English versions of the following articles are available online

Title: Media, distance and framing in the definition of landscape
Author: Lofscapes. lofscapes is a space for critical discussion on the transformation of Chilean landscape. Our goal is to disseminate that landscape is the result of a combination between nature and human settlements: landscape is an idea, landscape is constructed, landscape is represented, landscape is transformed. The group was formed in March 2015 by Verónica Aguirre, Bachelor of Visual Arts with a degree in engraving and photography at the Universidad Finis Terrae (uft), 2009; Postgraduate in Visual Arts Photography uft, 2010; Master in Landscape Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (uc), 2014; Dominique Bruneau, Architect and Master in Landscape Architecture uc, 2014; Romy Hecht, Architect and Master in Architecture uc, 1998; Ph.D. in History and Theory of Architecture, Princeton University, 2009; Camila Medina, Architect and Master in Landscape Architecture uc, 2014; Camila Romero, Architect and Master in Landscape Architecture uc, 2015; and Francisca Salas, Architect and Master in Landscape Architecture uc, 2014.
Abstract: How to represent landscape? What are the instruments that allow capturing its ephemeral condition? Understanding cartography as a tool that serves as temporary media for landscape, and supported by drones to record the changes the eye finds difficult to grasp, Lofscapes develops instruments of representation that not only capture what already exists but also allow for speculation on the possibilities that emerge only when using these tools.
Keywords: representation; cartography; infographic; dronescapes; tools.
[read more…]

Title: Architecture as a political instrument: Andrés Jaque and Enrique Walker in conversation
Author: Andrés Jaque. Architect and Doctor ETSAM, Madrid. Founder of the Office for Political Innovation, an international architectural practice. They have been awarded with the Silver Lyon to the Best Research Project at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale (2014), the MoMA PS1 (2014), and the Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts (2016). His projects and articles have been published in the most important media, including a+u, Bauwelt, Domus, El Croquis, The Architectural Review, Volume, arq or The New York Times, and exhibited among others at the Museum of Modern Art MoMA, London Design Museum, the Venice Biennale (2014), the Chicago Architecture Biennale (2015), the Oslo Architecture Triennale (2016), or the Istanbul Biennial (2016). Jaque is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the GSAPP, Columbia University in New York, and Visiting Lecturer at Princeton SOA. / Enrique Walker Architect, Universidad de Chile, Chile, 1991. ma in History and Theory, Architectural Association, London, uk, 1995. PhD, Architectural Association, London, uk, 2012. His publications include the books 12 Entrevistas con arquitectos (arq, 1998), Tschumi on Architecture: Conversations with Enrique Walker (Monacelli, 2006), and Lo Ordinario (Gustavo Gili, 2010). He has also published articles and interviews in AA Files, Log, El Croquis, 2G, Grey Room, Volume, Hunch, and Circo. He has taught at the Princeton University School of Architecture, the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, the Barcelona Institute of Architecture, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Pratt Institute, and the Universidad de Chile. He is currently Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP, where he also directs the Master of Science program in Advanced Architectural Design.
Abstract: The relationship between architecture and politics has been a long-lasting subject that has resurfaced strongly after the 2008 crisis. However, little has been said regarding the actual instruments that architecture has to take part in this discussion. Based on the cosmo project, Andrés Jaque and Enrique Walker analyze the ways in which architecture can be an instrument to impact a political scene as fuzzy as the present one.
Keywords: inequality; water; strategies; design; aesthetics.
[read more…]

Title: Sandboxing. A game of resource negotiation
Author: DSGN AGNC. Is a collaborative design/research studio based in Brooklyn, New York, exploring political engagement through architecture, urbanism and art. Its founder and principal, Quilian Riano, is Master in Architceture, Harvard Graduate School of Design. Has been the recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise as well as awards and residencies from Harvard University, the Boston Society of Architects and Queens Museum. DSGN AGNC´s work has been featured at the Venice Biennale, Harvard University, The World Urban Forum, Cornell University, New york’s Center for Architecture, The Van Alen Institute, Parsons The New School for Design, The Queens Museum, The Boston Scoiety of architects, among others.
Abstract:The question of how to make architecture an instrument of awareness has been wondering around the discipline for decades. This project, a temporary pavilion in the city of Dallas, presents a new answer to this question. Through an architectural game, in which participants must negotiate within a finite space and limited resources, architecture becomes an instrument to raise awareness about planetary resources scarcity.
Keywords: architecture; game; water; sand; negotiation.
[read more…]

Title: Missiles and timers: architecture’s instrumentality after management tools
Author: Gonzalo Carrasco Purull. Architect. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2001. Doctorate in Architecture and Urban Studies UC, 2015. Lecturer, Universidad Finis Terrae. Has Taught semniars on theory, history and criticism in various architecture schools. Together with the architcet Pedro Livni, he runs the website, with whom he has also participated as curator of the Uruguayan Pavilion for the 13th Venice Biennial 2012.
Abstract: It is a well-known argument that many of the technological innovations that we use daily have been invented for war. However, we know less about the impact of those developments on architecture. With Cold War as backdrop, this research shows how management tools developed during the postwar period had an impact on architecture’s work processes, making its fluent insertion among the logics of capitalism possible.
Keywords: Cold War; Vietnam; cpm; pert; som.
[read more…]

Title: Digital tools for the city of the future
Author: Carlo Ratti. Architect by the Ecole Nationale des Pontes et Chaussees, Paris, France and by the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. MPhil and PhD, university of Cambridge, UK. Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Thecnology (MIT) in Boston, USA, where he also directs the MIT senseable City Lab. Named one of the ”50 most inluential designers in America” by Fast Company, and included by Wired magazine in its ”Smart List”: 50 people who will change the world”.
Abstract: If design is both a mechanism and a methodology to anticipate the future, then it can be understood as a predictive instrument. Each time we design something we are showing a way in which the future could unfold. For more than a decade, the mit Senseable City Lab has been crafting the future, using design and technology as instruments to shape cities.
Keywords: design; futurecraft; university; laboratory; sharing economy.
[read more…]

Title: Neo-Naturalism
Author: Zeynep Çelik Alexander. Architectural historian who teaches at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Kinaesthetic Knowing: Aesthetics, Epistemology, Modern Design (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2017).
Abstract: What are the instruments we use to teach architecture? How do they affect the way we train our discipline? And how are they influenced by fashionable epistemological claims? Based on these questions, this text not only unpacks the logics behind neo-naturalism and its deployment in architecture schools but also warns us about its inherent dangers, mainly in how such instruments shape the way we think.
Keywords: knowledge; architecture schools; instruments; teaching; North America.
[read more…]

Title: Building for the School of Architecture
Author: Gonzalo Claro. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2004. Master in Architectural Theory and History, Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, 2010. In 2001 established his architectural practice based in Santiago de Chile. Has developed projects involving different programs and scales, from furniture and objects to public buildings design. In 2015 is awarded first prize in the competition for the recently inaugurated Architecture School UC Building at Lo Contador campus. He is currently associate professor at the School of Architecture UC, combining studio teaching tasks with an independent professional practice.
Abstract: There are programs that, due to their own nature, push buildings forward. A school of architecture, for instance, should not only fulfill its function but also embody the ideas discussed within, allow for new possibilities and serve as a model. In other words, it should transform itself into a demonstrative pedagogical instrument. This structure makes the possibilities of building in wood clear, showing, with didactic clarity, the way in which it resists the vertical, horizontal and symbolic loads of an architecture school.
Keywords: building; school; wood; university; Santiago.
[read more…]

Title: Gdansk Shakespearean Theater
Author: Renato Rizzi. Architectural degree, iuav, Venice, 1977. From 1984 to 1992 he worked with Peter Eisenman at the Romeo and Juliet project, Verona (1986 Stone Lion Award at the iii Biennale of Architecture in Venice), Parc de la Villette, Paris (1986), xvii Triennale di Milano (1986), Rovereto City of Immanence (1987), and Monte Paschi, Siena (1988). Has held the any magazine’s international seminars in Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Seoul, among others. In 1992 he returns to Italy to become Associate Professor at iuav University of Venice. Rizzi has been invited as lecturer at Harvard University, King’s College, Cairo University, among others. His Shakespearean Theatre at Gdansk has been awarded the sarp Award of the National Association of Architects of Poland (2015) the Polityka’s Architectural Award paa (2015) and the Gold Medal for Italian Architecture (special mention, 2015).
Abstract: If an instrument is a means for making something possible, any building could become one. Given its careful versatility, however, this building pushes such condition to its limits, combining the simplicity of the Elizabethan theater (mounted on an open-air patio surrounded by grandstands), the comfort and mutability of contemporary theater, a panoramic view of the city and the understanding of the place’s own history as well as Poland’s political positioning in the European sphere.
Keywords: pre-existence; stage; roof; mechanism; Poland.
[read more…]

Title: 160 East 22 nd Street
Author: S9 Architecture is a New York based team of 70 designers whose works are concerned not so much in building Manhattan´s skyline as adressing the impacts of new spatial needs from a pedestrian point of view; they include residential, mixed and adaptive reuse projects. Among them are 205 Water Street in Brooklyn (2012) and Ponce city Market in Atlanta (2015), together with the New York Wheel, Empire Stores and 606 Broadway, currently under construction in New York City.
Abstract: Normative urban instruments – such as setbacks, heights, etc. – define the maximum volume to be built on urban plots so as to ensure common good. With the chance of selling air rights, however, the incentive to trade the idle shares of a building’s volume becomes a way of subverting the law without affecting public space. This example shows how the combination of regulatory instruments and the compromise between private parties can completely define the form of a building.
Keywords: building; air rights; setbacks; regulation; New York.
[read more…]

Title: Typology as instrument: from the grand hotel to a motel in Antumalal
Author: Macarena Cortés Darrigrande. Architect UCEN, 1996. Master in Architecture 2002 and Doctor in Architecture and Urban Studies; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2010. Postgraduate in Cultural Landscapes, Patrimony and Project, UPC Barcelona, 2005. She has participated and led research projects on Chilean architecture in the 20th century. Her research has been published in magazines and books, among others Turismo y Arquitectura Moderna en Chile (Ediciones ARQ). / Pablo Saric Huidobro. Architect UCEN, 1997. Msc in Advanced Architectural Design, Columbia University, 1999. Master en arquitectura, Crítica y Proyecto, Universidad politécnica de Cataluña, Spain, 2000. Has obtained the Obra Mínima Award in 2012 fo the remodeling of the Fanjzylber Hall at the United Nations Building in Santiago. Has directed the International Meeting of the Bienal de Chile in 2008 and 2012. / Anita Puig Gómez. Architect, Universidad Mayor, 2004. Master in Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2011. Doctorate student at Doctorado en Arquitectura y Estudios Urbanos UC. She has contributed to several researches on architecture journals. Her current studies are linked to gender and housing.
Abstract: The presence of natural landscape is so powerful in Chile that to situate it as a determining factor of non-urban architectures has become the hegemonic interpretation. However, such an idea ignores the role played by architectural instruments – for example, typology. This text offers a new reading of an emblematic case, stating its shape is not determined by landscape but rather by disciplinary instruments.
Keywords: Ferrocarril; automóvil; discurso; arquitectura moderna; Chile.
[read more…]

Title: Santiago de Chile circa 1850. The urban floor plan as an instrument revealing the city’s general form
Author: Germán Hidalgo. Architect. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1991. Doctor in Theory and History of Architecture, ETSAB, UPC, 2000. has published in planning perspectives (UK), ARQ and 180 (Chile) journals, as book chapters in Massilia 2007, SCL2110, and +Arquitectos. Author of the books Vistas Panorámicas de Santiago 1790-1910: su desarrollo urbano bajo la mirada de dibujantes, pintores y fotógrafos (2010) and Sobre el croquis (2015). Associate professor at the School of architecture UC. PI of the FONDECYT project N°1150308 (2015-2018) and co-investigator in projects funded by FONDECYT, FONDART, and the VRI. / José Rosas. Architect, 1976, Master in Urban & Regional Planning IEU, 1984, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Doctor in Architecture, ETSAB, UPC, Spain, 1986. Has published articles in ARQ and 180 (Chile), and book chapters for Sudamérica Moderna, Concurso Palacio Pereira, Ciudad y Vivienda en América Latina 1930-1960 (with Fernando Pérez). Together with Josep Parcerisa, is autor of the book El canon republicano y la distancia cinco mil (2015) and editor with Margarita Greene and Luis Valenzuela, of Santiago proyecto urbano (2011). Is tenured professor and Director of the Doctorate Program in Architecture and Urban Studies UC. He is PI of the FONDECYT Project n°1141084 (2014-2017), and researcher of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development CEDEUS UC. / Wren Strabucchi. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1991. Doctor of philosophy and History of Architecture, Cambridge University, England 2001. He has published essays and articles for the magazines ARS, CA and ARQ. He has been editor of the book 1894-1994 Cien Años de Arquitectura en la Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago, 1994) and autor, along with Sandra Iturriaga, of Lo Contador. Casas, jardines y campus (Santiago, 2012). Professor at the School of Architecture UC Chile. PI at VRI-UC projects, and co-investigator in FONDECYT projects, related to the history of Santiago.
Abstract: The presence of natural landscape is so powerful in Chile that to situate it as a determining factor of non-urban architectures has become the hegemonic interpretation. However, such an idea ignores the role played by architectural instruments – for example, typology. This text offers a new reading of an emblematic case, stating its shape is not determined by landscape but rather by disciplinary instruments.
Keywords: representation; drawing; city; hypothesis; history.
[read more…]

Title: Traffic Architectures: chaining architectural tools in transport infrastructures planning
Author: Filipe Temtem. Architect, School of Architecture, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa; Master in Theory and Practice of Architectural Design, ETSAB UPC. Doctoral candidate, Doctorado en Arquitectura y Estudios Urbanos UC. Member of the OASRS and co-founder of FTTA Architecture & Design studio, has served as director of the design department at the housing cooperative A Nossa Casa. Collaborated at the International Research Group of Architecture & Society at ETSAB and has been academic visitor at Urban Research and Design Laboratory at the Technische Universität Berlin. Presently serves as a professor at the Urban Design Masters program UC, integrates the City & Mobility Laboratory UC and the Elemental UC Chair, co-directed by Fernando Pérez Oyarzun and Alejandro Aravena. / Paola Alfaro d’Alençon. Architect, Architektenkammer, Berlin. Dipl.-Ing. Technische Universität Berlin, 2000. Dr.-Ing. in Urban Studies, Technische Universität Berlin, 2011. Doctor in Architecture and Urban Studies, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2013. Funding Member of the Urban Research and Design Laboratory U-Lab / URD-Studio Berlin, awarded with the Label Nationale Stadtentwicklung. Author of Ephemere Stadtentwicklung (Berlin, 2016) and co-editor of UCL Urban Pamphleteer (London, 2015). Has presented the results of her international research and design work on housing for the UrbanLab+ Network at the Venice Biennale 2016. Researcher and lecturer at the Technische Universität Berlin since 2010, Visiting Professor at the Dipartimento di Scienze per l’Architettura, Università degli Studi di Genova since 2015, and Associated Researcher at CEDEUS UC since 2016.
Abstract: Following present-day concern for interdiscipline, and based on a sum of historical and contemporary examples, the text argues that architecture can offer valuable tools to the design of engineering infrastructures, especially in road design cases.
Keywords: design; roads; engineering; instruments; interdiscipline.
[read more…]

Title: Circulate! Architecture’s language in circulation and as an instrument for circulation
Author: Ignacio G. Galán. Architect, ETSA MAdrid – TU Delft. MArch II, Harvard GSD. PhD Candidate, Princeton University. He is Term Assistant Professor, BArnard+Columbia Colleges. He has previously taught seminars and studios at Columbia University GSAPP and PennDesign. His award winning designs include the New Velodrome in Medellín, which is part of the permanent collection of the Pompidou Center. His Research led to publications and exhibitions such as Cinecittá Ocuppata for the 2014 Venice Biennale by invitation of Rem Koolhaas. He was chief curator of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale with the After Belonging Agency and participated in the project Radical Pedagogies, co-curating its exhibition at the 2013 Lisbon Triennale an the 2014 Venice Biennale, where it recieved the Special Mention of the jury.
Abstract: Although architecture seems to have a minor role in the definition of urban infrastructures, softening its roughness and aiding its functionality, the following contribution argues it can do more than that. The project for the Milano subway by Albini and Helg shows that architecture and design can also ground the role of infastructures as instruments of cultural coordination and social articulation in the post-Fordist city.
Keywords: subway; infrastructure; Albini; Tafuri; Milano.
[read more…]

Title: Legal instruments for architecture
Author: Pilar Urrejola D. Architect, Universidad de Chile, 1979. Doctoral candidate, Doctorado en Arquitectura y Estudios Urbanos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She has been President of the XI Chilean Biennial of Architecture in 1997 and Events Coordinator at the Facultad de Arquitectura y Bellas Artes UC until 2000. She was President of the Colegio de Arquitectos de Chile (2015-2017). She is currently Associate Professor at the School of Architecture. / Mario Marchant L. Architect, Universidad de Chile, 2002. MSc in Advanced Architectural Design, Columbia University, 2005. He has published articles in 180, CA, SPAM_Arq, Summa+ and Volume. Recently he published ”Santiago, Oblique Utopías” in Chile Architectural Guide (DOM, 2016) and co-edited Aciclopedia, Compendium on Form Beyond Canon (U. de Chile, 2016) with Cristián Gómez-Moya, Diego Gómez y Daniel Opazo. He is Assistant professor at Universidad de Chile as well as director and editor of Materia Arquitectura journal at Universidad San Sebastián.
Abstract: Currently in Chile, the project for a Law on Promotion of Architecture is being incubated – which hopefully should reach the legislative debate in the near future. In light of such novel legal instrument, in ARQ we ask, what is this instrument for? Is architecture fostered as a creative industry or as a cultural manifestation? This is our way to participate in this discussion about a public policy that directly affects our discipline.
Keywords: culture; creative industries; services; internationalization; Chile.
[read more…]

Editorial. Instruments for what?

In her book The Architecture of Error, Francesca Hughes argues that “behind the naivety of architecture’s current return to an all-invested faith in the instrumentalist premise – that technology is somehow outside of culture, and therefore able to arbitrate over things cultural – lies the ongoing denial of technology’s partiality” (Hughes, 2014:77). As a branch of the philosophy of knowledge, instrumentalism is a long-standing idea stating that theories cannot be assessed in terms of their veracity but rather on the basis of their usefulness in explaining things and predicting events. Indeed, its more radical variant – eliminative instrumentalism – even suggests that once facts prove a theory, it can be discarded and, if nothing proves it, all the more reasons to disregard it.

Although Hughes acknowledges (in a footnote) that her use of the idea of instrumentalism is not precise in conceptual terms, it is possible to appreciate the craftiness of her misrepresentation: she is not only playing with the usual lightness with which architects borrow concepts from other disciplines, but her imprecision also echoes the provocative title of her book. In this way, her goal goes in another direction. Hughes claims that, with certain nuances and without so much theorizing, this instrumental vision would lie behind not only the modern alliance between architecture and technology but also the contemporary obsession with precision. It is the fear of imprecision, the terror of error, which leads architecture to yield towards technological pragmatism or to rely on instruments – from typology to software – to guarantee the validity of the result within an uncertain and chaotic design process.

In the search for certainties in which to lean on after having evicted theory in the past decade, architecture has once again relied on instruments. They not only allow to argue the verifiability of the process after the recent (and justified) discredit in which authorship has fallen but also to hide the responsibility in the decision making behind an aura of neutrality and, why not, of a scientific fantasy. However, we know very well that these instruments are not neutral: whether intentional or not, their use is inevitably political.

This issue of arq presents a wide critical discussion on the alleged neutrality of instruments. This focus appears in the conversation between Andrés Jaque and Enrique Walker, in the texts of Zeynep Celik Alexander, Ignacio G. Galán, Gonzalo Carrasco, and also in the debate about the Law on Promotion of Architecture, which seeks to support architecture made in Chile through a legal instrument. But in addition, this issue analyzes a territory where architecture can make a contribution: the creation of instruments. There are proposals such as dsgn agnc’s or the one by Carlo Ratti and the mit Senseable City Lab, the projects by Gonzalo Claro, Renato Rizzi and S9 Architecture, the text by Hidalgo, Rosas and Strabucchi or Lofscapes’ portfolio. Finally, this edition also puts forward certain instruments that had gone unnoticed, uncovered in the texts by Temtem and Alfaro, and by Cortés, Saric and Puig.

These cases not only show that the uncritical use of instruments is not the only way, but also remind us that the building remains beyond the design process. At that moment, the relation between architecture and instruments takes a second meaning.

Because instruments can also be understood through Heidegger’s example – that a hammer is not a hammer because it has a specific shape but rather because it serves to hammer – implying that its use (hammering a nail or someone’s head) does not change its nature at all: the object thus becomes neutral. Here lies the difference between the instrument and the dispositif (or apparatus) which, according to Agamben (2009), would have a specific goal.

Although we know that architecture requires instruments for its conception, once it starts to be used it can become itself an instrument; as argued by Tschumi, no matter how much the architect tries to define the fate of a building it is impossible to control what happens with it. In other words, if an instrument is something that serves a purpose and its use is independent of its nature, architecture, understood this way, would be foreign to the intentions of the architect. As with the National Stadium of Chile, a building can serve for joyful or heinous purposes, depending on who is managing.

Thus, in architecture, the question on instruments involves two levels of analysis: first, attention to the process and its mechanisms, and second, that its result is instrumental to something over which we have no control. And although the latter does not depend on us, it would be irresponsible to disregard its implications: when architecture enters an area as ambiguous as the hammer that can be used to hit a nail or a head, the least an issue on instruments can do is warn us that, when it comes to architecture, the only error we should fear is the pragmatic comfort of naïveté or, even worse, of ignorance. ARQ

* AGAMBEN, Giorgio. What is an Apparatus?. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009. [ Links ]

* HUGHES, Francesca. The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure, and the Misadventures of Precision. Cambridge, Mass.: mit Press, 2014. [ Links ]


Printed in August 2017
Ediciones ARQ
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile School of Architecture
Santiago, Chile

Text: Spanish / English
English abstracts available for all articles

Summary (printed version)
Photographic Portfolio

Media, distance and framing in the definition of landscape / Lofscapes.


Instruments for what? / Francisco Díaz.

Readings, works and projects

Architecture as a political instrument: Andrés Jaque and Enrique Walker in conversation / Andrés Jaque & Enrique Walker.

Sandboxing. A game of resource negotiation / DSGN AGNC.

Missiles and timers: architecture’s instrumentality after management tools / Gonzalo Carrasco Purull.

Digital tools for the city of the future / Carlo Ratti, MIT senseable city lab.

Neo-Naturalism / Zeynep Celik Alexander

Building for the School of Architecture / Gonzalo Claro.

Gdansk Shakespearean Theater / Renato Rizzi.

160 East 22 nd Street S9 Architecture

Typology as instrument: from the grand hotel to a motel in Antumalal / Macarena Cortés, Pablo Saric, Anita Puig.

Santiago de Chile circa 1850. The urban floor plan as an instrument revealing the city’s general form / José Rosas, Germán Hidalgo, Wren Strabucchi

Traffic Architectures: chaining architectural tools in transport infrastructures planning / Filipe Temtem, Paola Alfaro D’Alencon

Circulate! Architecture’s language in circulation and as an instrument for circulation / Ignacio G. Galán

Legal instruments for architecture / Pilar Urrejola, Mario Marchant