This page will house information about taught modules or design units developed within the scope of geo-architecture. These are being developed within the larger framework of what David Gissen called architecture’s ‘geographic turn’ (2008, p. 59).[i] A number of architects are today turning to geographic fields, concepts and techniques as ways of repositioning architecture, overcoming the traditional antinomy between architecture and its environment and finding and founding new theoretical or design projects. Much of this work makes performative use of geographic research methods, fieldwork, data and cartographic techniques. This includes a wide range of work, from MVRVD’s Matacity / Datatown, to OMA’s AMO Atlas to Infranet Lab / Lateral Office’s Next North Project or David Garcia Studio’s research platform MAP. While some have suggested that this location of architecture between empirical (though rarely positivist) research and practice amounts to a post-theoretical moment, it should rather be seen as a veering away from architecture’s traditional theoretical underpinnings in history and form, towards those of geography’s concerns with matter, energy and data. Architecture is made up of material ‘stuff’ and its interactions with other material ‘stuff.’ Analysing and visualising the networks and feedback loops of these interactions becomes a way of finding and founding new theoretical and design based projects. This is producing new conversations and models for practice between architecture, landscape architecture, geography, scientific data and politics. Making use of new cartographic and data visualisation techniques, casting architecture as part of wider territorial processes, emphasising a research-based role for architectural theory, are all ways in which architecture is attempting to foster an ‘earthern political subjectivity’ (Gissen 2008, p.67) positioned within complex new realities and aimed at not only critique, but at producing new forms of material life.
This work sees architecture, urbanism and geology as deeply interconnected. In creating conditions of habitability, our species has interfered with earth materials to such an extent that new geological conditions have emerged, many of which will play out for thousands, if not millions of years. We have transformed the earth’s geomorphology, its surface, its atmosphere and its climate so radically that some are calling what we have done a new geological era, the Anthropocene. Buildings are hotspots in this transformation. They are agents of geological time and space, mobilising a vast array of earth materials and energies into dynamic socio-geological hybrids. It is with these processes that the taught modules and design studios featured on this blog engage.
[i] Gissen, D. (2008), ‘Architecture’s Geographic Turns’, Log no. 12, pp. 59-67.