UR: Infrastructural Territori

INFRASTRUCTURAL TERRITORIES "Comprehensive missions that would allow studying the provisions of infrastructure as an overall urban or landscape project often runs up against this tradition of expecting ready-made solutions, and remain remarkably rare" -Marcel Smets, The Contemporary Landscape of Europe's Infrastructures "As much as they have been excluded from the development of the city, architects themselves have retreated from questions of function, implementation, technique, finance, and material practice. And while architects are relatively powerless to provoke the changes necessary to generate renewed investment in infrastructure, they can begin to redirect their own imaginative and technical efforts toward the questions of infrastructure" The notion of territory is increasingly difficult to define in the contemporary metropolis, largely due to globalized networks of logistics that move people, matter and economics in complex ways that are continually being renegotiated. Simultaneously, the notion of disciplinary territory within architecture is also increasingly difficult to identify as the field's expansion now often includes urbanism, landscape, and infrastructural design. This expansion of disciplinary territory reflects the need for a larger skillset for the contemporary architect if they are to address the design of the metropolis - an organization that collectively implicates urbanism, landscape and architecture. Ironically lurking in the background, infrastructure - which mediates between landscape and urbanism - has been playing a primary role in the organization of global fields of urbanization. This seminar examines the role, types, organization, and formats of infrastructure through a series of readings and design projects to formulate a new understanding of holistic design. As such, this seminar is situated in response to the design of architecture and infrastructure as solely a self-reflexive, distinct, isolated and formal preoccupation that acts on a singular site. Instead, it explores new opportunities of feedback between divergent systems and scales to project a new organization for the thing we once called 'the city'. Specifically we will look at organizational templates such as fields and networks; thematic of logistics and resource extraction, types such as soft and hard; and formats such as containers, conduits and surfaces. Instead of segregation, this seminar posits that infrastructural integration can create a richer notion of spatial and disciplinary territory.