Architecture and urban planning leave a concrete impact on the environment, embedding lasting traces of our society and its values into the earth. As such, it is essential that we critically reflect on the direction of the profession, from material choices to actively questioning briefs and competitions, to create works of substance, not instance. This is the subject of a book that I am very excited to announce entitled Upscaling Earth. Material, Process, Catalyst to be published with gta Publishers in the spring of 2019.
An example of this line of thought was the “Reliving the City” UABB Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism exhibition I designed and managed for Anna Heringer, Mu Jun, and Martin Rauch in Shenzhen, China. The project, part of the “Radical Urbanism” series curated by U-TT’s Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, imagines how our cities could be if they were built of rammed earth rather than concrete. Structural rammed earth is viable up to seven stories, and if it is used as cladding, it can be utilized for any highrise design. This mockup was constructed in prefabricated pieces and mounted seamlessly on-site. The potential is boundless.
Cheng Shi Yuan Dian – who is the city for? Who has a right to use it and change it?
For further reflections and examples of my built and unbuilt projects, check out my CV page.
All images © 2015 Lindsay Blair Howe and Markus Ringel.