Title: Imaginaries of Transparency. Metahaven interviewed by Francisco Díaz
Author: Metahaven Design studio founded by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden in 2007. Vinca Kruk studied at the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam (2003), and Daniel van der Velden holds A BA in graphic design from the Willem de Kooning Academie (1996), and a MFA in design from the Jan van Eyck Academie (1998).
Abstract: Although transparency appears to be the starting point for every public discussion nowadays, it seems we have not realized the fact that when everything is transparent there’s actually nothing to see. Skeptical about these processes – and of how they have been unfolded by new technologies and social media – Metahaven has developed the idea of ‘black transparency,’ which deeply reflects on these imaginaries and its ultimate implications both at the political and geopolitical level.
Keywords: book; design; activism; hackers; WikiLeaks
Title: No Man’s Land
Author: José Tomás Pérez. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2016. Undergraduate studies at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), 2014. Oslo, Norway.
Abstract: Given the longstanding border disputes between Chile and Peru – enhanced by the 2014 International Court of Justice verdict that left a triangular area in a strange legal ambiguity – this project imagines an architectural solution to a geopolitical conflict: subtracting the disputed territory in order to duplicate the coastline for both countries. Thus, the only possible confrontation would be that of two beaches overlooking one country from another.
Keywords: border; beach; subtraction; conflict; geopolitics.
Title: Imaginaries of Violence. Léopold Lambert interviewed by Francisco Diaz
Author: Léopold Lambert. Architect. Founder and editor-in-chief of The Funambulist, a bimestrial printed and digital magazine associated to a podcast and a blog, which examines the political relationship between the built environment and bodies.
Abstract: If, consciously or not, imaginaries operate as engines for concrete actions (projects, laws, regulations, behaviors, etc.), it is necessary then to question both their origins and implications. From a very particular position, Léopold Lambert has focused his work on demonstrating that, if there’s a certain degree of violence inflected by architecture upon bodies, then it would be necessary to question its conceptual assumptions and understand it, without idealizations, in its political and material aspects.
Keywords: The Funambulist; Weaponized Architecture; power; politics; bodies.
Title: NASA’S Imaginary in Chile: Between Design and Invisible Networks
Authors: Pedro Ignacio Alonso. Architect. Professor at Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. PhD Architectural Association School of Architecture, 2008, London, England. / Hugo Palmarola. Designer. Professor at Escuela de Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. MA in Theory and History of Design, UNAM, 2010, Mexico.
Abstract: Abandoned today in a satellite tracking station located 41 km north of Santiago, the handmade ceramic mosaic showing the NASA insignia – an image that sought to represent the most advanced technology on the planet – is the departing point for this research where graphic symbols are related not only to geopolitical issues, but also to scientific, technological and military imaginaries along the Cold War.
Keywords: design; insignia; satellites; Cold War; Chile.
Title: Archipelago Marghera. W.A.Ve.2016, Venice, Italy
Authors: Alejandro Beals. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2001. MPhil in Architecture from the Royal College of Art, 2013. London, England. / Loreto Lyon. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2005. MSc in Environmental Design and Engineering from the Bartlett, University College London (ucl), 2011. London, England.
Abstract: Understood as a set of images – either real or conceptual – an imaginary can serve as a starting point for a project. This is the approach proposed by Beals Lyon for the workshop W.A.Ve 2016, organized by the IUAV, where the archipelago’s imaginary next to the sfumato become the basis for rethinking, through the project, the relationship between the island of Venice and the port of Marghera.
Keywords: imaginary; in-between space; workshop; project; Venice.
Title: Singularizing Lifestyles: Fabricating Imaginaries in Santiago’s Gated Communities
Author: Felipe Encinas. Architect. Professor at Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. / Martín Tironi. Sociologist. Professor at Escuela de Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: While the real estate market engenders its own imaginaries, it is also influenced by the ones coming from the outside; for example, images of ideal potential consumers that prompt changes in supply. This research delves into real estate executives’ imaginaries to illustrate how they transform housing supply and, what is more, how they manage to adapt the offer when these imaginaries do not match the expected target.
Keywords: housing; client; real estate; urbanization; Klotz.
Title: OE House. A techno-peasant odyssey in three acts, Tarragona, Spain
Author: Cristina Goberna. Architect, University of Seville, Spain. Ms in Advanced Architectural Design and Advanced Architectural research Certificate,GSAPP, Columbia University, NY, USA. / Urtzi Grau. Architect, School of Architceture of Barcelona, Spain, 2000. Ms in Advanced Architectural Design, GSAPP, Columbia University, NY, USA, 2004. PhD candidate at Princeton University School of Architecture, NJ, USA. / David Tapias. Architect, ETSAB, Barcelona, Spain, 1999. PhD, ETSAB, 2013, Barcelona, Spain.
Abstract: This house comes from a cross between several imaginaries: the traditional house and the modern house; local technique and industrial technology; the winter house and the summer house; Le Corbusier’s Maison Jaoul and Craig Ellwood’s Stahl House; everyday life in the countryside and global media exposure. Starting from these crossings, the project consistently negotiates these imaginaries giving birth to a completely unprecedented result.
Keywords: copy; tradition; open systems; crisis; Spain
Title: Antivilla. Berlin, Germany
Author: Arno Brandhulber. Architect and Urban Planner. Chair holder of architecture and urban research at the Academy of Fine Arts Nurnberg, Germany. / Markus Emde. Architect BU Wuppertal, Germany. / Thomas Burlon. Architect. TU Dresden adn RWTH Aachen, Germany.
Abstract: Transforming an old factory into a house, and thus the problem of how to heat such large spaces, is the origin of the ‘antivilla’: a project that, by reorganizing housing logic and functions according to thermic requirements and its usage throughout the seasons, subverts any traditional imaginary on how a house ought to be.
Keywords: house; factory; reconstruction; energy; Berlin.
Title: House in Morrillos. Morrillos, Chile.
Author: Cristián Izquierdo. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2009. MSc Advanced Architectural Design, Columbia University, 2014, NY, USA.
Abstract:This project offers its dwellers (one to three couples simultaneously) an unusual dilemma in a beach house: in order to enjoy the view, it becomes necessary to be isolated from the house, and in order to enjoy the house, it becomes necessary to be isolated from the view. Thus, the decoupling of view and pleasure alters the imaginary of a retreat while offering a new approach to the relationship between the object and its surroundings.
Keywords: vacation house; motel; cabin; doors; wood.
Title: Lautaro House. Linares, Chile.
Author: Felipe Alarcón. Architect. Master in Architecture, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: The imaginary behind the house with pitched roof, fence and front yard – current in Chilean intermediate cities – is completely disrupted through this remodeling. By transforming the original tiles (rain protection) into the masonry of the wall that replaces the gate (privacy protection), the project suggests a new domestic imaginary: an open, bright interior along a blind enclosing wall facing the neighbors and the street.
Keywords: remodeling; domestic space; intermediate cities; Linares; Chile.
Title: Unfolding Pavilion: Curated Archives. Casa alle Zattere, 26-31 May 2016, Venice, Italy.
Author: Davide Tommaso Ferrando. Architect. PhD in Architecture and Building design Politecnico di Torino, 2012, Torino, Italy. / Daniel Tudor Munteanu. Architect. Master in Architecture, Technical University Iasi, 2005, Iasi, Romania.
Abstract: How to get a place to stage an exhibition when the Venice Biennale is opening and prices are virtually unachievable? In this project, a small apartment leased by Airbnb is transformed into a gallery during the day to become at dusk a place to spend the night. Thus, not only the logic of ‘sharing economy’ is hacked, but it also opens new imaginaries on the possibilities of domestic space.
Keywords: exhibition; temporary; hacking; Airbnb; Venice.
Title: The Conquest of Nature: Alonso de Ovalle’s Architectural Imaginary in the Seventeenth Century
Author: Amarí Peliowski. Architect. Master in Theory and History of Art, Ecole de Haute Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 2008, France. Doctor in Theory and History of Art, EHESS, 2015, France.
Abstract: As other national imaginaries, the idea of Chile as a place with a wild and hostile nature has been constructed since the first records describing the country. This text argues that the engravings made by Alonso de Ovalle in the seventeenth century depict architecture not only as an image of man conquering nature, but also as one of the first modern imaginaries inside a territory in the process of being conquered.
Keywords: representation; engraving; landscape; buildings; modernity.
Title: Images in Ink, Architecture in Ideas: 1960s Imprint Modernity from the Pages of El Sur
Author: Patricia Méndez. Architect. UBA, 1988, Argentina. Master in Cultural Management, Universidad de Barcelona, 2010, Barcelona, Spain. Doctor of Social Sciences, FLACSO, 2012, Argentina. / Javier Ramírez Hinrichsen. Art historian. Bachelor in History, PUCV, 2003, Valparaíso, Chile. Master of Arts mention Heritage, Universidad de Playa Ancha, 2008, Chile.
Abstract: The finding of the section “Arquitectura y Reconstrucción” of Concepción’s newspaper El Sur during the 60s, confirms that given their scale and scope, mass media are the main imaginaries producers. Departing from this idea, this research examines how the chronicles presented in those pages generated not only the materialization of the city’s modern architecture, but also the idea of progress related to it.
Keywords: mass media; reconstruction; image; modern city; Concepción.
Title: Entomimetics:Transferences from Insect’s Morphology and Behavior to Design
Author: Alejandro Soffia. Architect. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2004. Master in Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2011, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: Beyond their formal characteristics, insects possess physical properties that have allowed them to adapt and survive in hostile environments. Entomimetic seeks to transfer these properties to design, allowing architecture to learn from those living beings that have faced the environment with their own skins and structures. In other words, those living beings carrying their own architectures.
Keywords: biomimetics; optimization; reproducibility; sustainability; architecture.
Title: Two Pavilions
Author: Guillermo Hevia. Architect. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2011, Santiago, Chile. / Nicolás Urzúa. Architect. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2011, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: A collection of images is the starting point of two projects that, while similar in their formal resolution and conceptual origin, differ in their location and materials, revealing that form can be conditioned by other variables, producing completely different imaginaries from a shared origin.
Keywords: collection; images; curves; pavilions; open systems.
Title: Wicker temporary city. Chimbarongo, Chile
Author: Domingo Arancibia Architect, Universidad de Chile, 2013, Santiago, Chile. / Pablo Casals. Architect. Universidad Andrés Bello, 2007, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: We can understand imaginaries as long historical accumulation processes that are sedimented over time, shaping the image of a place. But sometimes progress breaks that bond between history and image, leaving imaginaries without actual support. This project not only rescues an imaginary about to disappear, but also renews it – so that its potential future is not hindered by nostalgia.
Keywords: heritage; image; land; crops; production systems.
Title: The Right to Connection: Imaginaries, Struggles, Rights and Institutions
Author: Nicolás Valenzuela-Levi. Master in Urban Development, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2012. MPhil in Development Studies, University of Cambridge, 2016, Cambridge, England.
Abstract: If in order to claim a right it is necessary first to imagine its possibility, then the construction of new imaginaries could have political effects. For this to be feasible, however, such an imaginary must develop from existing conditions. Based on this premise, this paper discusses the possibility of understanding connectivity as a right, based on specific cases arisen in Latin America in recent years.
Keywords: city; public transport; mobility; equality; Latin America.
Title: The imaginary of urgency: is it the urgent so urgent?
Author: Felipe Vera. Architect. Universidad de Chile, 2006, Santiago, Chile. MDeS in Urbanism, Landscape & Ecology from Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2013, Cambridge, USA. / Gonzalo Carrasco Purull. Architect. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2001, Santiago Chile. Doctorate in Architecture and Urban Studies UC, 2015, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: The imaginary of urgency has taken over architectural discourse at a speed consistent with the promptness of the answers it supposes. The very nature of the concept, still, has made it impossible to analyze more closely. That is why in this issue of ARQ we take the time for asking: is the urgent so urgent? Are we facing a new social consciousness or is it just a rhetorical change? Does it reflect an actual need or is it simply a new imaginary?.
Keywords: contemporary architecture; society; architect; power; influence.
One of the most accurate explanations for the present-day global political crisis is the emergence of ‘single-issue voters’, that is, citizens who are passionately mobilized by a very narrow agenda of interests, abandoning the possibility that a ‘grand narrative’ could meet multiple specific and divergent demands (Luna, 2016*).Thus, any decision will have a small group of supporters and many detractors, and both will alternate according the subject until no one in favor of anything is left.
If we bring this notion to contemporary architecture, we can observe a similar process: an endless number of individual agendas makes it very difficult to draw a synthetic map of the current scenario. Perhaps that is why part of the discipline, maybe tired of the difficulty of reading the circuit as something coherent, is looking at a past that seemed simpler to understand with a sense of nostalgia.
A subject such as ‘imaginaries’ is exposed to the same difficulties: the impossibility of a single definition makes it hard to synthesize in editorial terms. On the contrary, it needs to be thoroughly analyzed, even in its own contradictions, in order to grasp what it is about and not be entangled by its seductive rhetoric.
Imaginaries, on the one hand, are not coherent and do not have to be. If in architecture we understand them as a kind of boiteen-valise that each one brings (and which is taken as if it were a toolbox), its contents are inherently heterogeneous. Memories, interests, books, photographs or any other stimuli that each one bears are different, and therefore, coherence is impossible (unless, of course, we all had an identical biography). That is, from an individual perspective, there will be as many imaginaries as architects.
On the other hand, if we understand imaginaries as have been described by cultural studies, that is, as standardizing devices defining the range of possibilities, the task of an architectural magazine is threefold. First, ‘to review’ already existent or functioning imaginaries; secondly, to discover what new imaginaries may challenge existing ones; and third, to analyze how those imaginaries that we had not even perceived as such operate. In this issue of arq, the heterogeneous and incoherent nature of imaginaries is shown to its full extent.
The house by Fake Industries Architectural Agonism and Aixopluc, Beals Lyon’s pedagogical proposal, the projects by Hevia and Urzúa, the house by Alarcón or Soffia’s research explore the idea of the imaginary as a set of references. The revision of existing imaginaries and their impact on understanding the city, the territory or even the market is developed in the texts by Encinas and Tironi, Méndez and Ramírez, and in the one by Peliowski. The establishment of new imaginaries, on the other hand, is approached by Valenzuela’s text as well as in the proposals by Ferrando and Tudor, Brandlhuber+ Emde & Burlon, Izquierdo, Pérez and the one by Arancibia and Casals. Finally, the discovery of those imaginaries that go unnoticed is analysed in the interviews to Metahaven and Lambert, as in the text by Alonso and Palmarola. This scope, however, does not answer the question of why do we speak of imaginaries in an architectural magazine, or what is at stake with such a subject from our discipline’s point of view. In order to do so, it may be good to revisit the two perspectives from which the subject develops.
The notion of imaginary as a boite-en-valise argues that design process always requires a starting point and that the collection of images inside the architect’s head could perfectly be that projective trigger. The other, understanding imaginary as those representations that tend to define (and therefore limit) what is considered as ‘the real’ in a particular society, assumes that such representations are human constructs and, therefore, can be discovered, criticized, produced or reinvented.
Despite their different origins, both concepts incidentally meet today in schools of architecture. One comes from the realm of design – validating the possibility of an arbitrary basis for design processes – and the other from the intellectual sphere – with the inclusion of architecture as subject of analysis for cultural studies. Hence, when speaking of imaginaries, it is important to clarify their origin and scope, otherwise we would make the mistake of believing that we mean the same while in fact talking about different things. Therefore, when the notion of imaginary runs the risk of becoming the wild card that justifies any irrational preference is when we must double the effort to analyze the intellectual trajectories of the concept.
This year 2016 we have witnessed how, globally, populism has regained a political power we thought we were past, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the liberal democracy imaginary that we thought stable. We don’t need to be very perceptive to observe that populism is based on demagogy, that the latter – enemy of both science and anything other than ‘simple’ – feeds on irrationality, and that both look with suspicion at the academic sphere deeming it ‘too complex’ (in fact, there already exist those who use the adjective ‘intellectual’ in a derogatory tone). Faced with this threat, and instead of making the mistake of avoiding complexity by simplifying the concept of imaginary, we believe that it is necessary to decompose it to understand its itineraries and possibilities, giving room to the seriously produced knowledge on its different branches and enabling a well-argued debate about it. If we don’t do it, we will be giving up our responsibility to knowledge and yielding a space that is likely to be captured by irrationality. The care of that space is not only the mission of an academic institution, but also the editorial imaginary that moves us as a magazine.
Printed in Diciembre 2016
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile School of Architecture
Text: Spanish / English
English abstracts available for all articles