Harvard University - GSD (Quilian)



Sep '06 - Dec '09

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    Liveblogging Koolhaas, Bhabha, Kwinter...

    Quilian Riano
    Apr 3, '09 6:36 PM EST

    It is 6:30 and I got to go into the VIP door using a press pass... pretty sweet.

    You can probably follow the action here (all weekend for the entire conference):
    you can also follow it in our student blog.


    8:38 - Ok, I am done. Personally, I am going to wait until the video goes on-line. I need to watch it again, specially to Bhabha. However, I have renewed energy to go back and work on my thesis. I think it is very much tied to the issues discussed here, and these are the issues that interest me. Time, Agency, and Environmentally Urgency. How can spatial design mediate these three conditions? How can we do it without being over-bearing?

    I also want to add that I am happy to see this discussion at the GSD. It would be better, however, if it was encouraged in the studio.

    8:34 - Kwinter brings back the idea of humility, we need to be willing to listen. Interesting coming in the context of informality.

    8:30 - Bhabha says that he is interested in something he calls'informal intelligence'.

    8:29 - Bhabha: there are moments in which the informal is exciting. That happens in times of plenty in which informal contexts thrive. When there is a downturn the informal becomes problematic.

    8:26 - Koolhaas responds first - went to Lagos to study the informal. After ten years he began to understand that the informal happens within plans and frames. Framing the Informal.

    8:23 - Kwinter: What is the Role of the INFORMAL? Ties it to junkspace and the ability to see energy and activity in places that are global but decaying. Has informality become the ultimate term to understand the city of the future?

    8:21 - Bhabha: Good cities are like French cheeses... the worst they smell the better they are.

    8:16 - Homi Bhabha brings in a very interesting perspective into the modernist conversation. He says that when the great political project that is modernism started these liberal states had colonies oppressing alternative modernisms.

    8:13 - Kwinter claims that Koolhaas is looking at Lagos because the 'fun' things in western cities are dying. Kwinter then goes on to officially declare Manhattan Dead. Long live Manhattan!

    8:12 - After Koolhaas and Kwinter share a special moment Koolhaas goes on to NOT declare modernism dead. He says that informal systems and modernist forces will coexist and grow together.

    8:04 - Bhabha explains his quote below by saying that it means that we need to deal with injustices at home first. Treatment of minorities, immigrants, child labor...

    8:02- Kwinter quoting Bhabha "globalization begins a home'... in asking Bhabha about the intense recycling systems in Mumbai.

    8:01 - discussion begins with a Tsunami of Language!

    8:00 - I will need to listen to this one a few more times. THAT is a lecture.

    7:53 - When Bhabha talks about India it feels alive. It feels like its problems are the real problems for architecture now. The problems that landscape urbanism and ecological urbanism (whatever that is) are trying to solve. When Koolhaas speaks of Europe it feels weird, detached, withering...

    7:50 - Wow, being blown away here... It is making me think of my thesis (then again anything does these days) - time, agency, ecological urgency - it is all there! Flexible structures that are not a building but allow the possibilities of many buildings, allowing things to change as political and economic circumstances change.

    7:48 - 'The main problem for urban planners is knowing when to act', 'Time is politics and policy'

    7:45 - ECO-comes from the greek for home? did not now that.

    7:37 - Bhabha's talk is dense and does not have images, meaning that us designers need to focus a bit more...

    7:34 - Homi Bhabha on Time, Agency, and Urgency.

    7:33 - Koolhaas ends, the first part was far too long and when he was finally getting into some interesting proposals it ended. Color me underwhelmed.

    7:32 - Koolhaas shows a project creating a Fuller-like network of renewable energy in Europe. It is particularly interesting because it looks at natural resources at a continent scale and places appropriate technologies in the most efficient areas.

    7:28 - Makes fun of the dancing arrows in Foster's drawings.

    7:25 - Koolhaas on Piano speaking of his SF building as a tree in the summer.... "outrageously innocent or deeply calculating, probably both... Yet no one asks if we need another aquarium!" - gold

    7:22 - These dutch-cool detached history lessons work better in books like Content, seeing it live just seems like a lack of focus.

    7:20 - This long history lesson is getting dizzying... from Vitruvius to Glen Beck! and now we have a smiling Obama.

    7:14 - A lot of images about the 70's fear of environmental and population boom catastrophes. And then in the 80's the market puts that to rest (by ignoring it). He pulls the scariest quotes from Limits of Growth. It seems as though democracy is not good at defeating our REAL enemy: mankind.

    7:09 - 1965-70, when science and design try to come together... and failed. The drawings of designers using networks, cells, and other natural systems as inspiration seem somehow very fresh.

    7:07 - Koolhaas gets into Lagos and the interdependency of formal and informal systems.

    7:03 - Rem Koolhaas praises architectural humility... defined as respecting landscape and noticing the world around (sun paths, etc...)

    6:58 - A long history lesson complex but pretty much forgettable. I think he is trying to define ecology in modern thinking, but he goes back and forth in a way that does not make it clear.

    6:54 - Koolhaas - economical, ecological, and beautiful = Vitruvian. Also shows some nice diagrams of the way Vitruvius used sun angles to design Roman baths.

    6:47 - From water wheels by the river, to the heat engine, to banking systems to serve those engines. Nice way to frame the issue and explain the systems by which we have lost contact with our environment, continually living in a more abstract system.

    6:42 - Kwinter says that being cosmopolitan = being an ecologist. not sure I'm buying it, then again he is probably not really selling.


    • tomboessel

      Did you lose connection?

      Apr 3, 09 6:57 pm  · 

      i thought this started at 5:30... (coulda sworn I read it... guess not). any idea if it'll be put back up on the webpage?

      Apr 3, 09 8:53 pm  · 

      Quilian: you mentioned your thesis is in regards to agency (or inspired by it). do you have a paper that could introduce me to this concept? never read it in my theory classes...

      Apr 3, 09 8:54 pm  · 
      vado retro

      homi bhaba is unreadable. he was even given a dubious achievement honor for his writing.

      Apr 3, 09 9:45 pm  · 
      vado retro

      Homi Bhaba O' Reilly's 1998 second place finishing entry in Philosophy and Literature's Bad Writing Contest. The contest was established to highlight the worst in Academic writing. This sentence is from The Location Of Culture...

      If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to “normalize” formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.

      Apr 4, 09 1:04 am  · 

      Indicators of urbanism as stinky cheese and informal intelligence= Brilliant!

      Informal only versus something. I think this Q, is where the issue of if informality becomes the norm it isn't interesting. For me it is no coincidence that Dubai and Dharavi both became exciting topics of study precisely at the same time.

      The other interesting issues is that of the scales. While Koolhaas is talking of continent wide supra-networks others are talking of agency and does this =local?
      From the supra to the digital, informal, bit?

      Thanks Q.

      Apr 4, 09 6:06 pm  · 

      archinect twitter

      or maybe just faceboo!

      Apr 6, 09 3:42 am  · 

      That's very nice live blogging, I think all three Bhabha, Koolhaas and Kwinter are experts in this field, although comes with different approach but we cannot say anyone wrong, because this is not a rocket science. Well we need start some forums to create awareness about Environmentally Urgency or Time or the other factor. Thanks for sharing. Unlock iPhone 3GS

      Jan 9, 10 6:06 pm  · 

      It was a great session at Harvard University GSD, these minutes shows how good it was for the students. I am delighted to find this lecture. Thanks for sharing. Hospedagem

      Jan 17, 10 2:18 pm  · 

      I was too waiting for the video and I happy after watching this,the thing which inspire me most is the idea from Kwinter of bringing back the humility,we should listen to what he said.GSD also discussed about this.Thanks for sharing and posting this useful information.
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      Feb 15, 10 2:56 am  · 

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