Archinect @ Postopolis!


Over the next few days members of the archinect community John Jourden, Aaron Plewke (AP), Enrique Gualberto Ramirez (Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke), Susan Surface (surfaces), and myself (Quilian) will join Postopolis! organizers and archinecters Jill Fehrenbacher, Bryan Finoki, Geoff Manaugh, and Dan Hill at Postopolis!

Postopolis! is a five-day event of near-continuous conversation about architecture, urbanism, landscape, and design. Four bloggers, from four different cities, will host a series of live discussions, interviews, slideshows, panels, talks, and other presentations, and fuse the informal energy and interdisciplinary approach of the architectural blogosphere with the immediacy of face to face interaction.
Full schedule:

This thread will serve as a blog to put up-to-the minute images of different events during the week. Aaron, Enrique, and I (Quilian) will also cover and comment on those events either here or in our school blogs. Finally, Susan Surface will be putting images in the gallery section.

May 29, 07 6:23 pm

Moblog images from Susan:

May 29, 07 6:24 pm  · 

May 29, 07 6:36 pm  · 
May 29, 07 7:06 pm  · 

6:30 pm: Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLOG), Dan Hill (City of Sound), Jill Fehrenbacher (Inhabitat) and Bryan Finoki (Subtopia) in a back-to-back pecha kucha presentation followed by opening reception

Postopolis! Organizers:


The Organizers:




May 29, 07 8:29 pm  · 

Some behind the scenes photos from the City of Sound Flickr:

May 29, 07 9:17 pm  · 

ack those images posted are hurting my eyes.

Would be great if there was a podcast for those of us further away.

May 29, 07 11:33 pm  · 

I like those images... They seem very... I dunno, like a surveillance camera. I'm sure Finoki arranged it that way.

May 30, 07 12:03 am  · 

Nah, it's just the awfulness of my cell phone camera, no deliberation behind that! But I've got some proper photos coming later!

May 30, 07 1:52 am  · 

pictures from estimmel

May 30, 07 3:19 am  · 

May 30, 07 3:20 am  · 
liberty bell

So great to see these pics, please keep them coming, everyone! We Midesterners appreciate being able to see what we're missing!

(Storefront is such a funny building - the beat-to-heck anti-building that houses other buildings within it - but that's a discussion for another thread.)

May 30, 07 9:24 am  · 

quilian, don't forget to talk about vindpust/per and the mdler/tumbles soap opera! we want people to know what archinect's all about!

May 30, 07 9:32 am  · 
vado retro

make sure you talk about the impact of archinect/breuer charrette!!!

May 30, 07 9:33 am  · 

mdler/tumbles may be a little to explicit for a general audience. Thats for the late night HBO crowd.

I am pretty sure Aaron, myself, and the rest of the archinect crew will talk about mapa.

May 30, 07 9:36 am  · 

what timing - I'll be in NYC for a wedding - looks interesting

anyone going to be talking about the new high rises sprouting up around the city? Seems like an exciting time to be building in New York

May 30, 07 9:43 am  · 

(here's a quick report, apologies for poor grammar, spelling and verb tense, it's early and i was up late hanging shelves. disaster. more to follow...)

i want to hold your blog...

i arrived last night at 6:45, hoping to catch the beginning of the 4-headed pecha kucha:

City of Sound,
Inhabitat, and

...fortunately, Michael Kubo of Actar was still up, fielding questions (with a bit of help from Geoff) about the nature of publishing (both books and blogs), and the inherent differences between the physical and virtual media.

standing in the back, it strikes me that i can barely hear Michael (even though he has a mic), and i definitely can't hear audience member's questions.

the immediacy [and reality] of face to face interaction...

as i scribble this realization in my sketchbook, Geoff says on cue, "In case people in the back didn't hear that..."

this session seems to provide a framework for the coming week's events. this new medium has obvious limitations and unique opportunities. and we've only just begun to realize its potential.


7:00pm Michael and Geoff answer a final question and the set up for the pecha kucha begins. i make my way to the front, take a chair within hearing range and quickly make the acquaintance of one Susan Surface...

after 15-20 minutes of set up, 6-packs of Grolsch start making their way through the audience. i'm pretty sure everyone that wanted a beer ended up with one...

at 7:20, Joseph Grima, Director of the Storefront, offers some comments on Postopolis, "the Woodstock of architecture blogging," and then introduces the 4 blogs that will lead the rapid fire pecha kucha presentations.

Geoff, Dan, Brian and Jill, in that order, each offer 400 second section cuts through their blogs. not only was it interesting to hear these attempts at condensing extensive thought and writing into 20 images and 6 minutes, it was also very telling of each blogger's personality.

after the pecha kucha no questions are asked of the bloggers. we immediately break for more beer and conversation. Susan introduces me to a guy named Bill who is covering the event for Icon magazine. we speek for nearly an hour on everything from dry sinuses and poor air quality to the shortcomings of criticism for its own sake. i depart just before 9pm.


i look forward to meeting everyone that's coming tonight (including Geoff, Brian and others that i didn't have a chance to say hi to last night).


May 30, 07 10:21 am  · 
Heather Ring

Nice recap, AP! London sure is feeling like an outpost this week ... !

May 30, 07 11:19 am  · 

thanks Heather! Dan from City of Sound represented the London outpost quite well last night.... here are a couple of his blogs from the first day's activities:

Robert Krulwich
Postopolis! Day One

*image credit - City of Sound

...i was curious about Finoki's wristbands (far right) until he took the mic and started beat-boxin...then it all made sense...

May 30, 07 11:41 am  · 
vado retro

looks like all the guys broke out there nice t shirts!

May 30, 07 1:04 pm  · 
liberty bell

Yes, excellent recap AP. I'm so glad you are now stationed in NYC!

May 30, 07 3:13 pm  · 

Live images from Susan Surface...

May 30, 07 4:42 pm  · 

as javier posted previously in the news--but right now you can see yesterday's pecha kucha's of geoff and bryan and others. GO!

May 30, 07 5:19 pm  · 

how did I get dragged into this...

May 30, 07 6:17 pm  · 
brian buchalski

ooh la la

May 30, 07 6:26 pm  · 

More images from Susan Surface...

May 30, 07 7:26 pm  · 

guy with the green t-shirt [Geoff Manaugh?]: intended to match the beer bottles? [i think they're beer bottles] nice.

May 30, 07 7:31 pm  · 

i love that pic of ss her entire seems covered by the size of that camera

May 30, 07 9:42 pm  · 
Bryan Finoki

those pecha kucha things are crazy!
still not sure what to make of them. fun, but frantically incoherent --
-- they make me talk faster than i do already!
really, i'm not on speed.
but just imagine being born an incredible hyper-babbler, and then being thrown into one of these!
i'm not even drinking any coffee this week.
anyway, you might think i'm destined to contract some future horrendous case of architectural touretes syndrome or something. just hope you don't get it.

May 31, 07 1:06 am  · 
Geoff Manaugh

The funny thing is that Bryan has been disappearing into the bathroom all week - after which weird, loud, and frantically incoherent rants about something he calls the "big bunker" start echoing throughout the Storefront...

Yeah, big bunker!

That's how I roll, big bunker!

Big bunker time!

The floor vibrates subtly.

Meanwhile, I will be dressed not to match the color of the beer bottles tomorrow night - but actually like a beer bottle.

May 31, 07 1:58 am  · 

hey Geoff congrats on the book dealy!

May 31, 07 5:17 am  · 

speaking to you live and direct from AP's living room in NYC (thanks AP!!!). The following are some pics from last nights activities with a few comments:

6:10pm: Paul Seletsky
Paul, who came from SOM, spoke at lengths at software tools they are creating to help designers know the implications of any move they make (energy consumption, etc...) from the very first sketch. His was a passionate presentation, he sees these tools as giving architects many new options to validate their designs, and go beyond the pre-defined role of the architect to better collaborate from a position of knowledge. He spoke about movements that SOM is making towards sustainable architecture of course mentioning the China tower project, among others. Among the most interesting discoveries (at least to me) was during the Q&A, Paul mentioned that there is a group within SOM that is actively looking at the effect climate change will have in their buildings and what they can do about it.

May 31, 07 8:45 am  · 

6:50pm: Ada Tolla & Giuseppe Lignano (
The presentation went like this: Giuseppe spewed out words as an example: (I am not sure he said these) parasite, invade, penetrate, etc... while showing images from urban conditions that typified that word (at least to them). Then every once in a while Ada would stop and speak about a project LotEk had in the works. The CHK (Container Home Kit) project was the one that caught my attention the most. I think that it typifies their process the best, and asks an interesting question about architecture as commercial object. At the same time, the renderings (see their website above) shows these units in a detached single home position most often. I asked the question and they said that they envision these taking all forms from urban towers to... But I wonder if along with the individual product a big vision (that includes sustainable communities) needs to be sold with it.

May 31, 07 9:00 am  · 

This is cracking me up. At first I had no idea what was going on and then I decided that this was like a Star Trek convention, except for architectural bloggers, and suddenly the world makes sense again.

I saw a lecture a few weeks ago that I wish had been conducted in "pecha kucha" format.

Quilian, Paul Seletsky's presentation sounds like it was really informative. You didn't happen to catch what software he was talking about, did you?

May 31, 07 9:01 am  · 
liberty bell

Agreed on the Seletsky, it sounds amazing.

SO cool! I love architects, I love Archinect (the fact that Quilian is blogging from AP's living room is so archi-nected it makes me all warm and fuzzy!)

May 31, 07 9:07 am  · 

here's the remaining schedule, going today through Saturday:

--Thursday, May 31--
1:30pm: DJ /rupture
2:50pm: Gianluigi Ricuperati
3:30pm: Monica Hernandez
4:10pm: Jeff Byles
4:50pm: Wes Janz
5:30pm: Lebbeus Woods
6:10pm: Robert Neuwirth
6:50pm: Jake Barton
7:30pm: Joel Sanders

--Friday, June 1--
1:30pm: Julia Solis
2:10pm: Andrew Blum
3:00pm: A panel on design, blogs, and the city with William Drenttel,
Tom Vanderbilt, and Michael Bierut
4:10pm: James Sanders
4:50pm: David Benjamin & Soo-in Yang
5:30pm: Kevin Slavin
6:10pm: Eric Rodenbeck
6:50pm: Laura Kurgan
7:30pm: Lawrence Weschler

--Saturday, June 2--
1:30pm: Conversations with Mark Wigley, Beatriz Colomina, and Keller Easterling
4:15pm: Randi Greenberg responds to questions about architecture
blogs, Metropolis magazine, and online media
4:40pm: A panel about Archinect school blogs with Quilian Riano, Aaron Plewke, and Enrique Ramirez, who will then be joined by Bryan Finoki, Jill Fehrenbacher, Geoff Manaugh, John Jourden, and Susan Surface for a conversation about Archinect
5:15pm: Blogger open house with George Agnew, Alec Appelbaum, architecture.mnp, Abe Burmeister, John Hill, Miss Representation, Aaron Plewke, Enrique Ramirez, Quilian Riano, Chad Smith, and others to be announced
7:30pm: closing party with food, drinks, and music, open to everyone

May 31, 07 9:13 am  · 
liberty bell

Thirty-five minutes to talk about Archinect?!? That's not enough time!!

If only there was a place we could talk constantly about Archinect all day and all night, how wonderful that would be...

May 31, 07 9:23 am  · 

7:30pm: Mitchell Joachim (Michael Sorkin was not able to make it)
Joachim was truly just a delight to listen to. It may be that his work straddles the worlds of the scifi and the surrealist, which is something that I just happen to enjoy. But terreform is more than about grand visions, they speak about their futuristic-looking projects in ways that we can understand, speaking about real materials and building real prototypes in some cases.
Among other projects, Joachim spoke at length about the FAB TREE HAB. Joachim made a point about the project that I think is key to understanding it: mainly that "growing" a house may not a completely new idea, but that the real contribution of the project is that they used the latest in CAD CAM technologies to better control the design of such a growing. Finally, it seems like this project may not be theoretical for too much longer, a developer in CA wants to use the method, fusing it with more common building technologies, to build a few houses. Joachim says that the problem now is with the insurance companies, bond agencies, finding the appropriate contractor, etc... In short, as someone in the audience pointed out, our system seems hardwired to kill architectural innovation.

May 31, 07 9:24 am  · 
Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke

Some General Observations:

1. Sustainability Panel (Allan Chochinov, Susan Szenasy, Graham Hill, and Jill Fehrenbacher)

This particular panel started with some remarks about the amount of signal-to-noise in design blogs, especially when dealing with issues of sustainability. There was a consensus among the panelists that spoke to several unresolvable tensions. One the one hand was the idea that although design/sustainability blogs do focus quite a bit on products, they perhaps do not do enough to address issues of consumption. This is a tricky terrain to navigate -- although people like Chochinov, et al., do want to address issues of consumption, their reader responses seem to gravitate more towards reviewing specific products.

Chochinov made an interesting comment about not wanting to deal with people that do not incorporate ideas of sustainability into their designs. In other words, sustainability can operate as a barrier to entry. Although this is a problematic idea, it does have a cultural dimension. Only a month ago, Adriaan Geuze of West 8 spoke at Yale, and after he finished, a professor challenged him, asking if any of the projects were sustainable. What the respondent was really getting at was that Geuze never actually used the words "sustainable" or "sustainability." To which Geuze promptly replied that the idea of sustainable design is presumed. As in, "I don't have to say that our projects are sustainable, because it is assumed that any project you undertake at this level must be sustainable."

Chochinov also spent quite a bit of time name-checking John Thackara and Bruce Sterling. It's interesting because I saw Sterling at SXSW in Austin in March, and he brought up the same issue that started this panel. To wit: Sterling said something like, "There are thousands of video blogs out there, and they're all terrible." Sterling positioned himself as a type of cyber-Adorno, a person who takes the step to say what is good and bad in a world where a bottom-up approach is heralded and celebrated. I'm not sure how a system of peer review could ever be established within the blogosphere, but perhaps what the panelists were really aching for was a modicum of cultural stewardship. Only a modicum, though.

2. Scott Marble of Marble/Fairbanks

Marble lectured on a topic familiar to many architecture students: the elision between design and fabrication. His lecture reminded me of one I saw by Gregg Pasquerelli a few months back. Marble readily linked the elision I mentioned earlier to a changing conception of architectural practice. Using buzzwords like "rapid prototyping" and "design management", he sounded some of the same points that people like Michael Speaks like to promote. In other words, in today's economic climate, architecture practices must retool themselves to meet the protean demands of flexible capital, etc., etc., etc.. For Marble, this meant incorporating his firm within a network of different practices, all geared towards the execution of a single project. Showing renderings for the Art History slide library and School of Journalism student center at Columbia University, he emphasized the working relationships between Marble/Fairbanks and engineers, graphic designers, facade specialists, geometry consultants, etc. It seems that Marble was really getting to the idea of a design consortium. Think of what Airbus Industrie does, but apply it to architecture practices, and perhaps you'll get the picture.

3. Paul Seletsky (SOM)

Quilian has already written about this presentation, but I will only add that Seletsky's talk touted the idea of a "pre-rational" architecture. He focused on the idea that SOM projects worked on various levels of representation. In other words, their use of various programs and modeling software enables SOM to prefigure any discussion with environmental consultants, etc. More interestingly, Seletsky talked about how Microsoft Excel spreadsheets were used to create BIM's (Building Information Models) for specific projects. He readily distinguished the excel-generated BIM's from "real" and "actual" models, implying that these BIM's invoked issues of representation. Which reminds me of Friedrich Kittler's reading of binary code and machine languages, suggesting that, more than anything else, these computer languages are contemporary examples of the Lacanian "symbolic".

4. LOT-EK (Giuseppe Lignano and Ada Tolla)

Theirs was one of the most entertaining presentations I had seen. LOT-EK used a clever call-and-response format to present four projects. Each project would start with Lignano reading something like 20-30 words, all beginning with a single letter, and each cued to a single image, whereupon Tolla would continue with a discussion of a single project that encapsulated the ideas expressed by the words. Very interesting to watch, very fun, engaging, and provocative.

May 31, 07 9:27 am  · 

more pics:

guess the archinecters:

Write your own caption! ;)

May 31, 07 9:31 am  · 

wonderk, lb,
as enrique posted it seems like the beauty of what Seletsky is doing is that they are using pretty mundane softwares, linking them and making them work better. As far as I can remember they use ECOTECT, CATIA, and other very commonly used programs (like excel).

May 31, 07 9:35 am  · 
liberty bell

AP and Smoke?

Thanks for the answer Q - very interesting!

May 31, 07 9:39 am  · 



this whole collection of Postopolizing people - archinect members, lecturers, bloggers and casual passers-by - is really making for an informative and uplifting experience. it's truly a pleasure to attend these talks, and to participate in the loose conversations that take place before, after and between.

big thanks is due to the blogger-organizers (Jill, Dan, Bryan and M.C. Geoff) as well as anyone else lending them a hand (rather by taking video, handing out beer etc.). it's clear that a lot is going in to this.

if you're interested in following any particular presentation (remotely), check City of Sound. Dan is vigilant with his real-time coverage. he's also posting links to youtube videos of many of the presentations.

May 31, 07 10:07 am  · 

those pecha kecha presentations were like bad stoner art!

May 31, 07 10:09 am  · 

my proposed caption:

ap [texting]: hi smks, how r u?

smokes [texting back]: hi ap. want 2 get a beer?

May 31, 07 10:14 am  · 
liberty bell

The City of Sound coverage is great, thanks for the link AP.

There goes my ability to be productive today. wahoo!

May 31, 07 10:26 am  · 

COMBATTRE, care to expand on that comment? that was my 1st experience with it...

Bryan (Subtopia) and i had a brief conversation last night about the pk format. it would be interesting to hear your thoughts (and anyone elses) on pecha kucha as a way to present something.

May 31, 07 10:35 am  · 
liberty bell

And jeepers, Dan Hill catches the sense of space of Storefront perfectly!

Inside is a variable term here, as the gallery, which is almost transparent concrete through the incisions in the side of the building, merges into the city around it. It's a wonderful thing, it really is. An architect friend raises an eyebrow at some of the approaches to meeting building regulations, but I couldn't have wished for a more appropriate functional space for Postopolis.

Beautiful, how I wish I was there.

May 31, 07 10:39 am  · 

AP: "I'm going to call puddles and ask him if his refrigerator is running"

Smokety: "This T9 thing never works for me...."

May 31, 07 10:59 am  · 
Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke

HA! Actually, my phone will not let me use T9.

May 31, 07 11:07 am  · 

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