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"Градски артефакти: Видове, практики, циркулации"

ЦАИ 19/01/2007

Покана за участие в интердисциплинарен семинар, 14-15 юни, Швейцария (на английски)

Urban Artefacts: Types, Practices, Circulations

Anthony D. King (Prof. Em. State University of New York, Binghampton)
Linda Schneekloth (Prof., School of Architecture and Planning, University of Buffalo)

The workshop convenes a small group of 20-30 scholars and around 10 papers concentrating on one or several of the themes below from all relevant disciplines such as anthropology, architectural history and theory, geography, history, science studies and sociology. Costs for travels and accommodation may be covered by the organizers depending on replies from funding agencies.

Abstracts (2’500 signs max.) are to be sent to [email protected] until March the 1st 2007.

Further information on the seminar: Michael Guggenheim: ; Ola Söderström:

Globalization not only changes the values of people around the world, it also changes the very face of the cities we live in. Cities are composed of a tremendous amounts of what we call spatial artefacts, i.e. houses, but also furniture of public spaces, traffic infrastructure, gardens and parks. These spatial artefacts vary in form and function from place to place, they come in local, national and regional variants. These local variations are due to different architectural traditions but even more so, different local practices. People have to play baseball, before a baseball-stadium is invented and finally built. In architectural theory, such templates are known as building types, which we broaden for the purpose of the seminar, to spatial artefact-types. When such types travel and are inserted into other spatial contexts, they come (partially at least) with these practices attached.

In a new environment the introduction of new spatial artefacts can lead to a vast array of changes.

First of all, the new artefact often does not come in its full form, rather it is often built from previous and existing structures, through change of use of buildings or through the ad-hoc assemblage of other existing structures. Because practices travel faster than built structures. Think for instance of mosques created in office buildings in the core of Swiss cities.

Second the introduction of new spatial artefacts happens not through an introduction of a pure type in a new context, rather, the type itself is likely to adapt to its new context and even to lead to new types. As it is the case with the Chinese villa, which is a “creole” version of the Italian villa type.

Third, the new type is likely to introduce irritation in its new contexts. Local actors may object to “foreign” spatial artefacts, as shown by European protests against skyscrapers considered as American building types.

To interpret these first observations a wide range of theoretical problems and disciplinary views is at stake. The discussion may centre around the concept of type. When and under which circumstances are practices condensed in a type so that they are recognized by architectural theorists but also by a lay public? How and under which circumstances do national and regional architectural practitioners take up foreign types? Are there observable patterns when foreign types become controversial in discourses of architects, planners and preservationists?

Second, one may analyse the relationship between spatial artefacts and practices, both at the level of “production” and “consumption”. In other words, who/which are the human and non-human actors allowing these circulations: designers, architects, architecture and design magazines, transnational businessmen, tourists, movies? How are practices inscribed in these artefacts, and how can we account for this inscription? Finally, how is the “immigration” of these artefacts regulated, by zoning and building laws?

Third, the travelling itineraries of spatial artefacts may be of interest in themselves. Are there established geographical and social routes of spatial artefacts? Are there observable patterns where new artefacts are inserted in cities and by whom? Can we identify backbones and “black holes” in these networks? Under what processes are these routes reconfigured?

The purpose of this seminar is to exchange ideas, results and methodologies, and notably to create an encounter between scholars interested in STS perspectives on the built environment (notably Actor Network Theory or Social Shaping of Technologies approaches ) and others using different tool-boxes (stemming from spatial anthropology, cultural geography, architectural history or urban sociology).

The conference is also the first event of the European Network “Socio-Technical Studies of Architecture and Urbanism“.

2006 (cc) Creative Commons License. A project of the Centre for Advanced Study, financed by Bulgarian Ministry of Science and Education.
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