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WORLDS OF PLANETARY URBANIZATION
22.05.–21.11.2021
17th International Architecture Biennale Venice: How will we live together?
Worlds of Planetary Urbanization proposes a radical rethinking of our understanding of the contemporary urban world. This project explores interdependencies—between agglomerations and hinterlands; political-economic and biogeophysical processes; and local, national and global scales—in order to stimulate reflection on “living together” under conditions of planetary urbanisation.

We have collaborated with Urban Theory Lab-Chicago and researchers from ETH Zurich and FCL Singapore in a project for 17th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Hashim Sarkis.

The Urban Theory Lab contribution presents a series of digital globes that reveal disparate visions of an urbanised planet. ETH Zurich D-ARCH and FCL Singapore team explore urbanisation processes unfolding far beyond the realm of agglomerations, urban and mega city-regions. Through research essays, photographs, and cartographic work by Philippe Rekacewicz, the unprecedented patterns and pathways of extended urbanisation are portrayed in six world regions: Eastern Amazonia (Brazil), Arcadia (Greece), Dongguan (China), the West African Corridor (Benin), the North Sea, and the Midwest Corn Belt (USA). The exhibit highlights the urgency of formulating new theoretical and cartographic perspectives on urbanisation, animated by the goal of envisioning a more socially and environmentally just world.

Team
Neil Brenner, Grga Bašić, Mariano Gomez-Luque, Daniel Ibañez, and Nikos Katsikis of Urban Theory Lab at Harvard GSD and Christian Schmid, Milica Topalović, Rodrigo Castriota, Nancy Couling, Alice Hertzog, Metaxia Markaki, Philippe Rekacewicz, and Kit Ping Wong of Future Cities Laboratory Singapore and ETH Zurich.
Sand and Labour – Hinterlands of the Production of Architecture
15.11.2019—15.03.2020
Swiss Architecture Museum Basel
The case of Singapore sheds light on the role played by hinterlands in contemporary cities. In the island-state metropolis, vital resources including food and water are increasingly found only at large distances beyond the national border. A politics of incorporating productive territories in neighbouring Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere has been indispensable to Singapore’s success.
Sand and labour are among the essential resources for the production of architecture. Major consumers of imported sand in Singapore are the land reclamation and building construction industries. Foreign workers are engaged on temporary permits to construct both land and buildings.
Workers’ dormitories, sand quarries and sand depots are among the many architectural and urban spaces characteristic of hinterland territories that still remain under the radar of the architectural profession. In this contribution, the Architecture of Territory at ETH Zurich problematizes the role of design, which overlooks exploitative practices in the production of both architecture and territory. In turn, it provides insights that enable architects and designers to critically engage with urgent urban transformations in the hinterlands.

“Much of the work of architecture takes place before and after the actual act of construction, as architects probe the conditions governing the territories in which they are intervening. In a process similar to that of investigative journalism, they collect pieces of evidence, analyse them and synthesise them into a narrative.
The exhibition ‘Under the Radar’ presents an international overview of significant research projects dealing with this investigative form of architecture.” (SAM Basel)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Research project: Hinterland—Singapore Beyond the Border, 2012-ongoing
Principal investigator: Milica Topalović
Sand research: Hans Hortig, Lino Moser, Gabriela Schär, Milica Topalović
Labour research: Ahmed Belkhodja, Saskja Odermatt, Karoline Kostka, Michael Stünzi, Milica Topalović
Teaching team 2011-2015: Milica Topalović, Hans Hortig, Marcel Jäggi, Martin Knüsel, Stefanie Krautzig and Marie Laverre (video)

Exhibition:
Concept, design and production: Milica Topalović, Hans Hortig
Team: Michael Stünzi, Karoline Kostka, Oliver Burch, Jeremy Waterfield
Drawings: Ani Vihervaara
Photographs: Mukul (disposable camera)
Videos: Ahmed Belkhodja, Lino Moser, Saskja Odermatt, Gabriela Schär

We wish to thank to our students and collaborators in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia for their insights and support.

Cartographies of Planetary Urbanisation
04.09.2019—15.12.2019
Architecture of Territory at Coridoio del Bramante, Bologna
Cartographies of Planetary Urbanisation is a joint exhibit by Neil Brenner, Urban Theory Lab, Harvard GSD; Christian Schmid, Chair of Urban Sociology, ETH Zürich and Milica Topalovic, Prof of Architecture and Territorial Planning, ETH Zürich. Thanks to the invitation by the Foundation for Urban Innovation, Bologna the exhibition will be shown at Salaborsa — Coridoio del Bramante, Bologna till November 2019.

Today, urbanisation has become planetary. The boundaries of the urban have been exploded to encompass vast territories far beyond the limits of even the largest mega-city regions. Meanwhile, novel patterns of urbanisation are crystallising that challenge inherited conceptions of the urban as a bounded, universal settlement type.

This exhibit proposes a radical rethinking of inherited cartographies of the urban. The popular claim that we now live in an ‘urban age’ because the world’s majority population lives in ‘cities’ is a deeply misleading basis for understanding the contemporary “urban revolution” theorised by Henri Lefebvre. Cities are not isolated manifestations or universally replicated expressions of the urban condition, but are embedded within wider, territorially uneven and restlessly evolving processes of urbanisation at all spatial scales, encompassing both built and unbuilt spaces, across earth, water, sea and atmosphere.

In this exhibit, interdisciplinary research teams from the ETH Zürich, ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore and the Urban Theory Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design present new frameworks for understanding and representing contemporary forms of urbanisation through three interrelated lines of inquiry:

(1) Comparative analysis of the urbanisation processes that have transformed Tokyo, Hong Kong/Shenzhen/Dongguan, Kolkata, Istanbul, Lagos, Paris, Mexico City and Los Angeles. We explode the singular notion of the city to explore, in comparative perspective, differing patterns and pathways of urbanisation in some of the world’s most dynamically changing urban territories.

(2) The extension and thickening of the urban fabric in some the planet’s supposedly most ‘remote’ or ‘wild’ zones—the Amazon, the Arctic, the Gobi desert, the Himalayas, the Sahara, Siberia, the Pacific Ocean, and the earth’s atmosphere. Even these sparsely populated areas are today experiencing a massive intensification of land use, the construction of new connectivity infrastructures, and accelerated socio-environmental transformation to support the world’s major population centres.

(3) The transnational hinterland archipelago that supports urbanisation in Singapore, one of the world’s most globally networked agglomerations. In contrast to standard representations of cities as self-propelled economic powerhouses, we track the wide-ranging flows of food, water, energy, sand, and labor-power that support this growing, globally strategic urban centre. Instead of the city-state, we propose the cross–border metropolitan region as the new urban paradigm for Singapore.

The exhibition highlights the interplay between (a) the search for new theoretical concepts, (b) territorially grounded studies of specific patterns and pathways of urbanisation and (c) the use of cartography to decipher new geographies of urbanisation for which we currently lack an adequate analytical or representational vocabulary.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Group exhibition by:
Neil Brenner, Urban Theory Lab, Harvard GSD
Christian Schmid, Chair of Urban Sociology, ETH Zürich
Milica Topalovic, Prof of Architecture and Territorial Planning, ETH Zürich

OPERATIONAL LANDSCAPES
An exhibition of work-in-progress

Director: Neil Brenner; Curatorial Team: Mariano Gomez Luque, Daniel Ibañez; Research and visualizations: Doctoral coordinating team: Kian Goh, Mariano Gomez Luque, Daniel Ibañez, Nikos Katsikis; Critique of cartography: Grga Basic, Shirin Barol; Atmosphere: Chris Bennett, Rob Daurio, Melany Sun-Min Park; Amazon: Chris Buccino, Danika Cooper, Leif Estrada, Ali Fard, Daniel Ibañez, Ana María Quiros, James Whitten; Arctic: Grga Basic, Ali Fard, Ghazal Jafari; Gobi desert steppe: Adam Tanaka, Shirin Barol, Rob Daurio, Grga Basic; Himalayas: Vineet Diwadkar, Chris Alton, Michael Chieffalo; Pacific Ocean: Matthew Brown; Sahara: Tamer Elshayal, Marianne Potvin, Dalal Musaed Al Sayer; Siberia: Conor O’Shea, Roi Salgueiro; Video Designer: Chris Bennett; Cartographer: Grga Basic; Research support: Office of the Dean, Harvard GSD; Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University; Milton Fund, Harvard University.

METROPOLITAN PROCESSES

Director: Christian Schmid; Research team: Naomi Hanakata, Pascal Kallenberger, Ozan Karaman, Anne Kockelkorn, Lindsay Sawyer, Monika Streule, Rob Sullivan, Tammy Kit Pit Wong; Map editing and design: Dorothée Billard, Roger Conscience, Philippe Rekacewicz; Research support: ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore; Dept. of Architecture, ETH Zürich.

HINTERLAND
Singapore beyond the border

Director: Milica Topalovic; Research and visualisation, Sand: Hans Hortig; Water: Architecture of Territory and Benjamin Leclair-Paquet; Food: Marcel Jaeggi; Labour: Ahmed Belkhodja, Saskja Odermatt; Oil: Lino Moser; Cross-border Metropolitan Region Singapore, Johor, Riau: Karoline Kostka; Hinterland typology drawings: Ani Virhervaara, Bek Tai Keng; Photographs: Bas Princen; Teaching team 2011-2015: Hans Hortig, Marcel Jaeggi, Martin Knuesel, Stefanie Krautzig; Student researchers 2011-2015: Ahmed Belkhodja, Desirée Damport, Pascal Deschenaux, Martin Garcia, Giulia Luraschi, Livio De Maria, Lino Moser, Magnus Nickl, Saskja Odermatt, Myriam Perret, Gabriela Schär, Stephanie Schenk, Caroline Schillinger, Karl Wruck, Simon Zemp; Research support: ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore; Dept. of Architecture, ETH Zürich 2011-2015.

EXHIBITION DESIGN
Architecture of Territory; Concept and project lead: Milica Topalovic, Hans Hortig; Team: Oliver Burch, Michiel Gieben, Klara Sladeckova; Graphic design: Goda Budvytyte; Translation: Mydyti Gyler

The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Foundation for Urban Innovation. Coordination: Leonardo Tedeschi; Logistics: Donato Clausi; Promotion and Communication: Rosa Fioravante, Fabrizia Petrei; Supervision: Giovanni Ginocchini, Raffaele Laudani; Implementation: Sfera SRL
S AM BASEL—PROJECTS ON TERRITORY
24.11.2018—5.5.2019
Dichte Geschichte
The discussion about “density” in Switzerland is nothing new, to the contrary.  It as old as the phenomena of intense urban growth, land speculation, urban sprawl, and the loss of fertile ground to construction—it is deeply rooted in the Swiss planning tradition. However long before the concept of “density” had been articulated in the Swiss planning discourse, radical ideas and projects have already emerged as endeavours to meet accelerated growth of urban population, and to deal with the resulting pressure on cities and on land.

In the frame of the DICHTELUST exhibition at the Swiss Architecture Museum we will attempt to challenge the prevalent understanding of “density” by revisiting a series of projects, selected to illuminate critical histories of urban and territorial planning in Switzerland during the last century. The projects are part of rich anthology of ideas originating in different historical moments, based on different ideological lenses and illustrative of different design intentions, but they all have in common the urgency of the rapid urbanisation of the Swiss territory. It is fascinating that these projects continue to bring critical perspectives to the contemporary urban debate, in offering alternative positions on “density”. They demonstrate thought-provoking approaches to how urban growth can be conceived of beyond the focus on “density”, by showing more complex and more nuanced spatial imaginaries that integrate multiple dimensions of the territory, from social and political to ecological.

Architecture of Territory participates in the exhibition with a series of silkscreen prints created in the framework of the thesis elective course Projects on Territory: 

Land as a Common Resource. Based on Hirzbrunnenquartier, Hans Bernoulli (1924-30).
Research and silkscreen by Brigitte Clements and Flurin Steiner.

Re-founding a City in its Territory. Based on Plan d’urbanisme du canton de Genève, Maurice Braillard (1935-36).
Research and silkscreen by Anna Moroni.

Switzerland as One City. Based on Dezentralisierte Grossstadt, Armin Meili (1941-44).
Research and silkscreen by Michi Gieben and Matilde Negri.

Satellite Cities vs Urban Sprawl. Based on Die Neue Stadt, Max Frisch, Lucius Burckhardt, Markus Kutter (1955).
Research and silkscreen by Katarina Savic and Delia Wymann.

Islands of Density in the Periphery. Based on Werkbundsiedlung Neubühl (1930).
Research and silkscreen Lorine Grossenbacher and Salvatore Tummarello.

Return to the Old City. Based on Die Stadt Zurich, Aldo Rossi (1978).
Research and silkscreen by Ileana Dan and Rafael Gherdan.

Glattahlbahn, Retrofitting Suburbia (1990-2010).
Research and silkscreen by Beatrice Kiser and Corina Tripet.

Linth and Limmat, a Story of Landforms (1806-2013).
Research and silkscreen by Andrew Suiter and Wenjie Zheng.

The thesis elective course Projects on Territory focusing on histories of urban and territorial design in Switzerland has been conducted jointly by the professorships Marc Angélil and Milica Topalovic, and taught by Metaxia Markaki and Ferdinand Pappenhein, with the support of Sascha Delz, over the course of three semesters: Autumn 2017, Spring 2018 and Autumn 2018.
Cartographies of Planetary Urbanisation
04.12.2015—28.02.2016
Architecture of Territory at the Shenzhen Biennale
Cartographies of Planetary Urbanisation is a joint exhibit presented at the Bi-City Biennale of Architecture/Urbanism, Shenzhen 2015 by Neil Brenner, Urban Theory Lab, Harvard GSD; Christian Schmid, Chair of Urban Sociology, ETH Zürich and Milica Topalovic, Asst Prof of Architecture and Territorial Planning, ETH Zürich.

Today, urbanisation has become planetary. The boundaries of the urban have been exploded to encompass vast territories far beyond the limits of even the largest mega-city regions. Meanwhile, novel patterns of urbanisation are crystallising that challenge inherited conceptions of the urban as a bounded, universal settlement type.

This exhibit proposes a radical rethinking of inherited cartographies of the urban. The popular claim that we now live in an ‘urban age’ because the world’s majority population lives in ‘cities’ is a deeply misleading basis for understanding the contemporary “urban revolution” theorised by Henri Lefebvre. Cities are not isolated manifestations or universally replicated expressions of the urban condition, but are embedded within wider, territorially uneven and restlessly evolving processes of urbanisation at all spatial scales, encompassing both built and unbuilt spaces, across earth, water, sea and atmosphere.

In this exhibit, interdisciplinary research teams from the ETH Zürich, ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore and the Urban Theory Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design present new frameworks for understanding and representing contemporary forms of urbanisation through three interrelated lines of inquiry:

(1) Comparative analysis of the urbanisation processes that have transformed Tokyo, Hong Kong/Shenzhen/Dongguan, Kolkata, Istanbul, Lagos, Paris, Mexico City and Los Angeles. We explode the singular notion of the city to explore, in comparative perspective, differing patterns and pathways of urbanisation in some of the world’s most dynamically changing urban territories.

(2) The extension and thickening of the urban fabric in some the planet’s supposedly most ‘remote’ or ‘wild’ zones—the Amazon, the Arctic, the Gobi desert, the Himalayas, the Sahara, Siberia, the Pacific Ocean, and the earth’s atmosphere. Even these sparsely populated areas are today experiencing a massive intensification of land use, the construction of new connectivity infrastructures, and accelerated socio-environmental transformation to support the world’s major population centres.

(3) The transnational hinterland archipelago that supports urbanisation in Singapore, one of the world’s most globally networked agglomerations. In contrast to standard representations of cities as self-propelled economic powerhouses, we track the wide-ranging flows of food, water, energy, sand, and labor-power that support this growing, globally strategic urban centre. Instead of the city-state, we propose the cross–border metropolitan region as the new urban paradigm for Singapore.

The exhibition highlights the interplay between (a) the search for new theoretical concepts, (b) territorially grounded studies of specific patterns and pathways of urbanisation and (c) the use of cartography to decipher new geographies of urbanisation for which we currently lack an adequate analytical or representational vocabulary.

[sc:indent]ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS[sc:/indent]

Group exhibition by:
Neil Brenner, Urban Theory Lab, Harvard GSD
Christian Schmid, Chair of Urban Sociology, ETH Zürich
Milica Topalovic, Asst Prof of Architecture and Territorial Planning, ETH Zürich

OPERATIONAL LANDSCAPES
An exhibition of work-in-progress

Director: Neil Brenner; Curatorial Team: Mariano Gomez Luque, Daniel Ibañez; Research and visualizations: Doctoral coordinating team: Kian Goh, Mariano Gomez Luque, Daniel Ibañez, Nikos Katsikis; Critique of cartography: Grga Basic, Shirin Barol; Atmosphere: Chris Bennett, Rob Daurio, Melany Sun-Min Park; Amazon: Chris Buccino, Danika Cooper, Leif Estrada, Ali Fard, Daniel Ibañez, Ana María Quiros, James Whitten; Arctic: Grga Basic, Ali Fard, Ghazal Jafari; Gobi desert steppe: Adam Tanaka, Shirin Barol, Rob Daurio, Grga Basic; Himalayas: Vineet Diwadkar, Chris Alton, Michael Chieffalo; Pacific Ocean: Matthew Brown; Sahara: Tamer Elshayal, Marianne Potvin, Dalal Musaed Al Sayer; Siberia: Conor O’Shea, Roi Salgueiro; Video Designer: Chris Bennett; Cartographer: Grga Basic; Research support: Office of the Dean, Harvard GSD; Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University; Milton Fund, Harvard University.

METROPOLITAN PROCESSES

Director: Christian Schmid; Research team: Naomi Hanakata, Pascal Kallenberger, Ozan Karaman, Anne Kockelkorn, Lindsay Sawyer, Monika Streule, Rob Sullivan, Tammy Kit Pit Wong; Map editing and design: Dorothée Billard, Roger Conscience, Philippe Rekacewicz; Research support: ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore; Dept. of Architecture, ETH Zürich.

HINTERLAND
Singapore beyond the border

Director: Milica Topalovic; Research and visualisation, Sand: Hans Hortig; Water: Architecture of Territory and Benjamin Leclair-Paquet; Food: Marcel Jaeggi; Labour: Ahmed Belkhodja, Saskja Odermatt; Oil: Lino Moser; Cross-border Metropolitan Region Singapore, Johor, Riau: Karoline Kostka; Hinterland typology drawings: Ani Virhervaara, Bek Tai Keng; Photographs: Bas Princen; Teaching team 2011-2015: Hans Hortig, Marcel Jaeggi, Martin Knuesel, Stefanie Krautzig; Student researchers 2011-2015: Ahmed Belkhodja, Desirée Damport, Pascal Deschenaux, Martin Garcia, Giulia Luraschi, Livio De Maria, Lino Moser, Magnus Nickl, Saskja Odermatt, Myriam Perret, Gabriela Schär, Stephanie Schenk, Caroline Schillinger, Karl Wruck, Simon Zemp; Research support: ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore; Dept. of Architecture, ETH Zürich 2011-2015.

EXHIBITION DESIGN
Architecture of Territory; Concept and project lead: Milica Topalovic, Hans Hortig, Fabian Kiepenheuer; Team: Panos a Coucopoulos, Karoline Kostka, Stefanie Krautzig, Ani Virhervaara, Lukas Wolfensberger; Graphic design: Goda Budvytyte
Architectures of Territory at the URA Gallery Singapore
23.01.—13.03.2015
AoT shows a selection of publications, studio reports and master theses’ about the tri-national Metropolitan Region of Singapore gravitating around the topics of hinterland, resource management, land-sea interaction and large-scale design.

“The ‘Future Cities: Research in Action’ exhibition opens at the URA Centre atrium in Singapore from 23 Jan 2015 to 13 Mar 2015. Focused on cities, urbanisation, and global environmental sustainability, it presents practical solutions by FCL towards the development of sustainable future cities.
The exhibition features the work of more than 120 FCL researchers from over 30 countries over the past four years. Integrating science, design and technology, they tackle urban challenges at multiple scales, from building materials and systems to neighbourhoods, districts, cities and their hinterlands.”

The exhibition runs from 23 January to 13 March 2015 at the URA Centre Gallery.
Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily (closed on Sunday)
Constructed Land—Singapore 1924—2012
29.05.—24.08.2014
IABR Rotterdam
The project Constructed Land: Singapore 1924-2012 investigates the material flows of soil and the changing physical form of the island of Singapore over time. Until today, around one quarter of the land area has been added to the surface of the island-state by means of importing sand, claiming land from the sea, reshaping of existing terrain, and dredging material from the seabed. For more than a century, the transformation of topography has accompanied the change of Singapore’s urban landscape. While this process continues at an ever-increasing pace, its scale and implications are breathtaking: The project reveals constructed land as the central paradigm of Singapore’s urban development today.