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Infrastructural Urbanism


Cheng-Luen Hsueh

on 24 October 2014

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Transcript of Infrastructural Urbanism

Infrastructural Urbanism
offers a new model for practice
a renewed sense of architecture's potential to structure the future of the city.
落實的、真實策略的 建築實踐
It is an architecture dedicated to concrete proposals and realistic strategies of implementation and not distanced commentary
or critique
the production of directed fields in which program, event, and activity can play themselves out.

Michel Foucault noted that "Architects are not the engineers or technicians of the three great variables:
territory, communication and speed."
Land surveying, territorial organization, localecologies, road construction, shipbuilding, hydraulics, fortification, bridge building, war machines, and networks of communicationand transportation were all part of the traditional competence of the architect before the rise of disciplinary specialization.
infrastructural problems:

Territory, communication, and speed
Tools for operating at the very large scale:

Mapping, projection,calculation, notation, and visualization
從再現 >> 物質性實踐
move away from the representational model -> understood as a material practice.

Material practices (ecology or engineering ...)
behavior of large scale assemblages over time

圖像/意義 >> 表現 /能量交換、調節
not just with images or meaning, or even with objects,
but with performance: energy inputs and outputs, the calibration of force and resistance.

what things look like --> with what they can do.
透過抽象技巧 轉化真實
project transformations of reality by means of abstract techniques such as notation, simulation, or calculation
組織與轉化 具象真實的聚集
organize and transform aggregates of labor, materials, energy and resources
圖與投影操作 開放結果
operations of drawing and projection, that
leave their trace on the work.
Material practices deploy an open catalog of techniques without preconceived formal ends
Architecture is uniquely capable of structuring the city

not available to practices such as literature, film, politics, installation art, or advertising
實踐社交/文化的概念、 整合工程的能力
its capacity to actualize social and cultural concepts, it can also contribute something
that strictly technical disciplines such as engineering cannot.
1. Infrastructure prepares the ground for future building and creates the conditions for future events.

Its primary modes of operation are:
the division, allocation; and construction of surfaces; the provision of services to support future programs; and the establishment of networks for movement, communication, and exchange.
2. Infrastructures are flexible and anticipatory.
work with time
and are open to change.
work through management and cultivation, changing slowly to adjust to shifting conditions.

no predetermined state ( master planning ), always evolving
3. lnfrastructural work recognizes the collective nature of the city
and allows for the participation of multiple authors/actors
by fixing points of service, access, and structure (bottom-up).

field with different architects and designers can contribute

works strategically, but it encourages tactical improvisation
work toward collective enunciation.
4. Infrastructures accommodate local contingency while maintaining
overall continuity
5. infrastructures organize and manage complex systems of flow, movement, and exchange.

provide a network of pathways, systems of locks, gates, and valves, a series of checks that control and regulate flow
creatively employed to accommodate existing conditions while maintaining functional continuity.
infrastructures tend to be hierarchical and tree-like.

effects of scale
a capillary effect
synergy overlap and interchange
> not in linear fashion
6. lnfrastructural systems work like artificial ecologies.
manage the flows of energy, resources, density and distribution of a habitat.

respond to incremental adjustments in resource availability, and modify the status of inhabitation in response to changing
environmental conditions.
大尺度 非master planning/或英雄式建築
working at the large scale that
escapes suspect notions of master planning and the heroic ego of the individual architect.
"The time has come to approach architecture urbanistically
and urbanism architecturally"

Smithson, Alison (editor): TEAM 10 PRIMER
7. Infrastructures allow detailed design of typical elements
infrastructural design begins with the precise delineation of specific architectural element

form matters, but more for what it can do than for what it looks like
mono-functional > multiple
supra-organism”, such as a hive or a school of fish, whose collective
and co-ordinated movement can be assimilated to that of a living organism
accommodate global flows <> local contexts
objects over a neutral ground > objects with objects, and networks with networks > complex topography with various thickness and intensity

Thickness becomes then the infrastructure’s main quality.
to grow, attract, absorb and encourage events and relations
not a superstructure, but a sum of micro-relations linking the many localities along networks of transportation and communication.

similar to a megalopolis
complex and dynamic field of interaction similar to an ever-changing weather map stretched
The infrastructure is social before it is technical.
flows, activities, relations and events
shift view-points constantly bymeans of movement, negotiation and debate
物質性的實踐 material practice
Urban life is sustained by technological infrastructure: Highways, harbours, airports, power lines,
landfills and mines largely figure as the dominant effigies of contemporary urbanization.

The sheer size of these elements renders their understanding as a single system practically
impossible, yet their operations depend precisely on their continuity to support the flow of capital
and cultural mobility.

Often found underground, or beyond the periphery of cities, the presence of
urban infrastructure remains largely invisible until the precise moment at which it fails or breaks
down. < Floods, blackouts and shortags > serve as a few reminders of the limited capacity and
fragility of this large operating structure that unilaterally depends on constant control and micromanagement for its sustenance.

As the invisible background of contemporary society, the smooth functioning of infrastructure has
literally naturalized the processes of urbanization whereas less than a century ago, a basic level of
collective, essential services barely existed. < Rarely, do we stop to interrogate the functioning >, <let alone the effects - geospatially, metabolically, or semiotically > - of this Taylorist, technological
superstructure. Yet recent events - from the <sudden collapse of highway bridges>, <the rise and fall
of water levels>, <the growing hazards of coastal storms and coastal eutrophication,> the
<accumulating effects of carbon emissions,> <the surge in foreign oil prices and spike in food prices>,
the <drop in credit markets>, to the <increase in population mobility and dispersal>- are instigating a
critical review of the basic foundation upon which urban economies depend on.
都市化 <> 基盤架構
無形 直到崩解才會注意
infrastructure - the basic system of essential services that support a city, a region, a nation, a continent - as well as the patterns of urbanization
Urbanization & Disurbanization
Decentralization of the Urban Landscape
Cedric Price, Potteries Thinkbelt, 1966
<sudden collapse of highway bridges>

<the rise and fall of water levels>

<the growing hazards of coastal storms and coastal eutrophication>

<accumulating effects of carbon emissions>

<the surge in foreign oil prices and spike in food prices>,

<drop in credit markets>

<increase in population mobility and dispersal>

Salton Sea, CA
Richard T. T. Forman
Far Rockaway after Sandy Hurricane
hurricane Katrina, 2005
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