16 May 2020

co+labo radović     co+labo research fellow Rafa Balboa delivers 1st 2O2O guest lecture      
Following his leadership of co+labo team in an international design competition (the results of which we are still awaiting), Rafael Balboa opened our 2O2O Webex guest lecture series with his pet research topic - Principles of Prostho-Urbanism.
This opening session focused at his practice in Wasabi Studio, and continued towards the theory of Prostho-Urbanism. The lecture and discussions will continue next week. 

(Poster Design: Reiya Sasaki)

15 May 2020

co+labo radović     co+labo starts its very special + unusual 12th year at Keio - online       
The School year 2O2O-21 was always to be special. This is the 12th and final year of co+labo @ Keio University The outbreak of Coronavirus has added more than a nuance to that. All of our plans, which included many activities and events, visitors and workshops, had to be cancelled or, to out it euphemistically - postponed. The Pandemic has, perhaps, announced a new era. It has forced us to think and act in new ways, different to what we have experienced and known before. As reported in the 1 May post (below), co+labo is already active in an international initiative which seeks ways to (re)think architecture, cities and urban cultures within this new context.
The 2O2O school year has started much later than we usually begin. While we used to celebrate the beginning of semester 1 in a culturally meaningful and undeniably beautiful way, with hanami, traditional Japanese cherry blossom viewing (and drinking!) event, we now meet on Webex and Zoom - which certainly impoverishes the experience of thinking and learning together. Darko describes that the semester would normally start with "a series of lectures introducing the co+labo way, for new students 'indoctrination sessions' about becoming, and for others about diving deeper into what it means to be a co+labo member. In those lectures, I would invoke some of my intellectual Pantheon, trying to position those ideas towards (in)direct usefulness for what we were to be doing over the next one (undergraduate), three (Masters) or more (PhD) years at co+labo. Usual sources of ideas were coming from the lineages of Socrates to Plato, Heidegger to Nancy, all the way to Bogdanović, Perec, Debord, for many unexplainably Jullien, some recent acquisitions and the likes. Architectural, artistic, and urbanistic contextualisations were bringing in Praxiteles, Vitruvius, Michelangelo, Cerdà, and other diverse thinkers and makers which are impossible to copy or uncritically take on, all the way to broader urban and cultural thinking of always relevant Marx, Lefebvre, Derrida, Cixous, Badiou ... Placing co+labo into these networks of ideas was meant to inspire and help co+labo members to (intellectually) fly. The primary task was always to make our members think (together). Some contemporary and, let's conditionally say, more 'practical' (but never entirely and directly 'useful') thinkers would help me point at entry points into our research and design-research projects to come. One of the regulars was Alberto Manguel. I like to start with his beautifully provocative question" 'what do we think about when we look at the work of art?', only to broaden it towards inquiry into 'what we think when we look at ... a city, building, street, piazza ... at people?' That was in hope that Manguel's depth might be contagious. Roland Barthes was my usual next step, helping locate both co+labo and myself, as a gaijin, in Japan - before venturing further into theories and practice of urbanity". 
Then, various guest lectures would start coming in. From the next week we are going to begin simulating that, of course - online. (What else but simulation of reality could be done online?!) 
There will be enriching talks by co+labo research associates (starting with Rafael Balboa), PhD researchers (Satoshi Sano, Sanja Žonja), visiting professors (Neno Kezić). But, the opening will be given to Manguel himself in, for Coronavirus times, first-hand contact - via his two youtube talks: "On Reading Images" and "Don't You See What I Mean?". If you wish, let Alberto Manguel help you feel this co+labo moment.

co+labo radović  co+labo's Yamashita Shohei + Renato Magni receive their PoliMi Masters  
Earlier this year, amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic which has hit Italy, and Milano in particular exceptionally hard, two co+labo members have received their Masters Degrees from Politecnico di Milano - Yamashita Shohei completing his Keio-PoliMi Double Degree, and Renato Magni, ABC exchange student at co+labo his Laurea Magistrale.

Yamashita-san's summary of his RE-STADIUM (above), describes "a project with the main aim to rethink the concept and design of the sports structures for the mega-events such as the FIFA World Cup, that require a high spectator capacity which is unsustainable in the long term. The proposal for more sustainable development is presented through a highly integrated plot to the urban context, adaptability with minimum intervention and environmental impacts while meeting stadium requirements. Design solutions were implemented for the 2026 Championship New York Stadium by integrating the research of global phenomena related to sport structures, analysis of the existing context, urban-social problems and environmental challenges. The main goal was to lay architectural, constructive and engineering solutions into the stadium design that is built for blending into its context by hosting a mixed-use residential complex." In autumn, this project will enter The Youth Actively Building the Future Environment project, sponsored by Val San Martino Lions Club.
By placing his project in Japan, Renato used his co+labo experience to the maximum. His Suzugami centre (below): "is an experimental public space, that allows various modes of activity, where sports, nutrition and education come together under one large roof. The project puts in place an obvious gesture: the mending of the forest within a lot currently in disharmony with the surrounding green context. Here a light structure defines the new space, contrasting the dynamism of the underlying soil. Harmony between buildings and users is the criterion that guided all the design considerations. The building was designed according to the principles of sustainable architecture in a multidisciplinary perspective. Energy supply is entrusted both to technical solutions and to the use of technologies that save resources. The layout and arrangement of the individual zones are designed to create optimal microclimatic conditions. All areas of the building with greater use intensity have been subjected to analysis to ensure the maximum level of comfort. The architectural design is further supported by structural checks and optimised through energy simulations that ensure the building's performance."

In parallel to this academic success, Yamashita-san was promoted to the status of junior architect in Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects in Paris. Currently he is, as many of us teleworking but - from Paris.
Renato seeks to start architectural career in some international architectural practice. As he has illustrated in a montage below, he will be not the first one to make such move, and all of his co+labo friends believe that he is going to be as good as Kobe.