Mapping Controversies in Architecture

studio 3

Today we are increasingly confronted with uncertain architectural knowledge concerning the latest innovations in design and construction as well as the changing demands of clients and communities. This causes us to become embroiled in various controversies. Controversy points to the series of uncertainties that a design project undergoes; it is a synonym of ‘architecture in the making’. ‘Mapping controversies’ means analysing controversies and covers the research that enables us to describe the successive stages in the production of architecture. It offers a new methodology for following debates surrounding contested urban knowledge. The conceptual roots of this approach stem from the discipline of Science Studies with the writings of the French sociologist Bruno Latour, forming the primary source for its subsequent developments in architecture

The workshop was organised in two parts:

1. Introduction to mapping controversies as a research method and teaching philosophy. Exploration of some recent controversies such as the 2012 Olympics stadium in London , the Welsh parliament in Cardiffthe Heathrow airport runway extension, among others. Re-vision of some well-known debates in architecture such as the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, and the re-building of the Reichstag in Berlin.

2. Mapping a specific controversy in Russia (the reconstruction of Bolshoi theatre in Moscow). Analysis of the case based on all available on-line sources and media reports covering the recent process of renovation, as well as existing historic documentation. Tracing the timeline of the debate, the actors’ profiles and trajectories and mapping their changing positions in time and space.

The participants were invited to use web-based digital tools and computational design techniques to visualise the Bolshoi theatre controversy, the variety of factors that impinge on design and the changing concerns.

Workshop leader:

Albena Yaneva – a social scientist who holds a PhD in Sociology from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des mines de Paris (2001) with expertise in design ethnography and cognitive anthropology,  Professor of Architecture at the University of Manchester, Co-Director Manchester Architecture Research Centre, Visiting Professor at Princeton University.

The workshop invites researchers and students with different backgrounds: architecture, social sciences, computer sciences, cultural studies, design studies, political science, science studies, and others. Desirable skills include: website design, data visualization, advanced design skills.