Hacking Urban Furniture // Auftakt-Konferenz im ZK/U

März 18, 2017

07.04. – 08.04.2017

ZK/U Berlin Moabit


Bei der Konferenz gibt es einen workshop von mir, hier die offizielle Ankündigung für die ganze Veranstaltung:
Bushaltestellen, City-Toiletten, Bänke, Mülleimer, Infoboards… Stadtmöblierung in Kombination mit Außenwerbung bestimmt seit ca. 30 Jahren die Grammatik unserer Städte. Das Projekt “Hacking Urban Furniture” will dieses den öffentlichen Raum unserer Städte bestimmende Geschäftsfeld untersuchen: Wie können so prominente öffentliche Objekte in Zeiten von Private Public Partnerships (PPP), bürgerlichen Begehren nach mehr Teilhabe, neuen Produktionstechniken und ökonomischen Optimierungsfantasien anders gestaltet, produziert, gepflegt und ökonomisch nachhaltig betrieben werden? Wie können Beteiligungsprozesse aussehen, die prototypisch für den Umgang mit öffentlichen Raum sind?


On the formalization of architectural composition in Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Dezember 5, 2016

Abstract (t.b.c.!) for The Grammar of Things, 20th conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, June 14-17, 2017, TU-Darmstadt, Germany
image: sia

image: sia

BIM is the attempt to unify the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings by way of an integrated digital BIM-model representing both formal and semantical properties of the building. One key idea in the implementation of this goal – of which today exist quite a few competing approaches – is the concept of transformational grammars. Under this concept, architecture is modeled as consisting of atomic elements or types which can be composed under explicit transformation rules either in a forward or backward chaining manner, i.e. either generatively or analytically. William J. Mitchell has modeled this approach in the 1990ies under the paradigm of Computer Aided Design (CAD) in the framework of first-order predicate logic (PL1) as the intersection of three domains: a “critical language” for value judgements over architecture, a “design world” for the formal description and modification of architectural designs, and a “construction world” within which architectural designs are being built.1

The idea of a grammar of architecture, in this setup, comes into play as a knowledge-based specification of the range of the PL1-based combinatorial possibilities that are inherent in the initial definitions of elements and transformation rules, both in terms of the design world and the critical language. Even though Mitchell’s work draws profoundly on linguistic concepts of grammar, the predominant aspect in his approach to design is the geometrical model, onto which semantic properties are mapped in a second step. With the development from CAD as a drawing tool towards BIM as a knowledge-based expert system for design, however, the other direction of mapping formal properties onto truth-functional semantics attracts more attention, as for example in the definition of the structure of the data exchange format Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), where geometric forms are mapped onto semantic structures. What this paper aims at is a review of the epistemological role of formal grammar in BIM based on the Mitchell’s computational model of design as the interplay between design world, critical language and construction world.

— update —

I cannceled my contribution due to the demand of a conference fee also for participants, which i wasn’t able — and willing — to pay.

  1. See William Mitchell, The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition (Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 1990). []

Corporate urban furniture, space, and money

November 12, 2016

Artistic research for the project Hacking Urban Furniture at ZK/U, Berlin-Moabit
WALL advertising display on Straße des 17. Juni, Berlin, image: sia

WALL advertising display on Straße des 17. Juni, Berlin, image: sia

The basic idea is a Marx-inspired socio-economic analysis of spatial patterns of corporate urban furniture; albeit in a more empirico-practical or artistic research way. The idea is to try to break down the financial figures of corporate urban furniture to the single instances of the street furniture typology in Berlin. This could be pursued either through a systematic top-down theoretical approach or by something like a ‚financial biography‘ of single urban furniture pieces in a bottom-up fashion. The aim of the research is to think about a way – theoretically and artistically – to attach appropriate ‚price-tags‘ on the masses of corporate street furniture colonizing urban space. I’ll think along the lines of Keller Easterling’s Extrastatecraft1 approach: corporate street furniture as infrastructure in the sense of an agency involved in designing urban space. How does corporate street furniture program urban space, and who is programming?

The proposed method is to research and map the financial revenue of an urban furniture corporation onto their system of urban furniture in order to make visible their way of comodifying public urban space. The furniture is seen as a system of furniture-objects – as opposed to as a single object – in order to find a way to map their financial numbers in a differentiated manner: what are the elements and features of urban furniture systems that a corporation wants to put out in the city because they generate money, and what are the ones that it has to put out there as recompensation for the right to commodifiy parts of the public urban space? Or seen the other way around: How many dog stations do we get in exchange for giving a share of our attention to a mega advertising screen televising it’s message into public space, and do we want dog stations?

For this objective the project has two main tasks to address: (1) a plausible mapping of the corporation’s income and expenses onto their system of urban furniture, preferably type-wise and instance-wise. The main work here is the research into the buisness numbers and the price structure of ads placed via the corporation’s urban furniture system. Where hard numbers cannot be obtained, which is to be suspected given the secretive nature of buisness relations, the project can work with assumptions as it’s focus is on the system, not on the correctness of it’s quantitative evaluation. The second task is to (2) to come up with a model of the impact of urban furniture – seen still from the system’s perspective – on public space. The work here consists in building a metric to measure the spatial impact of ads vis-à-vis the additional functions they add to public space. The idea here is to employ a space syntax-inspired topological analysis of the distribution of the elements of the corporation’s urban furniture system within the city.

  1. Keller Easterling, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (London/New York: Verso, 2014). []

Smartification and the privatization of public spaces

Mai 7, 2016

The introduction of mobile broadband on a mass scale is often regarded as a technological enhancement of public space: as a new layer added to existing physical spaces that allows for a smarter management of scarce spatial resources or even for the creation of new public spaces by way of the appropriation of otherwise anonymous urban spaces through personalization (and the subsequent sharing of these profiles). But is that really the case? Or is – on the contrary – the ’smart-i-fication‘ of public space the end of public space as we know it? […]

Architecture in Peirce’s Continuum

September 5, 2013

Continuity is one of the central conceptions in Peirce’s philosophy, even though―or precisely because―of “all conceptions Continuity is by far the most difficult for Philosophy to handle“1, as he stated in 1898 in his 8th Cambridge Lecture entitled The Logic of Continuity. […]

  1. Peirce, Charles Sanders. Reasoning and the Logic of Things: The Cambridge Conferences Lectures of 1898. Herausgegeben von Kenneth Laine Ketner. Cambridge  Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992, 242 []