We have lost touch with the softer systems of dynamic change that live within and around us — systems that govern our very existence. In an expanding and increasingly volatile world an anachronistic model of architecture and urbanism based on planning, authority, history and permanence has less and less ability to solve today’s economic and ecological problems. Instead, a system of speed, flexibility and soft-structure is required for the World’s most complex social, environmental, and economic issues.
This is not the first time that an architectural solution of speed, lightness and flexibility has been proposed to solve our most challenging urban problems. Avant-garde thinkers in the mid 1950’s and ‘60’s in Europe and America such as Cedric Price, Buckminster Fuller, Peter Cook and particularly Yona Friedman proposed radically flexible and mobile models of architecture and urbanism to solve some of the most pressing and visible problems of the immediately post-war world (1). Yet there was something missing, aberrant, or unsettling about each mega-structuralist project (fictitious, totalitarian, too widely accepted…). In many ways the mega-structural projects (in their form of proposals) did not fully realize their promises of freedom and democracy. They sought to upend social and economic hierarchies in the world through architectural design, restructure academies, and democratize the construction process only to find themselves on the cover of design magazines, lecturing in the same schools and, at the end of the process, still left with an architectural artifact. After much praise and optimism the project as a whole was abandoned. By the 1970’s Banham, previously a vocal champion of the project declared the “megastructure is Dead (2) ” A new generation of architects took its place and focused on a smaller scale of modular architectural proposals – with their own set of potentials and limits (3). But now, perhaps our world has returned to that period of time when thinking bigger was thinking better…
A microcosm in your back-yard
Bio-City is a cross-disciplinary, six-month-long performance-art-sculpture scheduled to begin at Lawndale Art Center in January of 2016. The project will involve the creation of numerous small-scale structures each one timed, designed and tuned to attract, interface, or illustrate indigenous and migratory life on the site. The project seeks not only to create a beautiful, quasi-natural urban landscape but to address the decline of biodiversity in urban areas.
The message is clear: Our world is filled by many creatures. It is time that we began to live with and among them.
Part art-sculpture, part habitat; part man-made and part animal-made. Always educational, aesthetically exciting and highly interactive.
Our intention is that this Bio-inclusive eco-performance-artwork will transgress, distort and alter anthropocentric world-views by delivering a message of eco-awareness, biodiversity and cross-species collaboration.
A series of installations timed with seasonal and biological rhythms to invite the habitation of Houston’s wildlife.
BIO-City is planned to be monitored and adjusted over the course of a 6 month cycle. A series of installations will occur at key moments and each time followed by weeks of observation and analysis.
The first phase in the winter of 2016 will set the stage at Lawndale’s outside rear courtyard. Soil and water elements will be established and emphasized in key locations. Floral elements, grasses and other plants, will also be framed or planted. After 6 weeks of periodic observation a series of insect habitats will be placed according to site conditions and the success of the first stage. After another period of inspection and based on the presence of certain insect populations, a secondary species will be invited to participate. This species is intended to be insectivorous and could include birds and/or some mammals.
On display at Lawndale Art Space, Houston Fall 2010.
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Microcinema is designed as a flexible media viewing environment. Veiwable form day or night, and eminently portable Microcinema can be a site specific or site anonymous video experience.
Concept design 2010.
Planter bench = Planter + Bench.
Designed for a friend in Houston the program was to create a mobile landscape solution that incorporated some seating. Thus, planter bench.
In 2014 the Expanded Studio volunteered our design efforts to assist The Native Prairies Association of Texas, Lawther Prairie to created a phased educational facility at their Deer Park Prairie location. Work progressed though concept design. Anticipated resumption in 2019.