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)

Latest Articles - Theme: "Design for Social Impact"

 Open Access
Project

S House n. 3

by: Vo Trong Nghia Volume: 1, Issue: 2, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.02, published: 2017-01-20

The third prototype house for low-income classes designed in response to housing shortages in countries struck by natural disasters was built in Ho Chi Minh City. Thanks to passive design methods, natural lighting, a galvanized steel structure that weights only 1,200 kg set on a reinforced concrete foundation, the model combines quality control, cost management, easy transportation, DIY modular components and fast on-site construction. Now suitable for mass production, the S HOUSE project is designed to be flexible and adaptable to expansion or new uses as the next prototypes will showcase.

 Open Access
Polemic

Challenging the White-Savior Industrial Complex

by: Thomas Fisher Volume: 1, Issue: 2, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.01, published: 2017-01-20

Social-impact design challenges many of the assumptions that guide architectural practice such as: What should we design? What program should we design to? What site should we design on? Who should be involved in the design? And what else needs designing beyond what we have been commissioned to do? In raising these questions, social-impact design essentially inverts the expertise model that has guided both architectural education and practice and leads to a more open and responsive mode of practice that looks for the underlying reasons why a problem or need has occurred and the larger systemic issues that surround the project and that may require redesigning themselves. Through a series of social-impact design projects conducted by the Minnesota Design Center at the University of Minnesota, this essay explores what this means in specific ways, through actual projects with diverse communities of people.

 Open Access
EDITORIAL
Editorial

In This Issue [1/2016]

by: Maurizio Sabini Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Pages: 5 - 6 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.09, published: 2016-10-21
 Open Access
THEORY
Article

Building Portraits

by: Elena Manferdini Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Pages: 7 - 16 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.01, published: 2016-07-14

Building Portraits is a suite of elevation studies developed by Atelier Manferdini for an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 called Building the Picture and a subsequent solo show at Industry Gallery in Los Angeles in 2016 called Building Portraits. These 42 drawings were produced during the past two years and they explore the potential of intricate scripted line work depicting building facades. The collection exists simultaneously as architectural research and as autonomous artwork. These drawings can be understood as scaled down reproduction of buildings, and at the same time as full scale printed artifacts. The collection plays with the graphic potentials of woven grids and scripted vector lines, while exploring the canonical relationships of shape vs form, ground vs figure, pattern vs coloration, orientation vs posture. The title of the suite Building Portraits alludes to two distinct disciplines, the field of architectural drawings, building, and the one of fine artistic pictures, portraits. This body of work tries to claim a territory where these two attitudes find a common ground, where pixels and vectors get closer in scale of perception.

 Open Access
THEORY
Essay

Towards an Ethical Technique: Reframing Architecture’s "Critical Call" through Hannah Arendt

by: Paul Holmquist Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Pages: 17 - 29 doi: 10.15274/ tpj.2016.01.01.03, published: 2016-07-15

This paper examines how the critical vocation of architecture might be reclaimed through reconsidering the interrelationship of technique and politics in light of the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt. I argue that Arendt’s conception of a fabricated common world that is essential to establishing a properly human sense of reality opens up ways to rethink the constitutive political role of architecture. As a discipline, architecture comprises an "ethical technique" by which to guide the fabrication of the condition of "the common," and to constructively embody the recognition of a primary political reality arising out of human plurality. In so doing, architecture can projectively envisage and prepare for the emergence of a potential politics alternative to the apparatus of capital.

 Open Access
THEORY
Article

Planning Criticism: Operative Contingencies in the Project of the Italian Tendenza

by: Pasquale De Paola Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Pages: 31 - 44 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.05, published: 2016-10-07

In order to re-assess architecture’s critical role and redefine the disciplinary domain of its production, this essay looks beyond forms of technocratic utopias, while it historically analyzes operative theoretical contingencies relative to the “project” of the Italian Tendenza, which is examined as an historical form of ideological criticism of the discipline of architecture and its contentious relationship between intellectual and capitalistic production. Particularly, this essay explores the ideological and historiographical production of the 1960s and 1970s. This was when the term Rationalism and its theoretical body of work acquired renewed prestige replacing the ephemeral aesthetic of the Modern Movement with a grounded and critical discourse based on Aldo Rossi’s and Massimo Scolari’s position relative to the need for architecture to re-affirm its own statute, in order to free itself from any form of technocratic utopia. While questions of interdisciplinarity remain essential toward an understanding of future architectural contingencies, it is only by questioning the status quo of architecture and re-examining its past that a new sense of criticality can be generated.

 Open Access
HOUSING
Article

Project Strategies and Evaluation Methods for Contemporary Social Housing

by: Romina Marvaldi , Elisabetta Pani Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Pages: 45 - 57 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.02, published: 2016-07-15

The deep social transformations occurred in the last decades have deeply affected the patterns of urban living. In this sense, experimentation on housing plays the dual role of investigation and validation of our hypothesis that residential space should reflect new life-styles. At the beginning of the 21st century, social housing represents the main field for experimentation.

In the current architectural scenario, many interesting experimentations on contemporary housing can be observed.

The approach proposed in this article starts with post-occupancy evaluation of some case-studies extracted from extensive research on European case-studies realized projects. It then analyzes the results of such evaluation to abstract issues concerning different aspects of contemporary living that could be coped at the design level. This method combines spatial and typological research, issues about housing and planning approaches developed by the promoters of the case-studies discussed. Providing quality social housing involves the coordination of multiple actors and synergies..

 Open Access
REFLECTIVE PRACTICE
Project

Art Walk / Bridging Urban Spaces

by: Heather Woofter , Sung Ho Kim Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Pages: 59 - 72 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.07, published: 2016-09-26

The Art Walk project is a stitched landscape that joins several art and media institutions in Grand Center, St. Louis. The current condition of Grand Center allows few moments of connectivity and sense of continuity between urban spaces. The project is divided into four multi-cultured zones that are currently separated by parking lots, pedestrian inaccessible easements, and gated buildings. The urban strategies are part architecture, art, and industrial design elements. They interface with landscape planning to engage the public in multiple scales of activity in order to bridge between discreet urban spaces.

 Open Access
URBANISM
Article

China’s Grand Canal. Strategies for Sustainable Urban Development in China

by: Andrea Degli Angeli Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Pages: 73 - 97 doi: 10.15274/ tpj.2016.01.01.04, published: 2016-07-26

China has had to deal with the huge architectural and urban development challenges created over the past fifty years. China’s economic growth model has been based on accelerated consumption and manufacturing, with inevitable and significant environmental and social consequences. The model discussed in this paper seeks to employ the principles of sustainability in a specific urban development context: the massive Beijing-Hangzhou Canal, the longest artificial waterway in the world. The model simulates a macro strategy for the redevelopment of this ancient water system utilizing and adapting highly successful traditional Chinese planning methods for urban, wetland and rural areas. Elements of this model could serve as the basis for effective future Chinese urban development in similar contexts. China has already begun actualizing policies and strategies to address major concerns about environmental and social issues. The proposed model is intended to contribute to this endeavour and to promote sustainable growth in the most populated country in the world. The project outlined in this paper shows that the planning elements that inspired Marco Polo’s admiration for Chinese cities are still highly relevant in a country increasingly damaged by inappropriate and standardized international urban development approaches.

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