Archive for March, 2014

Emerging Voices 2014

This year,  we are fortunate to be among eight groups of practitioners in architecture, landscape design and urbanism honored by The Architectural League of New York as Emerging Voices in their discipline. This invited, juried portfolio competition recognizes potentially influential firms and individuals based in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.

All eight winning teams have been giving lectures in New York throughout March, and on the fourth and final evening of the lecture series on March 27, we had the pleasure of giving a presentation on our practice alongside Guadalajara-based Estudio Macías Peredo at the Scholastic Auditorium in Manhattan.

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Salvador Macías Corona and Magui Peredo Arenas from Estudio Macías Peredo
share recent design and construction work.

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SITU partner Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny shares images of Heartwalk installed in Times Square last year.

A shared interest among both Estudio Macías Peredo and SITU is making. The material experimentation and fabrication processes in our work, as well as the celebrated role of local masons, blacksmiths and craftspeople in the building process were highlighted in both presentations.

A warm thank you to The Architectural League of New York for this opportunity. We are honored  to be in the company of so many talented designers in receiving this award.

Surveying the Great Hall

Directly above our Design Lab project at the New York Hall of Science, one of the most unique spaces in New York City is currently undergoing major restoration work. The Great Hall, also known as the Cathedral of Science, is a 7,000 square foot exhibition space enclosed by a 100 foot tall scalloped dalle de verre façade, where 5400 inch-thick panels of cobalt blue glass are cast into concrete tiles and then set into cast-in-place concrete cells. Restoration work entails tediously waterproofing each of the cells and cleaning the tiles with a latex application. In order to access each of the tiles, an elaborate scaffold has been constructed in the Great Hall, echoing the undulation of the concrete walls with a matrix of metal pipes and wooden planks.

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Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

To us, the scaffolding construction is just as impressive as the original building. Standard, off-the-shelf units, typically used for rectilinear construction, gradually curve into and around each turn of the façade. Straight wooden planks overlap and spread as the pathways transition from concave to convex. The construction is an architecture within another architecture, built to allow for inhabitation of the space not intended by the original architect. The construction is built with an economy of materials and time; built for a specific purpose, without aesthetic consideration. The combination of the architectures, the original Great Hall, and the scaffold recalls the work of our enormously inspirational former professor and friend, Lebbeus Woods.

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Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

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Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

To document the moment in the history of the building and to inhabit this extraordinary space, we’re attempting to fly a time-lapse camera through the middle of the space. The project entails building a camera rig where we will be able to slowly lift a time-lapse camera 70 feet from floor to ceiling. As the camera rises and falls over 3 hours the camera will be slowly rotating and tilting to survey the space with a corkscrew motion. To see the design and construction of the rig and some of the footage, have a look at the little ‘making of video’ we’ve put together here:

SITU Research participates in FORENSIS exhibition at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.

Operating within the frame of the Forensic Architecture project, work produced by SITU Research will be presented at the upcoming exhibition and conference FORENSIS at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.

The FORENSIS brief states:
The exhibition will explore the procedures, tools, and spatial arrangements used in forensics, as well as the potential of a new aesthetic-political practice. FORENSIS seeks to invert the direction of the forensic gaze and designate the emergence of new aesthetic-political practices by which individuals and independent organizations use new technologies, aesthetic practices, and architectural methodologies to bear upon a range of issues from political struggle to violent conflict and climate change.

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Image from the 3D virtual model reconstruction of the scene at the moment of the shooting of Bassem Abu Rahma | © Forensic Architecture and SITU Research.

Working in close collaboration with the team at Forensic Architecture, SITU Research’s role has been to provide spatial analyses and visualizations pertaining to inquiries into international human rights violations across a broad array of sites and scales. As part of this work, SITU has worked with Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights (UNSRCT), Human Rights Watch and B’tselem, among others. Investigation subjects include the impact of drone strikes on civilians, the use of indiscriminate munitions in densely populated urban environments and the death of migrants at sea. For more information on these projects and others visit http://situresearch.com/human-rights.

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Image of the reconstruction of a drone strike in Datta Khel, Pakistan that occurred on 17 March 2011
© Forensic Architecture and SITU Research.

In the accompanying conference “The Architecture of Public Truth” on March 15th and 16th, SITU Research will discuss this new territory for designers and architects, and their potential role in politics, science, society, and the environment.

FORENSIS will be on display from March 15th – May 5th, 2014.
The opening reception will take place on March 14th, 6pm.
The “The Architecture of Public Truth” conference will be held on March 15th and 16th.

Work by Forensic Architecture and SITU Research presented as part of UN inquiry into Drone Strikes

Today marks the public launch of a web-based platform created by Forensic Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London) and SITU Research for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson.

A screenshot of the web-based platform that maps - and collects information and media relevant to - each of the thirty strikes the UN Special Rapporteur has called for further investigation of. © Forensic Architecture in collaboration with SITU Research, 2014.

The website provides an online presence for the Special Rapporteur’s inquiry into civilian casualties by drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza. The report calls for increased government transparency and documentation of drone strikes when civilian casualties are known or suspected.

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The web-based platform focuses on the 30 drone strikes that are included in the Special Rapporteur’s report. The strikes are  geospatially located and are correlated with additional information provided by Emmerson’s report. Forensic Architecture’s work also analyzes several strikes in greater detail by synthesizing multiple sources of data including photographs, interviews, and satellite imagery and the resultant spatial analyses are shown through short videos.

The online platform can be accessed here.

A short demonstration video of the platform can be found here.

The videos and stills detailing the four cases can be viewed here.

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