Joo Bravo da Costais an architect. He graduated
from UT Lisbon in 1998 and worked at the
Ofce for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA),
where he contributed to numerous architectural
projects, urban plans and exhibition designs. Since
graduating from the Architectural Associations
Design Research Laboratory in 2008, he has been
researching contemporary design, teaching at the
Architectural Association, and directing BCSM
Architecture and Urbanism.
Michael Hensel is an architect, researcher, educator
and writer. He is a founding member of OCEAN
(1994) and served as founding chairman of the
OCEAN Design Research Association (2008). He is
also board member of BIONIS The Biomimetics
Network for Industrial Sustainability, and Professor
for Research by Design at AHO the Oslo School of
Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway. He taught
for 16 years at the Architectural Association School
of Architecture in London, and has held visiting
professorships and taught and lectured in Europe, the
Americas, Asia and Australia. His research interests
and efforts include formulating the theoretical and
methodological framework for performance-oriented
architecture and developing a biological paradigm for
design and sustainability of the built environment.
He has written extensively on this and other topics in
architecture and urban design.
Toyo Itograduated from the University of Tokyo,
Department of Architecture, in 1965. In 1971 he
established his own ofce, Urban Robot (URBOT),
which was renamed Toyo Ito & Associates,
Architects, in 1979. His main works include the
Sendai Mediatheque, TODS Omotesando Building,
Tama Art University Library (Hachioji campus),
and the main stadium for the World Games 2009 in
Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Currently under development
are the Toyo Ito Architecture Museum in Imabari,
the extension for The Fair of Barcelona Gran Via
Venue (Spain), and the Taichung Metropolitan
Opera House, Taiwan. Awards and prizes include the
Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the 8th
International Architecture Exhibition at the 2002
Venice Biennale, and the Royal Gold Medal from the
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2006.
Marina Lathouri directs the MA History and
Critical Thinking programme at the Architectural
Association in London and also teaches at the
University of Cambridge. She has previously taught
theory and design at the University of Pennsylvania
where she also completed her PhD on the multiple
forms of engagement of modern architecture with
the city focusing on the conceptual and design tools
developed in the 1940s and 1950s. She is co-author
of IntimateMetropolis: Urban Subjectsin theModern
City(Routledge, 2008). Her current research
concerns contemporary forms of architectural
research and emerging urban practices.
Kazuyo Sejima and RyueNishizawahave been
working collaboratively under the name SANAA
since 1995 and were awarded the Pritzker Architecture
Prize in 2010. Sejima studied at the Japan Womens
University and worked with Toyo Ito. In 1987 she
opened her own practice. She was also the director of
the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010.
Nishizawa studied at the Yokohama National
University and has maintained an independent
practice in addition to SANAA since 1997.
SerieArchitects, founded in 2007 by Christopher
CM Lee and Kapil Gupta, is based in London,
Mumbai, Beijing and Chengdu. The practices
theoretical interest lies in the relationship between
dominant types and the city. The practice works
typologically thinking and designing in series
and is committed to the projection of the
cumulative intelligence of types into architectural
projects. Serie was named as one of the 10 visionary
architects for the new decade by the Leading
European Architects Forum. It was the BD Young
Architect of the Year runner-up in 2008, and
one of ICONs 20 Essential Young International
Architects. The practices work was exhibited as a
travelling solo exhibition at Hong Kong University
Shanghai Architecture Gallery in 2009, culminating
in a show at the Architectural Association, London,
in November 2010. The practice has completed,
among others, the award-winning Blue Frog and
The Tote. Current projects include Xin Tian Di
Factory H in Hangzhou, China, and the Ruinov
middle income housing and Bohcky residential
development in Bratislava. The design team consists
of Christopher CM Lee, Kapil Gupta, Bolam Lee,
Martin Jameson and Stephie Sun.
David Grahame Shanereceived his Diploma in
Architecture from the Architectural Association
(1969); Master of Architecture in Urban Design
from Cornell University (1971); and PhD in
architectural and urban history from Cornell
University (1978). He has taught at the AA
(19726) and at Columbia since 1986, where
he has been participating in the Urban Design
programme. He also lectures at Cooper Union,
New York. He has been a visiting lecturer at the
Bartlett School of Architecture Graduate Urban
Design Programme since 2000, and participates
in graduate Urban Design Master Classes at the
University of Venice. He has lectured extensively in
Europe, the US and Asia. He has published widely
in architectural journals, and his book Recombinant
Urbanism: Conceptual Modelling in Architecture,
Urban Design and City Theorywas published by
Wiley International in London in 2005.
Martino Tattarais an architect. After graduating
cumlaude, he obtained his Master of Architecture at
the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and completed
his PhD at the Universit Iuav di Venezia with a
dissertation centred on Lucio Costas project for
Brasilia. His current research interests lie in the
history and theory of the project at the large scale.
He currently teaches at the Berlage Institute and
is a visiting lecturer at the Universit di Cagliari.
Together with Pier Vittorio Aureli, he is the co-
founder of DOGMA.
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What is Architectural Design?
Founded in .c, Architectural Design (2 ) is an inuential and
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With an almost unrivalled reputation worldwide, it is consistently at
the forefront of cultural thought and design.
Each title of 2 is edited by an invited guest-editor, who is an
international expert in the eld. Renowned for being at the leading
edge of design and new technologies, 2 also covers themes as diverse
as: architectural history, the environment, interior design, landscape
architecture and urban design.
Provocative and inspirational, 2 inspires theoretical, creative and
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Contributors include:
Peter Carl
Michael Hensel
Marina Lathouri
Martino Tattara
Pier Vittorio Aureli
Featured architects:
Ben van Berkel &
Caroline Bos of UNStudio
Toyo Ito & Associates
Serie Architects
How can architecture today be simultaneously relevant
to its urban context and at the very forefront of design?
For a decade or so, iconic architecture has been fuelled by
the market economy and consumers insatiable appetite
for the novel and the different. The relentless speed and
scale of urbanisation, with its ruptured, decentralised
and fast-changing context, though, demands a rethink of
the role of the designer and the function of architecture.
This title of 2 confronts and questions the professions
and academias current inability to condently and
comprehensively describe, conceptualise, theorise and
ultimately project new ideas for architecture in relation to
the city. I n so doing, it provides a potent alternative for
projective cities: Typological Urbanism. This pursues and
develops the strategies of typological reasoning in order
to re-engage architecture with the city in both a critical
and speculative manner. Architecture and urbanism are
no longer seen as separate domains, or subservient to each
other, but as synthesising disciplines and processes that
allow an integrating and controlling effect on both the
city and its built environment.