25 April 2017

The late-evening preview: Keio Architecture exhibition a night before, waiting for the opening (photo Yamashita, co+labo
co+labo radovića week of co+labo intensity 4: Keio Architecture exhibitions+Symposium          
if you are in the vicinity of Keio Hiyoshi Campus, please visit these events which celebrate the flourishing Keio Architecture

24 April 2017

co+labo radović   a week of co+labo intensity 3: reports from four locations and discussions  
(snapshots from the fieldwork to be updated shortly) 

23 April 2017

co+labo radović  a week of co+labo intensity 2: lecture by Visiting Professor Leonardo Chiesi Design and Social Change: can design promote desirable transformations in society?
delivered on Monday, 24 April 2017 at Keio Yagami Campus, Kosei Building, in the Middle Conference Room

co+labo radović  a week of co+labo intensity 1: visit to Atami, before Bruno Taut Symposium  

On April 22 co+labo, together with Prof. Manfred Speidel, architectural photographer Dave Clough and Sugihara-san of Atelier OPA and our visiting fellow from University of Florence, Leonardo Chiesi, headed to Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture. After working on the preparations for the upcoming exhibit "West of Japan / East of Europe", dedicated to Bruno Taut's Hyuga Villa in Atami, the purpose of the trip was to visit the building firsthand.
Kyū Hyūga Bettei is the only existing project that Taut realized during his three-year stay in Japan, built in 1936. His project embodies a deeply personal reflection on Japanese architecture, mediated through Taut‘s European sensibility. The result represents a unique example of cross-cultural breeding, which, at the time of its completion, stood at odds with mainstream Modernism in Europe on the one hand, and with the local architectural language on the other.
Close to Hyuga Villa, Kengo Kuma's Water/Glass can be found. As testified by co+labo's interview with him, Taut's project was a major source of inspiration when designing the building. If visitors of Hyuga Villa have commanding views of the ocean, rising like a wall of water, Water/Glass seems to blend in with the horizon and float.
Our next destination was Kiunkaku, a 100-years old villa in eclectic style, surrounding a landscaped garden. This structure is an example of the mix between local traditions and western influences. From this point of view, it aptly fits the concept of "West of Japan / East of Europe".
The trip was rounded off by lunch at Tagaya soba (buckwheat noodles) restaurant in Izu-Taga, housed in a 200 years-old wooden building, overlooking a trim garden. After a glass of Atami sparkling wine and a foot-bath in front of Atami Station, we hopped on the return train bound for Tokyo.                                                                                                (report by Marco Capitanio)
(the above three photos by Dave Clough Photography)

19 April 2017

co+labo radović   co+labo opens research fieldwork training with Professor Leonardo Chiesi 
With an introductory, highly stimulating lecture visiting professor Leonardo Chiesi has started co+labo fieldwork research training programme, conducted within the framework of our broad investigations of Smart(er) Communities.
Leonardo brings in selected sociological perspectives, with a aim to add quality to established strengths of our laboratory and Keio practices of teaching, learning and investigating production of space.  
All co+labo students are taking part in this training, the fieldwork component of which is loosely structured around four projects: "The potential of play in recycling of infrastructural urban landscapes" which focuses at Akihabara (Alice Covatta), "Contested urban landscapes" in Shibuya (Ana Medina), "Impact of safety measures on spatial usage and perception" in the vicinity of selected embassy compounds in Tokyo (Ivan Filipović) and  "Discretionary activities: transactions between people and urban environments" in Taito-ku (Vedrana Ikalović).
Professor Chiesi's programme include intensive consultations with co+labo researchers and PhD students, which hold promise for further collaboration and are expected to generate a number of joint research publications.   
co+labo radović Alison Young@co+labo: "On Precariousness, Public Culture+the 'Open City'"
Professor Alison Young delivered a research seminar in which she discussed how anxieties about the vulnerability of the city resonate within experiences of urban public spaces and public cultures such as graffiti and street art. For a number of years she has been researching the ways in which illicit place-making cultural practices, in cities such as London, Melbourne, New York, Berlin and Paris, have been regarded as social problems to be contained and controlled. Alison's recent investigations have expanded to examine a broader landscape of contestation around the production and maintenance of certain urban ‘atmospheres’. Her interests are both in moving through the changing neighbourhoods of the city, and in tracking change within neighbourhoods over time, in order to propose ways in which we can encounter urban environments as citizens and wayfarers, and achieve a more complex understanding of openness in the contemporary city.

16 April 2017

co+labo radović   Leonardo Chiesi and Alison Young open co+labo 2017 guest lecture series  
Professors Alison Young (University of Melbourne) and Leonardo Chiesi (University of Florence) will be visiting co+labo this week, and open our series of guest lectures for the school year 2017. 
Leonardo returns to co+labo for the third time, now as a Visiting Professor at Keio University, to engage with current research projects in our laboratory. His two weeks long visit includes seminars, workshops, fieldwork sessions and an open lecture (scheduled for 24 April; details will be announced on this blog).
Alison has kindly accepted to spend some of her time in Tokyo with us, and address co+labo research group and students on Tuesday, 18 April, presenting her work On Precariousness, Public Cultures, and the ‘Open City'. 
Alison Young is the Francine V. McNiff Professor of Criminology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of Street Art World (2016), Street Art, Public City (2014), The Scene of Violence (2010), Street/Studio (2010), Judging the Image (2005) and Imagining Crime (1996), as well as numerous articles on the intersections of law, crime, and the image. Alison is the founder of the Urban Environments Research Network, and is currently developing a study of crime and neighbourhood change in Australia and Japan. At the University Melbourne, she is a member of the Research Unit in Public Cultures, an interdisciplinary group of academics, artists, policymakers and urban designers interested in communicative cities, mobility, networked cultures, and public space.
Leonardo Chiesi is an Associate Professor at University of Florence and a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley. He specializes in ambiental and territorial sociology, which he teaches at the School of Architecture, University of Florence. His research introduces social methods into investigations of quality of architecture and planning, and has been involved in a number of architectural design and city planning projects, expanding an interest in the subjects of local identity, community processes and participation methods. Professor Chiesi wrote books on the construction of scientific discourse (Retorica nella scienza. Come la scienza costruisce i suoi argomenti anche al di là della logica, 2009) and on the relationship between social sciences, architecture and planning (Il doppio spazio dell’architettura. Ricerca sociologica e progettazione, 2010).

13 April 2017

 (... and only lecture notes + the stamp survive)  

co+labo radović     Theory and Practice of Urbanity at Politecnico di Milano completed    

For details about Darko's month-long intensive course Contemporary City, Theory and Practice of Urbanity - look below.

26 March 2017

co+labo radović    Theory and Practice of Urbanity and co+labo way at Politecnico di Milano  
(an extended report)
For the second year in a row, Darko Radović was invited to teach at Politecnico di Milano. After the fun of MIAW (Milano International Architecture Week 2016), He was asked to deliver, as a Visiting Professor at Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani - DAStU, an intensive Contemporary City Course, a full semester of workload for himself and the students within one month. Darko chose to bring a completely new version of his Theory and Practice of Urbanity (TPU, the  original of which, dating back to 2007, is still accessible at the web pages of the University of Melbourne - here). The overarching aim of TPU 2017 was to explore the potential of cross-cultural comparisons, to critically address the issues arising from cultural specificity and difference in and of urbanity, the (im)possibility of translation and equivalence, bringing to one of the best European Universities some of the work conducted and developed at Keio, in co+labo radović. 

The Course, which unfolded at Leonardo da Vinci Campus from 15 March to 9 April 2017, consisted of two intertwining programmes: the lectures (delivered in a variety of formats by Darko and his guests) and the “workshop” (a fieldwork component inspired by Debordean dérive and self-managed by the students), which included heuristic drifts into concrete urban realities of Milano and follow-up discussions and conceptual thinking about its likely and desirable urban futures.
Darko has introduced TPU through an overview (fully presented, with a reason, he says, in Typewriter font) by referring to 
several important thinkers and key ideas which inform and shape his current research and, in particular, this particular lecture series. The opening six of his intellectual accomplices were (alphabetically organised) Roland Barthes, Bogdan Bogdanović, Guy Debord, Felix Guattari, François Jullian, Henri Lefebvre and Jean-Luc Nancy, serving the smördâsbord of ideas (below) to begin with.
The guest lecturers were asked to focus at the particular, freely choosing the theme which best introduces "their" city (for the majority, “My Milano”). The tenor of their talks, which last until the very end of TPU 2017, ranged from purely autobiographical sketches to academic discussions, weaving the personal and anecdotal together with historical facts and theoretical concepts. The formats of delivery varied accordingly, from the strings of short cameos to standard academic presentations. This TPU thread sought to contribute to the creation of a relaxed but, at the same time, firm, well-informed, creative and critical atmosphere within the class.
The first of TPU 2017 guests was a "secret" one - Kazuyo Sejima, who is nowadays also a Professor at DAStU. Her unannounced presentation hinted at Darko's hope that TPU will keep on generating pleasant surprises. Sejima-san's talk about her projects included the new Bocconi University Campus (currently under construction) in Milano. 
Her lecture  was followed by Professor Davisi Boontharm (Meiji University and Keio) and the story of her city, Bangkok, by focusing at what makes the neighbourhood and at the importance of childhood memories in definition of both the community and the self. 
Within TPU, Davisi also delivered lectures on her fieldwork annotations "sketch and Script" method, latest research on urban requalification, and presented her current artwork, as it was being produced in Milano (see below).
The next guest speaker was Dr Mario Paris, also a TPU 2017 Teaching Assistant. Mario's Milano is a city of elastic boundaries, which tempts one to agree with Massimo Cacciari that "There is no city, only urban ways of life." Mario used the Atlante dei Classici Padani to bring in a series of  themes which make "a real Milano", one which escapes the preconceived imagery of Italian centrality and urbanity, taking the audience along the edges of the ubiquitous non-place highways, all the way to the realities of one of the most recent mega shopping malls in the region.
Professor Gabriele Pasqui, a native of Milano and Director of DAStU, started with an "academic introduction", using maps to explain and problematise the past and present development projects, trends and dilemmas of Milano. He brought the audience into the actual fabric of the city by introducing nine houses and neighbourhoods in which he lived in his city.
Professor Antonio Longo, another true Milanese and renown urbanist, introduced the fine fabric of surrealist imaginary explorations of Milano, as see by various artists and other creative residents and visitors of this city (ranging from Mario Sironi and Vittorio da Sica, via Emir Kusturica to Savino and Savinio), overlaying them with ideas and plans about desirable development directions for the Lombardian capital (by the likes of Dino Buzzati, Giancarlo de Carlo, Boeri and, most recently Ferraresi et al., to some of which Professor Longo himself contributed).
The next in the TPU "My Milano" series was Professor Gabriele Masera, from Politecnico's ABC programme. Two years ago, Gabriele was a visiting professor at co+labo and Keio Yagami Campus. That enabled him  to make interesting comparisons between urban cultures of Milano and Tokyo, leading to an erudite overview of complex development of Milano, from the earliest traces of Celtic settlements to the latest ideas about the future of the fascinating city. What emerged was the city much more marked by destruction and the Fenix-like moments of radical remaking and reinvention (even of its "natural" features). Precisely that defines a critical difference between the Lombardian capital and the majority of other Italian urban centres, the identities of which tend to be grounded in continuity and lasting of their physical structures.
On 31 March, TPU hosted two guest speakers. The first to speak was Professor Bertrando Bonfantini (a coordinator of the Contemporary City Programme at Politecnico) who introduced his Milano as a series of itineraries and narratives, and as a city which needs to further advance through introduction of the new "narrative infrastructures" for future urbanity. His focus at four major urban projects, Santa Giulia, Portillo Nord, City Life and Porta Nuova brought together the stories about development ambitions in the recent history of Milano, their various failures and successes, discrepancies between what was planned and designed, and what was realised - where accidents often brought gain, rather than any qualitative loss. Combining his expert views and well argued opinions, Bertrando emphasised how Porta Nuova project, for instance, with all of its controversies, is one of the projects with special potential to contribute to the broader public good, precisely because it stitches together the string of diverse parts of Milano in one, continuous narrative of pedestrian scale.

The second guest speaker was a young researcher from Barcelona, Gloria Serra Coch. She spoke about Barcelona of a native, an insider for whom living in the great Catalan capital, a must-visit tourist node of global fame, entails strong sense of living in a village, surrounded mainly by familiar places and faces. Over time, such personal, finely knit networks expand to form patchworks of lived fragments, never acquiring a sense of systematic whole. Gloria ended her talk by tabling a number of profound questions, including the provocation which Barcelona itself so forcefully puts forward: have we "condemned functionalism to fast"? Or, in other words, isn't the Cerda's plan, a perfect example of the much maligned, top-down imposition of strong geometrical layout and order, an example of resilient urban structure which works extremely well, one which keeps on reinventing itself while, somehow, keeping that strong, established identity?!
Professor Marco Imperadori's Milano was the one of recent the EXPO 2015, and pavilions - Save the Children, Island Countries, UK and Japan - to conception, design and construction of which he and his team have variously contributed. Marco's special emphasis was on the legacy of that event, stressing how his interest is not only in history and present of Milano but equally for what is coming up, as Milano always was and it remains an "impermanent city, always changing."
Somewhat similar was the focus on Bologna, chosen by Luisa Bravo and Simone Garagnani, partners in life and partners in research. They presented some of their investigations in the city where they live. The lens of their research pulls together Luisa's urban design sensibility and Simone's passion for technology and complex representations of spatial quality. They are both closely associated with co+laboradović, and their presentation, of projects such as "Upgrading Bologna 2.0", "Le Bologne Possibili", "Mapping Urban Perception", closely resonated with some of Darko's own points within TPU.
Mina Akhavan, one of Teaching Assistants of TPU 2017, talked about her Teheran. In explaining "The Paradox City of Cities", Mina delved into some of the stark contrasts of the Iranian capital juxtapositions of the mountain and the flat Teheran, the Teheran of the rich and the Teheran of the poor, the city of Architecture and "the city of no-Architetcure", the city of green infrastructure and that of grey infrastructure, of Fordism and of post-Fordism, religion and irreligion, all together forming a puzzling and fascinating kaleidoscope, another kind of urbanity and otherness, into TPU 2017.  
The final guest lecturer in TPU 2017 was Leonardo Zuccaro Marchi, who teaches urbanism at TU Delft. He made a special visit to Milano only to deliver his talk on "The Heart of the City - Milano Killing the Modern". Leonardo's erudite cross-referencing of concrete realities of Milano and some of the key events in the history of the Modern Movement, with special emphasis on CIAM 1951 and the concepts of the hollow core, social presence and continuity provided a fitting ending to the series of the rich guest programme of TPU.
TPU was designed to end, but not conclude. The aim of the course was to help the participants to take off, to elevate intellectual aspects of their discourse about the cities and to enhance the capacity to think critically and creatively. A major contribution to that and contribution to an ending which helps the course exceed itself was the exhibition by Davisi Boontharm, "Unfolding Navigli". Davisi presented several (un)foldable notebooks, with sketches from the reemerging canals of Milano, in which she beautifully combines the talent and sensibility of a mature artist with keen and experienced focus and logic of an urban researcher, to achieve a provocative and open-ended synthesis of both aesthetic and documentary quality, opening the spaces which she chose as of special significance in the city to new readings.
In order to further stress the non finito character of TPU (first hinted upon in design of the limited-edition stamp) the very last session, held on Saturday 8 April 2017, was just another TPU "horizontal exhibition", a moment to step back and contemplate together the rich diversity of qualities of Milano, as seen by the TPU 2017  students. ... That was TPU 2017.