THE PLAN Journal (TPJ) intends to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking and relevant research, studies and criticism in architecture and urbanism. The criteria for selecting contributions will be innovation, clarity of purpose and method, and potential transformational impact on disciplinary fields or the broader socio-cultural context. The ultimate purpose of the TPJ is to enrich the dialog between research and professional fields, in order to encourage both applicable new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice. (Maurizio Sabini)


 Open Access
Exhibition Review

Make New Critical Stories. A View on the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial

by: Maurizio Sabini VOLUME 3/2018 - Issue 1 , Pages: 1 - 13 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2018.03.01.01, published: 2017-10-13

The 2017 edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Make New History, like any other similar event, has caused debate and controversy. Beyond inevitable flaws and shortcomings, the CAB though deserves to be appreciated for the quality of most of the exhibited projects, works or installations, some of which managed also to offer what was missing in this CAB’s main theme: a critical perspective. The theme itself of the CAB is challenged, but the good works of many international architects and artists, well selected by the Artistic Directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, is appreciated for their contributions to a critical discourse in our field, for their “critical stories.” Through a discussion of the curators’ hypothesis and of some of the most interesting works, as well as of some critical contributions included in the exhibition catalog, this review tries to offer a critical assessment for an event that, fortunately, has already acquired an outstanding position within the architecture cultural landscape of our time.

 Open Access
Conference Report

The Danish Way. The Rising Architecture Week 2017 in Aarhus

by: Maurizio Sabini VOLUME 3/2018 - Issue 1 , Pages: 15 - 31 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2018.03.01.02, published: 2017-11-12

The Rising/Architecture Week 2017 was held in Aarhus as part of the Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017 initiatives. The array of conversations, debates, and exchange of ideas generated at Rising 2017 proved once more the vitality and the maturity of Danish design culture. 

Rooted on a strong Modernist tradition, Danish design culture weaves a savvy mix of promoting and further sharpening its brand, as well as of stimulating thoughtful reflections on relevant disciplinary and societal issues. The conference was intelligently used as vehicle to showcase the good work that is being produced not just in Copenhagen but across Central Denmark and to bring in a diverse pool of international designers, planners, critics, and thinkers. What can be called the Danish Way to design culture offers the opportunity “to rise,” above the conventional and the predictable, for an exciting view over a possible better world.

 Open Access

An Urgent Task Ahead

by: Maurizio Sabini VOLUME 2/2017 - Issue 2 [RESILIENT EDGES], Pages: 157 - 159 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2017.02.02.27, published: 2018-02-08
 Open Access
Position Paper

The Resilient Metamorphosis of Cities

by: Carlo Gasparrini VOLUME 2/2017 - Issue 2 [RESILIENT EDGES], Pages: 161 - 165 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2017.02.02.28, published: 2018-02-08
 Open Access

Waterscapes in Transformation: The Case of the Belgian Coastal Area

by: Sis Pillen , Kris Scheerlinck , Erik Van Daele VOLUME 2/2017 - Issue 2 [RESILIENT EDGES], Pages: 743 - 766 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2017.02.02.26, published: 2018-02-05

The socio-economic impact of nature in Belgian coastal landscapes on a regional scale is high due to their general attractiveness for visitors, their strongly developed tertiary service economy and other related sectors (tourism, residential, agriculture…). Due to climate changes however, these coastal landscapes and their required accessibility and continuous character are threatened by the unavoidable planned infrastructures (dikes, new connections, floodable areas, etc.) that will generate ruptures, frictions and additional transition spaces within the landscape. Flanders urgently needs to unfold policies and strategies to avoid or reduce the undesirable effects of the expected changes. Influential changes for the coastal zone will be sea level rising, increasing temperature, changing rainfall patterns, floods, fragmented ecological system, salinization, and reduced drainage capabilities to sea. A thoughtful planning policy forms the necessary key to a sustainable development. Policies and plans lead to the formulation of spatial proposals for mitigation and adaptation, to be executed by major infrastructural works planned for the next decades. Most of these infrastructures, conceived at a large scale, generate a different model of accessibility for the Flemish Coastal landscape.

 Open Access

Climate Change Adaptations for Coastal Farms: Bridging Science and Mātauranga Māori with Art and Design

by: Martin Bryant , Penny Allan , Huhana Smith VOLUME 2/2017 - Issue 2 [RESILIENT EDGES], Pages: 497 - 518 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2017.02.02.25, published: 2018-02-06

Indigenous coastal farming communities need to address future climate change impacts, yet many communities are slow to respond, due to lack of adequate information, economic pressures, the abstract nature of climate change science and poor communication between what science knows and what indigenous farming communities need to know. Art and design can address these issues by synthesizing broad scientific principles with local place-specific culture and their visual language can effectively communicate short and long-term benefits to local communities. Art and design are thus both generative research methods and media for representation. This research uses art and design to provide a bridge between the Māori culture of a local farming community in coastal New Zealand and climate change science. It provides a framework of strategies for new farm practices. Underpinned by the qualitative awareness of thresholds and an open-ended toolbox of land-based strategies, the role of the framework is to catalyze adaptation. The framework is responsive to both the Māori worldview and scientific knowledge, and has the potential to provide a model for other coastal communities.

 Open Access

Challenges of Disaster Relief Housing: Evaluating Coastal Domestic Typologies in Eastern Sri Lanka

by: Kira Bre Clingen , Mark Robert Bavoso VOLUME 2/2017 - Issue 2 [RESILIENT EDGES], Pages: 601 - 628 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2017.02.02.24, published: 2018-02-06

In the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, an unprecedented natural disaster that disproportionately affected the impoverished and conflict-ridden eastern coast of Sri Lanka, the outpouring of disaster relief and support for housing reconstruction was primarily led by international aid organizations for the erection of capital-intensive dwellings to allow for immediate habitation. Three case studies representative of significant housing typologies deployed since the tsunami are investigated: two global prototypes sponsored by foreign aid, and one informal, vernacular construction. We argue that in Sri Lanka the aid-housing-as-commodity paradigm - which in its specificity and immutability disregards the robust tradition of integration between natural and built environments and between individual and community - represents an increasingly and unsustainably risky expenditure of capital resources due to the likelihood of more frequent disasters in coastal zones. We argue for a shift toward spatial frameworks, not static prototypes, which take into account that the longer temporal dimension of rebuilding community and housing after a natural disaster is not necessarily synonymous with expensive, structurally robust building practice. 

 Open Access

Salinas: Interstices of the Urban, Cultural and Political Processes in Mediterranean Ecologies

by: Ana Morcillo Pallares VOLUME 2/2017 - Issue 2 [RESILIENT EDGES], Pages: 707 - 719 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2017.02.02.23, published: 2018-02-06

Salinas, or Mediterranean coastal salt marshes, are priceless ecological wetlands, resilient spaces along the coast that have survived over time and hold incalculable cultural, historical, and ethnographic values associated with them. Today, artisanal sea salt production is no longer a profitable business, and in many cases, these spaces become a no-man’s-land in-between nature and city, falling victims to pressures of changing land uses and the unsustainable urban growth of the Mediterranean coastal tourism. However, the process of change and abandonment of these former production landscapes presents an opportunity to promote new formulas for spatial tactics, public use and new sustainable futures. A liminal condition full of spatial and formal assets that opens the rising potential of the local economy and the right of the salina’s active exploitation, interaction and identification.

 Open Access

Fragile Edges and Floating Strategies along the Albanian Coastline

by: Loris Rossi , Laura Pedata , Enrico Porfido , Giuseppe Resta VOLUME 2/2017 - Issue 2 [RESILIENT EDGES], Pages: 685 - 705 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2017.02.02.22, published: 2018-02-06

The essay investigates coastline development along the southern area of the Albanian Riviera, introducing the concepts of “landscape fragments” and “landscape within a landscape” as design methodologies. By speculatively reversing the order of landscape perception from land to water, the coastline becomes a flexible device capable of responding to unpredictable future events - natural disasters related to climate change (rising sea levels), or globally challenging socio-political phenomena (such as mass migration growing in scope, complexity and impact). The experimental design approach involves the design and representation of an incremental waterscape. By reversing the morphological perception of the coastal landscape and making a set of tactical selections in natural and artificial landscapes, the students highlighted the territory’s potential. With new awareness, they proposed site-specific interventions along the coast and inland, re-territorializing the “apparent tabula rasa” and demonstrating the coastline’s potential dynamic reaction to environmental challenges.